Gratituesday: I Don’t Know Where I’m Going!

I walked down the aisle 20 years ago this week.  Twenty years!!!!  I’m not sure where the last two decades have gone, but 4 kids and many other life changes later – here we are.

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We’re not much into gift-giving, and typically, we only quietly slip away for a lunch or dinner out together to celebrate our special day.  But this year is different.  Since it’s our 20th anniversary, Matt decided to plan something special.

What has he planned? Well, I have no idea.  I was given a specific list of items to pack and a departure time for a get-away.  Other than that, I don’t know a thing about our plans.  How fun is that?

We’ll be leaving a long list of school assignments and household chores for our boys.  They’ll be all set up with easy-to-make foods.  We have a recent college graduate living at our house for several months, so we’re leaving him in charge of overseeing our kids and making sure they get their school work and chores done both days that we’re gone.

Everyone is sure to have a great time!  I’m excited for a little get-away with Matt…and as soon as I find out where we’re going, you’ll be the first to know.  (AFTER we get back.)  :)

What are you thankful for this week?  Leave a comment to share how God is working in your life!

Plexus Giveaway Winners

The winners of the Plexus giveaway are:
1) Karen Dee: jdeesharpug@
2) LaCosta: jeremyandcosta@

Email me and I’ll forward your email on to Stefanie for your prize!

Get 18 Green Mountain K-Cups FREE, With Free Shipping Too!

Zero dollars.  That’s how much it will cost you to have 18 Green Mountain K-Cups delivered to your door.  No catch.

I love Top Cash Back.  I’ve had an account with them for several months now, and everything they’ve promised, they’ve come through with.  Every deal they’ve offered has been paid back to me in full.

What is Top Cash Back?  It’s a site that offers you a percentage back on online purchases when you shop through their links.  If I’m going to be buying something from Kohls or Target, for instance, I simply click through my Top Cash Back links so I get a % back on purchases I’ll be making anyway.

But what’s even better?  Sometimes Top Cash Back offers freebies deals like this one I’m sharing with you today.  That’s when the fun really happens!

Often, freebies I come across are available to everyone. This particular free coffee deal happens to be available to NEW Top Cash Back members only.  So if you’ve never signed up for a Top Cash Back account, you’ll want to take advantage of this deal!

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Here’s how this works:

1.  Sign up for a Top Cash Back Account.

2.  Head to this page, which is the specific FREE Green Mountain K-Cup offer.

3.  Read the page thoroughly.  It’s not complicated, but you do want to make sure you follow the directions correctly so you’ll get your money back on this deal!

4.  Click on the orange “Get Cash Back” button.

5.  Make your purchase on the Bed, Bath, and Beyond site.  Place only one 18-count box of Green Mountain K-Cups priced at $10.99 into your cart.  Select free standard shipping.  Check-out as normal.

6.  Within a few days, you will see a $12.50 credit in your Top Cash Back account.  That amount becomes payable to you within 30-90 days.

Did you do the math on this?  Since the product is $10.99 with free shipping, and Top Cash Back pays you back $12.50 – you’ll be earning a bonus $1.51 on this deal.  Sweet!

Offer good through Thursday, August 14 or while supplies last.

Have fun grabbing your freebie!  I think you’ll enjoy your Top Cash Back account as much as I do.  I’ll keep you posted as they let me know about more freebies to share with you all!

This post contains affiliate links.

Whole Wheat Pizza Swirls ~ The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

I’m excited to kick off our new Make-Ahead Lunch Box series with a fun new recipe I recently tried for my family.  We all love these Whole Wheat Pizza Swirls.  Here are my favorite perks to this recipe, and why I think this is perfect for your Make-Ahead Lunch Box:

  • You can make Pizza Swirls ahead of time, wrap them individually, and store them in the freezer until you need them.
  • You can fill the Pizza Swirls with any of your favorite toppings, making this recipe versatile and ideal for accommodating food preferences.
  • These taste great both hot and cold.
  • Pizza Swirls are simple to make.
  • Pizza Swirls are filling and easy to eat.

Whole Wheat Pizza Swirls

1 recipe of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
variety of pizza fillings – your choice – like meat, olives, and veggies
2 Tablespoons olive oil (optional)

Mix Whole Wheat Pizza Dough as directed.  On a clean, well floured surface, roll dough into a long oval until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Spread pizza sauce over the dough.  Sprinkle with cheeses and your favorite pizza toppings.  Roll the dough up, beginning on the long side.  Tuck the ends under.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Spread olive oil over the top if you like.  Bake in a 375° oven for about 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Slice and serve.  Makes about 8-10 Pizza Swirls.

Whole Wheat Pizza Swirls

Bonus Tips:

  • Want to pack these Pizza Swirls to go?  Once the swirls have cooled completely, wrap them individually and place them in an air tight container in the freezer.  Set frozen wrapped Pizza Swirl in the fridge overnight to thaw to pack in a lunch box the next day.
  • Need to eat Gluten Free?  Copy the idea and use your favorite gluten free dough recipe.
  • Tired of pizza?  Skip the sauce and use turkey or chicken with cheese to make Meat and Cheese Swirls.

Great to Serve with Pizza Swirls:

  • Fresh fruit like apple slices, orange slices, peaches, cantaloupe, pineapple, or pears
  • Carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers, celery, or sweet peppers
  • Olives or pickles

I double, triple, or quadruple this recipe so that I can make lots at once to make my getting-ahead efforts worthwhile.  This also means I can make a variety of different Pizza Swirls to have on hand.  Our favorites are:

  • Pepperoni and Cheese
  • Combination (meat, cheese, green peppers, mushrooms, olives)
  • Hamburger and Green Pepper
  • Pepperoni and Olive

What kind of pizza swirls do you think your family will like?  Have any other ideas you feel would be good to serve with Pizza Swirls (especially ideas that will pack well in a lunch box)?

Menu Plan for the Week

Menu planning in the summer is so much fun for me!  Winter is fun too, with soups and such.  But summer?!  With all the fresh produce available?  Mmmmm, I love this time of year.  Bring on the watermelon, corn on the cob, nectarines and peaches, strawberries, tomatoes….

Sunday, August 10
Creamy orange cooler, toast
Pasta salad bar with lots of chopped veggies, cantaloupe
BLT wraps, watermelon, fried okra, carrot sticks

Monday, August 11
Chocolate chocolate chip muffins, sausage, strawberries
Sloppy cornbread muffins, cucumbers and carrots with ranch, nectarines
Grilled barbeque chicken, tossed greens, tomatoes, corn on the cob, zucchini

Tuesday, August 12
Crepes with cream cheese filling, strawberries and blueberries
Turkey ranch pinwheels, fruit and kefir smoothies
Cheeseburger macaroni, tossed salad, green beans

Wednesday, August 13
Cereal, fruit
Scrambled egg sandwiches, peas, nectarines
Cheesy beef and rice, green beans, zucchini, tossed salad

Thursday, August 14
Green machine milkshakes, scrambled eggs, toast
Pizza boats, carrots, cherries, sweet peppers, olives
Popcorn chicken, cheesy cauliflower cakes, green beans, watermelon

Friday, August 15
Fried eggs, hashbrowns, peaches
Black bean chicken nachos, grapes
Grilled burgers, lettuce and tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini

Saturday, August 16
Whole wheat donuts, raspberries
Leftovers
Chicken patty sandwiches, tomatoes, broccoli salad, cantaloupe

What fun summer foods are you enjoying?

41 Years Old, 42 Jars, and 40% Off. Last Day for Sale!

Remember how I turned 41 on Sunday and how I’m running a 40% off sale in my shop all week to celebrate?  That sale was supposed to end Friday.  I usually throw out a “last day” reminder, but I got distracted yesterday and completely forgot.

Distracted, you ask?  Distracted with what?

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Well, I got on a roll with my canning jars, and I just couldn’t stop.

We’d been given several bags of cucumbers on Wednesday night at church.  On Thursday I made and canned a double batch of Sweet Pickle Relish.  I then canned peaches that Matt and the boys had brought in from one of our peach trees.  Then, since I had cucumbers left after making relish, I tried my hand at dill pickles.  (We haven’t eaten them yet – hope they’re good!)

I had so much fun.  There’s just something so rewarding about seeing all the food fill the jars, knowing my family will be well fed this winter.  36 canning jars later, we wrapped it up for the night.  Then Friday, I made 6 jars full of Super Creamy Peanut Butter to keep in the fridge.  We should be all set with peanut butter for a few weeks now.

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 You like how I dribbled peanut butter all over the outside of the jars,
then didn’t clean it up before snapping the picture?
“Wow, Laura is so clean and neat when she cooks,” said no one.

All that to say, I’ve extended the 40% off sale one more day.  I wanted to give you a “last day” shout out, which means that instead of the last day being Friday, the last day is now Saturday.

Head to our Heavenly Homemakers Shop.  Every downloadable item and eCourse is 40% off – a great deal!  (Printed books are not included in this sale.)  Use the code BIRTHDAY at check-out for your 40% discount.

Shop our 40% off sale now through midnight, August 9.

Why Did I Choose To Share a Review About Plexus?

I’ve heard from several that you were surprised that I would promote a weight loss product here at Heavenly Homemakers.  Fair enough!  It does seem out of the norm for me.

I have to say that I really appreciate those of you who are questioning, “Wait! Is this really a safe product?”  I much prefer this over people just taking my word for it and not looking into it for themselves.  Please never read what I write and jump right in without doing your research.  (Also, while I’ve got you - never listen to a sermon and jump in with what the preacher is saying without checking what the Bible says first.)

To those who are questioning if my promoting Plexus goes against what Heavenly Homemakers is all about:

I always encourage you to eat well, drink water, exercise – all the wonderful things we need to do to be healthy.  That’s why I put those at the top of the review post.  Those are FIRST.  Always.  If you aren’t doing those things, don’t ever think you can just take a supplement or product and you’ll suddenly start feeling better or achieve a healthy weight.  There is no fast and easy ticket to good health.  You have to be intentional about taking care of yourself, period.

I don’t talk about it much here on the blog, but my family and I take quite a few nutritional supplements to help each of us with specific weaknesses and ailments.  We have all benefited greatly from eating whole foods the majority of the time, and I believe that is key to helping our bodies respond to healing and finding overall good health.  But Malachi’s eczema did not fully go away until we had help from holistic doctors who gave him supplements to assist his body in healing.  My asthma and migraines need more than just whole foods.  I am taking supplements for overall body healing, to detox my system from heavy metals, and to help my body learn to digest properly.  Asa’s allergies are finally more manageable, thanks in part to supplements.  Each member of our family is taking vitamins and being boosted by specific remedies to aid our overall health.

So about Plexus:

I researched it as a supplement.  I’m trying it out as a supplement.  I’ve noticed a difference in my emotional stability and energy after taking it for one full week.  A good friend of mine has experienced similar results, and since she has some pounds to lose, she has also experienced weight loss.  She’s also watching what she eats, exercising, drinking water – well, she’s working at overall good health.  I’m proud of her.

I promoted Plexus to you because I’m working with an advertiser here on my blog who asked me to give it a try.  I’m not a sales rep.  I don’t get a kick-back if you purchase.  I simply wrote a review on my experience with this product, just like I do many other products that are sent to me for this purpose.  Do the research and find what is right for you, just like you do about anything you come across.

I’m thankful I’ve had the chance to try Plexus, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Stefanie to inform you about it.  She has been fabulous to answer all my questions, so do feel free to share any you might have with her as well! (sbosket5 at yahoo.com)

 

Do Homeschoolers Feel Left Out?

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I loved this question I recently received from a reader.  Since I believe this is a common concern, I decided to share my response with all of you.  As our family enters our 13th year of homeschooling, you can bet I’ve learned a thing or twenty.  Most importantly, I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn, that every kid is different, that family needs vary, and that I really should sweep behind my office door more often.  (I just learned that one five minutes ago when I closed my office door.  Apparently it usually stays open so I don’t notice the filth behind it.  Gross, Laura.  Find a broom already.)

Here’s part of the email I received:

I want to homeschool my children. But I do have one concern that I do not know how to shake. What do I do if my child feels left out by not going to school with the other children? My oldest is approaching 5 this year and I have 2 two year olds. I have made the commitment to my self to teach my children at home, but I can see my oldest wanting to be with the other children as they venture off to school together. I do not like the idea of my 5 year old being sent off for the day, away from home to be taught by some one else other than me.  Have you ever faced this problem? Any advise to ease my mind and turn his attention more toward home than school?

I remember feeling this way!

These are some of the questions I bad back when my kids were little:  What about first day of school clothes and pictures?  What about lunchboxes and field trips?  What about the school bus, bulletin boards, and shopping for school supplies?  What about sports teams and choir and dramas and band?  As all the other kids head off to school, how can I make homeschool feel special and exciting?

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There are fun and wonderful opportunities that our public/private school friends enjoy that we do miss out on since we keep our kids at home for school.  There’s no way around it.  I am always hearing about neat activities and projects our public school friends are doing.  I’m happy for them and rejoice with them.  There’s no doubt those opportunities are rich, memorable, and really, really cool.

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But there are also fun and wonderful opportunities that we, as homeschoolers, are able to enjoy because we are home together much of the day.  Our family has been flexible during the daytime to visit fruit orchards, deliver special treats or meals others, sit down and get to know elderly friends from church, help with construction projects, help unload trucks for people who just moved to town, make an impromptu trip to visit our state capital, get together with other homeschoolers for special projects – well, the list goes on and on.

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See, it’s not as if one set of opportunities is better than the other – it’s just that they are different.  You have to choose what works best for your family, then create and embrace opportunities that bless your family and become blessings to others – no matter where your kids do their school work.

It can seem to your kids - or to you – that you’ll be missing out on all of that fun kids enjoy when they go to school.  But I tell you what: If you choose to homeschool, you grab hold of any and all the fun traditions you want to.  You hype it up to your kids.  You make it a big deal, and pump it up, and I don’t think they will feel left out.  In fact, in my experience, other kids have heard about what our boys are doing or have done and they start begging their mom to please homeschool them so they can do all the cool stuff we’re doing.  (Which of course, all of our variety of “cool stuff” can be done whether you homeschool or not - those kids just didn’t initially realize that it worked that way.)

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Here are our boys posing in their costumes after a play they
performed with our homeschool group several years ago.

Let your kids pick out a fun lunchbox.  Use it for picnics, field trips, and other fun outings.  Take first day of school pictures wearing special first day of school clothes.  You’ll love having pictures like that to look at later!  Plan a special first day of school breakfast.  Make a list and go shopping for school supplies.  We’ve done this for years and love this special outing.

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The day the UPS man brings our box of new school books for the year
has been almost more exciting than Christmas.  Almost.

Field trips? Sport events? P.E. class?  Choirs?  Bands?  Dramas?  Holiday parties?  That is all available, trust me.  You might have to work hard to make it happen, but there’s nothing you can’t do if you feel it will benefit your child and your homeschool experience.

elias soccer 2014 spring

It’s downright exciting, really.  I mean, think of it.  Your kids might even be able to hold snakes.

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Or not.  That was one field trip memory I can’t get over.  Most of my boys wouldn’t touch ‘em.  Justus could have been there all day with his “new friends.”  {shudder}

Whatever you choose, whether homeschool, public school, or private school – I encourage you to do so filled with God’s peace.  Listen to His call for you, and without a doubt, He will provide just what you need.

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 I can’t tell you the blessing our homeschool basketball team has been to our entire family.
 What a need this has met!  What a rich experience it is to be a part of this.

Will there be hard days?  Frustrating moments?  Times of feeling left out?  Certainly.  I think we all feel those occasionally throughout our entire lives.  There’s no such thing as a “be all and end all” – in school or in life.  But we grab hold of that which God puts before us today, and we walk with Him.

Living life loving each opportunity?  You betcha.

Homeschoolers, public schoolers, private schoolers:  Share some of your favorite school year traditions!

How To Achieve a Healthy Weight Safely (Plus a Giveaway from Plexus)

You can be skinny and unhealthy.  You can be overweight and starving.  You can look “just right” and not feel great.  How and why is any of this possible?

Simple.  Our bodies need nourishment.  If we aren’t filling ourselves with nutritious foods, we will not be healthy – no matter what we look like.  Many an overweight person is starving for nourishment.  Filling up on nutrient void “food” keeps our bodies asking for more.  When properly nourished, our bodies will be satisfied.

Every body is different in how it responds to lack of nutrition.  Some become overweight.  Some become underweight.  Some become sick.  Some become sluggish.  Some develop a variety of health problems over time.

The solution?  Well, again, every body is different.  I’m not an expert.  But, I think it’s important to remember that “being skinny” is not the goal any of us should be going for.  Achieving a healthy weight for you?  Feeling great, having energy, and becoming altogether healthy - well that’s what we should be going for, right?

Whether we’re talking about weight or not, here are my five favorite healthy tips (hmm, I bet you’ve heard me say these before…):

1.  Eat a balance of nutrient rich foods. 

Focus on foods that nourish and satisfy.

2.  Cut out the sugar and nutrient-void foods. 

Save the desserts and chips for occasional treats.

3.  Exercise. 

Oh how our bodies need this, in whatever form you choose.

4.  Drink water.

Most people don’t drink nearly enough.  I can’t stress enough the importance of drinking water.  Are you drinking enough?

5.  Get plenty of sleep. 

This one can be tricky, especially if you have babies and little children.  Do the best you can, and really make sleep a priority!

What if you need extra help to achieve great health and an ideal body weight?

I’ve recently been introduced to Plexus Slim.  Ever heard of it?  I was excited to begin working with Stefanie, an ambassador with Plexus.  I’d never heard of Plexus before, and at the beginning of our working together, I was hesitant.  Why?  Because I am at a healthy weight right now.  Plus, I’m cautious about what I put in my body.  Was this going to be one of those products promising to work miracles on everyone?  Before diving in, I did some research, and I asked Stefanie more questions.

Stefanie has been absolutely wonderful to answer all of my questions, giving me testimonies and specifics as to why these products are not only right and safe for those who want/need to lose weight, but for others like me who want to maintain a healthy weight.  And how about for those who need to balance blood sugar, have fewer sugar cravings, have more energy, desire to sleep better, want to kick eczema…  YES!  She even gives Plexus to her young son to help cure his eczema.

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Feeling great now about giving Plexus Slim a try, I began taking it each morning.  What do I think of it?  First things first - this is a treat to wake up to.  It tastes YUM.  But how have I felt after several days in a row taking this product?  It’s really great.  The best word I can come up with to describe how I feel is: Balanced.  I feel steady.  I feel calm.  And this is all after traveling most of the month of July, and then starting intense school days with my kids two days later.

Here’s something else cool!  Just days after I started taking this, my friend Lisa posted about Plexus on Facebook.  She’s taking it as a weight loss tool, and of course, to help her achieve overall good health.  Without sharing with her how I’d been feeling while taking the product, I asked her how it had been going.  Her answer?  “I feel…calm.  Steady.  And, I’m losing weight.”  Well then.  It seems that she and I are enjoying similar benefits, except that she is also losing some pounds she was hoping to shed.  Bonus!

Just today, here’s what Lisa wrote as her Facebook status about Plexus:

10 pounds and -18 total inches. I’ve read it takes two weeks to notice a difference in yourself and four weeks for others to start noticing. I’m just past two full weeks and whether anyone else notices or not, I do. That feels pretty darn amazing.

I’m super excited for Lisa, and I give Plexus two thumbs up.  As a tool to help you find your healthy weight, and simply to help you achieve overall good health, I encourage you to look into this.  Do your research to see if this will be a good fit for you.  (Some commenters have found that not all of the ingredients have settled well with their systems.  As I stated before, I don’t believe anything is a magic bullet, cure-all.  But I do think this is a good supplement to try out to see if it works for you.)

Want to give it a try for free?  Stefanie is giving away two 7-day trials of Plexus Slim plus the Accelerator pill for two different winners.  Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.  I’ll draw two random winners on Monday, August 11.  Be watching for a post stating the winner as you will be responsible for contacting me if your name is chosen.

Have questions about Plexus?  Check out Stefanie’s website, or feel free to email her about your needs! (sbosket5 @ yahoo.com)

How You Can Get Our Curriculum Kit Plus Four Other Resources For LESS Than the Cost of the Curriculum

I loved watching this order come through on Monday, knowing the recipient was getting a huge bang for her buck.

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See, normally our Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve complete curriculum kit download is $45.00.  You get a lot in this kit, no doubt.  But this week? Since we’re running a 40% off sale on everything downloadable on our site, you can get the curriculum kit plus several other resources – for LESS than the original cost of the curriculum.

If you’ve been eyeing any of our downloadable items, from ebook to eCourse to curriculum – you must take advantage of this great deal this week.  Use the code BIRTHDAY at checkout to receive 40% off your entire order of downloads.  Note:  All printed items are excluded from this sale.  Watch for fun bonus buys with printed books soon!


Many are taking advantage of this huge discount.  Have you?  Come and get it!!