Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekend Links











This Week:

What I Made:  Curriculum plans... hahaha... I'm in end of the school year mode and I've been drawing up plans and making a list of curriculum for next year.  I so started working on fall birthdays.  There are quite a few things to get done for my 5 year olds party so I might start that this weekend.

What I'm Reading:   I just started A Well Trained Mind.  I'm hoping to work my way through some education philosophy this summer and I decided to start with the thickest one.

What I'm Doing:  Drinking Good Earth tea... spending time with Grandma... making a summer list... editing videos... scrapbooking...

What I'm Watching:  I finally wanted the movie Serendipity.  I've never seen in all this time.  But I loved it.  Watched it last Saturday and so good.

What I'm Enjoying: Cool weather... City of Ember series... chicken salad... 

What are you up to?


2016 May Bookmarks

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*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for May was American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Marie Child.

These are the books I read this month:


An Insider's Guide to Praying for the World by Brian C Stiller--See my review here.


The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau-- Following the City of Ember, The People of Sparks welcome the Emberites into their small community, but hospitality only extends so far in a post-Apocaliptic world where resources are short.  Stories of world wars emerge and both communities quickly realize the power of fear and uncertainty.  Started this series with my 5th grader, but I've took off on my own after I got hooked.


More by Todd Wilson-- See my review here.


Our suggested reading for March was The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Marie Child-- So I picked a stinker.  I had no idea how dated this book was when I first picked it.  But it quickly became apparent when I tried to read it at the beginning of the month.  For awhile I tired to get past the language and antiquated ideas to see if there was any meat I could extract from this book.  But it became impossible for me to continue on.  It was all just too much.  Sorry guys.  This one was a poor choice.  Better luck next month?

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on The America Frugal Housewife by Lydia Marie Child.

And come back June 24th as we discuss The Purpose and Power of Love and Marriage by Myles Munroe.

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, May 26, 2016

More {Review}


Author Todd Wilson's new book, More, explores the idea of Christianity, calling, and what does it mean to "live life to the fullest measure."  What individual hasn't wrestled with the question of identity and purpose?  "Is this all there is?  Why am I here?  What was I made for?"  Beyond the church strategies and programs, what we all long for is a vision bigger than ourselves.

Following the path of Be-Do-Go, Wilson takes his readers from finding their identity in Christ, to knowing their purpose, to identifying their area of influence.  It all starts in the general calling of every Christian to be a disciple making disciplines.  From that rooted position of living in Christ, readers find their specific calling blossom, leading into the More of life.

Outlined in simple identifiable steps, seeped with passion for Christ, and challenging to the core, More was one of the most life jolting books I've read in awhile.  Wilson's book is solid in theology and an easy read blend of Scripture, story, and action steps.  I currently have this book resting on my nightstand and plan to read it a second time.  Although an easy read, More is quite deep and deserves a re-read to effect deep change.

This is a definite read for anyone struggling with vision and purpose, and most Christians in general wanting to grow.  I can't recommend this one highly enough.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

10 Easy Ways to Go Green

Going green doesn't have to be complicated.  In fact, going green is simply a million little baby steps stacked up over time.  So if you're looking a few more baby steps, these are some simple ways we're adding green into our home these days.  And despite the initial investment, these baby steps have saved us a little money as well.  Saving green while going green?  I'm in!


*Replace Disposable Sandwich Bags--If you have kids packing school lunches, disposable baggies can add up quickly, both in cost and trash.  We've found that our reusable sandwich boxes have lasted us for years and are easily cleaned in the dishwasher.  There are quite a variety available including these soft bags from Mixed Bag Designs.



*Replace Disposable Snack Cups--There's a HUGE variety of snack cups available from characters to portion control to stainless steel.  You name it, you can find it.  And with the amount of snacks a kid eats, these pay for themselves quickly.  Not a parent?  I love these for packing my own snacks in smaller portions.


*Carry a Reusable Water Bottle--We all need to be drinking more water and it's so tempting to pick up a plastic water bottle on a hot day.  But investing in a water bottle will keep you from buying all that plastic and save you some money in the long run.

*Stop using Paper Towels--I love using microfiber clothes to clean in my home.  They clean very well and are easily laundered.  For spills in the kitchen, I keep an extra supply of washable dishrags as well.  For about the past three or four years, we've been virtually paper towel free and going strong.


*Ditch the Plastic Grocery Bags--Our grocery store sells these inexpensively and even rewards customers for using them.  We get so much off our bill for each bag we bring in.  It's been a great incentive for remembering to bring our bags.

*Invest in Cloth Napkins--There's such a variety of colors, designs, and sizes, from very basic to these bright colorful napkins pictured here.  We have a couple of sets of dark colored napkins for family nights and a set of fancier napkins for fun.



*Use a Reusable Coffee Cup--These single cup coffee pots have become so popular, but that little cup gets thrown away every time.  What a great idea to keep all that plastic out of landfills!

*Purchase some Reusable Produce Bags--These too come in a variety of sizes including bags with smaller holes for spices and bulk items.  And because they're so light weight, produce bags don't add to the cost of your items.


*Use the Backside of Every Piece of Paper--As a homeschooling family, we go through a lot of paper, printing projects or logs to be turned in.  Or those times when I hit print before realizing this wasn't quite the file I was looking for.    All that paper goes into a pile on my desk to be reused for math problems or grocery lists or handmade cards.


*Bring Your Own To-Go Containers--Going out to dinner?  Why not take along your own to-go container?  With the variety available today, there are even collapsible containers that can fold flat until after dinner.  And you won't have to worry about throwing away the styrofoam container after you have your leftovers.

How are you taking steps to going green?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ashland, Or's Agave Restaurant

Once a year my husband and I plan a quick weekend away to relax, recharge, and reconnect.  It's usually a couple of days filled with sleeping, reading, seeing a play, and eating ridiculously good food.  When we went away in April, I was obsessed with capturing images of this good food to share with you.  And hopefully inspire you to check out some of our favorite restaurants in the little town of Ashland, Oregon.

This first place is called Agave and my husband and I heard rumors of this place about 4 years ago.  We had a friend suggest it to us, and unfortunately we drove all over town into the countryside to find it.  We failed miserably.  But when we went back the following year we stumbled upon it at the end of E Main St and were astonished by how affordable and delicious it really was.

Fast forward to this past April and we were again on the hunt for  lunch at Agave.  Imagine our disappointment when we wandered down E Main St only to find it wasn't there.  I almost went into a panic, wondering where I was going to find fresh, affordable tamales.  Luckily this time, it only took a little wandering to find their new location  just off E Main St on Granite St.

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Agave's new location offers both indoor and outdoor seating with a larger dining room which we opted for on a chilly day.  The menu included so many wonderful options from soups and salads, to tacos and tamales.  It was hard to know what to choose.  I opted for the chicken and green chile tamale, while my husband chose one each of the grilled and fried fish tacos.

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We were absolutely blown away by the freshness and flavor of our selections.  The tamale practically melted in my mouth.  The chile sauce had just the first amount of tartness and the masa was moist.  My husband couldn't stop talking about his tacos, even preferring the fried fish which isn't typically his taste.  Our waitress also brought us a house sauce to garnish our lunch.  This light sour mayo was tangy to the taste and accented the flavors perfectly.

Our experience at Agave was simply wonderful.  I can hardly wait to visit again and explore more options on their menu.  I'm sure it won't disappoint.  

Have you been to this area?
What were some of your favorite finds?

For more information: check out Agave's website here.
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