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Testing Blab

THM Egg Roll in a Bowl

I started the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating a few weeks ago and have already lost about 6 pounds. I have not done it perfectly… but I have found one of the most amazing aspects of this diet. I rarely have left-overs. Why is that important? Well, I have three boys (two teenagers and a tween) and a hubby who all love my cooking. So, I was worried that I would have to cook two different meals each night!

Egg Rroll in aBbowl | Live and Learn Farm

That is SO not the case! Honestly, they love the meals as much as I do. I still cook them carbs and they can have their sweet tea. But I can’t tell you how surprised I have been at how much they are loving these recipes! That helps me stay on plan! Such a blessing.

This recipe is another one that they loved. They gave it a 9.5 on a 10 point scale! So, I wanted to share the recipe with you!  I modified it in several places, but this is inspired by the THM New Cookbook.

What You Need:

  • 1 2lb shredded chicken
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp Braggs Amino
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 tsp rice vinegar
  • Mineral Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 tsps Sesame Seed oil

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken until done and remove from pan.
  2. Add onions and garlic to the pan and saute in Sesame Seed Oil until nearly cooked through.
  3. Combine the Braggs amino acids, Soy Sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth and Ginger and add to the skillet
  4. Add red pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Immediately add the Cabbage and Carrots to the skillet – half at a time.
  6. Continue to cook about 15 minutes, then mix in cooked chicken.
  7. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Now the downside to the family loving THM recipes is… I have none leftover for lunch the next day! But what a blessing to have this worry!!

Frugal Decorating – Porch Makeover

As many of you know, we are in the process of remodeling our home and getting it ready to put on the market. Ironically part of the remodeling process is also decorating to create that “curb appeal”. Unfortunately, our budget will not allow much allocated to that expense, so we are learning how to decorate on a dime. I will be writing some articles to show you some of the frugal decorating ideas we are trying. I hope they inspire you try some too!

frugal decorating 3

 

 

Last year we started fixing up and painting our house. It has been a huge endeavor, but we really didn’t have much of a choice when the lowest quote was $10,000! So, we have all been learning some serious life skills with that project. Here you can see how much we have had to do…

 

House prep

Here is the next stage of the porch. It is not complete, but we are making a lot of progress!

Porch

We are really glad we went back to the gray. The green was just too darn hot on your feet and it showed every little nick in the paint (Not that those were little nicks, of course 😉 )

Disclosure

Last year we were gifted with a couple of old wood chairs at a yard sale. They were pretty rough looking. But structurally they seemed fine. So we took them and put them in the barn.

wood chair watermarked

This year, as I was starting to update the porch and paint the swing and tables, I remembered the chairs in the barn and decided to try my hand at spray painting and “antiquing” them.

I used Rust-oleum American Accent Satin finish spray paint. I have heard how easy it is to do … so I really wanted to try it! It took two cans of paint to coat the chair pretty well (about $20). Here is the painted chair.

painted chair watermarked

After that, I took some fine grit sandpaper to it and spent just about 10 minutes roughing up the areas that made sense to me. The places where you would hold it, sit on it, put your feet on it, bump it, etc.

antiqued chair 2 watermarked

Then throw in a pillow I got from Wal-Mart on clearance and you have the final look.  Our house is white with green shutters and roof. We have a white PVC fence along the front of the house. So it just feels like it needs some color.

antiqued chair watermarked

I still have one more chair to do and a table to go in the middle. But I think it turned out pretty good for my first attempt!  Speaking of adding color, I’m contemplating painting the table the light coral color at the top left hand on the pillow. What do you think?  Do you like the direction I’m headed in?

I want to get one more thing after I get the table painted for this area of the front porch … it is an antique window to hang on the wall. I’m excited to be moving forward but not spending a fortune doing it!

Anybody have an antique window I can buy cheap? 😉

More frugal decorating ideas to come!

trish

 

 

One Word

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve had time to spend a few minutes writing. With homeschooling and renovating our home, the general upkeep and maintenance of a family of five with chickens, horses, dogs, cats… Not to even mention managing the social media for the rapidly growing Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook Page, moderating the new Community with almost 10,000 homeschool moms and managing the Montessori Materials Group … I stay more than just pretty busy. You might even say life has been C.R.A.Z.Y. the last half of 2014. However, it is time to get back into a routine with sharing about our homeschool and life. After all, that is why I started this website to begin with! To share how we do what we do, to meet like-minded moms and to hopefully inspire others. And speaking of inspiring…

This time of year I see lots of writers posting their resolutions for the new year. I’m not big on resolutions… at all. But one concept I stumbled upon really inspired me. Ironically, the article I read  and shared about was on our Hip Homeschool Moms’ website. The concept is this…. Choose one word you would use to prophesy what you want your year to be. One Word. I have really thought about, prayed and pondered this a lot for the last several weeks. At first glance, it seemed it was going to be pretty hard to narrow them down to one word. … with all the possibilities …all the words that inspire me. I had to pick Just One Word.

One Word

 

I started thinking about the priorities I have … those things I don’t want to fail at. Those things that I consider so important they are part of my very identity. Those are the things that need my attention this year.

My Faith.

My Family.

Our Homeschool.

So when choosing THE word, it had to help me sharpen my focus on those three things and inspire me to do better in each and every category.

My Faith.

In order to know Our Father’s will, we have to study His manual…. The Scriptures. We are a Messianic family, so we believe both Testaments are relevant and apply to us. We are believers in Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) and believe He is our model for how we are to live our lives. We don’t compare our walk to the world… we compare our walk to His example. And I fail. A lot. But 2014 brought lots of reconciliation and forgiveness to our family… Areas that I had really been praying about. Unforgiveness is ugly and can tear a marriage apart. I had to forgive. In order to do that I had to see my husband as a child of God and the father to my children and not as my husband… at least not until I could forgive him. And I prayed for that very thing. I prayed over our marriage and over our family. Daily. And God has answered my prayers. So I literally can’t wait to see what He has in store for us this year!

My Family.

As a family we have been through a pretty rough couple of years. When I decided to homeschool, I chose to downsize our business so I could step away … little did I know how downsized it would be! So saying finances have been tight would be an understatement. A year ago we almost lost our home. We are still working to get out of this mess, but we are making great strides towards stability in our finances and ridding ourselves of this debt. In doing that, some things necessarily have to change because of these decisions. One very important thing is downsizing our lifestyle. Getting our home ready to sale has been a high priority for our family. And it has been the entire family! Renovating our home has taught us so much… not just how to scrap and repair and paint… but how to work together, how to overcome obstacles, how to persevere through hard times and how to continue to see joy in life and our everyday circumstances. To show and express our love with something other than things. It has been a year of Living. Loving. and Laughter… even through these difficult trials. For that I am truly thankful!

Our Homeschool.

Needless to say our homeschool has suffered. Not as much as I thought it would… especially academically. More in routine and discipline. In my record keeping. In their record keeping. Our curriculum is fantastic. And unlike previous years, we are not even switching out curriculum at the beginning of the year. My boys have continued homeschooling through these trials. Through our constant stopping and starting. We’ve spent a lot of time sky watching and thermometer gazing …. seeing if it was an outside work day or an inside work day. Yet they have kept working. Maybe not as much as we had planned…. but they were working. But for 2015 we really have to buckle down and work the homeschool plan that we laid out some time ago.

As you see, all three priorities are all related and intertwined. Like a three stranded cord, so tightly woven together they are no longer distinguishable as individual cords. Inseparable. Dependent on each other for success. When I finally sat down and invested the time to focus on choosing THE  word and how it would reflect my priorities, it was not that hard to choose. Before I tell you my word, let me tell you its various definitions….

  • to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, nourish
  • to be founded, firm, established, faithful, trustworthy, sure
  • to stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in

So what is my one word that embodies all the things I want for me, my faith, my family and our homeschool this year?

Steadfast.

Steadfast in my faith, in trusting Abba to provide everything I need to do all that is in His Will. Steadfast in the knowledge that as long as I am living His Will and doing His work, that my labor will be fruitful. If I remain steadfast with my eyes firmly fixed on Him, then my priorities will always be straight and all the things we strive to do in His name will be blessed. Yes, One word, steadfast, perfectly describes what I desire for my year. For my life.

 

mountain steadfast

 

What one word would you choose to define your year?  Your Life? Please share them in the comments!! I am looking forward to reading your One Word.

Until next time…  James 1:22-24… be a blessing!

 

 

Middle and High School July LinkUp #23

Welcome to our Middle and High School LinkUp #23 for tweens, teens and their Moms! We are going to be doing these differently during the summer. Instead of these linkups renewing every week, we will leave it up for a month. So this is July’s Linkup. This linkup is for our children to have a creative writing outlet and for us moms to have a place to share middle school and high school homeschool tips and techniques. For the summer months, the students will not be provided a creative writing prompt.  Thank you all for being a part of it!

You can link up at any of the following co-host’s sites:

Amy at Homeschool Encouragement

Clara at Clara’s Blue Moon (teen co-host)

DaLynn at Holy Splendor

Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs

Laura at Day by Day in Our World

Trish at Live and Learn Farm

Vicki at 7 Sisters Homeschool

Wendy at Homeschooling Blessings

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

If you are interested in joining us, linkup your article below. If you want to co-host, email me and let me know.  Our focus for the co-hosting  is for only moms of the teens, or the teens themselves to co-host.

guidelines for the linkup:

  • The link-up will be open the entire month of June.
  • Please link directly to the url of your post (permalink).
  • Please check back and visit at least one of student’s submissions and leave a comment for them.  Our job is to encourage writing, their Mom (or Dad) will take care of the critique :-) 
  • If you don’t mind, please place the button and code in your blog post so others can find out about the linkup also!
  • That’s it!

and now it’s time for the link up!

I look forward to reading fiction or non-fiction… whatever you guys decide to write is fine!!


Middle and High School LinkUp #19

Welcome to our Middle and High School LinkUp #19 for tweens, teens and their Moms! I have a fun announcement!  Gage is now a published writer. He was featured in Chickens Magazine by Hobby Farms this month. They have a section for reader submitted articles about how they got involved raising chickens. Gage’s article is 4 pages and have three photographs (including one of him). If you are not aware, Gage has a chicken business “Deluxe Clucks” and he shared about how he got started in that business. He is now selling about 5 dozen eggs per week and we have 25 new baby chicks coming in next week.  So, be watching the blog! I feel certain Gage will start another brooder cam!  This is what we are trying to encourage for our children. To feel comfortable writing! You can link up at any of the following co-host’s sites:

Amy at Homeschool Encouragement

Clara at Clara’s Blue Moon (teen co-host)

DaLynn at Holy Splendor

Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs

Laura at Day by Day in Our World

Trish at Live and Learn Farm

Vicki at 7 Sisters Homeschool

Wendy at Homeschooling Blessings

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

    If you are interested in joining us, linkup your article below. If you want to co-host, email me and let me know.  Our focus for the co-hosting  is for only moms of the teens, or the teens themselves to co-host.

guidelines for the linkup:

  • The link-up will be open Monday through Saturday evening.
  • Please link directly to the url of your post (permalink).
  • Please check back and visit at least one of student’s submissions and leave a comment for them.  Our job is to encourage writing, their Mom (or Dad) will take care of the critique :-)
  • If you don’t mind, please place the button and code in your blog post so others can find out about the linkup also!
  • That’s it!

and now it’s time for the link up!

Well, I was contacted by many of our students’ moms and have been informed that their children love these link ups (and mine do too)… so we are not going to stop.  We may take some breaks this summer because we are getting our house ready to sell… but as long as our children love writing, I am NOT crazy enough to stop the link up!  And I LOVE reading their articles and seeing their growth… so onward and upward, right!??! We will continue with the author’s choice for the rest of this month.  So, our children will be sharing their own stories and inspiration.  I look forward to reading fiction or non-fiction… whatever you guys decide to write is fine!!


Content is King and Social Media His Queen – Boost your Blog #BB100

This is the last post in the Boost your Blog with Facebook series. I have really enjoyed researching my topics, pulling together my thoughts, creating outlines and presenting my challenges and suggestions to you.  I hope they have been beneficial and worth your time and energy in reading these articles and completing the challenges. As I close out this series, I really want to encourage you to continue to focus on content.  Because content is still king and social media is his queen.

Boost your blog #bb100

If you don’t have fantastic content, you can push it out all day through every social media channel out there and you still will not get the desired result.  You may get page views for that article, but they will not translate into followers, loyal readers and certainly not tribe members. So we have to remember that only content that is relevant to our audience will actually build our following.

That being said, if you have fantastic content, but nobody knows about it, you still are not getting the desired results. It takes the combination of both of them to really grow your following.

Your content can change and evolve as you do. You will lose some audience members… and that is okay! The ones that stay are the ones that are really your tribe anyway! I know we have spent a ton of time this week analyzing data and crunching numbers… but in the end, it still boils down to writing great articles that people want to read and pushing them out through social media. With the goal being two-fold:

(1). To feed your tribe. Those that are loyal readers that immediately click when they see that you have a new post up. And that is the most important segment of your audience (in my humble opinion).

(2). Reach new readers. Hopefully your new readers are coming from not just your social media pushes, but also from your tribe sharing your content. Be sure to ask them to!!

The Final Challenge

So the final challenge is focus on content. You should have a pretty good idea of what your audience loves and is hungry for. Write the content they want to read. Be fantastic in your niche. Own it… and they will come!

I wish you all the best with your blogs and writing!  I hope you will consider sharing my series if you found it to be beneficial.  And leave me feedback if you see areas that could be improved. We are all still growing and learning …. it is a life long endeavor here at Live and Learn Farm!

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on Blog Photos and one on Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series on SEO and one on Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey’s Life wrote a series on Twitter

Until next time…

Middle and High School LinkUp #9

Welcome back to the Middle and High School (tweens, teens & moms) Creative Writing LinkUp! Well last week was not a stellar week here at Live and Learn Farm… I didn’t get a single post up from the Corlew boys. The sad thing is they are all written, they just need editing (mom) and I didn’t do it. So, I’m being real here… sometimes it is mom that slows progress down and not the homeschooled children.  Can you relate?  If that sounds like something you read before… you have.  Week two of not getting posts up.  But, we will this week.  All.of.them!  Hold me to it too!

We are so excited to have this linkup for our children to have a creative writing outlet! And, of course, it is a place for us moms to sometimes share middle school and high school homeschool articles we write.  We have had some extremely successful writing prompts and some that have been more challenging! As we move are about to move into our third month, I am so encouraged seeing how my own children’s writing is progressing!  I hope you are seeing the same thing!

The co-hosts for this middle and high school linkup are:

Amy at Homeschool Encouragement

Clara at Clara’s Blue Moon (teen co-host)

DaLynn at Holy Splendor

Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs

Laura at Day by Day in Our World

Trish at Live and Learn Farm

Wendy at Homeschooling Blessings

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

guidelines for the linkup:

  • The link-up will be open Monday through Friday.
  • Please link directly to the url of your post (permalink).
  • Please check back and visit at least one of student’s submissions and leave a comment for them.  Our job is to encourage writing, their Mom (or Dad) will take care of the critique :-)
  • If you don’t mind, please place the button and code in your blog post so others can find out about the linkup also!
  • That’s it!

and now it’s time for the link up!

Please be sure to check out their articles and leave encouraging words for them!  If you are interested in joining us, linkup your article below. If you want to co-host, email me and let me know.  Our focus for the co-hosting is for only moms of the teens, or the teens themselves to co-host.

For this week’s topic we are trying something new.  Here is a website with writing prompts for March.  Students are picking one to write about it. We have some students that have just not been inspired by the writing prompts of late… so maybe opening it up to a list to choose from will motivate the creative juices to flow!


 

Middle and High School LinkUp #7

Welcome back to the Middle and High School (tweens, teens & moms) Creative Writing LinkUp!  This past week got completely away from me and two of my boys’ posts didn’t even get added to the linky. Seems this mommy has so much going on I can hardly keep up. I know you understand and have felt the same way!  But it’s a new week and here I am behind again.  I really do need about a week to catch up… I need a teacher workweek please! Well, since that isn’t happening for a couple of months, I better get to the linky, or it won’t get done tonight either!

Thank you for coming back to the LinkUp! We are so excited to have this linkup for our children to have a creative writing outlet! And, of course, it is a place for us moms to sometimes share middle school and high school homeschool articles we write.  We have had some extremely successful writing prompts and some that have been more challenging! As we move through our second month, I am so encouraged seeing how my own children’s writing is progressing!  I hope you are seeing the same thing!

The co-hosts for this middle and high school linkup are:

Amy at Homeschool Encouragement

Clara at Clara’s Blue Moon (teen co-host)

DaLynn at Holy Splendor

Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs

Laura at Day by Day in Our World

Trish at Live and Learn Farm

Wendy at Homeschooling Blessings

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

guidelines for the linkup:

  • The link-up will be open Monday through Friday.
  • Please link directly to the url of your post (permalink).
  • Please check back and visit at least one of student’s submissions and leave a comment for them.  Our job is to encourage writing, their Mom (or Dad) will take care of the critique :-)
  • If you don’t mind, please place the button and code in your blog post so others can find out about the linkup also!
  • That’s it!

and now it’s time for the link up!

Please be sure to check out their articles and leave encouraging words for them!  If you are interested in joining us, linkup your article below. If you want to co-host, email me and let me know.  Our focus for the co-hosting is for only moms of the teens, or the teens themselves to co-host.

This week’s topic is the ultimate in open-ended writing prompts! It is to write about any subject you are excited about and want to tell us about. Help us really understand why you love this topic, so give us lots of details and imagery! I am really looking forward to see what everyone writes about!

Next week’s topic is “What could you invent to make life better?“  Get creative… identify a problem, a gap, and describe an invention that could/would solve it.


Middle and High School LinkUp #4

Welcome to the Middle and High School (tween, teen and Mom) Creative Writing Link Up!  We are so excited to have a linkup for our children to have a creative writing outlet! And a place for us moms to have a place to sometimes share middle school and high school homeschool articles we write. You can link up at any of the following co-host’s sites:

Amy at Homeschool Encouragement

Clara at Clara’s Blue Moon (teen co-host)

DaLynn at Holy Splendor

Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs

Laura at Day by Day in Our World

Trish at Live and Learn Farm

Wendy at Homeschooling Blessings

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

Our linkup is steadily growing, with new student-writers finding out about us each week. We had seven students share their posts about being able to see through walls last week. It was so much fun reading (and watching) their stories and seeing how creative they were! Please be sure to check out their articles and leave encouraging words for them!  If you are interested in joining us, linkup your article below. If you want to co-host, email me and let me know.  Our focus for the co-hosting  is for only moms of the teens, or the teens themselves to co-host.

guidelines for the linkup:

  • The link-up will be open Monday through Friday.
  • Please link directly to the url of your post (permalink).
  • Please check back and visit at least one of student’s submissions and leave a comment for them.  Our job is to encourage writing, their Mom (or Dad) will take care of the critique :-)
  • If you don’t mind, please place the button and code in your blog post so others can find out about the linkup also!
  • That’s it!

and now it’s time for the link up!

The theme for this week’s linkup is “What if I were President of the United States“.  You can linkup your post anytime before Friday night this week. The topic for our next Linkup on Monday, 2/3 will be “If you were an insect, what kind would you be and why?


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