Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Healthy Latte....yes, it is possible (and it tastes good)

Yesterday I mentioned my new sugar free lifestyle.

All is well except for the longing in my soul for a Starbuck's White Chocolate Mocha or a Venti Pumpkin Spice latte. Really, for the first few days I almost cried. I have a Tassimo, and it brews some pretty amazing mocha and cappuccino  and lattes...oh my!

Okay, I think you get that I love some good, sweet coffee drinks.

The quest to reproduce that in a sugarless, low-fat version that actually is worth the trouble and worth drinking seemed hopeless.

Here is my new favorite, healthy drink.

Have on hand:

Gevalia espresso T-disc or strong coffee or other espresso.

Torani Sugar free syrup, I used the hazelnut flavor.

Stevia in the Raw, 1 packet

Almond milk, unsweetened. 1 Cup

I used a Froth au Lait milk frother. A hand held would probably work too.

Froth the milk, adding the packet of stevia and 2 TBS of the sugar-free syrup before the frother shuts off.

Pour it into a cup, brew your T disc or add your espresso.




Ahhhh....happiness in a cup!

Want more happiness?

Check this out!

Yep! 32 calories! Do you know that my usual latte would have come in at 150 calories with fat and sugar!

Now, I do not advocate using artificial sweeteners other than stevia or xylitol. But it was a matter of sanity for me. (The syrup is sweetened with Splenda) I have to have coffee that taste good. Period. :) Just out of curiosity I checked the nutrition facts for my beloved pumpkin spice latte. Hold on to your seat: 410 Calories, 17 fat grams, no fiber and 48 grams of sugar! Whoa! I think I will try some of Torani's sugar free Pumpkin syrup next!



Blue Diamond Breeze froths better than Silk. But, I think it has 10 more calories.

UPDATE 7-17-2013 Since I am now trying to follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan I have revisited this recipe during a Fuel Cycle, FP day. Don't have a Tassimo? Just brew some really strong espresso to counter all of the almond milk. It works just as well with KAL stevia extract,  sweetened to taste. A little vanilla extract added, and some Fat Free Redi-whip will make you feel all special. :) A Fuel Pull Latte! Happy, Happy, Happy!

Linking up at Stacy Makes Cents and Gwen's Nest for Trim Healthy Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cooking Experiment

I haven't said anything about my health goals lately. I'm just waiting for the right time. You know, the time I feel like I can do it and not quit....

Anyway, I've been at a new eating plan (I don't like the D word) for the last three weeks.

It requires that I eat tons of veggies and lean protein, low fat and no sugar. I know, your thinking I'm crazy. Well, that may be true but we won't go there. This is really like clean eating and that is something I've been really wanting to try but never had the courage.

I'll tell you more about the plan later. Right now I wanted to share a recipe. I felt like one of those happy chefs on the Food Network. I was just cooking and tossing in ingredients like I knew what I was doing. Boy, it turned out awesome!

I've come to love vinegar and spices. They add so much to the food. I don't miss the fat and sugar at all. This started with two chicken breast and a hungry momma.

Here is the list, as best as I can remember. I didn't measure a thing.

-Two boneless, skinless chicken
breast, sliced or cubed
-Extra virgin olive oil, 1 TBS
-white wine vinegar
-chicken broth, fat free, low sodium, no MSG
-lemon juice
-pepper, to taste
-a tad bit of kosher salt
-baby spinach, raw, about two cups
- sliced raw mushrooms, 1 cup
-onion & garlic powder , 1 TBS each
- Parmesan cheese, 1/4 c

Start with EVOO. Add chicken to hot pan with oil. Begin to cook. At this point I added the spices, vinegar (1/4 cup?) and poured in some broth, 1/2 cup maybe. When chicken is no longer pink add mushrooms. Pour in some lemon juice, again I just poured, perhaps about 1/8- 1/4 cup, maybe less. After mushrooms are cooked down toss in the spinach. Just let it wilt a little. Remove from heat and sprinkle with 1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese. (If you can find lemon pepper seasoning that does not have MSG then that would be good too.) Serves 2

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- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Birth

During the last revival at our home church, which happened to be the third week of revival meetings we had been in, my Jenna was saved. I won't even try to write how I felt. There are no words. It was a so sweet. It was Jenna and our Heavenly Father. He knocked and she opened her heart. Glory.

Jenna with her Dad

Jenna and the Evangelist, Robbie Chastain

 She was so happy. She came up out of that altar with the testimony that the Lord had saved her. She wanted to be baptized right away. So, two weeks later we went to the creek. It was a lovely, warm day.

 Little Janie saw the solemn look on her sister's face and ran to her side. It was the cutest thing. She just rubbed Jenna's arm and stood right with her.

 What a happy, blessed day. Her father & Pastor had the honor of laying her down in that liquid grave.
This. This is our goal. The three R's are important in our homeschool, but the most important is that we raise children that will love the Lord with their heart, mind and soul all the days of their lives.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What School Looks like Here Today

Well we are on our second week of revival. This will be our ninth night going. I've seemingly strained a ligament in my neck and after seeing the chiropractor, and still feeling like I'm 90 when I wake up, I'm moving slow and easy and suffering horrible headaches. Today will be lots of ice and heat on my neck and lots of coffee! I'm still trying to be productive in the day and not allow too much wasted time.
Here are a couple of snap shots of what is going on here right now.

Schooling with apps! What are your favorite? Got to love iSchooling!

Tried and true favorites. Stacking pegs.

High school studies-in her bed! Does she really know how good she has it? :)
The boy doesn't like for his picture to be made. :( one day I'll grab a quick one.

Then sometimes we learn together. That's the best!

Happy homeschooling at your place!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our School Room 2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop

This week in the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop it is School Room week. What a great time to have to make pictures, that means the school room gets a little extra TLC, not that I would neglect the school room... ;)

Our school area has changed so many times over the years. Here is a link to a post from a few years ago. We have also schooled in a little "school house" that my hubby built us when we first started. It was an awesome little playhouse type building outside and since Josh was just a toddler it worked out great. he could play in the outdoors and we could school uninterrupted by the things in the house. The only drawback was heating it in the winter and the trips to the bathroom. So, as I have fond memories of that time, I really am thankful for what we have now.

Our school room used to be our garage. About 6 years ago my husband, who is the greatest, gave in and allowed me to convert the garage. Do I miss the garage? Not hardly as much as I thought!

Now to the pictures of our room now:

Our main school area for written work. 

The snuggle and have coffee area. :) My favorite!

The fitness area, I am really working on fitness. Perhaps one day I will blog about it.

Our super awesome white board. (It is a shower board from Home Depot)

The ugly wall unit does the job of keeping cool  or warm   and I love the bulletin board! It was cheap to make!

If you want to see how I made the bulletin board click here: Bulletin Board

That is it! 
Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crock-Pot Pork Chops (for those busy days)

Over the next three weeks we are going to be one busy bunch of people. I am known for my love of being a home-body. Sometimes, though, you have to happily go. We will be having 3 weeks of revivals in a row. For these few weeks I am going to be using a lot of crock pot meals and I thought I would share them here, as time allows.

Crock-Pot Pork chops

1 family pack of bone-in thick pork chops (we just ate the last of our fresh, home-grown chops)
1 package of Ranch dressing dry mix (I really am going to find a healthier sub for this one day)
1 can of fat free Cream of Mushroom condensed soup
1 can if fat free Cream of Chicken condensed soup
1 TBS Onion Powder
1/2 TBS dried parsley flakes
Put chops in crock-pot
Mix all other ingredients in a bowl then pour over chops
cook on low for 6 hours.
Nutrition Info:
(Based on 8 4oz Pork Chops, bone-in center cut)
Calories: 188
Fat: 6
Carbs: 7
Protein:  26
Sodium: 393
Fiber: 1

This picture makes the chop look a little dry, but that was not the case. It was really good and there was a lot of "gravy" in the crock pot. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012-2013 School Year - Picking Curriculum {and blog hop}

This is big!

I am just as surprised as the little guy above!

This will be my THIRD year using My Father's World!!!! I am still in shock myself!
All of those years I spent wandering through the wilderness of homeschool curriculum choices. The countless times that UPS man came up my driveway. The thrill that eventually gave way to a sale on eBay. For three years I have been done with that routine!

Did I say yet that I love My Father's World? Okay, I did? Just checking. :)

Let's start with Jessie, my upcoming high school junior. (That is equally as shocking to me)

MFW US History to 1877 (photo from MFW website)
Her core is the US History to 1877. Yes, the price is a little much to us homeschool moms. But really, is it? Considering what this education would cost at a private, Christian school I think it is a great investment. I have 3 others to come up through this program.

What will be new this year? This:

Don't get me wrong, I can really appreciate Dr. Wile's love for science and his Apologia Science books, but I just can't go there again with this child. Ah, the beauty of homeschooling! This is Biology 101. A DVD series that the entire family can and will want to watch and learn together. With the included Course Accreditation Program and Guide book ( you print these yourself) then it is a full years credit for high school Biology. I am beyond excited!  I purchased mine here: Biology 101 @ Rainbow Resource

Jessie will continue with her Viola lessons in the Suzuki method. She will also use Artistic Pursuits. She is my artsy child and I love to see her create. She has spent the last year beginning to take photographs for people and make money! She also taught herself Photoshop and by the looks of that program that is quite an accomplishment!

For the dreaded math we will continue and finish with Math-U-See. Bless her heart! :)

For ACT prep we are using this book

She will continue on through French although we are not sold on Rosetta Stone. (Any advice here is appreciated, please, leave a comment!)
To round it out she will complete the Logic course detailed on the MFW site for one semester and then this: One semester of Health. 

Whew! She is going to be a busy young lady!

Now, onto Josh (7th) and Jenna (2nd)

Exploration to 1850

MFW Exp to 1850 (MFW image)

The core for Josh and Jenna is Exploration to 1850. Awesome!
Josh is using Teaching Textbooks math and I could not be more happy about that!

For Science we will use Apologia General Science, and he will watch the Biology 101 DVD's. 
I found this awesome stack of papers lapbook to accompany this course. I chose to purchase it already printed. I also picked up the lesson plans for this level. 
L@@k at that a 3 inch binder.....what was I thinking??? Okay, I was thinking that it made this textbook look a little more fun and a little less intimidating! I will let you know how it all works out. 

For Jenna she will use the 2nd grade supplement that goes with this plan. I added these finds for her: Emma Serl's Primary Language Lessons Teacher's guide...I never knew...and I am glad I do know now!

Primary Language Lessons, Teacher's Guide

Also, I care not for Drawing With Children, I am sorry! I tried it twice! So above is a shot of the art I have added.

Beginning Drawing
I have purchased for Jenna Artistic Pursuits, but I don't understand why any art curriculum would start by asking the child to draw without showing them how to draw first.  So, that is why I added that DVD. Thanks to Tara for sharing the knowledge!

Jenna will continue with Singapore Math.  with plans to move into Teaching Textbooks.

On the topic of Jenna, I am still amazed at how she learned to read so well. I am in love with the fact that she learned to read not with only "Mat sat on Pat", but with starting at Genesis and reading through the MFW First Grade Bible Reader.

I am sure that there is more, but this post is long enough and gives a good idea about our year. Not to leave out little Janie, she will just tag along and will watch a lot of Leap Frog Letter Factory. I greatly attribute that DVD to Jenna being so ready to start MFW K.

Have a wonderful time planning your homeschool!
Join the Blog Hop at
 Not Back to School Blog Hop                      Homeschool Curriculum Choice, 2012 - 2013 /

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jenna's Birthday {the post I almost forgot to do}

Well, good grief! What kind of mom am I? I was uploading pictures for a blog post about our new school year and I ran across pictures of my dear little Jenna's 7th birthday. She had a fabulous cake done by me dear, talented friend, Tara and I just forgot to share it!

So, here you go...just a little late.

Birthday morning. Opening gifts before church.

A birthday muffin to start the day!

The main event: Brave cake!
Since her birthday fell on a Sunday we had cake and ice cream after night service in the fellowship hall with her little friends and family.
Isn't that the cutest cake!

This child is a sweet blessing! That little smile just makes my day. I am having a blast watching her learn to read and write. She is busy today writing a song. It is titled "I Love My Jesus."  What could be more precious? Since Jenna is the third born she has the advantage of having a momma who understands now that babies grow up real fast and that momma's need to cherish each moment!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to get excited...

....about school when you don't stop for summer vacation. Start with coffee. :)

Take a small break. For me this is easy because my family loves to have my kiddos spend time at the lake with them. Two days works wonders for me and is about all I can stand when it comes to not having my babies at home.

Hit up the back to school bargains. New crayons, stickers, notebooks and markers are always fun.

Take time to evaluate how well you like what resources you have been using. Toss what don't work. Go ahead, it's your school. Sell that stuff on eBay and don't look back!

You still need books for the "next year", or what ever you call it. Have fun! This is to me what the mall is to most women. I love Rainbow Resource and right now they have free shipping when you place an order over fifty dollars. That is easy to do, right?

I am excited about still having little ones and have grown to appreciate the process of them learning the foundations and their eagerness and excitement!

Reorganize your school area. A good de-cluttering session always puts a pep in my step! Get some cute baskets. The Dollar General sometimes has these at a great price.

Got any advice for me? I'd love to hear it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 23, 2012

He's Concerned About Me

I have always kind of felt that I just got in on the love of God in a corporate way, so to speak. I have asked my husband, years ago, that was there any way the he could believe that if I had been the only soul on this earth that  God would still have sent His son to die for me. I have always had a hard time thinking that he could love me that much. So, for those reasons I think that is why these lyrics speak to my soul. Perhaps they will to yours also.

He’s Concerned About Me
Kyla Rowland
Verse1: I am troubled today; May be troubled tomorrow
But I know of mercy and in whom I’ve believed
There is comfort and healing for all who believe Him
And through all my suffering He’s concerned about me
I am more precious than the lily; more than the sparrow
I know who I am and who bears all my sorrows
He is my good Shepherd who died for this lost sheep
He is my Father, He’s concerned about me
Verse 2: With so many children with so many problems
He still knows where I am and He’s touched with my need
I have the Father’s attention through my Holy Physician
Oh, it is amazing; His tender care of me
Repeat Chorus
Tag: I’ll take no thought for tomorrow; It’s in the hands of the Father
He loves me, He’s concerned about me

Saturday, July 7, 2012


I ran across this, I don't know what to call it, a rambling of sorts. It comes often. The feelings of doubt and the questions: is this real and is this worth it? I suppose at one point I wrote about the struggle that sometimes goes on in my mind. I decided to share it here.

Constrained By God's Love                                                   11.07.10

Through the movement of time, we are tossed about by many feelings and emotions. Constant is the battle between the spirit and the flesh. One will triumph. Why am I constrained by God's love and law to fight every hour for the spirit to win?

The Story:

In the beginning.... do I really believe this? The father of lies tells me no. "The battle is not worthy to fight," he says. "Just let go. It's all a myth." Yes, I start at the beginning. He only speaks to my mind, the intellect, which we all seem to think so highly of at times. However, the Comforter sweetly speaks to my soul and takes me down this road.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said....... That is all I need to begin to ponder the wonder of it all.

Creation by God is the only one way to explain the phenomenon of our physical earth, it is just as He said. Consider that if the Earth had just a slightly different tilt on its axis then none of what we know could be. There is no modern day theory that can account for that. It was not mere chance and the one who spoke it into being said:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; Jeremiah 1:5

Then he tells me:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

And when I worry He whispers: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

When I feel unloveable the word says: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Then when I go though it all over again as the next sun rises He speak this truth :
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23

He did what I could never do:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

So when my weariness of the way comes and when I am weakened as the woman in the crowd who was low enough to touch the hem of Him.....tired, ready to surrender, somewhere in my mind's eye I catch a glimpse of the Lamb, as led to the slaughter, carrying that tree that He would hang on for me. The flesh wrapped Son of God. Cant you see the blood, the sweat....authentic tiredness? My soul cries out ,pitiful wretch that I am....Lord, How can I not give you my life?

As I climb out of one pit the tempter is ready to drag me down another. This day he chooses to work on my feelings of self-pity, the “why me Lord” cry....and I am stronger this time and the Word comes to me swiftly. This is our only defense. Jesus being tempted in the wilderness only answered the evil one with Scripture.
So who am I if, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
and why do I think I deserve any good if : they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. Matt 27:30
Then I hear myself say “why not me, I am not worthy.” Pity turns to praise. I thank him that I have never faced what He allowed to become of himself for me. When selfishness creeps in and encompasses my mind, the Selfless One gently reminds me of the price he paid for my life. I will gladly serve.
When I doubt Him and think it all in vain I step back and in awe see the Creator's hand in everything around me. The face of a loved one, every fowl of the air, every tree & every flower. Our wondrously made beings and the heavens above. The beautiful tapestry He has woven and called it my life which had the lowliest beginning. I wonder how anyone could not believe in and yearn to live for my Redeemer.

I made it again, by God's grace, through the trying of my faith. And I remain joyfully, thankfully constrained.


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