Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Menu is Back!

Well, obviously I am friends with a lot of people who like food!  Or maybe just need some inspiration.  But either way our first Monday Menu was such a hit, that we have decided to keep it up for a while!

Remember, my goal is simple meals that most people (my kids!) will eat.  I am not including sides because we buy veggies and such around sales, so I just typically grab what I have around and add a salad.  Yes, we eat a lot of salads!

Oh, and yes, the Butter Chicken recipe was quite good!  You can find it at Keto Connect.  My family approved and they are pretty picky Indian food kids.  We would never have said we liked Indian food until our friends bought an Indian food restaurant and grocery store in Brookings, SD.  If you are ever driving through there, look up Flavor!  You will be glad you did.  Tell them I sent you and have an extra bite for me!

This week-

Monday- Chicken Noodle Casserole  (I will put a whole chicken in the crockpot and use half for this meal and half for Thursday's meal!)

Tuesday- B-B-Q Meatballs

Wednesday- Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday- Chicken Tetrazzini

Friday- Pork Roast

Saturday- Pulled Pork Sandwiches (using left over pork from Friday)

Sunday- Broccoli-Cheese Soup

A few notes- Yes, I used a whole chicken to do two meals and a pork roast to make 2 others.  It's all about saving money folks!

Yes, I tend to do a lot of soups on Sunday.  We often go out to eat with friends after church, so it is easy to pop soup in the crock pot for later and it is a lighter meal after a bigger lunch.  

And because I love you - a recipe for you!  It is one of our favorites and is on the menu for next week so I thought I would give you a heads up on the ingredients if you want to join us.  My mom made this all through my childhood and it makes me smile every time I make it.

Beef Stroganoff

2 TBSP Butter

2 TBSP Flour
2 C Water
3 Beef Bouillon cubes
2 TBSP Tomato Paste
Sprinkle of garlic powder
4 C of diced cooked beef tips
1 C Mushrooms
1/4 C Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper

Melt butter, stir in flour and cook over low for 3 minutes.  

Stir in water and add bouillon cubes.  
Cook, stirring, until thickened.  
Add tomato paste, garlic powder, beef, mushrooms, salt and pepper.  
Mix well.  
Stir in sour cream, heat well.
Serve over noodles.

That's it!  I usually pop the beef in the crockpot in the morning so it is ready to use when I start dinner to save time!

Happy planning and eating, my friends!

See ya back next week!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Gamenight with Chara Games- Unauthorized Homeschool Review Crew Review

UNAUTHORIZEDWe are always excited when we hear from Chara Games! We have had the privilege of reviewing their board game Commissioned, and it is still a family favorite.  We also love their first card game, 3 Seeds, which is for 2-5 players.  So yes, we were excited to try out and review their newest addition, Unauthorized.

Unauthorized is described as a "30 minutes social deduction game."  Unlike so many "group" games, it  is intended for 6-12 players, making it truly a group game, not just a "couple of people" game.  It is intended to be played by ages 12 plus, but we have found we can lower that with a little help and some patience.

The goal of Unauthorized is to either grow, or stamp out the church.  Each player has special qualities that that can ultimately help them sway the other players to their side.  Yes, sides change throughout the game!  Twelve role cards, or characters, are included and tell the way they can influence the other players.  The Experience cards determine the players' loyalty.  How the cards are played and traded will determine whether the church or the state wins.  As with other Chara Games and in line with their purpose, the game is intended to show the plight of the underground churches and their ever present uncertainty and instability in the real world.

Our experiences-

Unauthorized is a somewhat tricky game for us to play a family.  Though we are a family of 6, one or more of us is often not home, especially now that our second daughter is back at college.  Luckily, our oldest has a group of game loving friends, so she snuck off with it one night for them to play.  I will let her speak for herself-

I had a chance to play Unauthorized with a group of friends and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have a larger group of people. The downside to so many games is that you can only pay with 2-6 players, so having a game that you can pull out for larger groups is awesome! I played with a group of pretty serious gamers, and we all agreed we would play again! (Serious praise from people who play new games all the time!) It only took us, (well, a few of us Alpha gamers ((code for us bossy gaming friends))) about 10 minutes to read the instructions and get the cards passed out. Basically, each player is handed a role card and is loyal to either the church or the state. While a few players have fixed allegiance, most change depending on what other cards they are holding. When we first got started it seemed like the Church was going to win by a landslide, and we were a little concerned that the game was skewed. A few rounds later and it had totally turned, and the state ended up winning, much to our surprise! So no, it isn’t skewed toward the church, and, just like in real life, sometimes the bad guys win a round from our human perspective. ;) I’m actually really looking forward to having another big group over so we can play again!

And yes, we did finally manage to get a group together and play here at home as well.  Our group was multi-generational, but I love that!  It proved that yes, Unauthorized appeals to many ages and can be played by even slightly younger ages with a little guidance.

A few notes from me-
-Watch the instructional video!  Really, just do it!
- Be patient.  The first time playing you will be just trying to get it figured out.  A few times later you will feel more secure in your understanding, promise.
- Strategy wise, it is probably better to stick with the recommended age range.
-Finding games to play with more than 6 people is hard, so we are thrilled to have this one in our home.  When friends come over, they are doomed, I mean sure to get sucked into our madness.
- I am NOT a strategy game gal.  I like them, really I do, but I think some minds are just wired that way.  Mine is clearly not.  I always have fun playing, but let's just say you do not want me on your side.  When I play, I was on the side of the state.  The state lost.  Just saying.

As always, I would recommend this, or any game by Chara Games.  Patrick and his wife Katherine have a heart for God and want to make games that create discussions about Him, possibly by people who would otherwise never have those discussions.  They hope to create joy in the Christian games they develop and make them relateable to persons of all faith and backgrounds. And, this is just a quality game, and lots of fun!

Instructional Video 

Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, September 11, 2017

Introducing- Monday Menu

Now that 34 weeks of Clean is done, I have been looking for something to consistently post for a while.  Continual sickness here at home has limited my writing time, but hey, I do have to plan to eat, right?

So here's the plan- 

I will post our proposed menu for the week, knowing it can always change.  In other words, if you like what you see and want to show up for dinner, call first!  I may have opted for something else! ;)

For the most part, side dishes will not be mentioned.  That is one area I tend to be more flexible on.  I grab veggies out of the fridge I got on sale for the week, and we eat salads A LOT!

For now I am steering clear of recipes, but may start to feature one a week if the interest is there.  Let me know what you think!

You will not find leftovers listed here often.  Not because we do not have them, but because we usually eat them for lunch.  Because we homeschool and are not big bread people due to our oldest being gluten free for so long, sandwiches rarely happen, left overs do!

This is to hold me accountable and maybe help a few of you out at the same time.  While I do not expect everyone to love what we eat, I know that sometimes just a few ideas or even reminders of long-lost favorites can be helpful.

DO NOT expect fancy.  I am not a fancy person.  I feed a family of 6, four of which are kids or young adults.  Several are more picky than others and some are in and out a lot.  My goal is not to impress them, but to just feed them.  If you are looking for complicated meals you are in the wrong place.  Family friendly it is!

Here we go!

MONDAY-  Baked Ziti (thanks to a wonderful friend who blessed us this week!)

TUESDAY- Butter Chicken (new recipe, I will let you know how it goes!)

WEDNESDAY- Baked Pork Chops


FRIDAY-  Grilled Chicken

SATURDAY- Breakfast for dinner (probably pancakes and bacon and fruit!)

SUNDAY- Chicken Corn Chowder (crockpot)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sick Some?

(Long winded today, but stick with me 'til the end!)

Oh my word, that seems to be the story of our lives these days!  Honestly, there was a time when this family was rarely sick.  Most of us struggle with seasonal allergies, but on a whole, we have remained fairly healthy through the years.  At least a few months could go by between illnesses.

These days, not so much.  Honestly, I am starting to wake up and pray that just a day would go by with no illnesses.  And while I KNOW that there are people who are suffering far greater than we are, as I used to tell our deployed friends who wanted to compare the number of months a spouse was gone, it really doesn't matter.  When you are in it, it stinks. No matter what it is or for how long.

Right now,  it stinks here.  Just saying!

I have had a lot of unexplained back and side pain and various other weird symptoms.  Basically pain of some sort almost every day for quite a while now.  In trying to find answers, doctors found a large gall stone, so I had my gall bladder removed. Problem solved, they said.

It was NOT a fun surgery.  While the surgery was deemed a success, I had a hard time recovering and it wasn't until week 5 that I felt somewhat human again. 

I had one "healthy" week.  Then my sweet son shared his camp crud with me and I was back in the bed for 8 days.  NOT fun! 

And, problem NOT solved.  Despite my gall bladder being gone, I am battling pain in my back and shoulder and under my rib cage still, some days worse than others.  And as long as we are whining, my digestive system has not been right since my surgery- a problem I was NOT having previously, thank you very much.  Makes going out anywhere an adventure to say the least.  And to top it off, for the first time in my life I am struggling with anxiety.  (can't imagine why- haha) NOT fun times.

And now...

My oldest son ended up in an urgent care twice in 3 days very sick and with a 103 temp, to be diagnosed with mono.  Yep mono.  This is my life.  Actually, I am thankful for mono, because at one point they were talking about meningitis and spinal taps and I about had a heart attack.

The good news is that unless you drink or eat after him, or he licks you (highly unlikely), he is not contagious.  Bad news is he is a 15 year old boy who is battling headaches and exhaustion and the steroids he was put on make him a crabby critter!

Deal with that when you are in constant pain! ;)

I am pretty sure the remaining three people in this house would like to not be.

And that brings me to this- I am asking for prayer.  For healing, but more than that- for my attitude.  Quite frankly it stinks right now.  After months of struggling, I am about ready to throw in the towel. 

Ha!  Like that is a choice.  So the choice I have is to trust God in ALL things.  And praise Him in ALL things.

So I am reading this little book again, starting yesterday.  Again, because yes, I have read it before.  I am a slow learner.  A dear lady from our church in South Dakota gave it to me a few years ago when my husband was unexpectedly deployed. 

I needed it then.

I need it now!

Join me in praising God today! 

"My heart rejoices in you, Lord, for You are my strong shelter in times of trouble and danger and stress..." (p.41)


*quick side note- yes, we eat healthy food, take supplements, use oils, and more.  Trust me, we are doing everything we can thing of! ;) 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Patterns of Evidence- Exodus DVD Review

As you probably know, I am usually very hesitant to review DVDs. Everyone has different tastes and I have been burned before. But when I saw the opportunity to review Patterns of Evidence- The Exodus, my curiosity got the best of me. I love Biblical documentaries and the Exodus itself boggles my mind, so I had to see what this one was about.

P    Patterns of Evidence- The Exodus is about just that- The Exodus. Specifically, it is an investigation done by filmmaker Timothy Mahoney to see if he can prove whether or not the Exodus, as documented in the Bible, really happened. This 119 minute DVD, which took 12 years to produce, is full of historical facts and live interviews with theologians, archeologists, and even the Israeli president and prime minister. Released in 2015 and narrated by God's Not Dead's Kevin Sobo, it is a mesmerizing journey that takes the investigation around the globe.  It won 13 awards in 2014 on the film festival circuit,   including a Gold Remi Award for Best Director at the Worldfest Houston Intl. Film Festival, the Gold Crown Award for Best Picture and Best Documentary at ICVM 2014, and Official Selection at the Soho International Film Festival in New York.

For all you visual learners, this one is for you!  Not only are the images and on-site footage breathtaking at times, Mahoney uses a time line on a "wall" that adjusts accordingly each time he discovers new facts.  By comparing the Biblical timeline, other historical documents, and the opinion of renowned scholars, the timeline moves back and forth during the film.  While he leaves the evidence up to the viewer to process and decide in the end, his 12 year personal search for concrete evidence is pretty compelling in that the Exodus did occur as written about in the Bible.

Our thoughts-
We watched this as a family, and quite frankly, I would like to see it again as it is pretty overwhelming with facts at times.  That being said, our 10 year old did watch with us and loved it!  There were a lot of exclamations of "cool!" and "that's neat" throughout the viewing.  Of course, as believers, we do not doubt the validity of the Bible and the fact that the Exodus did occur, but the sheer number of people involved alone makes it mind boggling for us at times.  We loved that there were historical facts presented in simple terms that we, children included, could use to later defend our faith!

This film is NOT one sided, and indeed some of those interviewed do not believe that the Exodus actually happened, from archaeologists to Egyptologists.  But I do believe that all of the evidence presented is done in a very professional, and non-argumentative way.  Because we want to raise our children to respect the views of others, even those we do not agree with, this is important to me in this kind of documentary.

For that reason, I would most certainly recommend this film to you.  It is well done, quite heavily researched and will give your family a lot to consider and talk about!  You can watch the trailer and find more info at the Patterns of Evidence website.

You can also use the discount code MK1 for $3.00 off the movie when ordering.

If you would like to win a copy of Patterns of Evidence, just leave me a comment here on the blog and a good way to reach you if you win.  We will choose a random winner next Thursday!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.