Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Yesterday, thanks to Toni over at the The Happy Housewife I FINALLY made bread utilizing my bread machine.

I have to admit, I have been very intimidated by this machine. I read many a bread recipes but didn't know where to start. Then, way back in May, Toni posted a video of herself making bread (check it out on her other blog Happy to be @ Home). It still took me 2 months to try it, but yesterday I did it.

You know what? I can't believe how simple it really is to make homemade bread!!! I tried estimating the time, here is what I came up with:

Getting all the ingredients and measuring cups/spoons out---3 minutes
Putting all the ingredients in bread machine---5 minutes
~Walked away and let the machine do its thing~
When dough setting was done, grease 2 bread pans, split dough in half and rolled each out--5 minutes
Put ingredients away and cleaned mess---2 minutes
~Walked away again while bread did it second rise~
Preheat oven--2 seconds
After second rise put bread in oven and set timer--30 seconds
~Walked away for a third time~
After 25 minutes took bread out oven and check for doneness--1 minute

My TOTAL time spent----approximately 16 minutes and 32 seconds
I couldn't believe it!!! That's all it took to enjoy fresh bread. I can't believe I let that little ol' bread machine intimidate me like that. Well let me tell you----NOT ANYMORE!!!!

I spent some time this morning looking up other bread recipes. The choices are endless. I can't wait to make another loaf. Thanks Toni!!!! : )

It's Hot....and Humid!

Summer is finally upon us here in Southeaster New England. It's HOT and HUMID! YUCK! I know some people have been dealing with heat well over 90 and even over 100. I know you think I have no room to complain....but I still am : )-

You see, here in good old New England you never know what kind of weather you are going to get (unlike the south---which I did live in North Carolina for 4 years-----once it gets hot, it stays hot!). In May, I had Chris put the air conditioner in our bedroom in because we had a weekend of temperatures in the 80's. I thought for sure we were in for it. I should have know better.

Most days in June rained....no seriously it did. We would have one day of a temperature of 78 and then next day 61. You just never new what kind of day it was going to be. I don't think I used my a/c the whole month. I could deal with temperatures and actually enjoyed having the windows open, especially when there was a nice breeze. July has been hovering around 75ish. I was not complaining then. I still didn't use the air conditioner (except at night when I went to bed.) The humidity was low and it was VERY comfortable.

BUT, Since Thursday of last week we have been hit with higher temps (mid 80's) but the humidity is a killer. It is like stepping into a bathroom with a hot shower running. Some thrive in this weather. Me, I am stuck in the house with all 3 air conditioners on. Yes, I said 3.

Honestly, I have a medical reason for this. I have Raynaud's syndrome. Extremes in temperature affect me. In the winter it is the extreme low temperature. I can't seem to stay warm enough. I am cold down to my core. I have to keep the house at 72 degrees or I will end up with a headache, blue fingers and feet (literally) and they are in pain.

In the summer, high temps will make me sick, headache, dizzy, nausea and weak to name a few symptoms. And believe me, it is not due to dehydration because I drink between 4-6 16 oz bottles of water a day!

This weekend I turn 32 weeks----8th month of pregnancy. I find no reason to suffer with the heat. So yes, you will find me at home, sitting in my favorite chair with all 3 air conditioners on....and I am okay with that : )

Monday, July 27, 2009

19 Years Ago Today.......

Chris and I officially started dating : )

We were both 17.
We met when I was 14 and he was 15.
We were friends for 3 years.
He asked me out constantly.
I only started dating him because I knew he was the one I was going to marry.
We got married 1 1/2 years later.
I was 18, he was 19.
We had CJ a year and a half after that (3 years after we were together).
We were both 20.
19 years later we are expecting our 6th child.
Would you believe I am only 29? Okay, I didn't think so. We are both 36 as of today.
We have had some sad times.
Mostly happy times.
All have brought us to the place we are today.
He is my best friend and I am his.


Menu Monday--July 25th

Time to get back on track. Last week I was exhausted from doing my niece's shower. I did do a menu last week but didn't post it. So I am back. I am seriously trying to take back control of our grocery budget.....or should I say lack of one. The first step, Menu planning. Second step, I am trying to do once a week grocery shopping vs. every 2 weeks (with alot of trips in between). I started this menu on Saturday and ends on Thursday.

All meals are subject to change---especially if I have a craving : )-

OYO (own your own)
PB & J
BBQ Chicken, Rice and corn

PB & J (I know, again. Chris ended up taking all the kids to CJ's baseball game and I threw this together at the last second).
Grill Night. Kids--Hamburgs. Chris and CJ--Steak. Judy--Chicken (what else). Pasta Salad

Blueberry muffins
Chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, salad and MAYBE homemade bread

Homemade Pizza
Chicken Stir-fry over rice

French Toast
Mac & Cheese
Chicken Chili over rice (I have been in the mood for this. Yes, I know it is July)

Oven Omelet
Chicken Patty Sandwiches with Fries
Dinner---not sure

Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Monday Menu Plans.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Weekend

I have been busy the last week and this weekend will be just as busy---if not busier.
I have been going through closets and clearing things out. It has been a great motivation having the Itch to Pitch over at The Happy Housewife. I didn't get to post all that I did on Monday. Hopeful this Monday I will.

Baseball is winding down for 2---Zachary and Alex (thank goodness). Their last games are on Monday and Tuesday. CJ will be going through mid-August. In fact, this weekend he has an All-Star tournament. He has made All-Star's every year since he was 5 except for the year they didn't have a team his age playing. Tonight we will going as a family to watch him.

Sunday I am throwing a baby shower for my niece Laura who is due 3 weeks before me. I am looking forward to it. I have a few people making some food along with me. This is a HUGE help. I don't think I could do it without them. I run out of steam pretty fast these days (30 weeks tomorrow!). I am pacing myself and have been spreading things out over this week. We have 32 adults guests, 6 children plus the happy couple. That is 40 people!! Isn't' that FABULOUS!!! I hope she sees this as the blessing it is.

Well must go....Emily is doing great with potty training and needs me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thirsty Thursday---Ebaying

Do you Ebay? This is my favorite way to buy and sell used curriculum.
I know there are many people who don't know how to sell on Ebay. Let me tell you....Super Easy!! And this is a GREAT time of year to try it out.

Let me give you some tips.

1. Take a good picture of the item you are selling. It only takes a few clicks to upload your picture. People like to actually see what they are buying. Ebay does have some pictures of books as stock photos. You can use them, but I know when I am buying I like to see the seller's actual item.

2. Know how much your curriculum sells for new. This doesn't take much work. I check CBD first. If they don't carry the item than I google the curriculum and go on their home page. I put in my description how much it sells for new. It gives people an idea of how much money they could save by buying your item.

3. Be HONEST about the condition of the item. It goes a long way. If there is writing--say so. If there is a torn page--tell them about it. As an example, I just sold a science book I used at co-op 2 years ago. It had underlining in it, highlighting and a few places I had notes in it I wrote in pen. Brand New on CBD the book, solution manual and companion CD retail for $73. I just sold it on Ebay for $51!!! I think that is a good return.

4. Think about the absolute minimum amount of money you are willing to accept for an item. I use this as my starting bid.

5. Check out Ebay, Amazon and HSLDA to see what your item is going for. This is important if you are going to use the "Buy It Now" option.

6. Set up a Paypal account and have it confirmed. Paypal is an account that allows money to be directly deposited into an account. Your email address is your user name. You can link a credit card, debit card and/or bank account to it. To confirm, Paypal deposits $1 into your bank account to "confirm" you. You can have the money deposited from your Paypal account to your bank account for free. It takes about a 3 day turn around for this.

7. Set up how long you will take to mail your items. Some people mail within 2 days of a cleared payment. I mail out on the Friday after I have a cleared payment.

8. It is usual for the seller to pay for shipping. You can also add a handling fee that the seller does NOT see. It is hidden in the shipping fee. I cover my packing cost, which is about $1 for a bubble envelope and $1.50 for a box. Talking about shipping, I put 3 options for shipping: Media mail, Priority Mail and UPS. 90% of the time I have people pick media mail. It takes about a week for delivery.

I hope this helps. If you have any specific questions about selling on Ebay feel free to ask.

Want some more homeschooling blog posts? Head on over to Five J's to quench your thirst.

10 Weeks and Counting!!!!

I got Nicholas' birth date in the mail today-----September 17th we will welcoming him into this world : )

I will be 38 weeks and 5 days......Exactly 10 weeks from today.
I will admit, getting the letter in the mail today made it VERY real and made me freak a little. I feel like there is so much to do and time is just flying by!!!!

Chris is great at bringing me back to reality. I know we will be fine. After all, we got ready for Emily is 5 days. For me the difference is I know I will NOT be up to doing much after he is born.....atleast not for a while.

I went to the doctor's on Monday. 28 weeks. Every is going great.
Wt---up 4 pounds. Total weight gain 16 pounds
Measured on target.

I met the doctor who will be doing the c-section. Dry sense of humor, but he cracked a smile once in a while. He delivered my friend's son 10 years ago and he was great in a crisis (her son had open heart surgery at 2 days old). I know that is more important then him having a fantastic bedside manner----it just helps : )-

I go back on July 29th.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Emily is the 4th child I have potty-trained, first time being a girl. All 3 boys I waited until they were 3 years old. I heard girls are easier (Jessie was my easiest because she came potty trained : )

Way back in January/February I figured I would start the process with Emily (who had turned 2 in December). It was right around the time I found out I was pregnant. This time around, out of pure convenience on my part, I decided to try Pull-ups. You know what happened.....NOTHING! Emily had no desire to potty-train since she was dry feeling all the time.

That was until last week on Tuesday. She is now 2 1/2, baby Nicholas is coming in September and I can't STAND spending that much $$ on Pull-ups anymore. So I switched Emily over to training underwear (you know the kind, they are underwear but they have a thicker middle part). Guess what happened! Emily HATES being wet!!!!! Once she wet her pants once she realized it was a different ballgame. I now only use the Pull-ups for bedtime at night, but even then she has been waking up dry. I do put Emily on the potty every 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If I lose track of time she has had an accident (but that is why I have 8 pairs of underwear for her).

In full discloser, Emily still hasn't gotten the idea that twosies gets done in the potty. I am at a loss with that. All the boys, once they did that a couple of times in their pants hated it and started doing it in the potty.

Real underwear.....Works-for-Me when it comes to potty training!!!

Head on over to We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Itch to Pitch---Week 4

Aaahh....another week, another room clean. Boy that feels good : )

I got 2 out of 4 of my goals done. My bedroom is clean!!! Now I don't need to worry about Nicholas getting lost in there : )-

I got rid of one trash bag of papers/magazines and plan-old-junk! A small bag of clothes to goodwill and the kids stuff went to the kids rooms.

2 Hot spots in my room Before:

Night Stand

I had already started cleaning this off when I took the picture. It WAS much worse.

And the After:


The other thing I did accomplish was Ebaying. I listed and sold 5 homeschool curriculums (HUGE smile on my face from this). I still have more to sell and I need to get a move on. The money I make will be going towards new curriculum I need to buy. My original goal was to start the new school year on August 17th. I would like to have everything bought by the end of the month so I can have a full 2 weeks to set up.

As for the 2 goals I did not accomplish this week, I do have an excuse.
1. Bathroom closet. I went to go and do this yesterday but then soon realized that neither Chris nor CJ are home to take everything off the top shelf and return it there. Chris would FLIP if he found out I stood on a chair at 7 months pregnant to do it myself. He starts his day off this afternoon so it is high on my list to accomplish over his "weekend".

2. The hallway closet. My road block with this....no storage containers. I went out on Sunday night and bought 3 large storage bins and 2 smaller ones. I don't think I will need all this for the one closet but I am sure they will get used somewhere in the house. Yesterday was too busy a day to do it. I plan on getting to it today.

Goals for this upcoming week:
1. List 5-8 things on Ebay.
2. Hallway closet-----clean out and put containers that have been waiting for a home in there.
3. Bathroom Closet
4. Go through all the games in the house. Ditch the ones that have missing pieces.
5. Start on my bedroom closet----this will have to be done in stages over atleast 2 weeks. This weeks goal will be to go through the top shelf.

These are goals I am hoping to get done. I do get tired. I find that working for 40 minutes and then taking a 20 minute break works out well. Also....LOTS of water.

What about you? Have you joined in the de-cluttering, reorganizing and pitching what isn't needed?

Head on over to The Happy Housewife for more Itch to Pitch. Come on and join in!!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Monday-----July 6th

Last week went pretty good with menu planning. Most days we stuck to atleast 2 out of 3 planned meals each day.

I will have to admit, having no sports last week was GREAT!!!! We are back to baseball this week. CJ is away so we only have games Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. He will be back on Saturday and he and Zachary will have practice----which takes up all Saturday afternoon between the 2 of them. Only a few more weeks for Zachary and Alex to play. CJ will be playing ball until the middle of August and will be overlapping with the start of high school football practice.

Today I am heading to the doctor's for a baby check. I will update later on that.

Here's this week's menu. As always, it is subject to change------or cravings ; )

(B)--Banana Bread
(L)--PB and J
(D)--Tacos, Rice with veggie tray

(B)--Waffles (frozen)
(L)--Grill Cheese (Zachary will be making)
(D)--Homemade Pizza---I still haven't made this. I will admit, I am nervous about it. What happens if it comes out terrible!

(B)--Pancakes with fruit
(D)--Stir-fry with Rice

(B)--Eggs with Bacon
(L)--Hamburg or Hot dog on grill with chips
(D)--Chicken with Pasta and veggies

(L)--mac and cheese (made by Zachary)
(D)--Sloppy Joes

(B)--cereal or whatever they can find in the freezer
(L)--OYO (Own Your Own)
(D)--BBQ chicken on the grill, macaroni salad, watermelon (I have actually been craving watermelon lately---I guess it is better than me wanting chocolate all the time!)

Don't know yet. I haven't worked on the next 2 week block yet. I am sure it will be something easy.

What about you? Is this time of year busier or more laid back for you?

Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Monday Menu Plans.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Family Day

It has been very rainy around here. We have literally had rain just about every day for the last month. We had planned on going to a beautiful park by the water on Wednesday, but it rained. We didn't want to just sit around on another one of Chris' days off. At the last minute we decided to head over Providence and go to......

By the time we got there everyone was hungry. We picked up sandwiches on the way and I packed drinks and snacks. So we started out with lunch first.

Then off we went.

Emily was not impressed at first and spent the first 10 minutes crying and afraid. I thought for sure I was going to end up sitting in car with her while everyone else enjoyed.

But this......

Soon turned into this.....

There was dress up....

There was role playing.....

And just lots and lots fun being together......

And everyone's favorite.......the water table room.

We finished up the day with a trip to.......

Eveyone LOVES ice cream.....

Okay, maybe not as much as me. Don't blame me! Nicholas made me get it!!!

We all had a blast being together as a family.

A New School Year-----An Old Way

In August we will be beginning our 8th year of homeschooling. WOW!! Time sure does go by fast. It seems not too long ago I was at my first homeschool convention overwhelmed by the choices. That year, I ended up going over to the Abeka table and buying the whole kit and caboodle for CJ who was entering 4th grade.

The second year I tried to mixed a few things up but ended up doing all Abeka again. It worked.

By the 3rd year I had been to enough homeschool meetings, talked to enough moms and been to enough curriculum fairs too know there were TONS of choices out there. So I jumped ship with Abeka (even though it had been working) and decided to go on my own and put together everything I thought would be best for homeschooling. In all honesty....this was the year the confusion started. By this past school year---my 7th, instead of feeling confident in what I was doing I was frustrated, confused, overwhelmed and pretty much dreading homeschooling. A few times this year I even told Chris that I was putting them ALL in school.

In April, I went to the homeschool convention. I mostly walked around thinking about the upcoming school year and wondering how on earth I will be able to juggle homeschooling a high schooler, 3 elementary age (with one of them needing LOTS of help with reading), a toddler and a newborn. When I got home I was happy to see a book I ordered had come in. Managers of Their School Steven and Terri Maxwell's newest book had not only come in but it was an answer to prayer!!!

I had already been re-evaluating my homeschool before the book had come in:

First question: What year was the best?
Oh, that's easy, the first 2. Those two years we got the most work done, it was organized AND we got done with school by May.

Second question: What year did I think was the worst?
I would have to say the years have seem to get progressively worse.....not better. So this last one probably takes the cake.

Third question:
What has been the biggest change to our homeschool?
At first I would say number of children. But after further evaluation I would say curriculum type. First year it was layed all out for me. As the years progressed, I picked curriculum that required more setup on my part. This might work for some, not for me.

Fourth question:
I look to my oldest----Does he have gaps or holes in is education? No, not really. He has always thrived on textbooks and the times I tried to switch it up with him we would struggle and go back.

It all was pointing back to textbooks. But textbooks I asked myself? That is like a bad word in homeschooling circles. I have found that the general train of thought in regards to homeschooling with textbooks is only a cop-out of a mom would use them. Only one that wants to copy "school" at home. It was something to be almost ashamed of. It isn't the "thing" to do!! What would others think?

Can you believe that even at MY age and in homeschooling there can actually be peer pressure? Don't believe me? I will give you an example. Most people heard of Tapestry of Grace. While I think it is a great curriculum I KNOW that it is not something that would work for my family. Atleast not at this stage of our life. I know of 2 families that used it and LOVED it. They both have been using it for years. Neither one of them have ever tried to push it on anyone. Oh sure, they would talk to you about it all day if you wanted to, but both would tell you that you need to look at your own life with your own children and circumstances to see if it is the right fit for you. Well last year at co-op TOG became the hot curriculum and before I knew it, 9 new families were jumping on board. Yes 9!!! I had people all the time ask if I was going to join in. It was hard, but I said no. I just knew it wouldn't work for us.

Long story short, out of the 9 families that started, I know for sure that 7 of the families stopped using it (if they even started at all). The other 2 families, I have no idea how they are doing. That's alot of money to spend on something to be doing the "in" homeschooling thing.

So after a huge amount of prayer, thought and consideration I was almost at my decision. That is where Manager's of Their School comes in. After reading the book, I can say, WITHOUT shame or embarrassment, that I will be going back to our old way of doing homeschool. We will be using textbooks, mostly Abeka. Terri's book put into words what I have been feeling. It gave me solid reasons to feel comfortable with my choice. I just wish the book had come out years ago. It might have opened my eyes then and I could have forgo alot of confusion.

A wise woman has said to me time and time again "Judy, it's not about the curriculum. The curriculum is a tool." I think I finally get it. It's not about searching and always trying to find "the best", the "in" or the the curriculum you think will be accepted by others. It's not about curriculum X, Y or Z being the "right" one that guarantees if you use it you will have children that are ____ (fill in the blank). It IS about listening to God and seeking what choice He has for you and your family. For me, I believe textbooks is the way to go. I know it has worked very well for us in the past.

Want some more homeschooling blog posts? Head on over to Five J's to quench your thirst.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Okay, nothing earth shattering here, but still a tip just the same. I like to change my dish towel and cloth every day. I also can't stand to see a dirty kitchen trash can. So what I do is every morning, I get up, take my kitchen cloth, wipe the outside of the trash can down. Then I toss the cloth along with yesterday's dish towel(s) into the wash. I finish up with spraying the can with a bleach spray. It's simple....but it Works For Me!!!

Head on over to We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.