Friday, August 29, 2014

Vegetable Soup with Barley and Leeks

I love Fall. It is probably my favorite season. Everything about it makes me smile, I love the colors of our surroundings, the smell..the decors..just everything about fall.  This soup is probably not ideal for summer, I don't know about your area but here in Inland goodness! It is so hot! However, you don't have to wait for Fall or Winter to serve this delicious and healthy chunky soup. It is so good with french bread too.

Ingredients :

8 cups homemade or store-bought vegetable  broth
3/4 cup barley
1 leek, sliced thinly
1 large diced potato
2 stalks diced celery
3 medium size, diced carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp thyme
1 15oz can whole tomatoes with juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp ground black pepper


Prep all of your vegetables ..

 In a large soup pot, heat oil and saute onions, garlic, carrots, celery, leeks, and potatoes.

Stir constantly, don't let your veggies burn. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.

In a separate bowl , gently crushed the canned whole tomatoes, Stir it in the pot. 

Add the barley..

Pour the vegetable broth and let the soup simmer for about 35-45 minutes or just until the barley is soft.  Mix in the peas. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 Serve it with your choice of sprouted bread. Healthy soup right there.


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M E A T L E S S   F R I D A Y S

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Letter of the Week : Rr

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 * The Letter of the Week series contains affiliate links .  Read full disclosure HERE. It will also feature several links and other awesome blogs to which I will give credit for their great job .


 To save money , local library is a good option. You can also use whatever books you may have in your home library to supplement with the lesson.

From the library

  • Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
  • House for Little Red by Margaret Hillert
  • The Red Rose by llse Battistoni
  • Rain by Manya Stojic 
  • Rr by Kelly Doudna
  • Ruth and Rob by Anders Hanson

From our book shelves..

  •  Rock a Bye baby and Row Row Row Your Boat Nursery Rhymes
  • Little Red Riding Hood by

 Download these Rr tracing sheets here :

 We used Big Preschool Workbook  for the find the hidden R's.  We practiced and listened to the phonetic sound of R using Leapfrog fridge magnet.

Get the fun alphabet lapbook here : Rr - Homeschool Share

We colored an uppercase R and a lowercase r with red and  you can find these collage printables here :

 We later used that colored letter block as a guide with the salt tray to practice her writing skills.

To find Bible base printables, see here : Christian Preschool Printables

We went to the park to collect rocks too!

 Other resources used: ( free) ( free) ( with paid subscription)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Velvet Crinkles

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If you are very close to me.. you will know that I only have two favorite flavors in the world. Pistachio and red velvet.  Not that I would say no to a mean chocolate ice cream or cupcake..Lets just say my heart skips a beat at the sight of my two favorite flavors.  I love it when you have one of those bad , long  and crazy days and your sweet spouse comes home with an ice cream.


Ingredients :

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 granulated sugae
3 large eggs
1 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon
5 tsp red food coloring
1 cup powdered sugar


In a large bowl , combine all the dry ingredients : flour , cocoa powder , baking powder , baking soda and salt. Give it a good whisk.

In another separate bowl , using an electric mixer whip butter and the sugar until fluffy. 
Mix in the eggs , 1 egg at a time ( adding an egg is combined with the mixture). Mix in the milk , vanilla, lemon juice and the red food coloring.

Mix it on low speed and slowly add in your dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and chill your dough for about 2 hrs. It should be firm enough to make them into dough balls.

Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take your dough and form into balls ( medium balls, or your preferred size). You may use an ice cream scooper and it will be sticky so you may want to butter your hands. It is not the best feeling on earth ( slimy butter on your hands..) but you will thank me later. Your welcome ( wink wink).

In a small bowl with your powdered sugar in it, roll your dough balls into it . Coat it evenly. Transfer the dough into your lined cookie or baking sheet. Flatten it ..slightly. 

Bake for 10-13 minutes. Do not over bake. Let it rest on the hot cookie sheet for a little while before transferring into your cooling rack .

You can sprinkle the baked yumminess with a little bit more of the powdered sugar, if you like.

I am in love...  with red velvet cookies. Yup..anything red velvet..


If you love red velvet cookies , ice cream, cakes, cupcakes. I'm your friend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simple Organization for the School Year

Organization is a constant process.  As our family grows, as our needs and space changes..we constantly change our ways to stay organized. It is not about the perfection but it is about being efficient. It saves you time when you know where your things are, saves you money by knowing what you have and you don't end up buying things you did not know you already have. I do not know about you but me stresses me more when I feel disorganized.  We have a new role in our lives now as our Lucy started school last week. It was a roller coaster week for us.. So happy and excited for her experiences , for all the new things she will learn and for the new friendship that God will bless her. At the same time, I end up oh man..where did the time went? I can still recall the days she was born. Now , here she is!

Here are simple ways that we did at our home to stay organized. Yes , it will need your little time but trust me is worth it.

1. Prepping their school outfits.

You might think..okay ..that's a lazy woman's work. How hard it is to go get an outfit every morning. No, not hard at all ! However , I prefer to have a relaxing school day mornings, I don't function well on rushed mornings ( ask my hubby) . Choosing an outfit for me , Lucy and her little sister every morning is one of the things that I choose not to do every morning to save time.  Every Saturday or Sunday after laundry , I do choose 5 outfits for Lucy's School. I just grab a complete outfit in the morning and encourage her to get dress by herself. Right beside the outfits are her shoes.

I used cardstock papers for the inserts. I just simply glued the labels on each hanger inserts.

Click here to print it for free :  Closet / Hanger Labels

2. School supplies

 Do you stock up on school supplies? If you don't , I do suggest on stocking up on great deals on school supplies. A sale combined with a coupon  will save you money. Specially this back to school season, you will see a whole lot of great deals, offers and coupons. If your school provides most of the supplies, it is still a good idea to buy a few extras. We can always offer and ask their teacher how we can help with the supplies at the classroom. After all, educating our children is a partnership between the teacher and parents. If school supplies is one way of supporting educators, I am all in.

We use this pantry cabinet ( closet maid in alder) . These cute crates are from Walmart..only a dollar each.

3.School documents, forms, artworks or homework

We got this bin / container from Office depot. It will hold all school stuff such as enrollment forms or documents . school packet info, homework, artworks. The bin uses the legal, regular hanging folder type so separating each category is easy. Since, Lucy is just on Pre K , we only started with 3 category. We plan on using one bin per kid, so we could keep all of the paperwork under control. Someday , we will categorize it by grade ( pre k, kindergarten, first grade ..etc) and someday Lily will have one too.

4. Information Center

 We are a traditional family, while COZI is awesome, however a good calendar method works for us.  The left side calendar is just an old frame that we converted into a dry erase calendar. It is where we write all of our appointments , events we plan on attending, birthdays and some schedules like Rob's overtime dates. The right side is a push board , where I put some info from school that I'd like to remember , a guide schedule for us , a chore schedule for me and maybe some info or message we like to be reminded.

What is a guide schedule?  we call it a guide schedule because while having a daily routine is beneficial, however..we believe that  a schedule is not written on stone. It is there to guide us to stay organize with our time or planning but we should be flexible enough if there are sudden changes.

What is a chore schedule? Well, while we keep our house "somewhat" clean and organize. Our home is not squeaky clean, I do schedule my chores so my chores don't rob my time from myself and my family. For example  on Mondays..I clip coupons, laundry..Tuesdays..I clean the bedroom and bathroom. That doesn't mean that we just keep the rest of the house messy in between days. We do a quick clean up before we go to bed. If we just simply can not do quick clean up..Oh well..mess will be there tomorrow. Family time and kids don't keep :)

5. Snack list

I downloaded this WEEKLY LUNCHBOX PLANNER  printable from $5 Dinner Mom . Love it ! So I can plan her snacks for school for the whole week. It makes my menu planning and shopping list really easy.

6. A homework catchall and homework caddy.


 The homework catchall holds the homework folder from school and some educational books to supplement with her lesson or study time.  

The homework caddy as you can clearly see holds crayons, markers , scissors, glues/paste, sharpener , colored pencils and pencils. Things that we will use for her homework. So when we study and do a homework, I just have to grab this caddy.

How about you? Do you have more ideas to share to make the school year fun and organize? Leave me a note !

If you enjoyed this post , share it and pin it ! It is greatly appreciated.