The Intention of My Blog

Welcome, my beloved readers!

In case you're wondering, it's not a typo up there for you see the definition of goodly is:

used as an adjective to describe something
1. of ample or good size, ex: a goodly amount.
2. of a fine appearance, ex: a goodly young man.
3. Archaic. of good quality, ex: a goodly gift.

I am a mother who home educates her children; I would be pleased if you'd look around. You never know if I might have something to your liking. I've blogged about different topics. I hope you enjoy your stay here. May God bless you with peace, a renewing of your mind, and rest as you read my posts.

Please remember to subscribe to my blog, using any variety of methods, which are below to the right, including Facebook.

Thanks to all for your patience as I have been on the mend. I had double heart bypass surgery in February of 2013, and I needed to focus on my recovery, which has been in steady progress. Thanks for your kind consideration.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Hope Is in God

The Bible shows us how to keep hope in our hearts.

9 ...We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.   When one comes to Christ, many things happen.  No, you don't hear trumpets signalling your salvation.  The rewards are not tangible.  We just know that there are rewards waiting for us.  Yet, it is hard to keep plowing forward in our lives at times.  That's when we need a gentle reminder from the Bible.   10 For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do.  11 Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.  12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and patience.   Faith and patience are our tools when the trials beset us.  Keep the faith through the tough times.  Keep the faith that the trials will pass.  Wait for the storms in our lives to pass, for they will.  Look at the mighty Christians, as examples, who have persevered to the end because they remembered their rewards have been stored up in heaven.  13 For example, there was God's promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:  14 "I will certainly bless you richly, and I will multiply your descendants into countless millions."  15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.  16 When people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding.  17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind.  18 So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence.  19 This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary.  20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the line of Melchizedek.   --Hebrews 6: 9-20

God's promises are forever and true.  What sorts of hardships are we going through at the moment?  I am going through my illness, but I am remembering that all this is worth it.  I am being the best wife and mother I can be.  I am being the best friend that I can be to all.  

Even though I doubt that I am doing everything I can, I know that ALL my efforts are worth it.

It's wonderful to know that we can turn to God's word for encouragement.  It's there for us when we need to recharge ourselves.  The Bible gives us the example of God giving and fulfilling a promise to Abraham.  We can see that indeed there are countless descendants from the line of Abraham.  If God can do that for Abraham, what will He not do for us?!

That's why, when I feel that I have everyone and everything coming at me, I rejoice in the fact that God is here for me.  He's bigger than anything that can come my way.  He can send me the resources and help I need when I call on Him.  Knowing this brings my soul great comfort.  It brings a glad tear to my eye as His adopted child.

My friends, I pray you all have renewed hope in this coming season (homeschooling new year).  Let's turn to God when we need help.  Let's turn to God when our hope seems to be tapped out.  Let's experience a renewing of the mind and the body and the soul, from His love.  Let's continue to be there for one another, meeting each other's needs and prayers. 

God bless us all, in Jesus' name! 

Thanks for reading today's blog entry about casting our hope in God.  I appreciate you taking the time to read it.
 How about you, my readers?  Are you resting your hope in God?  Have you read about His promises?  I encourage you to read the Bible, especially Hebrews 6.  I think it's worth getting your hope renewed.  The renewed hope will improve your outlook on life.
 God bless you all, my dear friends, with His wisdom and peace.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!
This has been an entry for the Spiritual Sundays series. 

To compile this mini- bible study, I visited:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yellow Jell-o

What did I do with yellow Jell-o?

I really had every intention last week to talk today about how to make different meals with beans.  That plan was thwarted when I forgot to make other dishes with sorry!  Chalk it up to busyness and exhaustion.  I only made one meal, but I didn't take pictures of it.  I'll save that post for a later date when I have enough content for it.  

With that said, I'd like to explain what we did with this yellow Jell-o.

Easy directions for sugar free Jell-o are on the box.

I reused some applesauce cups for this Jell-o.  I poured even amounts of the liquid Jell-o into 6 cups.  Then, I placed the cups in the refrigerator for four hours as per the instructions.

Cups came in handy for the Jell-o.

After I took the cups out of the refrigerator, it was time to put some toppings.  Some of the family wanted no toppings.  Some only wanted the whipped topping.  While my younger son and I enjoyed some berries on top of ours.  Yum, yum!

Various toppings were included in our yellow Jell-o.
Yellow Jell-o topped with the white stuff.
This was my choice dessert--yellow Jell-o with berries and white stuff.

I purposely bought sugar free Jell-o and light whipped topping.  I wanted this dessert to not be so bad for us.  I added the berries to my Jell-o for the added health benefit.  Berries contain antioxidants, which are good for you. 

Well, thanks for viewing the pictures and 
reading this quick blog entry about how to dress up plain yellow Jell-o.

I hope you enjoyed this entry as much 
as I did in compiling it.
What about you, my readers? Do you ever eat Jell-o? What extras would you include to Jell-o?  I hope you'll make some yellow Jell-o.  It's cheap and easy to make on hot, summer day.

My beloveds, may God bless you with His peace and wisdom.

This has been an entry for Saturday Spreads. I hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Takeout Challenge Update #4

I've kept my slow cooker busy these past few weeks.

This week was definitely a challenge.  I am tired.  I've made more meals this week than I have in a long time.  I took a day off on Wednesday.  Hubby had to pick up the slack.

 Normally, we would have bought takeout.

Hubby heated a pizza and steak fingers.  I had made a gravy out of a can of cream of mushroom.  He also made macaroni.  It was like a cafeteria.  Seriously, that's the way he cooks.

Chicken cooked in crock pot.

Earlier this morning, I set some chicken tenders in cream of mushroom.  I added a can of carrots and a can of potatoes.  I had a seasoning packet of herbs for a chicken meal.  All I had to make was the brown rice that would accompany my crock pot compilation.  We ate it for dinner tonight.

As we have moved away from buying takeout, I am planning other changes.  I'm thinking of what we can remove from our diet.  I'm thinking what to add to our diet, too.  All these baby steps are for the benefit of my family's health.  The incremental changes have been easier to digest.

Hubby is the only one still drinking his Pepsi.

Since we've had no takeout for a month, my kids have drank no soda.  That's a plus because I don't need their bones to go brittle.  Also, I have controlled what fats they are digesting because I use olive oil.  I would like to move towards coconut oil, but it's expensive.  Still, I want to incorporate it.

I have been drinking orange juice instead of soda.

Another change, at least for me, is to get away from "orange juice."  I'm hearing about flavor packs being added to orange juice.  I don't need any more chemicals in my body.  It will be hard on my kids because we all like cranberry juice.  My oldest loves apple juice.

We are still drinking lots of water.

All of my kids are extremely slim.  I am thankful to God that they are not overweight.  I do want them, though, to be at a healthy weight.  Buying fresh fruits and vegetables is my goal.  Being able to afford to buy them is another; no matter what, we need to keep buying them.

My kids love bread.  White bread is bad for us.  We buy Iron Kids bread.  I would like to buy more whole wheat bread.  Is it possible for my kids to eat wheat bread?

I also want to buy more grass-fed meat.  It's also expensive.  I do want to eat this meat, though, because it is healthier.  I want to eat meat free from antibiotics and hormones.  I've felt healthier after eating such meat.

I want us to move away from buying processed snacks.  Goldfish and cookies are delicious, but we don't need the empty calories.  We need nutritious foods.  I'm thinking that alternatives like carrot sticks are in order.

Those are some of the plans for the next month of August.  I pray that God will keep helping us in our resolve. 
Thanks for reading this update.  I appreciate all your tips and prayers.  I hope to share more tips in the coming weeks to aid others in this challenge of going without takeout.  Stay tuned!

I've accepted this no-takeout challenge, which began Friday, July 1st to December 31st.  It is not easy, but I know it is worth it.  I want the many benefits that can come from not eating out.  If you want to know more about this challenge, you can visit the SIX Month Money Challenge Facebook page.  If you would like to join, please "like" the page and join the yahoo group that accompanies it, as well.

How about you, my readers?  How often do you buy takeout?  Have you ever tried not buying takeout?  What's the longest you've gone without takeout?  I encourage you to see how you can cut out takeout.  I think it's worth a try.  The benefits are endless.
May God bless you all with His wisdom and peace.

This entry has been part of the Family Fun Fridays series.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homeschool Desks--Where the Learning Happens

My desk has a nearby cabinet and laptop table.

We own lots of tables and desks.

If anyone were to come to my house, he/she would be astounded at how many desks and tables we own.  I have all sorts for all kinds of reasons and purposes.  I have wooden ones.  I have metal ones.  I even have some that fold.

This is the front of my desk, which I bought at Goodwill.
At this time, I am using this desk to plan our homeschooling and household.  I might change things up soon.  I am constantly moving things around until I see efficiency take shape.  My oldest son used this desk for a while.  I might take back an old wooden table that's in his room and give him back this desk; I think he needs it.

Currently, oldest son does his work here.

My oldest son does his schoolwork on this dining table.  We placed a wooden table in his room, but he didn't like it.  I know he likes to spread out.  What I don't like is that we have to rush after dinner at times.  Also, the table doesn't get cleaned properly; I'm afraid his work could get ruined with spilled food.

Oldest son holds his work on right sides of two shelves.

Around 7 or 8 p.m., my oldest son brings his work to the dining table.  He brings them from the shelves in his room.  He actually does his schoolwork a day ahead.  He does that so he can have the early part of the next day to play on his computer.  Don't worry; he still does his chores.

Hubby and youngest use this computer desk.
Youngest daughter uses this computer desk.

In the dining area, my husband and youngest daughter use the same computer.  During the day, while Daddy is at work, my youngest visits websites like and  In the evening, my husband comes home to check the bank against his register.  He also visits for items he is interested in.

My daughters do their work here in their bedroom.

Both of these tables are adjustable.  Older daughter does work on the left table.  My youngest does her work on the right.  Previously, older one was sitting on her bed, but we removed the bunk beds.  I brought in the chair. 

I shifted the girls away from sitting on their bed because of their backs.  I noticed they were slouching too much.  Also, having removed the bunk beds has offered more lighting for their schoolwork.  The youngest one had also started doing her work on the bed and wanted to nip that in the bud.

When oldest is done with her work, she boxes it away.  From another box, she pulls out her Net book and tablet and places them on the green blue table. 

This was my younger son's previous desk.
This is currently younger son's "desk" in his room.

I decided to let my younger son have one of my folding tables as his "desk."  This is one of the tables that has had many uses, including for yard sale displays and as the guest's table.  I realized that the previous desk was too narrow.  We still have that table in my storage shed; don't know what I'll do with it.  We had bought it from another homeschool family.

It became obvious that my younger son needed to do his work at his own time and in his own space.  He can be highly distracted with too much stimuli.  Sometimes, he does his work ahead of time, too.  There are times when he's needed help; he's come to me and ended up doing some work on my bed.  That has become more rare as he has matured.

There is no right or wrong place to school within the home.

Well, I've blogged in bits and pieces about this topic before.  I just wanted to take the time to show where all of our children are learning.  Their spaces are tailored to their needs.  I wanted to compile it to show others who are struggling with whether they have the right spaces for their own  homeschooling families.  Realistically, every family should come up with what works for them.

Thanks so much for reading this entry about where my children are doing their learning.  I appreciate you stopping by my blog.

How about you, my readers?  For those of you who homeschool, where do your children learn?  Do your children school in one place?  Or are they scattered like mine?  Over the years, we have migrated from the dining table to other locations, including my bed, due to my illness or pregnancy.  The whole world, really, is our table.  Let's remember that, too.

I pray that God helps us homeschoolers to find the right locations for our children to learn.  May God bless us all with His wisdom and peace, as we teach our children.

This has been an entry for Thorough Thursdays.  Hope you liked it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keeping It Simple, Silly: My Contemplation of Verse 37 of the Tao Te Ching

Dr. Dyer's book is Change your Thoughts--Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.

Today, I am focusing on verse 37 of the Tao Te Ching:

The Tao does nothing,
but leaves nothing undone.

If powerful men
could center themselves themselves in it,
the whole world would be transformed
by itself, in its natural rhythms.

When life is simple,
pretenses fall away;
our essential natures shine through.

By not wanting, there is calm,
and the world will straighten itself.
When there is silence,
one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.

What do I want out of life?  riches?  fame?  health?  fun?

How much of those things are realistic?  Which of those desires are reachable?  Which of those should I reach for?  How can I know what to seek?  Who can help me figure this out?

These are the questions I have as a 40 year-old.  The answers have changed as the years have gone by.  It's funny how, as a youngster, I had the whole world before me.  As I've grown older, I've learned to expect less.  Yes, I've settled to some extent.

One thing I've learned is that I shouldn't step over my family and friends.  I've had that happen to me.  It doesn't feel right.  I try not to do it to others, but I'm sure I've done it.  Honestly, I don't set out to do it, but it happens.  I just believe so much in the idea of doing to others what is done to me.
I don't ask for much out of life anymore.

I am a firm believer in keeping things simple.  I don't like to eat fancy meals with lobster and squid.  I don't like fancy clothes with designer labels.  I don't like gigantic houses because their upkeep is difficult.  I don't like fancy cars because someone will vandalize it.

I don't want anyone to think I hate luxury because I don't.

The reality is that I can't afford those fancy things.  I don't want to desire those things when I have no money.  I don't want to strive for those things at the cost of my family.  I choose to stay home with my kids because I liked having my own mother at home with me.  I loved it.

I felt the security of having my mom at home.  I wanted my kids to have that.  I felt the anchor of family with my mother.  I wanted to give my kids the same.  That's not to say I do everything for them; I am simply here for them when they need me.

Sure, I could make loads of money, in one way or another.  Believe me, I've tried it.  It just didn't fit.  I feel my kids have a deeper sense of who they are.  We don't need anyone to tell us how to be a family.

My true nature is to be an on-site loving, supportive mother.  I have a strong desire for peace.  If I see that people around me are contentious, I keep away from them.  I don't need all the drama.  Perhaps, that is related to my introvertedness.

I rarely yell at my kids.  They can hear me.  I don't need them to yell to be heard or understood.  I've tried to model how to converse by having after-dinner discussions, with a normal voice.  I want my children to be able to communicate their wants and needs beyond their home life.

In our home schooling journey, I have worked hard to foster a deep sense of self.  I don't go for pretenses.  I go for whatever the natural bent of my kids.  I try not to criticize too much.  I try instead to encourage.  

My definition of success is this: My kids respect others.

These are the questions I'm constantly asking myself: How do my kids act around others?  How do they react to people?  Are my children polite?  Do they run around in the store?  Do my kids fight with each other or other children?

In short, my children 
are a simple reflection of me.

Thanks for reading today's post.  
I appreciate it.  
I hope this post blesses you, my dear readers.

I've got some questions for you: What is your definition of success?  Do you meddle in other people's lives?  Are you living a life of simplicity?  How much do you want out of life?  I pray we all seek our true nature. Let's ask God to help us keep our lives simple.  He will surely help us.

May God bless you, my beloveds, with His wisdom and peace, in Jesus' name.  Amen!

This has been an entry for Wisdom Wednesdays.

I am currently drawing inspiration from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer's book and the 81 verses of the Chinese wisdom book the Tao Te Ching.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

P is for Pilot Games for History

I'm currently participating in 
an ABC's for homeschooling challenge.  
Since it falls on Tuesdays, 
I am adding a technological slant to the challenge.  
I hope you stay tuned and enjoy my entries.

The Ultimate Flight Collection--front cover

My teenage son loves airplanes.  That's why he asked us to buy him the Ultimate Flight Collection, three computer pilot games in one box.  We bought it at a local store.  This set contains airplanes which were used in World War II.  The history he has learned from these games has made him appreciate the use of airplanes in World War II.

The Ultimate Flight Collection--inside cover

Pacific Fighters and IL-2 Sturmovik cover airplanes from World War II.  Lock On covers modern air jets.

The Ultimate Flight Collection--back cover

My son enjoyed the set because of the history it contains of about 3 to 4 hundred airplanes.  The history includes when and why each airplane was made.  The games are realistic, with rich scenery.  Everything that can happen to a pilot, including malfunctions, are covered.  Whereas some games only allow left to right movement, these allow up and down, too.

The appreciation of aircraft has sparked an interest in my son to become a pilot.  That could lead to serving time in the military.  Perhaps, he could work in the private sector.  It's wonderful that he shows such a wonderful interest and much knowledge of aircraft.  Who knows what my son may end up becoming!

The Lightning, a WWII airplane, son's favorite

Here are some useful website about pilot games: has done an overview of The Ultimate Flight Collection.

Ubisoft, a French computer developer and publisher, provides some basic information about The Ultimate Flight Collection.

Flight Gear is a free (open source) flight simulator computer game.  My son found this game, for this blog entry, and is thinking of downloading to play. explains Flight Gear.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is a more pricier game.  This one costs about $60.  My son would like this game.  It's a multi-player game which requires a pilot to land near other airplanes.

Well, thanks for reading this entry.  
 I appreciate you taking the time to view the pictures.

Next week, I will be covering the letter Q.  
Please stay tuned!

How about you, my readers?  Do your children play any pilot games?  Do you think your children could benefit from playing a pilot game?  If so, which ones?  I believe in using strategic computer games.  I encourage you to expose your children to education through technology.

I pray that God gives you all, my beloveds, His wisdom and peace.
This has been an entry for the Technology Tuesdays series.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snacking is My Downfall

Snacking is bad for me.

Snacking is a downfall.

I had lost two pounds last week.  I gained one pound back.  I know why.  It's my snacking.  This is good and bad.

It's bad that I gained weight, of course.  No one wants to regain weight.  I didn't want to regain any weight.  I worked to take the weight off.  I am disappointed.

There is good news.  I have found out that the snacking makes me gain the weight back.  It feels great to learn what has been sabotaging me.  If I snack the right way, I will keep it off.  If I snack without discipline, I will gain weight.

A positive move happened this weekend. 

My hubby embraced buying more fresh fruit.  My youngest daughter loves strawberries.  My youngest son liked blueberries.  Hubby bought both this past Saturday.  We also bought raspberries and blackberries.

We also bought two large batches of spinach.  My teen daughter has wrapped chicken nuggets with spinach.  She's used either ketchup or ranch dressing as a spread.  I like eating spinach in a taco or in a salad.  My youngest son likes to chew them on its own.

I also like tomatoes.  Youngest daughter can eat them on their own, too.  I think she likes anything red but can't handle cherries.  Tomatoes are slowly coming in from our garden.  We bring them in green, and I ripen them inside.

My plan is to move the snacks out of my room.  Having them in my room allows me to snack too much.  I need to put them back in the pantry.  I need to put them in a high shelf.  The snacks need to be out of reach to my kids and ME.

Thanks for reading this entry. I appreciate it.

By posting this update, I am jotting down what's working for me.  I would also hope this information helps someone else.  Please pray for me, if you have a chance.  Weight loss is not the ultimate reason for changing food choices and exercising.  I want to feel, and be, healthier.

How about you, my readers?  Have you struggled to lose weight?  Have you struggled to eat right?  Are you snacking too much?  I encourage you to consider bite-size changes in your life, gradually accumulating the better habits in your life.  If you need to improve your health, search your heart and ask God to help you.

This is an entry for Medical Mondays.  For past entries, click here.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints that I discussed here are just my opinions.  Please consult your physician before altering anything relating to your health.  I am only suggesting here to take charge of your health.  Don't just leave your health in the hands of your doctors; become your own advocate.  You know best how your body is doing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jesus is Our High Priest

The Bible says Jesus was appointed our High Priest.

1 Now a high priest is a man chosen to represent other human beings in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers their sacrifices for sins.  2 And because he is human, he is able to deal gently with the people, though they are ignorant and wayward. For he is subject to the same weaknesses they have.  3 That is why he has to offer sacrifices, both for their sins and for his own sins.  4 And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He has to be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was.  5 That is why Christ did not exalt himself to become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, "You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. "  6 And in another passage God said to him, "You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek."  7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could deliver him out of death. And God heard his prayers because of his reverence for God.  8 So even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.  9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.  10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the line of Melchizedek.    --Hebrews 5: 1-10 New Living Translation

I feel very blessed to have Jesus in my life.  I have depended on Him when there were no friends around.  I have cried out to Him when there was no one to talk to.  I have never been disappointed by Him.  I trust only Him and no one else.
I love to read these Bible verses about Jesus being our High Priest.  I feel like I'm on top of the world.  To trust in Jesus and His father is the ultimate.  To know that God appointed Jesus as my High Priest is comforting.  To know that Jesus answered the call is awesome.
I know that it had to be a big deal for Jesus to walk on this earth as a human being.  Imagine being chosen to endure human emotions, temptations, and ridicule, even though you are the Son of God.   Imagine accepting the calling to be a high priest.  Jesus didn't just say yes to be honored by all humans.  He chose to serve, yes SERVE!
Because Jesus revered (highly respected) His father, Jesus was delivered of His pain and suffering.  Can you believe that Jesus cried out to His own father for help?  If Jesus could cry out to God, the Father, surely we can do the same.  Let's do that, in the name of Jesus, God's son.  
When we are hurting, let's cry out to God.  It doesn't matter what or how we say it.  It doesn't matter that we don't know what to ask for.  God understands our pain.  He wants to help us, just like He helped Jesus.
 Won't you, my beloved readers, turn to God now?  He's waiting for you to call on Him.

Thanks for reading today's blog entry about Jesus being our High Priest.  I appreciate you taking the time to read it.
 How about you, my readers?  Do you fully understand that Jesus is our High Priest?  Has anyone ever taken the time to explain it to you?  I encourage you to seek out individuals, like pastors and friends who know the Bible, to explain this concept of a high priest.  I think it's worth learning more about Jesus.  The knowledge can improve your outlook on life.
 God bless you all, my dear friends, with His wisdom and peace.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!
This has been an entry for the Spiritual Sundays series. 

To compile this mini- bible study, I visited:

Easy Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans

I cook pinto beans in a slow cooker.

As you can see from the picture above, I am not blogging about yet another pie.  I had used almond milk in my lemon pudding, and it did not work.  That's why I decided to write about how I make pinto beans.  I used to make them on the stove at times, but I burned them one too many times.  I turned to using the slow cooker (crock pot).

Raw pinto beans are stored in air tight container.
I sort beans by hand, not spread out on a dish.
These are samples of my rejects.

I've researched online and have never see pictures of beans that are rejected.  Above and below are samples of my rejects.

Shriveled, crushed beans are rejected.
I sort beans until I come up with about two cups.
I don't throw away the bad beans; I keep them.

I keep the bad beans in case the kids want to make some arts and crafts like bean bags or maracas.  I read on the internet that they can go in the compost.  I fear my compost bin would sprout bean plants. Tee hee hee!

After sorting, I poure beans and water in a tall bowl.

I poured 6 cups of water in with the beans in a large bowl.  I did not always soak my beans.  Now, I soak them for at least an hour; some people soak them longer.  I soak the beans because they now come dirtier than ever.  I heard that it helps dissipate the gassiness of the beans, but I haven't noticed a change.

I cover soaking beans so no dust and/or insects fly inside bowl.
After an hour, I drain out the dirty water.
I rinse the beans before putting them in the crock pot.

I pour about six cups of water in crock pot.
I make sure to plug in crock pot.

Yes, I have forgotten to plug in the crock pot.  I'm not the only one.  Some of my dear friends have done the same thing.  That's why I try to be merciful to other cooks who make similar mistakes.

I set my crock pot so beans will cook slowly.

I usually cook my beans overnight while I am here in the house.  I don't believe in leaving the house with any small appliance on.  With this method, it usually takes about ten hours for the beans to cook.

I sometimes cook the beans faster.

Sometimes, I will set the beans to cook from the morning.  This method takes about five hours.  Regardless of what method is chosen, I usually check (or hubby does in the morning) to see if the beans need more water.  Beans expand, soaking up the water.

Tip: Spots on beans means they aren't finished cooking.

Beans without spots are ready for a few dashes of salt.

At this point, when beans have lost their spots, a cook can add many ingredients.  Salt is the very basic ingredient.  Next week, I hope to post about recipes using pinto beans with lots more ingredients.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Stay tuned!

Well, thanks for viewing the pictures and 
reading about how to cook pinto beans.
I hope you enjoyed this entry as much 
as I did in compiling it.
What about you, my readers? Have you ever made pinto beans? Do you cook them over a stove?  Or do you use a slow cooker?  I hope you make them regularly, like I do.  They are nutritious and cheap to make.

My beloveds, may God bless you with His peace and wisdom.

This has been an entry for Saturday Spreads. I hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

No Takeout Challenge Update #3

Goldfish--a family favorite

We are chugging along in our No Takeout Challenge.  It hasn't been easy.  I've been craving brisket and potato salad from Bill Miller's.  I will have to buy some brisket and place it in the slow cooker.  I've heard one can also make barbacoa with brisket; I could make several meals with such a large portion of meat. 

Baggies labeled for reuse

Our portioning out of snacks is working greatly.  The snacks are lasting longer.  I still have one of two boxes of Goldfish in my cabinet.  Of course, the cabinet is in my room!  I have been holding onto snacks in my room for a few years so my kids won't overeat them.

Last night, I put beans in the slow cooker.  I then made some flour tortillas this morning.  I wanted these two ingredients for some good meals over the weekend.  I can make refried bean tacos.  We can also make potato and egg tacos.

I can't make tortillas all the time.  Hubby asked me to make the tortillas for the weekend; the tortillas are too fattening.  I just wanted to change things up a bit as I have been craving tacos.  I know that making the tortillas is labor intensive.  I do think, though, that my arms get some good exercise.

We keep running out of milk.  We already buy 3 to 4 gallons.  That isn't enough.  I'm gonna have to buy the powdered milk again.  It worked in the past, but it takes time to make.

Lastly, I hope to create a unit study about cooking and health.  I have some notes that I had written up months ago.  It might be time for me to put it together.  It would be fun to start the new "school year" this August with a family fun-packed study about how to put a nutritious meal together.  It goes without saying that I would love to share it with you, my dear readers.

Thanks for reading this update.  I appreciate all your tips and prayers.  I hope to share more tips next week to aid others in this challenge of going without takeout.  Stay tuned!

I've accepted this no-takeout challenge, which began Friday, July 1st to December 31st.  It is not easy, but I know it is worth it.  I want the many benefits that can come from not eating out.  If you want to know more about this challenge, you can visit the SIX Month Money Challenge Facebook page.  If you would like to join, please "like" the page and join the yahoo group that accompanies it, as well.

How about you, my readers?  How often do you buy takeout?  Have you ever tried not buying takeout?  What's the longest you've gone without takeout?  I encourage you to see how you can cut out takeout.  I think it's worth a try.  The benefits are endless.
May God bless you all with His wisdom and peace.

This entry has been part of the Family Fun Fridays series.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Literature for 9th Grade Reading

A Beka Literature for 9th grade

A few years ago, I went to a book swap.  That's where a homeschool mom can sell or trade her curriculum and other educational material.  I saw the book (pictured above) and snatched it up quickly.  I paid $1.  What a find!

I knew I could use it for my oldest child.  I didn't even know what grade is was for, but I knew that I wanted it.  I just knew that A Beka churns out Christian-based curriculum.  I felt blessed when I found it and was able to buy it for so cheap.

I researched online and found that this particular book is for ninth grade.  At, this book sells for almost $25.  It pays to attend book swaps.  Yes!

Literature book that is about 500 pages

The next step was to make a plan for my teenage son to use this book.  I checked to see how many pages the book covers.  I divided 500 pages by 180 instructional days.  I figured he should read about  3 pages per day.  

Sample page of a story in book

Then, we looked at the actual book.  The table of contents shows short stories and poems separated by units.  I decided he should read one short story and whatever accompanying poem(s) within one week.  He would also answer the questions to the short stories, using complete sentences.  Also, at his discretion, he can practice hand-writing, while answering the questions.

Questions listed at the end of story
Sample of a poem in the book

To recap, I would like to bring together what we are covering for ninth grade English.  Previously, I blogged about:

Grammar & Writing for Ninth Grade

Spelling for High School

Now, we have the reading blog of today.  That's it.  That's my English for ninth grade: grammar, writing, spelling, and reading (literature).

Well, thanks for reading this entry about how I am addressing the issue of reading for my teenage son, for a high school course in Texas. 

How about you, my readers?  For those of you who homeschool, what are you using for reading in high school?  Are you satisfied with your reading curriculum for high school?  What are you using for English for ninth grade?  It's perfectly fine to combine subjects.  Reading is required in Texas.  I have chosen to address reading separately in my homeschool.

I pray that God helps us all, whether we are homeschooling or are thinking of homeschooling.

May God bless you all with His wisdom and peace, as you teach your children.

This has been an entry for Thorough Thursdays.  Hope you liked it.


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