Book Bub

If you are an ebook reader – then you MUST sign up for BOOK BUB!! No, I’m not hired by them or receive anything back from them – it’s just so great that I have to share!!

What is Book Bub? I took a screen shot of their website to answer that…

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First, you register on their website. It’s free. When you register you select which genres of books you want to receive notifications about. Then, once a day you get an email. One email. And they never sell your information.

When you get the email, there are links to a number of sources to purchase (Amazon, B&N, etc.) so you can use your normal platform for the books. It’s super simple, and super easy. I’ve purchased about 20 books through them, and most were FREE. And, these aren’t no-name, random book! Admittedly, some are, but many are best sellers, cookbooks, and popular reads.

It’s a fabulous deal and the one commercial email I actually look forward to getting each day! Check it out – and let me know what you think!

 

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Baking Adventure : “How To Make Fortune Cookies”

Last night Big and I made fortune cookies for her Tae Kwon Do instructors. Today is a belt test day so we wanted to say thank you with a little more flair. I know TKD=Korean, Fortune cookies = Chinese. I know. Big knows. We are trying for creative and kind here. And fortune cookies are so much fun!

I had no idea how to make fortune cookies, so I went to the University of Google and found this AWESOME YouTube video:
How To Make Fortune Cookies: http://youtu.be/z0a3S5XNu88

The lady in the video uses this recipe:

FORTUNE COOKIES
RECIPE FROM: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/diningout/r/fortunecookie.htm

2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons water

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes ( I cooked mine for 5 min at 370)

Total Time: 30 minutes

PREPARATION

1. Write fortunes on pieces of paper that are 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 9-X-13 inch baking sheets. 

2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil until frothy, but not stiff.

3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar into a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.

4. Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.
Note: if you want to dye the fortune cookies, add the food coloring at this point, stirring it into the batter. For example, I used 1/2 teaspoon green food coloring to make green fortune cookies.

5. Place level tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth and from side to side so that each tablespoon of batter forms into a circle 4 inches in diameter.

6. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 – 15 minutes).

7. Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. Continue with the rest of the cookies.

It was a great recipe and the cookies came out looking awesome! Big made fortune that had “thank you” in both English and Korean. They’re adorable. There is definitely a learning curve top getting the shaping going, but once you get it, it’s super smooth. I highly recommend trying this! It’s a blast!

Money Management with Teens and Tweens

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Money… How to teach kids to save and be responsible… Teaching tithing… Buying higher cost items…

We’re big fans of Dave Ramsey here, and want very much to teach our kids responsibility and biblical principles when it comes to money. Well, as our kids got older and wanted to buy things, we didn’t want to just she’ll out the money for them. But, they were too little to actually earn money. We don’t have any family members who give the kids money for gifts, so we had to come up with a plan for helping our kids learn to manage money.

Here’s what we’ve come up with…

THE FAMILY LEDGER

It may seem a bit complicated, but hang with me and it will (hopefully) make sense….

1. The kids had chores. Daily. They get completed daily. It’s not optional. They complete them because they live here and we’re a team, and our house would cease to function without their help!

They also can do extra jobs for more money. Sometimes we’ll do wacky challenges for money – like run 30 miles in a month and earn $30. We usually do that one in late fall for a little extra money to purchase Christmas gifts.

The lawn is a separate required job that is in it’s own pay category.

2. Once a month they get paid for their chores and extra jobs. They get $40 a month. Of that, $16 is for spending, $4 is for tithe, and $20 goes into long term savings. The savings is for big things – a car…. College… Big travel…

3. Other jobs are paid and are broken down similarly between spending, saving, and tithe.

4. The lawn is mowed about once a week. We pay $10 for the front, and $10 for the back. That is CAMP MONEY. Only. We don’t pay for camps. The kids have to earn the money. They both need to earn about $240 for camp, so it works out well.

We used to pay cash. That quickly turned into a complete nightmare for me. I would forget… We’d get behind a month or two… The kids forgot to take money to the store… I’m sure some money got lost in hone house. ARGH!!!!

Hence, the FAMILY LEDGER.
* Each month has an entry. No problem if we don’t catch up for a couple of months, because it’s easy to update it.

* When the kids want to buy something, we pay for it, and then account for it in the ledger. The kids are great about bringing me the ledger to account for a purchase. Super simple.

*If the kids get money for something, they can give me the cash and I enter it into the ledger. No cash lost. Easy peasy.

*I haven’t done it yet, but once a year we plan to drop the “savings” into their actual bank accounts.

*The tithe is also done automatically, so that’s accounted for monthly.

Overall, we find this system super simple to manage and a thousand times easier to manage than cash! The kids earn money, they have some money to spend, they’re learning to tithe and save… It’s great for us!

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Linked at:

Starts at Eight http://www.startsateight.com/2014/09/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-29/

Raising Homemakers http://raisinghomemakers.com/2014/homemaking-link-up-190/h

 

 

 

 

 

Great Boy Book

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I’m always on the lookout for great boy craft books. Or really, anything that will entertain a guy with out adult input, (not that I don’t want to engage, but sometimes they need room).

This book’s been a HUGE hit. Little has made every plane in the book, flown them everywhere, and started altering designs. He’s tested them, timed them, measured success. It’s awesome. Big’s gotten in on the action… when Little isn’t using the book.

I will warn you.. you’ll have paper airplanes EVERY.WHERE. 🙂

Junior Ranger Fun

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Our past week…. AWESOME!

We made a major road trip – 10 days – 7 states – 5 Junior Ranger programs – 3 days at Colonial Williamsburg – 2 friends we haven’t seen (one in 14 years, one in a few months)… It was fabulous. By the end of the week I was pretty ranger-ed out, as was DH, and Little. Big LOVES Junior Ranger programs and could have done 10 more.

If you haven’t done a Junior Ranger program- I highly recommend them. Most National Parks have them, though the vary in their difficulty and time commitment. Basically, you check in with the rangers when you get to a park and pick up a workbook or worksheet. Most are free, though some parks charge $1.

When you get the program, you’ll see that there are a number of age appropriate activities for the kids to complete. Some are crosswords, some word searches, etc. They usually require the kids to watch the intro movie (available at 99% of parks) or attend a ranger program to learn the material for the puzzles, and read a bunch of the wall displays. If there are trails or hikes, the kids usually have to complete one or two of those. Some parks take an hour or so, some much longer (Vicksburg nearly killed me! LOL!!). Make sure your kids read the directions, or you may end up doing a lot more work than you are required to do. (Though sometimes that’s a good thing!) Some programs are available to download online, so it’s a great way to prep for a trip or to save time if you’re in a rush.

When the kids finish up the workbook they report to a Ranger to be “sworn in” as a Junior Ranger (“I will pick up my trash” kind of thing), and get a badge. Some parks give out patches, though most have a plastic gold ranger badge. Some parks have a pretty elaborate system of badges and patches. For example, if you get 3 civil war park badges, you earn a civil war patch, too. Pretty sweet.

I highly recommend integrating the Junior Ranger program into any travel you do with kids. It’s a great way to get out of the car, stretch your legs, and learn some fun history. We have an annual National Park pass, so our fees are covered, but even if you have to pay to get into a park – it’s usually still a frugal and fun side trip! I would guess we’ve completed about 40 Junior Ranger programs, and I am sure we’ll do more as soon as Big can drag us out to another park!

How about you? Are you a Junior Ranger family?

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Chattanooga with Teens and Tweens

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Nearly 3 and a half years ago, my BFF and her family moved to Chattanooga, TN. It’s been a great move for their family and they LOVE the city. Through our visits and trips we’ve grown to love it too. If you do had to Chattanooga, particularly with kids, we highly recommend:

EATING, a lot.
The natural, local, delicious, reasonably priced food scene in Chat is awesome. I have mini foodie kids, but even if you don’t, there is great, delicious food that every kid will eat.

Our favorite places to EAT:
Good Dog – Hot dogs, fries, and amazing scratch made ketchup. By amazing, I mean you could DRINK the curry ketchup – an easy walk over the pedestrian bridge from the aquarium.
Clumpies – Fresh ice cream, and next to God Dog.
Milk and Honey – Great coffee, breakfast, and Gelato.
The Bluegrass Grill – The best breakfast food I’ve ever eaten. Insane. Go.
KaBobsters – A weird strip mall set up but fabulous Greek food. Their hummus is heavenly.
Jenny Darling Donuts – The best donuts anywhere. Ever. I prefer the holes, and love thesour cream. The kids love the oreo donuts.

Other delicious places:
Taco Mamacita
The Farmer’s Daughter

SHOPPING, a little.
We’re not big shoppers, but one place we always go is McKay’s Used Books. The size of Walmart – a big Walmart – but used books. Fast to turn stuff in, good prices, HUGE selection. We’re in the cycle now of returning old books we got there for new ones. It’s insanely great. If you’re book nerds, plan on a couple of hours for this stop!

My fave cool, local places spots to shop :
Blue Skies, and Go Fish. Both are in North Chat.

And, if you’re there at the right time, the Chattanooga Farmer’s Market is insane. Go hungry. Be ready to shop. It’s awesome.

OTHER STUFF:
We hike. We find little water holes to swim in nearby creeks. We chill with friends. We cardboard sled at Coolidge Park (a must!!). We walk the bridge. Because we live in Podunk, we shop at the usual mall spots, (and Hobby Lobby!). We sleep in and watch tv. We’ve done the local Junior Ranger programs at the Civil War sites (very cool). We’ve done the aquarium, which is cool but we’ve worn out. On our list of things we want to do but haven’t – outdoor glass building wall climb, and maybe a zip line tour (Big did one at the Creation Museum, and LOVED it).

Weekly wrap Up – 5 Sep 2014

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It’s Friday!  Fridays are….. AWESOME!  What kind of iced coffee are you having today? ?

Big LOVES all thing peanut butter and chocolate, and if given the choice would eat PB and CC muffins every day. Little and I are [totally] burned out from them, but to compromise, we’ve designated Friday as PB CC Muffin day. They are yummy.  Here’s a pic:

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This week’s wrap up will be fairly short. Things are kind of busy and I need to wrap up kind of quickly….

Monday was Labor Day and Little was sick, so it was a light day. I think science and Bible got done. I think…

Tuesday is HERE where I posted about a “Day in the Life of Middle School”. 

Wednesday we buckled down and worked to get caught up from Monday. We did fairly well. I walked with a friend, which is a true perspective check. Piano lessons rounded out the day.

Thursday was nuts. School. TKD. Meals to deliver for lunch…. and dinner! Grieving friend. A new baby. DH had to go to a funeral. Clean the house… I’m so grateful to serve, but I was tired!  The kids did well and we got a ton done, all things considered.

So, now it’s Friday. Today’s goals: math tests, science lesson, CNN student news,  and writing. I may get creative about writing… [Update : I did. Cool assignment for the next week in place!]

For the proposed of brevity I won’t break down the whole week,  but just a little of the good/bad:

Good:
Real life service, time with friends, ASL class was fun, room painting progress, My Side of the Mountain on audio (again), good health. Dad out of the hospital today.

Bad/Ugly:
We didn’t get as much writing done as I wanted. Or spelling. My knee is still swollen and sore, so my walking routine is suffering. More painting to do. Aftef putting the furniture back I realized that Big’s room needs a purging. She trends toward pack-rat-ed-ness. I have no want-to for that job yet.