Monthly Archives: February 2014

Roasted Tomato Soup


Tonight I made this soup! It was really good! The picture is not the best, but it was a picture! The tomatoes and celery were both organic and given to me so dinner was pretty free!

Roasted Tomato soup

8-10 tomatoes

1 bunch of celery

4-5 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes

1/2 c. milk or cream if wanted

Wash and quarter tomatoes. Dice celery. Put on large cookie tray. Add garlic. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 degrees until the garlic is soft and other vegetables are soft about 20 – 30 minutes.

Blend until smooth. Add milk or cream if desired. Heat until hot. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve hot. I served with homemade biscuits and topped with shaved Romano cheese and black pepper.

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Recipes


Wednesday: We ate lightly….no one was feeling well.

Thursday: Venison Steak, pasta, big salad with lots of vegetables

Friday:  Grilled Marinated Venison Steak strips, rice pilaf, applesauce

Saturday: Boys are gone working….Roasted tomato soup, biscuits


Sunday: Italian Pasta with vegetables, salad

Monday:  Crock pot Black beans, rice, salad, french bread

Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie, ice cream, cookies (Birthday)

Wednesday: Creamy Macaroni and cheese, cut up cucumbers, big salad

Thursday:  Sausage gravy,  mashed potatoes, green beans, salad

Friday: Lasagna, french bread, salad

Saturday: Pasta, sauce, salad

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

Monday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, salad

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Recipes

Week #27

P1070181 P. trying on his suit for the upcoming high school banquet.

This has been a hard week as I have been struggling with energy levels and feeling well, but we are pushing through. We also had the charger on the laptop get cut, so $80, we are waiting for a new one and figuring out math practice in the meantime.

We started our new read aloud of Bound For Oregon. It is a fun read! The boys have been laying on the rug around me while I read, usually H. in the chair, listening. P1070209

We also really loved reading So, You want to be president? They boys found the bathtub crane really funny!

H. listened to an entire audio book one day. It was from another week, but sort of tied a few things together. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism and Treachery

He sat and did notebooking pages while listening! P1070212 P1070213

P1070211 The boys made these cut out paper crafts for me to hang up in my window on Wednesday. They are hard to see in the picture, but they are ballerinas.

This week was another great week of watching the Olympics, finding the other countries that were competing and cheering for them!

We are working on memorizing the United States, and using Geography songs to do so. Every morning we get out the map and sing, pointing to the states.

We have play practice twice a week right now, about 7 hours, as well as basketball. It is quite a time commitment, but we are enjoying it!

We are planning to watch A Tale of Two Cities, the long version, on Sunday to finish off our week and we also have Seven Alone to watch as well, which goes along with our Oregon Trail studies.

It was quite snowy this week, so Botany is always interesting. We are looking forward to finishing some of the experiments when it is warmer. However, this week, they asked us to sketch a branch!! Yay! Something we can do!

Math has still been a challenge, because of the computer issue, but we have pulled out several books and done some interesting math drills!  T. is speeding away through his math book  as well and I am thinking about continuing on with BJU for him next year.

We have been working on more independent reading this week as well. Here are two that the boys picked for fun reading time.


H. found a book that he is reading with his reading tutor. It is the first time, I saw him bring a book with him somewhere and exclaim to someone, “This is the best book!” It was an old Moody mystery book series, which I have been collecting for years. I am so excited to see them reading more.

This evening, the two little boys enjoyed looking through past photo albums amid much squeals of delight at seeing themselves as babies, their aunts looking different, their uncles when they are younger than themselves. It kept them up late though!


It has been a hard week, but we learned a lot throughout!

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Filed under Homeschooling, MFW

Weeks #25 and #26 MFW Exploration to 1850’s

P1070155Helicopter he built with a landing pad from legos

P1070156Reading from the encyclopedia about the history of helicopters.

I got behind on blogging about our weeks! We have had some busy times! I also forgot to pick up the camera very much.

P1070157This was a picture worthy moment. He picked it up and was reading on his own!

P1070160We brought legos to keep them busy between practice waiting time.

P1070158They seemed to all enjoy it!



Math time

P1070167Working hard on his math

P1070166Reading a State timeline book

P1070165 P1070164I think I can figure this out!

Play practice. They were practicing a throw….

P1070174 P1070173 P1070172 P1070171 P1070170 P1070169

It was a little scary for the moms watching!

We learned a lot this week about states, French revolution and Napoleon.


Filed under Homeschooling, MFW

Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell Blog Tour

Wishing on Buttercups

By Miralee Ferrell

 Historical Romance

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide?

 Wishing on Buttercups

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? 


Miralee Ferrell is a speaker, accredited counselor, and former ACFW chapter president who has published multiple contemporary and historical romance novels since starting to write in 2005. She enjoys horseback riding, gardening, and family gatherings around their eleven-acre property in Washington State’s beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Miralee has had eight books release, both in women’s contemporary fiction and historical fiction, with another 5 under contract. She’s an award-winning author of Western fiction, and her newest novel, Wishing on Buttercups released February 1, and is the second in a series set in Baker City, Oregon, 1880s.


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)

Interact with Miralee:


Facebook Author page:




Please ask a question for Miralee and phrase/lead into it any way you’d like.

 She’ll reply in the comment section.  


 Each blog on the tour can offer a free book and an opportunity to win,… so be sure and tell your Readers to visit each Tour Stop!  



For the contest, please state the following:


Miralee would love to answer questions concerning her books, writing, publishing career, pets, or her hobbies. Readers can feel free to only leave a comment,  but if they would like to be entered in the contest, we ask that they come up with a question. 

Then, they can return to the blog if they want to, and interact with her again.

 Do you want to be entered into the contest to win this book? Comment below with a question for Miralee and you will be entered. Make sure to leave your email address posted like this, to avoid spammers. gabbie(at)yahoo(dot)com

The giveaway is limited to those with US addresses! Sorry!

Other Blog tour posts:

February 10th – A Book Lover’s Retreat

February 11th – Shelley’s Book Case

February 12th – For the Love of Literature

February 13th –  The Book Bag

February 15th –  HomeSchooling4boyz

February 17th – Buzzing about Books

February 18th – Stuck on Books

February 19th – The power of words..

February 20th – My Recent Favorite Books

February 22nd – Melina’s Book Blog

February 24th – The Front Porch

February 26th – My Devotional Thoughts

February 28th – Diana’s Tea Time Reviews

February 28th – Create with Joy


Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Romance

Menu for the week


Oven fried chicken fingers, Creamy homemade macaroni and cheese, applesauce, green beans and carrots


Chicken parmesan, pasta,


Chicken taco melts, chopped salad


Breakfast for dinner- pancakes, eggs, fruit


Leftovers, popcorn, salad


No idea….but hopefully there will be food!


Borcht, bread


I also want to try these…

Cranberry orange muffins

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Filed under Daily Happenings

Menu for the week

Wednesday: Nachos with avocado

Thursday: Venison steaks, mashed potatoes, salad, oatmeal cookies

FridayCreamy Chicken tacos in crock pot I am not sure if I will use this recipe, if I do, there are some things I am going to vary. I may do something completely different though too. This is just an idea.

Saturday– Pizza rolls, Creamy potato soup (without bacon).

Sunday: Leftovers, salad, popcorn

Monday: Freezer Italian pasta casserole, garlic bread, salad

Tuesday: Borscht, homemade rolls

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Filed under Bargain Dinners

When you dream of more….

I was scrolling through my FB statuses this week and struck with a lot of thoughts this week.

For one, a lot of people do not like the cold. I am loving this cold weather! It might have to do with the fact that most of the time, I am inside and that really helps. My heat works well too, which is a plus.

One homeschool post said that basically all the “labels” we have decided children have today, are mostly made up, caused by lazy parents, lazy children and school systems that want our money. The poster claimed that in the ’70’s there were no struggling children in school. While I do not doubt that we have more labels than in the 70’s, all I have to do is look backwards in my own family history to know there were struggling learners in the 70’s that were not handled well. They were mocked, ridiculed, told they were stupid, lazy, dumb and other names. Many of them gave up on learning, while the ones that did not, fought through and had a lot of hardship while learning.


Other posts on FB, threw out facts about the debate that everyone was talking about. (I refused to watch it. Those things are generally not useful to anyone, in my opinion.), another one asked us to think about the fact that we check FB more than we read our bibles. That one was just a hole for someone to step in. Either way, you look bad. If you do read your bible before checking FB, the comment could be that you are legalistic and self-righteous. If you do not, you are practically pagan and need to repent.  I had to laugh a little at it though!

Today, there was a post about how much children need their dads and another one on involving dads in homeschooling. That one cut the deepest. You see, my husband struggles with everyday tasks. He has a few daily chores, a part time job, but sometimes it take an hour for him to get the mind set that he needs to go somewhere. I can ask him about something, and he can spend the next hour upset about the words that were used, the tone, and all I asked was if he could hand me a rag, please. His brain does not function like you and me. It struggles to understand, even the most basic of things at times.


You see, my husband has a mental illness. Many people have judgements or misunderstanding about what that is, but for us, it is a daily reminder of what we have lost. I do not know if my husband will attend my children’s graduation ceremonies. I don’t think he has ever seen our son’s play basketball. He does not know many of their friends. My husband does the best he can with what he has, but the simple fact of life is that he cannot handle many tasks we would think are normal. Then again, there are things he can do with precision that many other people cannot do. He can paint a house beautifully. He can drive a commercial vehicle safely and with skill, yet, it is a struggle for him to remember how to figure out other life basics.

Amy Simpson has some great blog posts on this….

Sometimes, if you see us, and see that things have slipped through the cracks, children are acting up, I look like I have not slept or something like that…you might want to think of us in your prayers. Life can be really tough sometimes, especially when I dream of more.

But for now, I am thankful for day to day stuff. The blessings that I do have, but sometimes the times when people do not understand, remember, there might be more behind the scenes than you know.


Filed under Daily Happenings

Beowulf by Ronie Kendig



By Ronie Kendig

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description:

Beowulf—a hulky, brindle-coated bullmastiff—is the only “boy” for Timbrel Hogan. And she has a history to remind her why. But when Timbrel, a handler at A Breed Apart, embarks on a mission to detect WMDs in Afghanistan, she reunites with Tony “Candyman” VanAllen and her no-other-man philosophy is challenged. While tension mounts between Timbrel and Tony, the team comes under fire after Beowulf gets a “hit.” When tragedy threatens Tony’s career and Timbrel’s courage, they must maneuver through an intricate plot and a mission like no other. . . .

My Review:

This book is a book that a man likely would enjoy as well as the other books by Ronie Kendig. They for sure have a more manly feel to them, rougher or something. Timbrel is a rough and tumble girl, looks like nothing would touch her, but you realize quick, she has a reason for that exterior. Intertwined thoughout Timbrel and Tony’s story, is the story on the Muslim side. The flip-flopping back and forth was a bit of a challenge to follow at first, making this book tougher to get into, but once I did, I didn’t put it down until I was done.

I am not a dog person. So, I related to Tony and the dislike of the slobber and the aggressive nature of Beowulf. However, as the book went on, he grew on me. This insider’s look at what some of the men and women of combat face, what the security teams go through to protect the country was truly enlightening and admirable. The characters were raw and real. The book is not graphic, but it alludes to swearing, loose women, bombs, violence and other parts that by nature are a little more graphic.

I have enjoyed all of Ronie Kendig’s books and even though the dog based books were not my favorite, I really enjoyed this one. It had me riveted today!

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

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Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Echoes of Mercy

By Kim Vogel Sawyer

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book description:

(From Back cover)

When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

My Review:

Caroline Lang loves a challenge and I love a book with a strong woman character that you can admire. Caroline was an undercover agent at a chocolate factory, based on historical pictures and stories that the author found and it sparked an idea. I found the history of it fascinating. The child labor laws would have been something I would have had a hard time with as well, and could sympathize on both sides. Oliver, as an undercover worker of another kind, was someone that you could not help, but like.

They both had strong reasons for doing what they were doing. Entwined in it all, was a great message about when you want to help someone, make sure you are helping the right person. They helped many people in this book, but also, there were people that took advantage of kindness  as well.

I found the writing style engaging and while it was nothing incredible, it was a book that I enjoyed, laying in the sunshine and relaxing while I was many years back, in a chocolate factory. The cover of this book also is amazing. It has a lot of detail to it, that is just really pretty.

I received this book for review from Blogging for Books. The opinions found therein are my own.

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