Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Random thoughts on the collapse of Rome

**Diocletian's Rome ~ *Modern US ~ Parallels
When will we learn from HISTORY?????

**Colosseum *Sports/entertainment arenas (This one has been building for MANY years...)

**Diocletian Fixed prices/salaries *Obama's Capping Salaries/ fixing Prices


**Inflation/Collapse of the economy *Inflation/ Collapse of the economy(?)

**In an attempt to reduce the chances of internal disorder, Diocletian demanded that his subjects worship him *Current President's discontent/ridicule with those who disagree with him/ Press' adoration is close to worship....

**In yet another attempt to unify the empire, Diocletian began to issue widespread restrictive laws on Christians *Current legislation attempts to vilify and criminalize Christian beliefs and morals (sanctity of life/"Thought crimes")

Diocletians rule perhaps best marks the end of the Roman Empire.
Facts on Diocletian taken from Here

The American Public should WAKE UP!!! Apathay should be a crime, lest History repeat itself AGAIN!

Monday, October 19, 2009

UHU Glues... a belated review!

We have had a free sample of UHU Twist and Glue for some months, and have been using it, but I finally got my camera working, and pictures uploaded. This is a sample of the cards that my daughter has been making for her etsy shop, Penney For Your Thoughts.

We decided that the Twist and Glue works really well for paper piecing and card stock, not as well for felt pieces, or for gluing large areas of regular paper (Tended to wrinkle....). We especially like the small tip for getting "Just the right amount" of glue on some of those tiny bits of paper! And..... when you get just a little too much on, it washes off very nicely, even on these nice cards! EXCELLENT!

All-Purpose Twist & Glue All-Purpose Twist & Glue
$3.95 for this bottle, and it is still going strong...
Enjoy! :)

Menu Monday~ Fall!

I'm trying to get back into menu planning, now that the school/fall schedule is back into full swing. We have too many nights that are "out" nights, so I can use the help to plan ahead!

Monday~ Chicken/vegetable chowder with easy cheesy scones
Modified from the above recipes
Tuesday~ Pasta with Al Fresco Sausage and Salad (And crockpot yogurt for breakfasts)
Wednesday~ Shepherd's Pie(?) or "Stuffed Meatloaf" (Potato filled meatloaf.. YUM!)
Thursday~ Indian-style chicken in the crockpot (I hope~ Utilizing some of that crockpot yogurt!)
Friday~ Sandwich Night~ racing from Oireachtas practice to AWANA

So there you have it... I am hoping to actually make the Tandoori Chicken, since I've "planned" to at least 2 times and haven't gotten to it... we shall see~ At least the chicken is paid for (That's part of the problem... it's in the freezer and needs defrosting.... )

Check out all the other Menu plans for this week at Organizing Junkie at get inspired to make some food and save some change!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Monday, June 15

Hey, I did pretty well last week!

BTW, those cold Chicken Satay Noodles that Laura has on her menu this week are yummy! We had them last week, and everyone liked! Check out her site for more great menus!

This week:
Monday Little League Playoff Game night: Chicken and Broccoli casserole with leftover chicken and broccoli from Friday
Tuesday Irish Step Dance Practice night: Crockpot Tandoori Chicken (Chicken legs/thighs are on sale for $0.69/lb this week!)
Wednesday night:
Thursday Little League Championship or Consolation Game night: pizza at the field!
Saturday: Oldest's Birthday....something "out" perhaps?
Sunday Father's Day: probably a cook-out sort of thing? or maybe Indian food? Have to check with our friends~~~ :)

Well, I'm missing a couple of spots here... I'll post for now, and fill them in when I get the chance! (Which means I'm going to go scout around a few other posts, and see what looks good!)


Monday, June 8, 2009

Menu Monday, June 8

Well, I did "ok" last week, with a couple of misses~ so now I'll try for this week, and see how we go~

Monday: Cold-cut subs with leftovers from Sunday's church business meeting
Tuesday: Homemade pizza with leftovers from the porkchops on Saturday
Wednesday: Baseball game~ Hot dogs? Not sure on this one....
Thursday: Homeschool meeting~ Maybe the Cold Chicken Satay noodles that Laura referenced
Friday: Last regular Little League game of the season~ Rebecca's Tortilla casserole(From Honest Pretzels) with leftover chicken,
Saturday: Eek... I still have to work on my grocery shopping/sales this week
Sunday: leftovers or eating out... we'll see...

Pretty skimpy this week, not feeling as "planned", but I'm still trying!

Any help would be great!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

OK, this is the first time that I've joined in on this one.... it's all about books!

“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

  1. The Bible
  2. Rose in Bloom(And others) by Louisa May Alcott
  3. Rivets and Sprockets by A. Key
  4. The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  5. The Wizard of Oz books by Frank L. Baum
  6. The Moosepath League books by Van Reid
  7. Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman
  8. Madeleine L'Engle's "Meet the Austins"
  9. Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard
  10. Dark Horse by John Fischer
  11. The Body by Chuck Colson
  12. The Pecan Tree (by ??? picture book from grade school)
  13. Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola
  14. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  15. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Well.. lots of these are considered "Children's books", but I guess that a good book is a good book, regardless of the age that it is written for.

If you want to see what books have affected other folks, hop on over to and check it out. Feel free to leave me a comment or two, as well, if you'd like. ;)


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday~ Summer fun(chalk drawing)

One of my favorite activities with my kiddos in the "good weather" is to make great sidewalk chalk drawings. Rather than just hopscotch or generic scribbles, we like to pull out this book

and create some fun critters on our sidewalk. It is especially fun to have an 8 foot turtle and six foot frog on your front walkway! :) For really colorful drawings, we like to dip our chalk in water to make it a little wet, and then draw.... it covers REALLY well that way!

For your more advanced artists, this is another good pick (Although I really *do* like the animals best...)

I'm going to look for some pictures to add as examples, but I'll post in the meantime.. just check back later, if you want to see what we've done. (I'm also going to look for a nifty Peter Rabbit chalk drawing that I did some time ago... )

This works for us!

For more summer fun, check out my Frugal Friday post, and all the Great ideas at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu Monday

OK, we did pretty well last week, although I didn't get around to making the Tandoori Chicken(didn't buy the chicken when it was on sale) or the Shepherd's Pie(Ran out of time). However things definitely ran more smoothly with a plan, so here we go again.

Monday: Chicken Quesadilla's (With chicken intended for Shepherd's Pie) and raw carrots
Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie with the rest of the Chicken
Wednesday: Quiche (Possibly a rainy day, so a good day for baking), carrots, cucumbers
Thursday: Mussels in white wine with Garlic and Scallions and salad
Friday: Pasta and sausage, asparagus
Saturday: Pork Chops on the grill or in the crock-pot, with baked sweet potatoes
Sunday: ?? Not sure on that one yet.

So, here you have it.
Oh... a funny from last week.
Littlest's favorite vegetable is steamed broccoli, which we haven't had for a couple of weeks. When we brought it to the table on Friday, he started pumping his arms up and down, kicking his legs out, and chanting "o-cco-li! o-cco-li! o-cco-li!" It was just so funny, especially since I don't remember teaching him a "Cheer" for anything, much less his vegetables. Makes a mamma's heart sing to see something like that, tho'. :)


Friday, May 29, 2009

Frugal Friday~ Summer fun on Small change~

Well, I figure that a Frugal Friday is a good time to post some frugal summer fun ideas. (For more Frugal ideas check out Frugal Friday at

I will continue to add to this list as I find more:

Summer Reading Programs:

Check out your local library.... most of them have summer reading programs with fun prizes, etc.

Read 8 books and get a free pick

Regal Entertainment
AMC Theaters
National Amusements


Music Festivals (searchable database)

Check out your local minor league baseball team for fun and inexpensive family entertainment!
Local to me are Lowell Spinners Games~ Tickets are $5-$8 dollars, so not free, but definitely cheap! ☺This just in~ (Thanks the gals at for pointing this out) Kraft has teamed up with minor league baseball for this promotion: Buy 1 ticket get 1 ticket free on Tuesdays, at participating ballparks.

Boston Area Activities if you are local to Boston, check this out. If you live somewhere else, you can search for local activities, check out your local newspaper "Calendars"

Hope this helps you especially if you are planning a frugal "Stay-cation" this year...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday~ Pandora

Hey, have you heard of Pandora? It's an online "radio station" that you can personalize! You can even create any number of "Stations" that you want to listen to. (Thanks, Nathan, for the tip about Pandora... we've been loving it!) I wasn't so sure about it at first, given the Greek Myth of Pandora

Here's a snippet from their website about the name:

The name Pandora means "all gifted" in Greek. In ancient Greek mythology, Pandora received many gifts from the Gods, including the gift of music, from Apollo. She was also, as we all know, very curious. Unlike those Gods of old, however, we celebrate that virtue and have made it our mission to reward the musically curious among us with a never-ending experience of music discovery.

So, the basic idea is that you type in an artist or song that you like, and Pandora searches the "Music Genome Project". While you may not instantly hear that song or artist, you WILL hear a song with similar qualities. Then you have the option of rating it thumbs up, or thumbs down, and Pandora will continue playing songs, using your feedback to create your personal station.

I have an Alison Krauss station that is fantastic (With *mostly* Alison Krauss music, although I've heard JT, EmmyLou Harris, etc... and some new names that I'm enjoying getting to know).

I created a Josh Groban station for mellow music to school to, A "Boppin' Praise" station with the likes of Chris Rice and Casting Crowns, and a couple of folk stations. I have yet to create a classical station or two, but that's a thought, and I bet that I'll get a Christmas station going in the later fall!

I really enjoy being able to hear new music that is in a style that I appreciate. I think this is a great thing, and my kids are loving it too.

Check it out!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope that everyone had a good day, remembering and being thankful for those who gave their lives for the freedom of our country, and countless others, AND appreciating those who are currently serving.

I'm going to take a stab at menu-planning... we'll see how it goes. I really *should* get organized, because I now have two kids in activities, and both of them are 2-3 times/ week! ACK!

OK, so here we go:
Monday: Tonight we had left over Texas Roadhouse Pulled Pork sandwiches, potato salad, and corn on the cob.

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza and salad

Wednesday: Grilled sirloin tips and chicken, potato salad (Again... I made a big batch!) and corn on the cob.

Thursday: Pasta "bake" with leftover meat, raw carrots and cucumber on the side

Friday: Tandoori Chicken in the crockpot(From crockpot365), rice, and cucumbers.

Saturday: Salad with Roasted Chicken from the store, Hummus and chips

Sunday: Shepherd's Pie made with leftover Chicken and a bag of veggies from the freezer

So, there you have it.... hopefully I'll manage to stick to it! :)

Library book sales and discards...

I've been reading some books we picked up at the Library Book Sale a couple of weeks ago, and I am wondering.... how does a library choose which books to discard?

We found in the stacks 2 books that we had requested, checked out, and returned about 2 weeks prior. Yes, I'm sure that these were the same two books that had visited our home. If we hadn't checked them out, and they weren't on the reshelving cart, would they have remained in the library for others to peruse and use? These were basic information, non-fiction books that went with a unit study on homesteading on the American Prairie.... kind of the type of book that one would prefer to see at the library, not taking up personal book-shelf space. And I don't think that there's much "updating" that needs to be done on history books like these. I suppose they look "Dated", but in my opinion, that's a GOOD THING.

Now for the other two that I considered, and wondered about... these are by a "current" author, AVI, and are in fantastic shape, great historical stories, very readable, and interesting.
Beyond the Western Sea, Book 1: The Escape From Home
Beyond the Western Sea, Book2: Lord Kirkle's Money
When I read that the author was inspired to write these, in part, based on the fact that so many kids were reading Stephen King novels, I feel two emotions. Profound disappointment that these books found their way to the discard pile at the Library....and Gratitude that there are current authors writing good literature without all the ick and gore, and that I found these books, and am able to save them for my daughter to read.

So... what gives? Does anyone know? I so dislike going to the library and seeing shelves filled with more "Twaddle" than good literature for my children to read and digest. I'd love to see the Arthur Ransome Series, for instance, and they are actually currently in print!

Well, my "vent" is over... feel free to leave me a comment or two~

Monday, April 27, 2009

Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure~ It's About Being Unique By Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends

Well, it’s taken us a little while to get to viewing this DVD, simply because we don’t spend a lot of time in front of the TV screen. As a result, I am fairly selective about what my children view. Because we had recently seen a Hermie movie at our AWANA club, I was pretty sure that Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure would be A-OK!

The story has to do with two brothers, Skeeter and Sinclair. Sinclair is debonair and something of a world traveler with a distinguished reputation. Skeeter is… a “homegrown” mosquito with a crooked stinger… lovable, but with a penchant for getting lost. The moral of the story has much to do with the fact that God created each one of us, just the way we are. We each have strengths and weaknesses, but if we focus on the strengths and work together to overcome our challenges, we are much more likely to reach a common goal.

My children* enjoyed the story, from the 21-month old(The animations kept his attention) to the 8 and 11 year olds(Who ended up thinking about the "Message", and it left us (Mom and Dad) with smiles on our faces as well. If you are looking for “Family viewing” that will entertain a variety of ages, including the littlest in the family, this could be a good choice for you.

*My kids are very happy that we were afforded the opportunity to review this DVD as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program

Molly's Money-Saving Digest, May 2009

Well, this was the first time that I was able to check out Molly's Money-Saving Digest, (As a review item for The Old Schoolhouse Store/ and Econobusters )and I enjoyed the chance! I feel like Molly's Money-Saving Digest is the new "Tightwad Gazette" with a homeschooling family "bent".

  • Molly's Minute summarizes what you'll find in this month's Digest
  • Begin with the Basics is a "Strawberry Primer" for May and June
  • One Sale This Month tracks what typically goes on sale each month. I particularly enjoyed this section, and I even scored a new handmixer (To replace the one that died back in December...), feeling fairly confident that I got it for a pretty rock-bottom price~ worth the cost of the digest, and then some!
  • Keeping It All Together covers some budgeting basics, that follow on the heels of previous digest "Assignments"
  • Parenting that Pays is a sweet tribute of women sharing what they learned from their moms and/or mother-figures
  • Feather Your Nest Frugally, Pull Up a Chair, Goal Getter Spotlight, Readers Write In, and Something Old, Something New all offer hints, tips and inspiration for frugal home-making (With topics touching on decorating, organizing, budgeting/cutting back on expenses, recipes, and celebrating special days)
  • This month's feature~ Learning for Life~ Your Child's Education includes articles and interviews that cover parenting preschoolers all the way up to "post-high school". I particularly enjoyed hearing about the post-high school opportunities, and reading the interview with Paula Reetz and Sherri MacLean, co-authors of Preschool Activities in a Bag.

All in all, I enjoyed reading through, learning a few things, being reminded of a few things, and finding a few new and relevant online links to explore.

Thanks, Molly!


The Noticer~ Book Review

Perspective~ From Latin~ past participle of perspicere : to look through, see clearly, from per- through + specere to look. A mental view or prospect

Andy Andrews’ inspirational new book The Noticer was my introduction to his writing, and a first rate first read. He tells the story of a small town filled with individuals whose lives are changed for the better due to the interest and observations of a man named Jones, whose favorite phrase is “Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.”

How true that we all too often are looking at matters through a microscope, when we would be better backing off so that we could see the “Big Picture” clearly. Like the blind men and the elephant, we sometimes need someone to help us see our circumstances from a bird’s-eye view, and that is what Jones does throughout this narrative. Like Robert Frost, in The Road Not Taken, he points out that the choices we make affect not only our immediate circumstances, but those of future generations.

In a society where everyone seems to question the motives of others, but seldom search their own souls, are quick to cast blame, but anxious to avoid it, Andy Andrews has posed an introspective question: “What is it about me that other people would change if they could.” Jones suggests that the answer and one’s decision to act on that answer, or not, can be a source of magnifying one’s focus on the positive or the negative in one’s life.

Of course, the hope is that people choose to take positive steps forward, and make a positive impact on their lives, families, communities, states, countries, and our world. One way to do so, is to check out The Noticer Project, and take a little bit of time to publicly “notice” those who have had a positive impact on your life. It may be a small step, but sometimes that is all it takes to make something good happen.

*I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Hey, Hi, and Howdy!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

The 2009 Ultimate Blog Party is over, but if you want to see who was there, feel free to click on the banner and check out some blogs~


Friday, March 13, 2009

~~SPRING~~ is definitely on the way!

Guess what we saw today??? Our first two snowdrops! Hurrah!

Our tulip bulbs and daffodils are "sprouting", and this year we're trying "Squirrel Stopper" spray, to see if we can save our tulip bud this year...

And... I noticed something I hadn't noticed before~ we have two lilac trees~ Two colors, and guess what? They have different colored leaf buds as well! The white lilac's buds are a light green, and the purple lilac has maroon leaf buds. COOL! :)

Just wanted to share~


Want to help build up an adoption fund?

Denice, one of my fellow TOS "Crewmates", has asked a "Favor" from the rest of the crew, and I am happy to oblige. She has asked us to spread the word about a raffle/fundraiser that will help them with their adoption fund. Read what she has to say:

My husband and I adopted our youngest daughter from Kazakhstan 2 1/2 years ago. We have always known that we'd like to adopt again, but didn't think that right now was the best time, since we are hopeful to move to WI sometime this year. Anyway, in Dec. the urge to adopt was hitting me very hard, so I asked the Lord to either remove it (until it was the right time) or show us that it actually WAS the right time!! Wink Well, a week later, we received a phone call from our adoption agency and they asked us if we'd consider being a "test" family for a "pilot" program they were starting in Taiwan! I'd say that was an answer to prayer!!! (And luckily, so did my husband!)

I've been making custom made bags with all proceeds going towards our adoption. This month I am raffling off a custom bag (it'll be custom made to the winner's liking!), tickets are only $5.00 each. All bag styles and sizes are on .

Since we are the first family to go through this new program, everything is happening at a very accelerated rate! VERY FAST!!! I know that Lord will provide, just kind of freaking my poor husband out! Undecided (And I guess me a little too!)

Thanks for taking the time to look! And any prayers would be greatly appreciated too!!!

If you feel led, please contact Denice...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our favorite Pizza....

Well, this blog hasn't gotten as much use as my TOS Crew reviews blog, but I'm going to try to remedy that. One of my "Crew-mates" introduced me to the world of "memes", so I'm joining my first with this "Works For Me Wednesday" post.

Due to frantic Friday evenings getting out to AWANA, last year was the year of the frozen Schwann's pizza. This year, in trying to "Save some dough", I decided to try making my OWN dough. I searched for a recipe for "Quick Pizza Crust" and found this . I have played with it and modified it over the months, so what follows is my version of quick and easy and TASTY pizza, with no preservatives, and only whole wheat goodness! (Editing to add in another variation that we like right now!)

Friday's Fabulous Fast Fixin's(aka Speedy Pizza)
This recipe makes enough to fill two large rectangular bar pans from Pampered chef(I suppose it would work for two round pizza stones, too, but I don't have any of those, so we eat rectangular pizza!)
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar(I used Florida's Naturals)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour OR 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 cups white wheat flour, and 1 cup cornmeal (This is our current favorite crust combo)
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese(Optional)
  • 2 tsp dried basil OR 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds (Optional)
  • extra olive oil
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
Mix the flour, salt, cheese, and basil in a medium sized bowl, while the yeast is "activating".
When the timer goes off, the yeast mixture should be "creamy", if it is,
Add the yeast mixture and the oil to the dried ingredients, and beat until smooth.
Split in half (I save one half in an airtight container or ziplock baggie for another night)
Let the dough "relax" for 5 minutes, so that it will be easier to roll out.

Shape your pizza, and brush with the extra olive oil, then add the rest of your desired toppings. My kids aren't fans of red sauce, so we tend to go with some combination of the following:
(We always have cheese and sauteed onion slices)

  • meat of some sort (leftover meatballs(sliced), rotisserie chicken, slices of Al Fresco chicken sausages, etc...)
  • sliced grape tomatoes
  • roasted red pepper strips
  • slices of calamata olives
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • steamed broccoli
  • minced garlic

Pop it into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to let it cool a couple of minutes after baking, so that nobody burns the roof of their mouth.

So... this is what works for us, and I thought I'd share! :) You can find out what works for other families at We are THAT Family which is hosting "Works For Me Wednesday" posts


Thursday, March 5, 2009

We get to review a Hermie DVD!

We just saw our first Hermie Movie at our AWANA club a few weeks ago (During "Drive in Movie"/"Car" night), and everyone enjoyed it, so I am very excited to say that Thomas Nelson is sending us a Hermie DVD (Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure: It's About Being Unique) to review. If you want to "preview" what we will "Review", just click on the title of this post, and we'll keep you "posted"... ;)


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 2009 Update

I am keeping quite busy:
*With my other blog, Acorns~ Or Homeschooling Nuggets of Gold which has reviews of homeschooling products
*Heading up my local Homeschool Support Group
*Helping out at AWANA as a leader, with my husband, providing music for "council time"
*Helping to lead music every 3rd Sunday at church
*Keeping up with my new toddler
*Carting my oldest to Step-Dance classes 2x per week
*Oh, yes, and homeschooling my oldest two...

We recently attended an educational opera production of Mozart's Magic Flute, put on by the Boston Lyric Opera~ it was great fun, even if Littlest only lasted through 1/2 of the performance before the size of the hall got to him... Oldest and Middlest found it interesting to note the differences from the performance they had seen 4 years previously.

Littlest had his first sledding experience a couple of weeks ago, and he enjoyed himself once he got to sit in his siblings inflated Tube sleds, where he appeared to feel safe and secure, cradled by rubber. ;)

We're planning on taking the kids skiing/snowboarding for the first time ever next week, as well as our traditional maple sugaring tour at the Audubon Sanctuary.

All in all, we're keeping quite busy!
Hopefully I'll be able to update a little more often, and I may even have some literature reviews(non-homeschooling related) to post here... we shall see.
And if I can get my Canon camera fixed, or my "stop-gap" Kodak Easy share(Not so "easy-to-share" I'm finding... :( ) to actually upload to my MAC, I might even make this blog more "pretty" with new photos.