A Peek Into Our Homeschool: February 2015

I’m really excited to start regularly sharing homeschool highlights at the end of each month. I mentioned doing this after the 31 Day series, but truthfully, I completely forgot until recently!

These posts will have lots of photos and some explanations, and will be a bit more candid and personal than what I usually share. I hope you find them helpful, even if you aren’t a homeschooling momma!

A Peek Into Our Homeschool for February 2015

Oh, and don’t expect super-homeschool-family highlights. We’re a real family, just like you, with real strengths and weaknesses!

You’ll probably see toys scattered on the floor, crayons piled on the table, and some general large family lived-in-ness. Like I said. Candid.

This month, my favorite project by far was the history book my two oldest created. We also had fun experimenting with seeing through only one eye. [Read more…]

Fudgy Coconut Flour Mocha Chip Cake {Gluten & Grain Free}

I take my coffee very strong, dark, and seriously. No sweeteners, rarely cream, and absolutely no froo-froo fancy coffee drinks allowed.

I used to like mochas when I still enjoyed too much sugar, though. But after a while they just became too sweet. And though I don’t like chocolate-flavored coffee (or any flavored coffee, actually), I do still love the blissful combination of coffee and chocolate in desserts.

Fudgy Coconut Flour Mocha Chip Cake, Grain & Gluten Free

Coffee chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and now this super-easy and wonderfully delicious Fudgy Coconut Flour Mocha Chip Cake.

Seriously, friends. My family loved this (and yes… it’s looking like the entire Smith clan will be java-devotees!), and I love that like my other coconut flour cake recipes, I whip it up in the food processor in moments.

If you’re a coffee fan like I am, you don’t want to miss this recipe! [Read more…]

Homemade Herbal Tea Blends in 4 Simple Steps

One of my favorite things to do with herbs is blend them into delicious, comforting teas. I’ve been blending herbal teas for years, and I have yet to get bored of developing new combinations.

Sure, there are all sorts of packaged herbal tea bags sold in stores. But if you’ve ever tasted herbal tea, blended from loose leaf herbs at home, you know there is no comparison! The quality is often much better, and the taste is, too!

DIY Herbal Tea Blending in 4 Steps

Tea blending can actually be a very simple process. Even now that I’ve finished with my Family Herbalist training, I still follow a similar pattern that I always have when it comes to blending herbal tea.

To blend your own teas, you don’t need a huge selection of herbs, and you don’t need a vast amount of expertise, either. By following some simple steps, you’ll be brewing up delightful teas that are perfect for your family!

[Read more…]

Salmon & Rice Cakes with Easy Variations

I try to prepare one meal featuring fish or seafood every week. I think it is important to vary the types of protein that our meals include.

Our whole family likes fish and seafood. In fact, we would probably love having it multiple times a week! But there’s a good reason we don’t.

Salmon & Rice Cakes with Easy Variations

You probably guessed it: our budget! As delicious as fish is, it can be difficult to feed it to an entire large family while minding the grocery budget.

Thankfully, canned fish is a frugal option and the one I use most frequently for our fish meals. Our very favorite way to enjoy canned fish, and canned salmon in particular, is in these delicious fish cakes!

The whole family loves them and my husband in particular. I love that even when we haven’t been grocery shopping for a while, I typically already have the ingredients I need to make them.  [Read more…]

Growing as a Christian, Even as a Busy Mom

I was a Christian before I was married and became a mom. I remember spending quiet time alone with my Bible and perhaps a journal, and having uninterrupted time to pray and meditate on the Lord.

Fast-forward to today when my home is filled with the noise and activity of five sweet little people, and I hardly have a quiet 30 seconds! What a challenge it can be to feel like I’m growing as a Christian in the midst of motherhood’s demands.

7 Ways to Grow as a Christian When You're Also a Busy Mom

Over the years of motherhood, the Lord has had to teach me that motherhood doesn’t have to be a hindrance to my Christian walk. It just presents unique challenges and opportunities.

So while my Christian faith might be lived out a little bit differently than what it was before children, or even what it will be when they are a little less needy, I can still grow in my faith, even while I’m a busy mom.  [Read more…]

50 Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage Without 50 Shades of Grey

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and with that, most of our heart turn towards romance. If you’re married, this is often a time when we think about doing something special for or with our husbands.

Something about this Valentine’s Day is different, though. You’ve probably heard about it in the news or on social media.

50 Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage Without 50 Shades of Grey

From the title of this post, no doubt you realize I’m talking about the movie 50 Shades of Grey that’s debuting. It’s based off a book of the same name, and it’s expected to bring in a tremendous amount of money. That includes money from women who say the book and movie are improving their marriages.

I won’t be seeing the movie. I’ll never read the book. And I’ll be honest, friends. I hope with the deepest sincerity that you don’t turn to 50 Shades to spice up your marriage, either.

There are so many better ways to do that.
[Read more…]

Incredibly Easy and Oh-So Delicious Avocado Ranch Dip

Don’t you love having recipes that are really simple, great for entertaining, and come together literally in a minute or two? Yep, so do I.

Today friends, I would like to introduce you to one. Please meet the Incredibly Easy and Oh-So Delicious Avocado Ranch Dip. 

Incredibly Easy and Oh-So Delicious Avocado Ranch Dip

This is also one of those recipes that leave friends raving and me just kind of smiling and shrugging. Honestly, it’s so simple that I was really shocked when everyone kept telling me how much they loved it the first time I made it!

Every time I’ve made it, I get those same reviews and requests for the recipe, and of course I’m glad to share.

This recipe really is so simple, but delicious enough to set out any time you want to offer some hospitality. With two main ingredients and some seasonings, and only a bowl and a fork as the necessary tools, you can have this whipped up in under two minutes.  [Read more…]

Did You Hear the One About the Fitness Chick Who Says YES to Coffee But NO to Sit ups, Planks, & Crunches?

Today you’ll be hearing from a different voice: Beth Learn, the “fitness chick” from Fit2B Online Fitness Studio. I’m a huge fan of Fit2B, and I love Beth’s heart to help every member achieve a greater level of fitness by respecting current limitations and celebrating small victories. Enjoy!

Did you hear the one about the fitness chick that says YES to coffee but NO to sit ups, planks, & crunches

Google the ways to get a great gut, and here’s what happens: The top three results will be paid advertisements, and the other kazillion results will be ordered – not by scientific accuracy or researchability but – by how many times the words you are searching for turn up in those articles. Most of them will say the same things: work your abs harder with more crunches and planks, and eat healthy foods like cardboard and grass.

While I do like my greens, and my daughter loves cardboard for art projects, I’m not about to do crunches {or tell anyone to do them} and I’m not giving up my coffee! Coffee is awesome and crunches totally stink when it comes to having a healthy gut. Might I add, though, that it’s what goes into the coffee and every other food you consume that matters. It’s what you should be doing in place of crunches and planks that will really matter. [Read more…]

Handling Childhood Crushes with Wisdom, Grace, and Gentleness {Plus FREE Printable Valentine Cards for Children}

My guess is that it wouldn’t take you long to remember one of your first childhood crushes. You know, that boy in kindergarten or elementary (hey, maybe even preschool!) that made your tummy flitter for some reason not fully understood to your immature mind?

We all had them, and that means that our children are bound to have childhood crushes of their own, too.

Handling Childhood Crushes with Wisdom, Grace, and Gentleness

As parents, we know we won’t stay the center of our children’s world forever. God designed them to grow, mature, and become independent adults interested in that lifelong romantic commitment called marriage. 

It’s then not uncommon for these little people that we love so dearly to have budding feelings of infatuation for another little person that they know. Conversely, you might find that someone has a crush on your son or daughter.

As parents, it’s also not uncommon to not know exactly how to handle those crushes. Tease? Joke? Ignore? Correct? Panic?

What is the best way to respond?

[Read more…]

Celebrating God’s Love in February with Free Printables

It’s February, and that means hearts and cupids are ev-ah-ree-where.

My daughter is busy planning her own little Valentine’s Day party for some of her friends, so our house will soon be overflowing with this month’s festivity.

Celebrating God's Love in February with February's Free Printables

It’s fun to watch her put so much thought and so many hearts into a special day with her friends. Of course I can’t blame her.

Don’t we all enjoy a day spent with people we love, celebrating what is arguably the most incredible force in the world: love?

While she enjoys putting the final touches on her party, I just finished making February’s free printable set. It’s all about God’s love this month! [Read more…]