Archive | March, 2013

A Recipe Begging for Help

26 Mar

One day I decided to throw a dish together for our evening meal. This dish was really good, even my husband thought so, but it is missing something and we can’t decide what it is.


beef and potato

This is a picture of my beef and potato casserole (still working on a great name for it)


I am trying to figure out what will really bring this dish together. I am posting the recipe in the hopes that some of my blog readers will give suggestions for that element that is missing.


1/2 lb. grass-fed ground beef

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

10-12 small red potatoes, halved

1- 1 1/2 cups diced mushrooms

1 cup spinach leaves

1 cup sharp cheddar made from raw milk


Brown the beef with the onion powder, garlic powder and red wine vinegar. Add the browned meat, cut potatoes, spinach leaves and diced mushrooms to a square baking dish. Cover the top with the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes- 1 hour.


That’s all there is to it. If you are a cooking genius, perhaps you can come up with an idea without even having to try the dish. Otherwise, try it out and let me know what you think should be added. I appreciate any ideas.

Danger Girl Gets a New Sidekick- HMJ 3-22-13

22 Mar

It is officially spring now, and we are still trudging along in our homeschool efforts. We are down a student as Chatterbox is no longer coming over, but we have a new student now.

Meet Curious. Our new addition to the family.
Meet Curious. Our new addition to the family.


Curious is our new Heinz dog. Her current studies are in potty training and remembering where her food bowl is. She does like books though, and if you are not careful she will try to devour a book as you read it.


What we are doing in school:

Danger Girl is still moving along pretty well in her subjects. I think she is tired of math, but she’ll just have to get over that one.

We have begun a flower garden in our front yard with all the things that butterflies and hummingbirds like. Danger Girl keeps the garden watered as well as her strawberry plants she just had to have. She is very excited to watch as the plants emerge. I get a report each day as to what the garden looks like. Hopefully everything will grow well. We also planted a peach tree, but I think we will have to wait a while before we see anything there.

We took a field trip to a plant nursery the other day, and Danger Girl got to ask several questions about her plants so I think that made her happy. We are planning another field trip soon to a local flower garden. I plan to have Danger Girl bring her art supplies and try her hand at drawing some of the things we see.

Everything else is moving along as normal. Danger Girl enjoys history, particularly determining which of the kings of Isreal and Judah were good or bad kings. We have a chart going right now.

We have begun reading “The Island of the Blue Dolphins” and she seems to enjoy the story. I think she likes any story where a girl is taking care of things. Danger Girl has also begun writing her own stories, and they are pretty ammusing. I will have to share some of them soon as she completes them.


In Our Life:

We are making preparations for Danger Girl to participate in the National American Miss Pageant in the summer. She is very excited, and I think it’s a great way to get her over some of her shyness. She did very well at the photo shoot they had at the open session. I will have to share the pictures when we get them. Until then here’s one I took:

NAM Session

We have found a pageant dress for her, but we still need to get her interview outfit. I think I will have to break down and go to a mall as much as I don’t want to. Right now we are practicing for her to speak to people to be sponsors. We made a list of possible people and she will start going around to speak to all of them soon.

The dress we are getting.

The dress we are getting.

It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, but this is the dress she is getting for the pageant. This was our compromise between the one I liked for her and the one she liked.


Other than the pageant, things are going fairly smoothly right now. We are finally starting to clear away some of the old trees in our back yard. I say finally because we have lived here for about two years now and I feel like we haven’t done much work yet to fix up the house. I have a long list of things going, but they all need money. The good news is after we get the puppy potty trained I have a good excuse for why we should go ahead and replace the carpet 🙂


So, that’s what’s been going on with us. What are things looking like for you?


playing with dog


Absent Landlord: An Interesting Parable

19 Mar

The description of this book intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try.

“In this house of failure-ridden misfits, status means everything. When fast-talking newcomer, Lars, tricks insecure Seth out of even the lowest room in the house, Seth resorts to suicide. After he fails at this too, however, Seth wakes up and finds everything he used to take for granted now to be priceless gifts, including the rickety old house. He even decides to obey the long-ignored rules of the absent landlord, which say to care for the others in the house.

Even though Lars continually crushes him and the others to climb his way to the top, Seth must persevere in his quiet resolve, not realizing that the fate of everyone in the house depends on it.”


This is an interesting story because the hero is so pathetic to start out. You can’t read about him without feeling some pity while at the same time not being surprised that he has such a hard time making friends. He is the epitome of self-pity and self-loathing. The antagonist, Lars, makes it really easy to dislike him. He has almost no redeeming qualities. These, and all the rest of the unusual characters, makes for a very interesting read.

The author does a good job of setting the scene. You can easily imagine what the house looks like and what the characters look like. While the characters are outrageous at times, they are very human and the interactions are very human as well. It is really hard to say more about this book other than I liked it and
thought it was well worth reading.

* I received a free copy of this book for my unbiased opinion. The opinions expressed are my honest reaction to this book.*

Catskinner’s Book- Strange but Engaging

18 Mar

Catskinner's Book (The Book Of Lost Doors)

* * * *


I will admit that through most of this book I was confused, but since the main
character seemed just as confused as I was I think that’s okay. This story
revolves around a man, James, who has some other entity permanently attached to
him thanks to his father. James has never really understood Catskinner, or what
his own purpose was, but he gets thrown into some very confusing answers as he
becomes a target for several groups of people. This book was different than
anything I have read before, and was not what I expected.

There were a lot of plot twists, and some of what seemed randomness in this book. I never
fully understood what purpose James played for all the people that were after
him, and I never fully understood what these other entities were trying to do.
That being said, I was definitely invested. I gave this book 4 stars despite my
confusion because the author actually managed to get me attached to the
characters. I found myself rooting for James and Catskinner despite what they
had done before everything went crazy. I especially liked how the author evolved
the Character of Catskinner throughout. I found myself wondering right along
with James if it was really Catskinner changing, or if it was James that had. I
will agree with another reviewer though, the ending wasn’t as satisfying as I
would have liked it to be. That was actually probably the most confusing part
for me through the whole story. If you want to read something that keeps you
guessing, this is definitely the book for you. I will add the warning that there
is quite a bit of language, and some very strange sex-like moments.

*I received a free copy of this book for review. This is my unbiased opinion


Amazon Link

Rebuttal: Parents Can Teach Their Children

14 Mar

I read an article today claiming that parents who homeschool their children are not qualified to teach them.


Read article


The man who wrote this article, based on what he saw his wife go through to become a teacher, believes that homeschool parents can’t possibly be able to teach their children because they do not go through the same rigorous training and licensing that public school teachers endure. I agree that a lot goes into becoming a public school teacher. I do not think that means those who don’t go through the same process are uneducated themselves though.

Mr. Kardon seems to be under the assumption that homeschooling parents just wake up and randomly begin teaching. This is not the case. Most moms I have had the chance to interact with spend months deciding what type of curriculum to use. After this decision most parents will then go through the entire chosen curriculum to get acquainted with the material. No parent that I know goes into a teaching situation cold.

Parents who teach their children will make sure to stay ahead of their children in whatever materials are used. If they don’t know much about a particular subject, they will either make sure they learn it or find someone who does to help teach whatever the subject is to their children. For instance, I am not that great at art. I wish I was, but I have very little skill in this particular area. Since I know I am not good at this, I have a friend who is very talented in drawing, painting, etc. who will work with my daughter once a week.

Even if a parent has very little knowledge, there are so many resources out there to help guide them. You can buy curriculum that tells you exactly what to say if you feel you need that. I do not personally use this type of curriculum, but some probably do.

As to the idea that parents are unqualified, who is better at understanding the way their children learn than a parent? Who is more likely to go the extra effort to make sure their children succeed? If public schools are so great, as he proposes, then any person who has graduated from a public school should have all the knowledge needed to train their own children.

The article goes on to bring up the subject of socialization. What would an argument against homeschooling be without socialization, right? Apparently Mr. Kardon is forgetting the abundance of activities out there. Children have the opportunity to socialize at church, in sports, in music classes, or any one of the other activities available to children outside of a school setting. My daughter just recently got the opportunity to make friends in a pageant opportunity that presented itself.

I am a homeschool mom with an Associate’s degree. Despite my lack of training, my daughter is able to read and write. She does well in math. She loves science and history. She enjoys finding new places on a globe. She could give you a wealth of knowledge on Greek culture, as well as the customs of Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She can recite the Pledge of Allegiance by heart as well as large portions of the Bible. She can explain Latin grammar to you. She has a wealth of knowledge at 8 years old that I did not learn until middle school and high school. Maybe I am not qualified to teach my daughter in theyes of Mr. Kardon, but I will let the results speak for themselves as she continues in her education.


(Also, if homeschooling parents are so unqualified to teach their children, why are colleges actively seeking homeschooled children, and why are homeschooled children excelling in so many areas?)

My PRAYER Journal by Ralph Spiller

11 Mar

Book Description

Does God answer your prayers? Would you like to have more power in your prayer life? My P-R-A-Y-E-R Journal will help you develop a more powerful, disciplined prayer life on the order of the first-century apostles and Church. You may ask, “Is that possible?” Many miracles were accomplished by God through the disciples in the first century. Can God do the same in the twenty-first century through you? Could you pray with such intention to glorify God?





When I decided to review this book, I expected more than just a prayer journal based on the description. I thought it would be a guide to better prayer with helpful hints and scriptures to help strengthen my time in prayer. While there is plenty of scripture, which is good, this book ended up being more of a list of what types of things to pray about each day, which was not what I expected. The description promised help to make your prayer time more powerful, and I didn’t feel like this was delivered with a basic prayer journal.

Perhaps it is my own fault; maybe I should have guessed by the title, but the description was a little misleading in my opinion. While I was disappointed that the book was not what I expected, the scripture used was relevant to the prayer sections. If you want an outline of how to set up a prayer journal for yourself, this book could be helpful to you. If you are looking for something a little more this is not that.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”