19 March 2014

*No More Perfect Kids*: a must read for moms & dads everywhere!

You may remember last year that I shared with you about the wonderful book No More Perfect Moms, by Jill Savage.  I'm really excited to share with you about the follow up book to that: No More Perfect Kids.  

This amazing book by Jill Savage and Kathy Koch is written to not just moms, but to dads as well and is one of the most encouraging parenting books that I've read in a very long time.  And some parental encouragement is just what I need these days.  

The theme of this book is "it's about progress not perfection".  And I really needed to hear that. 

I struggle very much with what Jill describes as "the perfection infection".  It's a family trait so I come by it honestly and it was the way I was raised.  But it's so harmful.  I very much want to break that cycle.

Many times when I lay my head on my pillow at night I am so filled with shame at words I've said to my children in anger or frustration that day.  Going to bed feeling like a complete failure as parent is not an unknown feeling for me.  I am constantly striving to be a better parent.  

Which is why this book has been such a blessing to me.  Just like No More Perfect Moms helped me emerge from the bondage of always trying to be the perfect mom, No More Perfect Kids has helped me to see my children in a whole new light.  To see how my own expectations of them can be so wrong ...and so hurtful.    

Chapter Two of this book may be the one that has spoken to me more than any other--although I admit it's hard to choose just one.  This chapter deals with perfection-vs-excellence.  Perfection is something that has plagued me from birth, I guess.  I expect it of myself and others far too often.  And, as we all know, it's just not possible.  

Jill and Kathy share a wonderful, eye-opening list of the differences in perfection and excellence.  Just a few examples from this list are: 
  • Excellence is something done well.  Perfection is something done without fault.
  • Excellence is satisfying.  Perfection is never satisfied.  
  • Excellence is motivated by confidence.  Perfection is motivated by fear. 

There are nine more very convicting (to me, at least) statements in this list.  I could relate to all of the perfection ones.  This is definitely an area I need to grow in undoubtedly.  

Actually, each chapter in this book has challenged me in many ways.  You can view a sample chapter here.

Another favorite thing in this book is the special resource section in the back!  There are suggested chore lists, a book study leader's guide, ways to help your children develop good character, and lots more!  

Now, here's some great news: from now until March 23rd when you purchase this book (eBook or hard copy!) you'll be eligible to receive over $100 worth of bonus parenting resources!!

17 March 2014

What I've Read So Far This Year

I've been reading A LOT so far this year!  I hope that's a good sign for the rest of the year.  I have so.many.books. that I want to read right now.  

I'm just glad that I've read as many books this year as there have been weeks so far!

What I've been reading:

  1. The Tender Years
  2. A Searching Heart
  3. A Quiet Strength
  4. Like Gold Refined

I'm currently reading Emma by Jane Austen.  Trying to get some more classic reading in these days.  

What about you?  What are you reading this year?

What's For Dinner {March 17th}

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  Top o'the morning to ye!!

I'm back on track this week with the menu plan~whoo hoo:)  It's going to be a full week so I've gotta stay on top of things.  

Here's what's cooking this week:

Monday:  Corned Beef with Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots ...and Soda Bread, if I get around to making some:)

Tuesday:  Hamburgers Diane, Potato Cakes, and Southern Green Beans

Wednesday:  Tostadas

Thursday:  Ranch-Style Chicken, Baked Potatoes, and Salad

Friday:  Girls-Night-Out with The Princess and her friends for her birthday

Saturday:  Tacos, Rice & Beans Casserole, Chips and Homemade Salsa

Sunday:  {The Princess' 11th Birthday!} Lunch out with family and friends

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

08 March 2014

End of the Week Wrap-Up {snow days, sick days, & an international festival}

Yep.  It is time to wrap this week up! 

In my life this week...

...we celebrated Vince's birthday over a period of three days~he's finally learned to stretch out the party beyond just one day ....like I do! :)  We were actually snowed-in on his birthday, but we had cake so it was all good!
(the photobomber getting photobombed)

We had lots of fun on our first snow days of the year.  Even though our local school have been out for LOTS of snow days this year, none of it was actually snow so we didn't bother taking the days off.  It was fun to set the books aside for a couple of days and just play (and, for me, do lots of laundry...ha!).  I posted a little more about our fun in the snow earlier this week here.

(getting ready to head down the hill)

(feeding the birds)

The Princess also had oral surgery on Wednesday of this week.  She needed to have some teeth extracted due to crowding so that she'll be ready for braces soon.  I really felt for her because I had the same surgery when I was twelve and it's no picnic.  But she did great and is already feeling much better!  So proud of her! 

In our homeschool this week...

...we were pretty laid back.  Besides taking a couple of snow days, the day of The Princess' surgery we were pretty busy with that.  Mr. B got some school work done in the surgeon's waiting room though so that was good.  I hated to not take advantage of that since we'd already taken the snow days:)  The Princess got to take it easy that day, but she did keep up her work while lying on the couch the next two days.  

That's one of many things that I love about homeschooling: it's flexible!

And another thing I love about homeschooling is: you can take a field trip on a Saturday and get another school day in!  Learning can be so much fun!

Our city hosts an International Festival every year and this is the first year for us to attend.  I was so impressed with the effort put into planning it.  We had such a great time!  We "visited" Peru, Polynesia, Puerto Rico, Panama, Indonesia, India, Venezuela, the Philippines, Mexico, Japan, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Sudan.  Each country's booth included various things such as, beautiful articles and clothing from that country, activities to do, food to sample, photo booths, and lots of great info about the different countries.  

There was a Story Time tent hosted by the local library where we got to hear a Persian fairy tale read in both English and Farsi.  The kiddos enjoyed making an 'eye of god' craft and origami crafts, sampling fried cod in 'Puerto Rico', fresh tortillas in 'Mexico', and cookies from 'Peru'.  The Princess even got a henna tattoo in 'India'.    
(entering the Global Village)

(an origami dog from 'Japan')

(an origami balloon from 'Japan')

(an Ethiopian hut)

(some of the beautiful Chinese lanterns 
that were all over the convention center)

(trying on sombreros in 'Mexico')

(Mexican photo booth fun)

(more fun in 'Mexico')

(in the story time Persian tent with friends)

(one of the lovely Indian ladies)

(getting a henna tattoo in 'India')

(the kiddos' eye of god crafts)

And that, my friends, wraps up our week!  

06 March 2014

Snow Days!

This has been quite the winter!  And this week proved that it's not over yet.  On Sunday night we got hit with freezing rain, sleet, and snow ...several inches of it!  We've been wanting a really good snow all winter long and just when we were starting to get in the mood for spring ...it came.  ha!  So we have just been enjoying it as much as we can.  

Early in February we had some winter-y weather, but it was during that extremely busy week of travel for our family and the kiddos didn't get to enjoy it at all (except from the car window).  So since they haven't taken a single snow day this year (our local public schools have been out for over 2 weeks all together now!), I thought it was high time!  We took off Monday, partly to celebrate Vince's birthday and partly to enjoy playing outside.  Then we took off Tuesday, partly to go sledding on our local golf course and partly to finish celebrating Vince's birthday with dinner at his restaurant of choice: P.F. Chang's.  It was some good family time!  

Everything is still very white outside and all but the main roads are still covered in snow and ice, but this weekend promises to be almost 60F so it won't last long.  We'll probably get in a little more snow play before it's all over:)

I'm just happy that I live where I get to experience all four seasons!  

04 March 2014

Tasty Tuesdays {Black Forest Cake}

And it's Tasty Tuesday again!!  Yea!!

We celebrated my awesome hubby's birthday yesterday.  We were snowed/iced in (still are!), but we had CAKE!  That's all that matters, right? :)

Black Forest Cake is his fave and this is a recipe that I've made often for his birthdays in the past.  It had been a while though and I decided we needed to have it again this year.

It's SO good!!  Traditional Black Forest Cake is actually a little heavy for me, but this one is light and delicious!

Black Forest Cake
6 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
(I like the Hershey's Special Dark)
1/2 cup butter, melted
(filling & topping)
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling
grated chocolate
chocolate curls
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour three 8" round cake pans.  
Whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla in a bowl until they are pale 
and very thick.  Combine the flour and cocoa powder and fold into the 
egg mixture evenly.  Stir in the melted butter.  

Divide the mixture evenly between the pans (or if you only had one 
pan like I did last night, bake it one layer at a time).  Bake for about 
15 minutes, until the cake is risen and springy to the touch.  
Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then turn out onto a 
cooling rack to cool completely.  

While the cakes are cooling whip the cream with a mixer 
until it starts to thicken, then beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla.  
Continue beating until soft but fairly stiff peaks form.  

Sprinkle a little powdered sugar onto your cake plate then place 
one of the cake layers onto it.  Spread the cake layer with a thick 
layer of the whipped cream.  Next spoon 1/3 of the cherries onto the 
whipped cream (I don't use the whole filling, I just spoon out the 
cherries individually).  Repeat with the next layer of cake.  
After placing the final layer of cake on the top frost the entire cake 
with the remaining whipped cream.  Place the final 1/3 of the cherries 
on the top, cover the sides with the grated chocolate, and add the 
chocolate curls to the top.  Keep cake chilled.  Serves 8-10.  

03 March 2014

What's for dinner {Mar 3}

Well, we have just been hit with Ice Storm #3/Winter Storm Titan.  March is definitely coming in like a lion!  Spring will seem all the sweeter after this extremely cold and long winter.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy being cozy at home with my family and do some cooking!

Monday:  {Vince's birthday!} Steak & Potato Scallop, Southern Green Beans, 

Tuesday:  P.F. Chang's (weather permitting)

Wednesday:  Tostadas

Thursday:  Chicken Crepes, veggie-to-be-decided

Friday:  {visiting our local International Festival}

Saturday:  leftovers/snacks