Weekend Links

Last weekend I was in Disney World with Jim and my parents.  No kids.  We had a blast!  The Free Dining promotion was going on, so we ate in some great restaurants.  And we got to see the Osborne Family Lights at Hollywood Studios.

It even snowed on us there!

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That’s the best kind of snow.  Disney magic! 70 degrees outside with a light flurry :)

Here’s a video of the Osborne Dancing Lights.  So cool!

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Amy from Mom Advice shows how to make a DIY No Sew Blanket Scarf.  These could come in handy for the Style Me Pretty Winter Challenge (more info below).

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I loved this post on why kids love being homeschooled.  My own kids confirmed a lot of these.  50 Reasons Kids Love Being Homeschooled

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My friend, Lynn has been on a roll with creating allergy friendly recipes lately.  Last week I shared her Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls.  And now she’s created Dairy Free Sweetened Condensed Milk!

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A new Style Me Pretty Challenge for winter is about to start!  Registration is open now and the shopping list comes out just in time for all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

This is the fifth Style Me Pretty Challenge I’ve done and they are all so much fun.  And so helpful to have the shopping list and outfit ideas.  I purchased that blue sweater above as soon as I saw it!

This winter challenge will have pieces from both the Basic Challenge and the Fall Challenge, so I’ll already own many of the items.  I bet you have a lot of the items in your closet too.  But just in case you don’t, some of the participants have started a Challenger’s Closet Facebook group where they trade with each other.

I really can’t say enough good things about the Style Challenges.  They’re a fun, confidence boost.  And the women in the private Facebook group are amazing!

 

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Weekend Links

Here are a few things that caught my attention this week.

My youngest daughter loves to sew.  This week she made a new bag for me, complete with a zipper closing at the top.  I love it!

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She learned to use a pattern for this bag last year, but she’s made a lot of improvements to the pattern.  She added interior pockets in the lining.  She made the straps wider and padded them.  And now she’s added a zipper at the top.  Pretty good for a 12 year old!  I can’t even sew on a button, so I’m super impressed with her!

I’ve been working my way through The Gilmore Girls on Netflix and loving every minute of it.  Here’s a fun drinking game to play while watching.  Of course, the drink of choice is coffee.  If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you know why.

And that reminds me that I’ve picked up an afternoon coffee habit in the last few weeks.  I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but I don’t think it’s a terrible thing either.  So I’ll probably stick with it.

A 6 foot 4 inch cow!  Wow!  Blosom is huge.  So huge, she’s now listed as the Guinness World Record holder for largest cow.

Mia and I were excited to hear a shout out to homeschoolers on Wednesday’s CNN Student News during the roll call!  We love watching the student news everyday during lunch.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – My friend, Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures has developed a gluten free cinnamon roll recipe.  She’s been working on this for a while, and has had success!  Happy day for gluten free people!

Do you ever feel liked you’ve been smacked by Daylight Savings Time?  This video is hilarious!

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Weekend Links, Books and Thoughts

Books and Thoughts

I’ve searched all over the internet, looking for a post I read a long time ago on creating margin in your life.  I can’t find it, but the basic gist is that we need to have some white space and downtime in our daily lives.  Some need more of this than others {raises hand for more}.

We’ve had several very busy weeks in a row and not enough time to just Be.  The other day I found myself giving a friend that old, tired, worn out line about how tired and worn out I am.  Blech.  I hate feeling it, but when I start saying it, I know I need to find myself some margin.

I started reading Patsy Clairmont’s book, Twirl this week.

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It’s an easy read, but thought provoking too.  She has a chapter called Decorate.  In it she talks about changing your attitude and rearranging the furniture in your daily life (figuratively).

I read that chapter on Thursday morning, which was perfect.  Thursdays are usually frantic, with too many trips across town to shuttle kids.

But after reading that chapter, I decided to rearrange the furniture of my Thursday.  I cut out some of the driving back and forth, added a visit to the coffee shop for lunch and work, and hit the grocery store in between pick ups for the kids.  This worked out so much better than my usual routine. Sometimes I just need to be shaken loose of my preconceived ideas.

Links

Mia and I re-read a chapter from Little House in the Big Woods this week.  That led me to show her this post on making Head Cheese from Simple Bites.  I always wondered what headcheese was.  Now I’m pretty sure I’ll never make it, but it’s interesting to read about.

This Christmas Pledge from The Art of Doing Stuff (via Greenbacks Gal) is an interesting idea.  Use November to get ready for December, so that in December we can relax and enjoy (aka have some margin in our life).  I’m in.  What about you?

 

 

 

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Weekend Links

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A very encouraging post and a free printable of the image above from my friend, Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

On parenting, sports, realistic expectations and more.

This is just crazy and kind of scary. How can 4 girls, in two different incidents be led so far astray that they’d consider joining ISIS? (link via Joy the Baker)

My friend, Lynn discusses the price of butter with her readers on Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

Alison’s Fall Style Challenge is wrapping up this weekend.  The Fall challenge was the third one I’ve done.  It’s been a lot of fun and I still have a few of the outfits to try.  For several days I had a terrible cold and my OOTD was a bathrobe and slippers.  And there were a couple of days where it was too hot for a sweater or scarf.  I’m looking forward to trying the outfits I missed.

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And now registration for the Build Your Wardrobe Basics is open.  This one is geared toward women over 40, although women of any age who are interested in building a classic, basic wardrobe will be interested.

I’ve already registered for this one.  I expect that I’ll own quite a few of the pieces, but I also know I need to update a few things.  Like a good pair of black pants.

The thing I love about these challenges is the shopping list.  I hate to shop and I’m bad at it.  But with Alison’s list, it’s so simple.  It’s like the grocery lists that go with my own Weekly Meal Plans.

Speaking of Weekly Meal Plans – The November plans are being uploaded today.  If you want to know what you’re having for dinner each night, shop with a color-coded list and always have a well-stocked pantry then check out Weekly Meal Plans!

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Weekend Links – Laying around with a cold edition

I got hit with a terrible cold last Sunday and Monday.  Thankfully, that fell on our fall break from school so I had the luxury of laying around and doing nothing.  In between napping and taking cold medicine, here are a few things I watched/read/used.

 

Binge Blog Reading

I like to binge read blogs that are not part of my normal list. This time I read through a lot of Life in Grace. I met Edie at the Becoming Conference in August, when my friend and I crashed her breakfast table. She’s just as kind in person as she is on her blog.

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I love the concept of her workroom. It’s the spot where laundry, books, studies, crafting all come together. I crave a more minimalist space, but still…the books, the color, the idea of mundane work and creative work happening in the same space is very appealing.

And this description of an ordinary homeschool day is perfect.  Our homeschool has never quite looked like that, but the image is a lovely one.

I always love to hear about the books that influence so deeply.  Edie shares some of hers here.

 

Binge TV Watching

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I started watching Gilmore Girls and I’m really liking it. It’s like a “comfort food” show – a little humor, a little drama, fun characters. It’s on Netflix instant watch now.

Cold Comfort

I used a lot of Vick’s Vapor Rub, but I wish I had some of these made up too.

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Steamy showers are wonderful when you’ve got a cold, but some of these homemade Natural Vapor Shower Discs would make it even better.

 

Feed a Cold

Jim brought me a bowl of chicken pho from the local Vietnamese restaurant. It tasted so good! But what I was really craving was a bowl of Virus Killing Chicken Soup. My daughter made some the week before and still had a few bowls in her freezer. I thought about buying some from her.

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*note to self – update the photos in that post.

This soup is the best chicken soup you’ve ever had.  It smells amazing while it cooks and with every bite you can feel that it’s battling the cold virus.  It is a bit of a process to make.  So having it in the freezer, ready to go is a great idea.

What are your favorite comforts when a cold strikes?

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Weekend Links

Sometimes I use these weekend links posts to talk about things other than food.  But this week, it’s all food, all the time!

I was interviewed by RealSimple.com this week on the 10 Secrets of Home Cooks (and how you can become one too).

 

 

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My friend, Lynn wrote a post on 40 Easy Ground Beef Recipes.  She followed that up with a discussion on the price of beef in different parts of the country.  I was surprised to see the wide range of prices.  We’re on the high end where I live.  What about you?

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As I was browsing Pinterest the other night, I kept seeing this recipe for Crockpot Cinnamon Roll Casserole.  It looks fabulous!

Speaking of Pinterest, you can follow me there.  But I also have a question – Has your Pinterest feed turned into all one topic?  Mine is all food.  I’m wondering if others have seen the same thing.  Or maybe you all are more well balanced than me :)

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Weekend Links, Books and More – October 4

On Saturdays I give myself permission to share things other than food.  These are just things that caught my attention for one reason or another over the past week.  Maybe you’ll find some of this interesting too.

I’d love to have you share what you’ve been reading/thinking about/finding interesting.

For some reason, last night I decided to do a google search for candles that smell like books.  That led me to find Frost Beard Studio on Etsy.

Oh my!  What a fun place for a book lover to browse!  They’ve got candles and wax melts in all kinds of original scents inspired by books (and a few TV shows and movies).

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I bought wax tarts in Bookstore scent.  It promises to smell like, “Timber, driftwood, hazelnut cappuccino and a hint of leather”.

I also bought Oxford Library – Oakmoss, amber, sandalwood, with hints of tobacco and leather! A customer described Oxford Library as smelling like a “Freshly showered Sherlock Holmes.” 

I would love to buy The Cliffs of Insanity!  And I’m completely intrigued by Sassenach – Inspired by Claire’s herb collection in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series: lavender, thyme, basil and other herbs. Transport yourself to the Scottish Highlands with this therapeutic and invigorating scent.

A trip to Scotland is on my bucket list.  I’ve been thinking about picking up the Outlander series to read, since it takes place there.  Then I saw where Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has started reading them and is loving them.  When I found this scented candle based on the books, I ordered a paperback copy of the first Outlander novel from Amazon.  (I’m waiting to order the candle until I finish the book.)

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Have you read the Outlander series?  What did you think of it?

I’m absolutely determined to finish the book I’m currently reading before Outlander gets here.  I’m about 75% of the way through A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin.

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I’m enjoying it, but I’m the slowest reader ever.  And I haven’t been making time to really dive in either.  This weekend though, I’m finishing it.  For sure.

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Did you see my stand up desk hack on Instagram?  I got home on Thursday afternoon, after picking up my daughter and I could not face sitting down at my desk.  All that driving equals too much sitting.

I used to keep my computer on the kitchen counter and blogged from there.  I work more now than I used to though, so I’ve moved to a desk.  I like standing to work though.

I did a little searching for some way to convert my desk to a stand up desk.  Preferably something that I can take off easily when I want to sit down.  I think I’m going to try making this $22 version.  It will require a trip to Ikea, but I’m okay with that ;)

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The shopping list for the Fall Style Me Pretty Challenge came out yesterday.  There’s still time to register though.  Alison is giving us 10 days to do the shopping before she starts sending out the emails with outfit ideas.

The Facebook group is hopping with talk of clothes and deals and sales.  I was surprised to find that I have a lot of things already in my closet.  I also need to buy some things.  All of my old shirts from last year have those little holes in the front.  Do your shirts do that?

What have you been reading and discovering this week?

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Fun movie, fall clothes and podcasts – Saturday Stuff

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Jim and I went on a date night a couple of weeks ago and saw The Hundred Foot Journey.  It’s a fun foodie movie.  We enjoyed it.  It reminded me of some of the independent films we’ve watched on Netflix.  It also made me want to go to France.  Be sure to have Indian food either before or after.  Or during, if you wait and catch it on video in a few months.

 

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Back in the spring, I stumbled on the site, Get Your Pretty On.  Alison was launching her first 21 Day Fashion Challenge.  I signed up on a whim and I’m so glad I did!  I’ve since done her summer challenge and I’m signed up for the fall one too.

Alison sends a shopping list of items and follows that up with 21 days of outfit ideas that combine those items.

It’s like the Weekly Meal Plans and grocery lists for clothes!  Since I hate to shop, this is perfect for me.  There are options for every price range.  Lots of people even hit up thrift stores for various finds, as well as sharing sale prices (the private Facebook group for these challenges are wonderful!).

Want to join me?  Click here to register.  Regular registration is open through Oct. 2 and the shopping list comes out on Oct. 3. The outfit ideas will be sent each day Oct. 12 – Nov. 1.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!  I love having the outfits planned out for me, with ideas that I can rotate through the rest of the season.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time in the car driving lately.  Our new school routine involves classes that the kids take two days a week. Except they each go on opposite days, so that means I’m driving four days a week.  Two 80-90 minute round trips each day.  Yes, that’s about 2 1/2 – 3 hours in the car each day.

To pass the time, I listen to podcasts.  I like a few business type ones, but that can get old after a while.  Lately, I’ve been bingeing on The Joy the Baker Podcast.    It’s like chatting with old friends.  Except I don’t know these ladies and I’m not chatting, just listening. But it passes the time and it’s entertaining.

I’d love to find some more good podcasts to listen to.  If you’ve got recommendations, let me know!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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3 Things That Worked in the Kitchen This Week – September 15

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  I created a new 15 minute meal – BBQ Chicken Nachos

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I can’t wait to share this recipe with you! And if I get my act together, that will be tomorrow.  You have got to make these!  I know you have time, because they only take 15 minutes.

I posted that photo to Instagram and Facebook and it had people drooling.

2.  Healthy snack alternative – 1 Minute Apples

I’ve been in a terrible habit (not sure if I can really call it a habit since I’ve been doing it all my life!) of eating a sweet snack every night.  Often it’s ice cream.  Have I mentioned I love ice cream?

I also have a son who loves to bake and has a sweet tooth as big as mine.  Lately he’s been baking brownies or chocolate chip cookies nearly every night.  One night (and only one night, so far) I decided I should have something a little bit healthier.  I made a bowl of 1 Minutes Apples and sprinkled a bit of granola over the top.  Instant apple crisp in a single serving!

I skipped the ice cream and went for a spoon of vanilla yogurt on top of the apples instead.

3.  Slow Cooker Freezer Meal to the rescue – Chicken Curry Soup

Wednesday was an extra busy day and I also knew that we wouldn’t all be home for dinner at the same time.  But we would all be eating at home at some point.  On days like that, I like to serve something that will hold over well and doesn’t need a lot of sides to go with it.

Easy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Soup usually fits really well for those occasions.  I had a bowl of Thai Chicken Curry Soup in the freezer from my last freezer cooking session.  It took care of dinner that night and several lunches over the next few days too.

200 lp12 slow cooker freezer meal plans

 

You can still save $2 through tomorrow 9/16 on the 12 Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans.  Just use the code FALLFREEZE.

What’s working in the kitchen this week for you?

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Weekend Links

I enjoy sharing some of the non-food things I come across during a week. Books and links and the like. It’s a nice change from writing about food all the time. As much as I love food, I enjoy other things too.

Last week I heard from a reader who said I should stick to the topic. And maybe I should, but I’m not going to ;) I enjoy having the freedom to explore and share other things of interest. I hope you enjoy it too. If not, come Mondays we’ll be back to food.

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Last weekend we had the chance to walk through a home for sale in our area.  We drive past this beautiful place a few times each week.  Mia and I especially love looking at houses, so when we saw this one would be open on Sunday we were excited!

It was built in the 1950s and sits on about 7 acres, surrounded by horse farms.  It’s that perfect blend of being close to the city and everything you need to do in a week and still feeling like you’re way out in the country.

And the kitchen!  A food blogger’s dream!

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There’s plenty of counter space.  Double ovens.  A walk-in pantry (still not as cool as my pantry though).  A small office area, which you can see on the right hand side of the photo.  But most importantly, this kitchen has a ton of natural light due to the skylights above the island.  And there’s also a sliding glass door on the opposite side of the island.

The house is completely empty right now.  And since it’s listed at $895,000 it won’t be us who move in!  We loved getting to see it though.  You can find more info and photos by clicking here.

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We watched Moms’ Night Out last weekend.  Even the kids thought it was funny.  Definitely worth watching.  Plus, the guy who made the movie was a homeschooler.  I love stories like his. <—Watch this, especially if you’re a homeschool mom who could use some encouragement.

 200 lp12 slow cooker freezer meal plans

 

You can still save $2 through 9/16 on the 12 Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans.  Just use the code FALLFREEZE.

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