Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Blessing... a book review


In our world of fast everything, do we really have the time to bless our children, spouses, families and friends?  I know my own time management is stretched to the limit with keeping our home, educating our children, being an involved wife, and so much more.  So, how do we bless others?  Why is it so important?

In The Blessing (revised and updated), John Trent and Gary Smalley introduce us to 5 biblically proven ways to bless our children and others.  With many examples, both from scripture and the counseling practices of the authors, the elements are not only defined, but also put in context for us.

"Children from every age long for the gift of "the blessing" - the unconditional love and approval that come from a healty relationship with their parents.  This life-changing gift, essential for instilling a deep sense of self-worth and unshakable emotional well-being, contains these five essential elements:"

Meaningful touch
A spoken message
Attaching high value
Picturing a special future
An active commitment

Each biblical element of the blessing is discussed and modeled in the book  In this revised edition, the authors have included practical ideas, questions, exercises, and links for online resources.  There is a section for planning a blessing event for a child, preparing a written keepsake blessing, and living out the blessing every day of our lives.

For adults who have missed out on the blessing in their own lives, ths book includes hope for "reversing the curse" and helps readers find blessing in situations of divorce, death, desertion, adoption, and blended families.

I especially liked the chapters "If You Missed the Blessing" and "Reversing the Curse."  I know many adults that didn't grow up in a loving environment and continually seek the blessing in any way possible - not all healthy ways, either.  This cursed can be reversed, and these parents can bless their children!

I learned many ways to bless my children and family from this book.  This book is one that I will refer to often.  I read (and reread) parts of this book over 3 week's time.  The Blessing is a book that you read in small chunks and mull over each point.

I highly recommend this book for every parent ----- no matter the ages of their children!

My rating: 6 out of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy of this book from, a part of the Thomas Nelson Publisher, for my honest review.



Saturday, July 30, 2011

Curriculum for 2011-2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop

I love planning each new school year. I love the smell and feel of new books, even though I buy as many as possible "gently used!"  This year's planning has been sporadic, at best.  I have had a basic idea of where we were going, but had to rely on outside sources to pull it all together.  Outside sources like Dalton State College, where Matt and Melissa will be dual-enrolling this year as seniors!

Matthew and Melissa - 12th graders... SeNiOrS

English 1101 and 1102:  These are both mandatory English classes at the college.  These courses will count as their 4th year of high school English credit as well as college credits.

Notgrass Exploring Government and Exploring Economics:  This will complete their 4 years of high school history.


Anatomy and Physiology (Hilger Higher Learning)

British Literature:  She will read 4 classical British Lit books each from a different time period utilizing the Progeny Press study guides.

College Algebra:  This is Dalton States's class.  For Melissa, this will be her 4th year of math for high school and will receive college credit, too!

Varsity Sports: Melissa continues to be a defender/goalie on the CSTHEA Varsity Soccer team. Go Patriots!


Pre-Calculus:  In the fall semester at Dalton State College, Matt will complete this and earn a 5th high school math credit along with college credit.

Physics:  In the spring semester, he will complete Physics at DSC for his 4th high school science class and college credit.

Intro to Theater:  Matt will be reading 4 theatrical plays and utilizing the Progeny Press study guides.  The first playwright he is learning about is Arthur Miller and will read Death of a Salesman.  He will also read through Theater: Brief Edition (seventh editon) to learn the history of the theater all the way through modern theater.  This will cover his 5th high school literature course or possibly an elective.  Hmmmmm, choices.

Physical Education We use the eclectic approach to PE. Matt will be logging hours as he completes numerous Boy Scout Badges, plays disc golf, and other sporting-type activites.

Michael - Sophomore:

Writing program: The Write Foundation. Last year we used TWF's Paragraph Writing and loved it.  It was comprehensive and Michael's writing improved greatly.  I am beginning the new school year by reviewing the last 2 months of teaching from Paragraph Writing.  Then we will begin the third level, Essay Writing.  The program has 30 lessons with lesson plans for either a one- or two-year format.  We will be using the 2-year format.  Go on, click on the links and find a great writing program!

World Literature. We will be reading books and completing 4 book studies using Progeny Press or Total Language Plus.  One of the studies will be the Intro to Poetry unit by Progeny Press.

Grammar:  I'm not sure how I'm going to handle grammar this year.  I don't think we will be using a separate program.

Notgrass World History This course pulls together 3 credits: 1 History, 1 English, and 1 Bible credit. I will "loosely" be following their literature course as Michael has already read some of the books they use. This English credit will include grammar and writing. He will earn a second credit for literature.

Geometry   Saxon Geometry or Teaching Textbook's Geometry Why two choices you ask? We own both of these programs.  Remember, my daughter and Saxon didn't mix well!  And the winner is....  Saxon Geometry!  

Physical Education    We use the eclectic approach to PE.  Michael will be logging hours as he completes numerous Boy Scout Badges, plays disc golf, and other sporting-type activites.

Total Health  If we have the time, I would like Michael to complete the first half of this book this year, and finish it next school year.  I have purchased the program through My Father's World along with their lesson plans.  He will also read I Kissed Dating Goodbye for this course.


Driver's Education

Link directly to your 2011-2012 Curriculum post so others can find it easily when they visit your blog.  A link back here is nice but not required. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment highlighting your curriculum. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else is using!


Summer Garden Harvest

Monday, July 25
I steamed the green beans for lunch and they were terrific!

Now, I'm searching for a simple salsa recipe HERE for all the plum tomatoes. 

Friday, July 29
I know, I know... it doesn't look like much.

Check out what is ripening in the garden!

Yellow squash... these plants are beautiful!

 Zucchini plant

Back side of the tomato plants.  It appears I
will be harvesting a lot at one time!

Pepper plants


Monday, July 25, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce... freezer friendly!



1-2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 1/2 tsp minced garlic
5 - 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 - 12 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water, to preferred consistency
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs parsley flakes
1 1/2 Tbs basil
1/2 Tbs oregano
3/4 -1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


1)  In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic until softened.

2)  While onions and garlic are cooking, place all remaining ingredients in crock pot.

3)  Add onion and garlic to the crock pot and mix well.

4)  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.


If you would like to make a meat sauce, brown 2 pounds lean ground beef with the onions and continue as above.  We enjoy Italian sausage, so I'll add 1 pound Italian sausage and 1 pound lean ground beef.  When adding meat to the sauce, drain the fat using a slotted spoon.

If freezing the sauce, let it cool first, then divide it into two 1-gallon freezer bags.  While closing the bags, lay them down and force the air out as you close the bag.  Lay the sealed bags on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.  After they are frozen, remove the cookie sheet.

* This recipe has been modified from 's Easy Crockpot Red Sauce.




This post may be linked to:Tasty Tuesday Link Party This Week's Cravings Hunk of Meat Monday Delectable Tuesday Totally Tasty Tuesday Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays Tasty Tuesdays Tuesdays at the Table Hearth and Soul Hop Tasty Tuesday Tuesday Night Supper Club Slightly Indulgent Tuesday Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday What's Cooking Wednesday What's for Dinner? Foodie Wednesday Real Food Wednesday What's On the Menu Wednesday What's Cooking Wednesday Full Plate Thursday Fun with Food Friday Tuesday Tantalizing Taste Sweets for a Saturday What's Cooking Wednesday What's on Your Plate? Recipes I Can't Wait to Try No Whine Wednesday Savory Sundays This Chick Cooks  Simply Delish Saturdays   Recipe Sharing Mondays   Fat Camp Friday

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bible in 90 Days


Week 2.... Complete!

Wow.... this week was a lot more involved than week 1.  I read from Leviticus 1.1 through Numbers and finished Deuteronomy. 

There were so many commands God taught the Israelites throughout these books.  I know I was confused!  Here's a question... each time God commanded the Israelites to offer Burnt Offerings which could include over 10 assorted animals, was this 10+ animals per person or per family or per tribe?  That is a lot of bloodshed to be a "pleasing aroma to the Lord."  Also, why was a sin offering always a male goat? 

I am very thankful that these commands and necessary offerings ended with the death, resurrection, and ascension of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I don't know about you, but I love it when scripture asks a question and then answers it for you.  Check out Deut. 10.12-13:

"And now, O Israel, what does
the Lord your God ask of you(?)...

(but) to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways,
to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands
and decrees that I (Moses) am giving you today
for your own good."

If you are reading through the Bible in 90 Days with me, how are you doing?  Did you struggle this week as I did?



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Garden 2011

Ellen, Ellen, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With scrumptous bell peppers, and ripening tomatoes,
And green beans all in a row.

The ever growing bell peppers

There are at least 6 tomatoes in this picture alone!

My fancy squash bed

Yellow squash bursting forth!

Today's harvest

Women of Faith 2011.. here I come!


Thanks to Booksneeze, the book review program for bloggers, I am headed to the Women of Faith Imagine Tour in Atlanta on August 12-13, 2011.  You cannot Imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I checked my email and opened their letter!  Best yet, yesterday was my 47th birthday... Happy Birthday to me from Booksneeze!

I can't wait to listen to the speakers.  So many times I can relate to their stories and I'll laugh and/or cry with other women.  The ladies bring Bible teaching to life for all the attendees!  We receive God's blessings, healing, hope, and forgiveness throughout the conference.

Below is a preview video of the conference.  Check it out!

This year, I will be blessed by the following
Women of Faith speakers:

Sheile Walsh
Luci Swindoll
Lisa Harper
Angie Smith

be singing and praising God along with...

Natalie Grant

be drawn into the drama of....

Nicole Johnson

and enjoy the special teachings from...

Steve Arterburn and Laura Story 

Now, here is the best part of this exciting conference.... my daughter, Melissa, will be joining me!  What a blessing to me to share this wonderful experience with my girl.  Add to it, she is a senior this  year, and will be heading off to college in one year.

Thank you Lord for sending this blessing to me through Booksneeze and Women of Faith!

I would love to have you all join me!  If you have never been to a Women of Faith conference or it has been awhile, please check out their conference schedule for a city near you.  I guarantee you will be blessed for years to come!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ham-n-Cheese Potato Casserole



1 can Cream of Celery soup
1 can Cheddar Cheese soup
2 cups sour cream
1 1/4 cup cheddar or Mexican cheese, shredded
1 soup can of milk
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups diced, cooked ham
8 small to medium baked potatoes, cubed


1)  Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 400 F.
2)  Mix together soups, sour cream, cheese, milk and black pepper in a large bowl.
3)  Add onion, bell pepper, ham and potatoes to the soup mixture.  Mix until blended well.
4)  Pour into the prepared 13 x 9 pan.
5)  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 400 F.
6)  Remove from oven and let it set for 5-10 minutes.
7)  Enjoy!


1)  You may substitute Velveeta cheese in place of the shredded cheese.  Be sure to dice it into small chunks or shred, so it will melt completely.

2)  If you like green bell peppers, use 2!  I'm the only one who enjoys them, so... I'm nice and only add one.

3)  I leave the potato skins on..... added nutrients!

Look... a balanced diet!

This post may be linked to:
Tasty Tuesday Link Party This Week's Cravings Hunk of Meat Monday Delectable Tuesday Totally Tasty Tuesday Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays Tasty Tuesdays Tuesdays at the Table Hearth and Soul Hop Tasty Tuesday Tuesday Night Supper Club Slightly Indulgent Tuesday Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday What's Cooking Wednesday What's for Dinner? Foodie Wednesday Real Food Wednesday What's On the Menu Wednesday What's Cooking Wednesday Full Plate Thursday Fun with Food Friday Tuesday Tantalizing Taste Sweets for a Saturday What's Cooking Wednesday What's on Your Plate? Recipes I Can't Wait to Try No Whine Wednesday Savory Sundays This Chick Cooks

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bible in 90 Days


Wow!  I can't believe the first week is done.  I enjoyed reading through Genesis and Exodus.  Throughout the books, God reveals Himself as loving, caring, and compassionate.

Some take-aways from last week...

1)  God is creative and He brought order out of chaos. 

2)  When He gives directions, He is very clear as how to complete them.

3)  I am made in His image.

4)  I make choices everyday.  So as NOT to live with bad consequences, I need to make wise choices.

5)  Seek the counsel of godly Christians in your life.  Moses sought the counsel of his father-in-law.

6)  God's instructions regarding the building of the tabernacle and holy items is very detailed.  God will not ask me to do something He has not equipped me for.  God had already raised up craftsmen and women and the needed supplies to complete the task of building and furnishing the tabernacle before He told Moses to build it.

If you are reading through the Bible in 90 Days with me, how are you doing?  Do you look forward to reading the Bible daily or is it still "work?"

I'd love to hear how you are doing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Garden 2011

Since we live in the southeast United States, I am lucky to be able to plant two summer gardens.  I didn't change the plants too much... why change what is working!

I love a garden that looks healthy and productive!

Meet the four (4) new bell pepper plants... 2 green, 1 yellow, 1 red

The tomato plants from back of the trellis...

I still had a producing strawberry plant, so I left it. 
I love watching the vine travel!

I added more green bean plants... so yummy!

Friday's pickins...

I composted the snow peas and made room for a zucchini plant in the garden box.  Not pictured are two yellow squash plants which are producing well!

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days


I am so excited to be following many others in this journey.  I have tried to read through the Bible using many different "plans," but have given up somewhere in the Old Testament.

I'm praying this time will be different.  With many other bloggers also embarking on this journey, I will be encouraged by their thoughts and comments.

 Products General Bible - The Bible in 90 DaysEach Monday I will be checking in at Mom's Toolbox to post my progress and read others'.   Also, every 'Monday night of the program, beginning July 11, B90Days readers will meet on Twitter between 8-9 CST for a weekly Twitter party Bible study. We’ll compare notes from the reading and encourage each other there, too.'

I will be purchasing The Bible in 90 Days from Zondervan to make it easier.  This large print NIV Bible is set-up so that you read 12 pages a day, including start and end markers for each day.  It includes minimal footnotes, etc. to keep it thin and portable.  (This is not considered a study Bible.)

It is not too late to join the 90 Day Challenge!  Go to Mom's Toolbox and sign-up for what is to be a life-changing event.

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