Monthly Archives: January 2014

Menu for the week


Leftovers, sweet potato and salad.


Fried rice with vegetables and chicken.…..(I used most of the vegetables I could find in the fridge and made this yummy dish)


We also made some Banana bread with Coconut Sugar as an experiment. It turned out well too!


Crock pot/shredded meat, potatoes, salad


Shepherds Pie, green beans and applesauce


Garlic pasta, popcorn


Enchiladas, spanish rice, cut up vegetables


Baked potatoes with chili

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Banana bread with Coconut Sugar

Banana Bread


Yield: 2 loaves

3 c. flour (Whole wheat or white)

3 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. cinnamon

2 eggs

2 c. mashed ripe bananas

3/4 c. coconut sugar

1/2 c. cooking oil (I could have added more banana or applesauce for this, but I did not this time)

1 t. vanilla

Mash bananas well. Add dry ingredients and then rest of wet ingredients. Mix well.

Divide between two baking loaf pans.

Bake for 55 minutes apx. at 350 degrees

Let cool before slicing. It was plenty sweet, and I would probably cut the coconut sugar back more if you do not mind it not as sweet.


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Fried Rice



Easy Fried Rice

3 boneless chicken thighs (or leftover meat, anything you want)

4 cloves garlic

3-4 cups. Misc. vegetables…(this time I used broccoli (2 small heads), green onions and 1 green pepper)

6-7 cups. cooked rice, cold.

Soy sauce

Salt and pepper

Heat small amount of oil in large frying pan and brown chicken thighs on both sides. Add the garlic, either minced finely or put through a garlic press. Salt and pepper. After you turn the chicken, add a small amount of water and cover for about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and sliced thinly or cube and return to pan with vegetables. I use any kind of vegetables, just chop them up and add them. Steam or stir fry until done. Add rice. Splash with soy sauce and season with salt and pepper. When hot, serve.

You can also add some scrambled egg to it for extra protein. I have done it with or without.

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Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell

Wishing on Buttercups

By Miralee Ferrell

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description:

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide? She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has. Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her. Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart. As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?


My Review:

Beth is a talented artist that struggles to accept that she is valuable while Jeffery is a writer that believes he is not any good. I found it interesting that they both did not know that they were drawn to each other, in spite of their insecurities or maybe even because of them. Beth also has hidden scars that she believes will make anyone hate her. In her past, there were mean adults and children that tormented her because of them.

I found that I related to the insecurities that Beth faced. We all have scars that are hidden, but to us, they feel very visible. Today, I was standing in church facing some of my own “scars”. Mine are not visible to the naked eye, but just as painful at times as a real scar.

The message that Ms. Ferrell talks to us throughout this story is it is how we deal with our past, our scars and our insecurities. We may handle it like Mr. Lansing handles in the book (badly) or we may learn that we are valuable and special with our scars. They will always be a part of our lives, but they do not have to define us.

Another lesson this book can teach us is how often we are much harder on ourselves than we should be. Aunt Wilma, Beth, Jeffery, Beth’s mother, all of them were much harder on themselves than they needed to be. The lesson of grace and extending charity to others is a very important part of life.

(This book was giving me to review by NetGalley. The opinions contained therein are my own)

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Week #23

Monday started off with all sorts of fun, and we got to have a little visitor for the day. My niece was not feeling well, so came over to spend the day.
T. got a chance to do his reading practice while reading to her.

She enjoyed coloring in the sunshine as well!

It has been really great this week to see some of my boys really get into reading the history books for themselves. This week, my third son and his dad sat for like an hour, reading through some of them.
My husband learned history in Russia, and much of history was very differently taught under Communism. He is often amazed and joins in on our history reading. It is new info for him!


P1070085 P1070086 More reading with my niece.

We read a book about Martin Luther King Jr. as well. They were all a little amazed at how people could treat others that way, based on skin color.

P1070084Math time!! We have still been having issues with TT Math 6.

P1070090 L. has been very interested in the historical reference books we have around and has spent a lot of extra school time this week, reading and looking at them.

We had some fun in Botany, studying different types of leaves. Thankfully we had a house plant with a leaf that had turned yellow to talk about some of the experiments as outside is frozen.


We have been enjoying this William Carey read aloud this week and read ahead as well.


P1070093Watching a science movie


P1070101We dug out the Speak and Spell to work on!

P1070100Doing school on the big desk called the floor

P1070102Reading time

P1070098The set up

P1070099Working away

P1070106Time to read the paper and catch up on current events. T. was a little more interested in what coupons he could find. A local girl is competing in the Olympics. so he was excited about that.

P1070105 P1070104Reading aloud time

P1070103Language Arts

P1070107 P1070108 Play practice for the week

Everyone lined up first on chairs to get instructions and then the fun began. 4 hours of it.

P1070112 P1070111 P1070110It was a big circle!

Drama class exercise to pull you out of your shell!

P1070113 P1070114 P1070115Practicing dancing

P1070118 P1070117 P1070116Lots of sitting still and listening time as well. As you can see, the photos blurred as there was not as much sitting still as there should have been! P. is giving me a look for taking a picture too, in that last one. H. is taking notes.

It was a good week! We got a lot accomplished and I was dead tired. P. is away at a basketball game and we are recovering for next week!





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Menu for the week

Pot Roast, pasta, spicy cabbage salad, and cucumbers

Cheesy enchilada casserole with rice and salad

Garlic spinach chicken pasta

Chicken, potato wedges, cucumbers….

Leftovers. popcorn

Steak salad with homemade bread

BBQ sandwiches, pasta salad, vegetables

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Dare to Love again by Julie Lessman


Dare to Love again
By Julie Lessman

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description:
Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?

My Review:
I had an advanced review copy on my kindle of this book and consequently it was somehow missing most of the “th” on many words. It made my brain stay on hyper drive the whole book! It was worth it though, as it was a great read.
Julie Lessman is known for her somewhat edgy romances, and this one is not really that way. It does however talk about two very broken people, in historical San Francisco, trying to clumsily make a difference in their own ways.

Nick always seems to be like he was huge, compared to Allison’s size, but even as he would walk into places, he was loud, large and rude. Allison though, was small, but also not the smartest chocolate in the box. She feels desperate to be independent, and risks her safety to do so.

They both were so irritating that you have to fall in love with them. They deserve to irritate each other.
Also, in the book is a sub-romance of her Uncle Lance and Allison’s mother, this romance started in the earlier book and still does not really finish it in this book. It whets your appetite for the next book without even telling you!

I think no matter what Julie Lessman writes, I am going to like it, but I have to say she just gets better with time. Each book, I think, is better than the last one. They are ones you cling to the cover and want to read slow because you don’t want them to end, but want to read faster, because you want to know how the story resolves. She gives you real romance, not with perfect people, but real, fallible characters. You have to pick up a copy!


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The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen


The Dancing Master
By Julie Klassen

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description:
Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul–and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master–a man her mother would never approve of–but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village…and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.

My Review:

In the mood for a Regency read? Pick up this book! This book, like many of Julie’s other books, talks about little known facts of the time period. The Dancing Master addresses how they dealt with scandals and often, people paid for it with their lives, or livelihood.
I had a hard time warming up to Julia at first, but about part way through the book, I felt bad for her. She was someone that did not fit in the box that her mother tried to put her in. She wondered why her father never seemed to love her, and in the end, the secrets surrounding her life, seemed to hold all the answers, especially the fact that her mother forbade the whole town from dancing.

I found that a little incredible. Could a whole town be so devoted to someone that they would not dance? I struggled to find that real, but I am looking into it as I have found Ms. Klassen likes to stick to history!

This book told me again, how foolish the habit of fighting duels were as well! What a horrible tradition!

If you would like to read another great regency read, pick this one up.

This book was provided me for review from Bethany House Publishers and the opinions contained therein are my own.

A link to buy it!!
The Dancing Master

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The Headmistress of Rosemere “School” Your Desk Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Don’t miss Sarah Ladd’s latest Regency novel, The Headmistress of Rosemere. She is celebrating the release of book two in her Whispers on the Moors series with a fun “School” Your Desk Kindle Fire Giveaway and an Author Chat Facebook Party!


Between January 17–28, visit Sarah Ladd’s Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day and be entered to win a Kindle Fire grand prize. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on January 28th! (Don’t have a Facebook account? Enter here.)

RSVP today for Sarah’s The Headmistress of Rosemere Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your Regency trivia skills, announcing the winner of the “School” Your Desk Giveaway, and giving away books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she’ll also be giving partygoers an exclusive look at the next book in the Whispers on the Moors series!

So grab your copy of The Headmistress of Rosemere and hope to see you on the evening of January 28th! (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


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Week #22

This week has been different!!

Monday: we moved away from America and studied some of Captain Cook’s adventures. I was impressed at how much the boys are retaining and knowing this year!
We also read about how Australia was made into a convict colony. It brought up some good discussion as many of them were called convicts, when really they were just starving, desperate people.

We also started a new read aloud about William Carey.

Tuesday and Wednesday:
H. went to visit my mom, so it threw our school days off a bit.
I adjusted history and had L. read the science to himself and out loud. He found the portion on Leaves amusing and used different voices to read it aloud.
He is also reading A Week in the woods for reading practice and hopefully for a book club meeting.

Since we are studying the French revolution, I have some activities planned for Friday with movies to reinforce those ideas!

P. is working away on The Hiding place. I checked out the movie as well as the book, and audio book, so I think we are covered. He finished To Kill a Mocking Bird and has writing assignments based on that. He has a couple of basketball games this weekend out of town, which is hard on me!

George Washington coloring sheet for notebook

We read about William Carey, are working on sprouting carrots and potatoes, but low and behold, we have both already! =)
Math and Language Arts is next, but combined with a movie.”>Dangerous Exile

It was on Netflix , made in 1958 and a great one for this week!


The state Notebooking was pretty basic this week, but were fun!




Play practice starts today and heading to it in a bit! It will be about 4 to 5 hours  a week, I believe.

(Script printed out)


The boys enjoyed play practice….

P1070080Listening to the plans for the class. It was funny as the history we read about this morning, was what they were discussing for the play.

P1070081Playing a game to see how well you keep focus.

1551651_10201371793322781_52480138_n P. went to a basketball game far away and the family he was riding with sent me this picture!

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