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Filling the Freezer: Meatball Madness

preparing meatball recipes for the freezer

Somewhere in the past year, my 5-year-old girl has become obsessed, OB-sessed, with meatballs.  She can’t get enough.  When we go to the pizza place we love, she wants meatballs on her pizza.  She requests spaghetti and meatballs quite regularly.  And when I made our most recent batch of meatballs to fill the freezer for this fall, I had to give her some for lunch before freezing the rest.

But not everyone in our family is as mad about spaghetti and meatballs as she is.  Specifically, my husband.  Not because he doesn’t like meatballs.  He doesn’t like pasta.  I KNOW!  Something that, try as I might, I cannot remedy – yes, it is an illness.

Combining the need to get dinner on the table with the many-varied desires of my family, while trying to get through the day around here can be super-difficult some days.  Often I start to dread the moment when my husband asks, late-afternoon, “What’s for dinner?”  Ugh.

“Um…pasta?”

“Um…I don’t know.”

Instead of relying on the old standby of drive thru or convenience meals this season, I am working on filling my freezer with things I can quickly prepare in the early morning (slow-cooker) or afternoon (after-school) that will make everybody happy.  Or, at least most of us happy.

So, I found myself the other day taking 4.5 pounds of ground beef and making a serious amount of meatballs.  I got the ground beef on sale at our new Aldi store – I am so impressed with how much a homemaker can get there on a budget!  But before I got started on making those meatballs, I made sure I had some unique meatball recipes in mind to try this fall. Continue Reading

Nest Building

Simply Beginning Homeschool with Peace

homeschooling with peace - a discussion of the book Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

I recently went to a homeschool event – a sort of training.  It was my FIRST experience with anything homeschool.

I have known a number of homeschooling families throughout my life.  I have gone through the phases of thinking it is the weirdest thing ever (my junior high self), to thinking it seems like a pretty good idea.  My thoughts on homeschool have run the gamut and have settled on this:

{Deep breath}

We are going to do it.  And I am excited. Then nervous…and excited…and nervous.

I have shared these thoughts here before.  Aren’t they deep?

Anyway, back to the homeschool event.  I saw it ALL there.  And I talked to all kinds of moms preparing to teach their children at home this year.  There was a tiger-mom.  There were the overwhelmed moms.  I heard a powerful testimony from a mom to a boy likely “on the spectrum.”  I heard from mother’s of 6, 8, 10(!) kids who homeschool.

Prompted by questions, these women would begin to share the practicalities of their homeschool days.  To a woman, each had a book they recommended for this homeschooling journey.  I began to make a list.   Continue Reading

Nest Building

7 Simple Ways not to Lose Yourself After Baby

Adjusting to motherhood is HARD! Here's 7 things to do so you don't lose yourself after baby.

Oh, goodness!  The motherhood!  There is a reason women say being a mom is the most important thing they have ever done.  And I am convinced it is because they forgot about all the other things they did. Kids have a way of stealing brain cells. {HA!}   Adjusting to mommyhood AND trying to hang on to who you are as an individual can be rough.

I was getting ready the other day after my bi-weekly shower (kidding…sorta) and I was thinking about what I should wear.  And I had to have that conversation with myself wherein I tell myself that my comfy pants and tank top are not a uniform.  I had to remind myself  my day wear should not seamlessly transform into bed-clothes.  Basically, I had to try.

I was convincing myself to choose a shoe with some height instead of my go-to Sanuks.  And I started thinking about how difficult it is to keep up with other people in your life; much less, trying not to lose yourself after baby.

After having three kids and going through the ups and downs of feeling connected and disconnected with myself through the early baby months (while recovering from a c-section), I have some ideas for not losing yourself in the motherhood of it all.  And I thought I would share them with you.  I warn you the tips are not all deep.  Some of them are quite shallow. But I am a little shallow, so indulge me while I remain myself after babies.

Continue Reading

Nest Building

Back to Milk and Cookies

make the perfect back to school snack, cookies and milk with a2 Milk® and these super simple recipes for kids to make

The following post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central.  I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.  As always, all opinions are my own. 

Oh, goodness!  We are about to embark on a new part of the parenting journey!  Kindergarten!  I can’t believe we are already here.  It seems like the world could not have possibly gone 5 times around the sun since we had our oldest one.   But here we are and I am excited and nervous (and excited and nervous, in that order) to start this new season in our lives.

I am currently in crazy planning mode: getting our “school” room set up, changing up the girls’ play area to include a new (boy) addition to the fun, banking meals in the freezer for this fall, and trying to figure out what in the world we are going to eat every day! And though all the planning can be a little overwhelming at times, I have created my own reward system in all the planning: Cookies!  And milk!

Now, back at the beginning of the year, I would have never added the milk part to the mix.  I was perfectly content with just a cookie thanks.  And it was because I have had some tummy troubles when I drink milk.  But this year I found a solution to the tummy troubles: a2 Milk®!  It comes from cows that don’t have a hormone that is thought to cause most typical tummy issues in humans.  So, it has me not only getting ready for back to school, but also back to milk and cookies! 

And since I am in my intense planning stage for back to school, I thought I would share with you what we are planning for our after school snacks for this fall: Milk and Cookies!  I mean this classic combination has been making kids squeal with excitement for ages – right?  And I definitely want our kids to have some baked yumminess to look forward to at least once a week.

Bonus points on the day they have just come out of the oven.

Ultra-bonus points if the kids baked them all by themselves! Continue Reading

Nest Building

Convertible Pillow Pallets for Kids

pillow pallet for kids - a super simple, super comfy project to make for the kids' rooms

It must have been a few years ago, when I was first on Pinterest.  I saw this project that looked like such a great idea, but I had all kinds of questions about it.  First off, I wanted to know: “Where do you store that when you aren’t using it?”  Then I wondered, “How do you clean that?”  And then I thought, “You know that really is genius.”  But I thought, I would do that differently.

Fast forward a couple of years and I have a kid who sleeps on the floor – every.night.  Yep.  She refuses to pass the night in the comfort of her twin bed.  And so I got to thinking about that pillow project and started formulating an idea to make her more comfortable and (possibly) to get her more interested in her bed.

So, I decided to make these, let’s call them: Convertible Pillow Pallets for my girls.  I just knew they would love them!  And I was right…big time!

My middle child came up to me and said, “I like my pillow pallet.  What store did you get it at?”

And I have to admit that I was little bit proud to say, “I didn’t get them at the store.  I made them!” Continue Reading

Nest Building

Home Office Planning

Decluttering Step by step Progress report
This entry is part of 42 in the series Hope for Homemakers

Oh, the project for decluttering and setting up my husband’s office seems like it will never end.  It seems like when I make progress, we suddenly have something else pop up in the way of more progress.  This past week my husband (rightly) decided that it was way too hot in his office and he wants to install a mini A/C in the wall.  He’s a builder and so he knows people who can do this in their sleep, but I kind of wonder how many days (and nights) it will take to actually get it done.

In the mean time, I have been in planning mode.  Because when progress on a project is just not happening, I like to keep in mind the end goal and make sure it is something we really LOVE.  Planning is my happy place!

I thought I would share with you a portion of my vision for this room. Continue Reading

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