Monthly Archives: April 2014

Menu for the week

Wednesday: Twice Baked potatoes, Grilled Steak, Salad

Thursday: Baked Potato Bar, BBQ Pork

Friday: Twenty Minute Enchilada Bowls

Saturday: Lemon Pesto Pasta, salad

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

Monday: Pita bread’s, Greek taco’s…

Tuesday:Chicken gravy, Mashed potatoes, Green beans

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StayCation post- Activities to do this summer around the valley

We all know that gas prices have skyrocketed and while  many families  are forgoing vacations they might usually take, many of them don’t ever get one. But don’t worry!!! There are lots of things you can do to make a StayCation at home!!!

I would love for you to imagine some of your fondest memories from growing up. I find my own are often not the hustle and bustle of going on trips, but the lazy summer days spent on the trampoline in the backyard with a good book. I have fond memories of tromping around in the woods with friends, playing on sawdust piles and making pretend hidden mailboxes. All of those things do not cost a lot of money, but they make memories.

I am in in NW Montana, and these are things you could do in our area. It all depends on your budget, what things you could have in your budget to do! These are things you could do in a day trip or in an overnight trip.


These are all things you can do that are within 10 minutes- 45 minutes from the house:

Zone Fun center– This Family fun center is complete with laser tag, arcade games, pizza, bounce houses, bumper cars. This place is more focused on older kids, but there is areas for smaller children as well.

Cinemark Theaters will offer $1 movies this summer again, for a fun family activity!

Another fun thing to do in the area, is the Big Sky Waterpark in Columbia Falls

Big Sky Waterpark 
7211 Highway 2 East
Columbia Falls, 7
(406) 892-5026
Located 4.14 miles from Timber Wolf Resort


Big Sky Waterpark offers enjoyment for the entire family. The park features a wading pool and a mini-slide for younger children, larger straight slides for kids too big for the wading pool, and giant slides with twists and turns for the older slider.
There is also a river ride with inner tubes offering even more fun and enjoyment. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the many picnic tables available. Picnics are a great way to cut back on expenses and yet still have an enjoyable day  out. 

Out of the water amenities include an 18 hole mini-golf course, gas operated bumper cars, catapulting water balloon game, beach volleyball and a kid’s arcade. The gift shop offers a wide variety of Montana souvenirs.


Both of these options are a little bit on the pricey end, but are cheaper than if you spent all the gas money to drive to one farther away. It is not one of the cheaper options, but they are so close, if you would like  to visit a water park or bumper cars…these are great options.

When I think about the best memories I have from growing up, I realize that vacation does not have mean alot of money spent, it has more to do with time spent with those you love! 

What about a visit to an old fashioned A&W Root beer floats in Columbia Falls, Mt?  A hike up Lone Pine State Park?


Lone Pine State Park info....Take a look at that view! This trail is easy enough that small children will enjoy it, without alot of carrying. There is little chance of as much danger as in some other hiking trails. There are many different trails to explore. Some of them are harder than others, so check before you go out to hike. 


Camping at Big Arm State park-The mature ponderosa pine and juniper trees provide shade and campground solitude. The beach is popular on the hotter days with swimmers and sunbathers while the nature trails provide excellent bird watching opportunities.

Camping and yurt rentals are available through September, while park and boat ramp are open year round. Reservations for yurts can be made online or by phone.

Located on the Flathead Indian Reservation so you’ll need a Montana fishing license and a Confederated Salish Kootenai tribes fishing license.

Potable water, garbage bins, showers, restroom facilities, trailer hookups and fire rings are available. More information is available at

How to get there: From Kalispell, take U.S. Highway 93 south around the west side of Flathead Lake. Look for the Big Arm State Park sign just north of Big Arm.

Wayfarer’s Campground– This campground is located in Bigfork. A mature mixed forest makes this site very pleasant for camping and picnicking. From spring to late fall the area abounds in wildflowers. Nature walks over the rocky shoreline to the cliffs are popular with photographers for the excellent view of Flathead Lake. The site offers group day-use, flush and vault toilets, RV dump station, bear resistant storage locker, public phone, grills/fire rings, firewood, picnic tables, trash cans, and drinking water. There is a playground in the woods for the young ones, and a beautiful, easy hiking trail. You can walk down to the beach along the Flathead Lake.

Flathead Lake is located between Kalispell and Polson on Highway 93 and 95. Wayfarers State Park is located 0.5 mile south of Bigfork on Montana Highway 35.

Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big mountain

Aerial Adventure Park- $44 for adults, 12 and under $32

Zipline tours– These cost about $59, so sort of spendy, but something unusual to do in the area!

Alpine Slide- These cost about $8 for one ride-$24 for 4 rides, children under 4 foot ride for free with adult.

Walk in the treetops– You have to be at least 54″ tall and be able to wear a safety harness. This cost $51

Flathead county Library reading program: They have not put up the new info yet on this year’s reading program, but this is a fun summer activity. We enjoy it every year. They have  age related activities for each child  with reading incentives with prizes.  You usually sign up the week after school ends. The library has many new things, since they converted to the “Imagine If” library. There is always something going on there.

Here is a link to view some of their events….Events…

Arts in the park is an event that takes place in July 22-24th. There is music, entertainment, booths, and food venders all weekend. It is very reasonable to attend!  Daily Admittance $3, Weekend pass $5, Children 6 and under Free

Historical Kalispell Walking tour– This is really enjoyable! We combined it with a night in the Kalispell Grand Hotel when we participated in it. It was a great way to make it come alive. It is a bit expensive, but they have some deals if you call and ask for them, especially if you are a bigger group. Finish it off at Norm’s News- an old fashioned soda fountain and candy shop for the full experience.

Whitefish Lake and beach is another great place to visit on warm summer days. The beaches get crowded, so arrange your time to fit that, if you are worried about it.


If you would like to do a bit of driving, there is this!

These things are within 2 hours away:

This is the Miracle of America Museum– it is welcoming to children/Under age 2 is free, over 2 is $2, and adults $5 each. Many of the exhibits are very kid friendly.

Kootenai Falls – This is a little drive, about an hour and half. Kootenai Falls is very beautiful and a nice easy walk that even the littlest children can do. You have to watch them close to the falls, but the swinging bridge is always a hit. You have to be careful if you are afraid of heights, but the view is so lovely, it is worth a little fear!

Ross Creek Cedar’s– is a fun walk and sight to see with beautiful trees, some over 200 years old. There is picnic grounds as well.

Annual Amish Auction- This is held on the West Kootenai Amish Community, and it is about an hour and half to 2 hour drive. They have homemade pie, BBQ chicken dinner, booths, quilt auction, log cabin auction and much more. This one is held June 14th, 2014. There is an old fashioned schoolhouse with a playground. The kids will have a blast exploring, buying  kettle corn and homemade ice cream while getting lost in the crowd!


There is also one held in Mission Valley, Mt as well. This one is July 10th. They are both alot of fun and good family activities. It is a fun way to also experience and view the Amish lifestyle in a respectful way.

Ranger led activities in Glacier Park– Here is a link to all kinds of things to do with your children in Glacier Park

Cherry Events in the area- Polson Cherry Festival Cherry orchards are plentiful in the area, and it can be a fun summer activity to pick cherries together, whether you want to eat them or can them.

Fort Steele- This is a bit of drive, but still a day drive. It is about 2.5 hours, but it is worth the drive. This historical town, you will feel like you stepped into history! You will buy candy in the old candy store, and see the politician  giving speeches like he would have in the time period. There is camp grounds nearby to spend some times camping if you want to spend more time. The town of Cranbrook is within 30 minutes of the fort and has many hotels, restaurants and shopping to explore.

Tobacco Valley Historical Village– This cute little village is set up on the outskirts of Eureka and has several different buildings.


From local businesses:

Something as easy as a visit to Home Depot  or Lowe’s can be a fun afternoon activity to do this summer. On Saturday’s  both of these place offer kids clinic’s where children may build small building projects that parents can participate with their kids. These are things that should be available as long as you have  those stores in your town. You can check with your local stores to see what is available.

Home Depot
Or you can always just play on the lawn tractors!!!


Flathead Valley Community College Kid’s College:

Classes run during the summer session with half-day offerings for a variety of interests, abilities, and grade levels.  A sample of previous offerings include:

  • African Safari
  • Galapagos Island Adventure
  • Exploring with Lewis & Clark
  • Junior Chef’s Training Program
  • Science Explorations
  • Art Around the World
  • Super Spy Camp
  • Seven Wonders of the World

The teaching staff provides extraordinary learning opportunities that stimulate creative minds, build healthy bodies and challenge adventurous souls.

Jumping Jacks Funhouse-

$7.00 per child
• remember, after five full price jumps get one free with punch card!
• under 2 years old free with paid sibling
• parents are always free!
• we no longer accept checks but we do take cash, debit, Visa MasterCard, and Discover.
There are also a couple other gyms in the area, if the weather is not cooperating with playing out of doors.
There is also the TimeOUT Indoor Playground in Kalispell.

This is a ranch for the full Western Montana experience, from horseback riding to western themed B&B, this is the place to visit! Check out the website for more info!


Adding also, that the Hockaday Art Museum has summer art classes and camps.

I hope this post made you think that you might want to visit wester Montana, but also, if you live in the area, give you some ideas for fun things to do this summer!

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The Failures of our Faith

My week has been spent with a lot of catching up on household stuff that was put on hold for the school year, the play, and all the other things that I can push aside. I have spent some time reading to relax and we worked on getting the garage cleaned out! Yay! It looks a whole lot better!



Today, after a week of news articles on the failures of many so called Christians, some of which were in leadership…which I will not name as I am sure you all have your own names you can put in their place, I found myself pondering. I guess, wondering if you will, if we have lost something in translation of our walk of Faith.

It is the day, today that many people celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, more people attend church today than ever. There are often holiday family meals together, most women wear bright, colorful dresses that they never wear otherwise, and it is a joyful occasion. How many times though, did we find ourselves caught up in the midst of our to-do list, the meal plans, the food that had to be cooked, the bible verses that had to memorized and we forgot that the person we might see everyday, may need some encouragement.

I am one of the biggest failures when it comes to this. I often find myself, more comfortable slipping in a service here and there, not keen on developing or seeking out relationships. I struggle with making small talk, or meaningful talk at times.

I started to think, maybe that woman that I see at the library often, maybe she just needs someone to squeeze her and tell her you were thinking of her. It could be that kid your son plays basketball with, might be struggling with his faith. Have you asked him to join you in learning more about your beliefs?



Do we get stuck in the same patterns and think that if we invite someone them to church, we have done our duty? We say hi, and pass on our way. Could it be that you might need to babysit for someone, even though you don’t know them that well? Bring them a meal? Offer to clean their house?


These are questions I am asking myself. Am I using my time wisely? I may not fail as publicly as some of the ministers in news, but I am sure we fail each other in other ways. What can we do this week to not fail those that are walking in the faith and those that are not? Are we really living our faith or just a semblance of it?


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Menu for the Week

Monday: Sausage, homemade sauce, pasta, and salad

Tuesday: Chicken, broccoli cheddar pasta. (I took a chicken breast, browned it with some spices, added lots of fresh broccoli, homemade cheese sauce and cooked pasta together)

Wednesday: Baked potatoes, salad

Thursday: Chili, cornbread

Friday: Venison Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday: Bierocks, Vegetable soup, zucchini bread

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

Monday: Rice pilaf with meat chunks, pita bread

Tuesday:  Goulash, corn,  salad


This week is more like the week of….”I spent too much because we had to eat sandwiches for dinner for two weeks, so eat out of the freezer week.” It isn’t too bad, but I am once again reminded of how much I hate meat and how I need to buy more salad stuff.

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Play performance

We had a great week with practice, set up, performing and spending time with friends! It went well and the bake sale and silent auction to support it, went well too. I am very thankful to get getting back to a more normal schedule!







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A Beauty So Rare by Tamara Alexander

A Beauty So Rare

By Tamara Alexander


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description:


Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war–and still had one to fight.


Eleanor Braddock–plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty–knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.


Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects.


But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.


My Review:

This lovely book is 480 pages long and meant to savor every page. I felt myself immersed in Eleanor’s life post-Civil War in the south. She faces issues of her father’s dementia, the pressure to marry, and her own desire to do something outside the realms of her station.

I was able to relate to her predicament on many levels. She was afraid to love; afraid to care after losing so many she cared for. Her aunt shows us that she cares, but in a controlled manner. Everything must be done by the book, there are many rules just befitting her station.

The pain that Ms. Alexander pours through the pages of how she had to allow others to care for her father, yet she loves him so much was so deeply moving. This book is not a “romance novel”, but a tale of how when someone feels unworthy of love and care because at every turn, it has let you done, keep looking. It can be there, and not always in a romantic way.

This book was given to me for review from Bethany House publishers. The review is my own words and I was not paid for it in any way.



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Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Love Comes Calling

By Siri Mitchell


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


A girl with the best of intentions.

A heart set on Hollywood.

An empty pocketbook.


That’s all it takes for Ellis Eton to find herself working as a telephone operator for a look-alike friend. For Ellis, this job will provide not only acting practice but the funds to get her a start in the movies. She’s tired of always being a disappointment to her traditional Boston family, and though she can’t deny the way he makes her head spin, she knows she’s not good enough for Griffin Phillips, either. It’s simple: avoid Griff’s attentions, work, and get paid. But in typical Ellis fashion, her simple plan spirals out of control when she overhears a menacing phone call…with her very own Griff as the target.


With an endearing heroine as her lead, Siri Mitchell takes readers on a madcap tale

of love and discovering one’s true desires!


My Review:


Ellis Eton is all over the page in this book. You realize right off the bat that there is nothing ordinary about her! She flits from one thing to the next, despite her family’s disappointment and her desire to be a film star.


As a person that is driven by duty and desire to accomplish tasks, I struggled to relate to her at first. However, the historical story set in the 1930’s, the telephone operator’s tasks and the issues dealing with the prohibition intrigued me. When I read that the author wanted you to feel what someone would have faced at that time period with ADD or ADHD, it really caught my attention.


I didn’t find this book as descriptive in the historical sense as some of Ms. Mitchell’s, but more a very enjoyable story that was a little lighter than some of her subject matter. As always she touches on a topic not discussed as often, with learning disabilities being looked down upon as laziness or stupidity before recent times. I found Ellis a little frustrating because of her inability to concentrate. It seemed that it jumped all over, but I had to keep reminding myself that it was on purpose. It really got the point across about how difficult it would have been.


This book was given to me for review by Bethany House Publishers and the thoughts contained therein are my own!-Martha

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Menu for the week/School week

I will be away from home for dinner every night this week, so we are planning on eating a lot of sandwiches, fruit and vegetables while out. However, I am going to try to have something at home for the boys to eat when they get home as I know they will be hungry otherwise.


Monday– Leftover Sloppy Joes, carrots

Tuesday– Rice pilaf with steak chunks and vegetables (I am planning on browning some meat chunks and putting in the rice cooker with some vegetables and spices)

Wednesday– Pita bread pizzas

Thursday– Broccoli soup

Friday– Eating out

Saturday– Crock pot meal to bring with….


The school week is interesting and will look different. Last week, we did testing and school around it. This week is filled with music, drama and dancing practice. I am promoting lots of sleep, exercise and healthy food hopefully with history, science and other subjects mixed in!

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Blog Hop- Hopscotch to learn more about writers that blog =)



I was tagged by my lovely friend Joy, whom writes over on her blog “More than Words

Head over there to leave her a comment!

She left me some questions to answer about my writing journey!


(Myself and writer friends at a recent writing conference)

What am I working on?

At the moment, I am working on a pregnancy book. I want it to be a visit over tea with a friend, who will tell you the why behind the mysteries of pregnancy. I found that so often many care providers will throw out statements without explaining them. The client goes home and seeks out the internet or a pregnancy book. The pregnancy books will say “If this happens….call your doctor.” The internet says “This is a very scary thing and look at the statistics of all the pregnant women that died or their babies had such and such happen to them.” or it says “It happened to my friend and it was no big deal.” I am seeking to give concise advice for the busy mother or non-reader, in layman terms that will be checked and gone over by medical professionals, in order to hopefully give you accurate info on those topics you are wondering about.
How does my work differ from others in it’s genre?

My fiction deals with not your normal “Boy meets Girl, fall in love, live happily ever after.” My fiction, I want to address more the questions we might have as someone that has been burned by love. I want to talk about cult groups as well, and deal with issues. However, that is tough to write and to sell, so we will see if anyone ever gets to read it! =) I write about pregnancy, as education is my passion. Education for pregnant women is my top priority.

I gave birth to my first two children without any medical support or prenatal care by any professional. That means, yes, I attempted to perform my own prenatal care for the most part. It did not go so well. I wanted to educate myself and went to the library and checked out every pregnancy book they owned. (Yes, I really did.) I read all of them and was so frustrated when I wanted to know why if you see spots and get dizzy, they want you to go to the doctor right away. I wanted to be in control of my pregnancy, which was why I chose not to go with a medical care provider. I learned the lesson the hard way, and highly recommend education instead of unassisted birth if you want to be in control of your pregnancy. My book will differ from what is out there, in it’s way it is written, in more of a conversational style, than medical as well as being short, but full of information.

Why do I write what I do?
I write an assortment of things. I love writing fiction, and especially women’s fiction as when I was struggling through some very different life circumstances, it really was what pulled me up and helped me to look above what I was going through. I really hope that someday others would be able to read the stories I have written and that God can use them in their lives as well. I write non-fiction about pregnancy right now, and I hope that it educates, informs and makes people laugh, while actually getting the info they need.

How does your writing process work?
For me, I have to work on discipline. I found that I have to have an idea that really grabs me at the beginning, and then in order to run with it, I have to lay it out, act it out or even talk it out. This happens sometimes out loud or in my head and looks pretty weird. Writers, I have found, though, are usually those people that don’t mind being called “weird”, “geek” or other titles that normally would bother a person. When I was younger, I used to make stories in my head, and work them out as I did chores, milked the cow,  or other things around the house. It was better if the house was empty!

The same hold true for me now! I love an empty, quiet house to write in. But as Joy mentioned, I have four, very busy boys….so quiet and empty does not describe my house at all! I have to often take snippets where I find it and work on writing every day. Lately, it has been at play practice!


Next, if you would, head over to Nicole’s Blog….


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Week #30 and #31

School has been working towards a close for MFW. We had a short spring break, but have been working on our state reports, talking about some botany projects and working away on math and language arts as well as Drama.

P1070296 P1070297


L. with his new Write your own book! It was an early gift for his birthday! One of these days I will be taking him to his own writing conference.

P1070295 P1070294Our book order and my newest boy that is enjoying reading!

P1070299 Learning the states game

P1070298 But sometimes it turns into this instead of the game going smoothly….What is a mom to do?

Lots and lots of drama practices, singing, dancing….and repeating it over and over!

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P1070309 P1070308I took some time off from school to learn some writing tips myself! It was really good!

P1070292I enjoyed a book on learning how to be Balanced in homeschooling and working at home as well.

P1070316Basketball is still a major part of our lives, although not competitively for now!



P1070318 P1070317 The boys had a party after their last games!

P1070314 Some exploring in the spring weather outside has been nice too!

P1070340 Spring cleaning has also been happening as well!

This week, it is school testing, math and more state reports! More pictures to come!


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