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I came up with this because it's the end of the month and I need to go grocery shopping. We had it for lunch and the kids devoured it. You can definitely fiddle with this to suit your taste. It'd be easy to turn up the heat by increasing the chipotle sauce. I even used corn tortillas I had previously frozen (Freezing them can make them hard to handle when they're thawed, but it made no difference for this recipe.).

8 corn tortillas
chili powder (enough to sprinkle onto the tortillas)
cooking spray

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp. chipotle sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
light sour cream

Heat the oven to 400. Layer corn tortillas on a baking sheet. Generously coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with chili powder. Bake for 10 minutes or so until they begin to crisp up.

In a pan, heat remaining ingredients except the cheese. Top each corn tortilla with the black bean corn mixture. Top with cheese. Bake another 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy on the edges. Serve with a dollop of light sour cream. YUM.

My sister-in-law has a beautiful home. Not only is it huge and adorably decorated, it's organized. So each year when I return from her house over the holiday, I am inspired to DO BETTER in my own home. So today I'm on a mission. A mission to make every nook and cranny orderly and my home more livable. I'm tossing stuff I never use or wear.

I'm also unpacking our disaster-area of a van. My trip to the Amish bulk foods store near some family resulted in certain little boys squashing a few bags of baking cocoa, poppy seeds, and brown flax meal in the car. Hubby's been a huge help today, and I hope he's as inspired as I am to make our lives more organized!

So off I go after chomping on an apple and getting a lot done. I'd better get busy before I get distracted by all you bloggers I like to read!

Thanks for the sweet comments, too, while I was away!

We've been visiting some extended family. They are wonderful, caring folks. Their children are sweet and fun. We've had some great food. Some good conversation. But the glaring differences in educational philosophy, child rearing, church preference, etc. appear to be glaring.

I'm the only one in my family who homeschools. I'm not militant about it at all. Yet, somehow I feel like my children are more scrutinized, criticized for their behavior. If one of the boys does something naughty, I always wonder if someone is thinking, "If those boys were in school, then they wouldn't do that." Or, "Gee, if THAT'S how homeschooled kids act, then I'm against homeschooling."

I worry that my family is the very imperfect, routinely mortifying poster children for the entire homeschooling movement in the eyes of my extended family. I hear how my nieces and nephews are straight A students, in plays, in sports, busy, busy, busy running to birthday parties and games and appointments.

Here's how our day typically goes:

Get up, do school, do chores, play some, eat, repeat, eat again, play, get ready for bed, do our very elaborate bedtime routine, then go to sleep, read a book, watch something on the internet or a Netflix, finish up chores. Do it all again tomorrow.

This does not make interesting holiday discussion. My life is boring. But would I want it any other way? My extended family rarely finds themselves all home for dinner. One brother in law is gone to another city for a few days each week. They are great people, who love each other and love the Lord.

But I just feel so different, not better, just different. I don't believe that God has the exact same plans for each family. I think I'd just like to be in the company of some likeminded people sometimes. I'm the only one at church, the only one with small kids in my entire remote town who homeschools, and the only one in my family, too.


Like a lot of bloggers, I'm gonna take the next week or so off, mostly because I'm out of town for the holidays and don't have a lot to say. Of course, now that I say that I'll get inspired...anyway...ta ta for now.

We know a couple who recently lost their 6 week old baby. In lieu of flowers, they asked that people donate to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization of volunteer professional photographers who take beautiful pictures of terminally ill babies and their families.

Check out their website and grab a box of tissues.

I am NOT a fan of McDonalds. (I do love their fries, though.) I went as long as humanly possible to avoid exposing my children to their addictive happy meals. But I've found something I LOVE there:

The Asian Grilled Chicken Salad

I ate all of it. I devoured it. I went on and on while I ate it that I couldn't believe how GOOD it was.

I can't wait to eat it tomorrow. :)

Casa Bonita

Hubby insisted we experience Casa Bonita at least once. He'd gone about ten years ago. Here's the gist of it: You stand in line for a looooong time, order some nasty all you can eat Mexican food, pick it up at a counter, get seated in this huge dining room with a mariachi band playing, gaudy Mexican decor, Christmas lights on everything...all the while there are bad actors dressed up like pirates and cowboys and gorillas doing skits, cliff divers jumping into a pool of water below...skee ball, video games, face painters, on and on and on...

It's definitely something you do for your kids. In fact, while I was standing in the loooong line (think the roller coaster line in the heat of summer at an amusement park) comforting my fussy baby, I overheard a man say, "Now I know why I haven't been here in thirty years."

That just about sums it up.

By the way, say a quick prayer for sweet baby girl whose throwing up tonight. We have longer to drive tomorrow...Maybe it was the Casa Bonita nastita food?

Just a quick note to let you know! Now I need to find a treadmill somewhere. Our hotel's exercise room is circa 1990.

Oh, and I've lost a total of 13 pounds!!!!

So I know the floors in hotel rooms are filthy, so are the bedspreads. You've got people sleeping above you and below you and next to you. You're all in the room together--and my baby WON'T sleep.

It's 6:30 a.m. and she's crawling around on the floor getting into everything and in the world is she going to nap? I wish the bathroom was big enough to fit the pack and play!!!

Meh. Just had to whine a bit.

Free Milk

My family goes through copious amounts of milk in a week. And milk in our small, remote town is $3.79 a gallon!

But, I have found a way to beat the system. *cackling laughter*

I keep an eye on the expiration dates of the gallons. When it's the day before, I ask, "If I come in first thing tomorrow morning, will you give me that milk for free since you're just going to throw it out?"

To which our managers have said, "Sure-take as much as you want."

Last week I got 6 gallons for free! We used every last drop and it didn't go bad, even though we were still using it 6 days past the date. I keep it nice and cold in the back of the fridge. Yesterday I got 2 (since we're going out of town this week).

In total, since I've started this diabolical plan, I've received 18 gallons of FREE MILK (saving me $62.00!!!).


I was reminded of a favorite passage of scripture that deals with my fear of man: Luke 12:4-5

I say to you, my friends, do not be afriad of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!

This might seem a strange passage to find comforting. Here's what I'm thinking-

1. Man truly has no ultimate power over me. I must live to please God alone.

2. God is loving, but He is also holy and just. His love and his justice are two sides of the same coin and in my mind, encompass His whole character. Further on in the verses, in 6 and 7 Jesus tells me that I am more valuable to Him than sparrows. See, justice and love?

3. Judgement is real and it should be our motivation to evangelize the lost and to pray that God would save those who don't know Him as Lord and Savior.

4. While God is like my Daddy, there is also a necessary reverence I must feel toward him, an AWE.

Just some stuff I've been thinking about...

What am I? Am I classical? Am I a unit study gal? Am I a Charlotte Mason person? Do I use a combination like My Father's World? Should I stick with what's easy and familiar like a workbook type program like Abeka? Do I start Latin? Should I do Shurley Grammar instead of Abeka language?

I almost wish I had NO options and just had someone tell me what to do!!!

I can run--


This is huge for the anti-athlete that I am. I couldn't run a mile when I was young and a bean pole. Yippee!

That's all I wanted to tell you...

We hosted a family for dinner last night for the first time. We all had a wonderful time, except when I pulled out the two pans of that delicious cannoloni--they were burned on the bottom, completely, to where you'd have to just scoop out the filling and top layer of noodle and cheese and sauce. I discovered this at 6 o'clock, when they were scheduled to arrive. I also made a vegetable risotto, but let the veggies cook too long so they turned this ugly green/brown color. Nice.

So I called the local Italian restaurant in town and asked them how fast I could buy a pan of lasagna (at $50!) they said a half hour, so I JUST DID IT!

We ate bruschetta and I made uncomfortable, nervous small talk because I'd burned and ruined everything.

This family is super nice and didn't really care what we ate, but I did, because there are few things I actually do well and I suppose it was God's way of humbling me...

Just some pure silliness on a Sunday morning when I'm not feeling terribly inspired and have an extra hour to kill!

For a few years now I've been making italian favorites like manicotti and canoloni with egg roll wrappers instead of dried pasta tubes. I cannot tell you the difference it makes! All those egg roll wrappers are are sheets of fresh pasta, which I don't have time to make from scratch. So I just roll the filling inside, make some sauce, top with mozzarella and fancy parmesan cheese and I've got a restaurant-worthy dinner.

Everyone eats it up! So try it!

You know I'm trying to make an effort to spice things up with our homeschooling, so today since we were learning about the Franks and how their chieftans had long flowing hair, we decided to make yarn wigs as directed in the Story of the World Middle Ages Activity book. Sounds easy enough: wrap two skeins of yarn around the kitchen chairs, cut one end, take the long hair sew a strip of felt down the middle-instant wig! Well, I'm a sewing loser and my bobbin ran out, I tried and tried to refill it to no avail. The yarn is so THICK I almost can't get it under the foot of the machine. So now I have all these pieces of yarn and can't figure out how to attach them to the felt. I also have one chair still wrapped in the yarn.

I tried making a castle out of cocoa puffs last year, with walls made out of the cereal and marshmallows and butter and held together with toothpicks. That was one big flop, a mess of cereal and stickiness. From the same book, too.

I just want to quit. I feel like everything I try is a failure. I'm suppose to get beyond the textbooks and workbooks and DO stuff with my children but that never works out well either. Mine is not the perfect family doing projects together and learning and growing. Mine is mom trying to read the directions, screwing it up, the kids getting impatient and bored with whatever she has planned.

I can't win. I feel the darkness closing in on me again. I'm fighting the daily battle of "I wanna play video games." My 4 year old just spilled all the straight pins all over the kitchen floor. My friend who put her daughter back in school just invited my 4 year old to come play because her second child is bored now that the oldest sister is off at school. Nice. Yeah. My house is a huge mess: toys, clean laundry, thread, yarn...

My pet peeve is projects that dont't give you enough information. I need homeschooling for dummies or something.

I also need to do "everything without grumbling and complaining", another impossible task.

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