July 25, 2016

Coming Soon...

Readers, thank you for sticking with me these past months when I updated infrequently. I do appreciate it!

I wanted to let you know I plan to update This Simple Home more frequently. Coming soon: More home and family posts are coming your way!

If you aren't interested in clicking over to the blog or relying on the rather unreliable Facebook to tell you about new posts, be sure to sign up to get blog posts directly in your inbox. You can also sign up for my newsletter. I appreciate your support!

(If you like This Simple Home on Facebook, just keep in mind Facebook only shows posts to a few people who like the page. For me it's usually 5-10%. But I still appreciate when you like it!)

~ Annette
Sign up for weekly or daily emails from This Simple Home or Annette's newsletter.

June 30, 2016

How to Talk about Addiction with Tweens

Kate Messner's new children's book, The Seventh Wish, is about Irish dancing, ice fishing, and a magical fish who grants wishes. But it's also about heroin addiction.

By some standards, our family is quite conservative. Sometimes we shelter our children from life's yuck. Sometimes we talk about it and live it. Other times we cannot protect our children, even when we want to. So it may surprise you how much I appreciate The Seventh Wish as a children's book.

June 5, 2016

Parenting: Not What I Expected

After all that rain and cool temperatures, it’s finally feeling like summer! School is nearly out!

My three children will be home with me all summer. We’re looking forward to swim lessons, overnight family camp, and a new week of science and engineering camp taught by a friend and me. I'm also going to a writing conference for a week. And lots of relaxing and down time. I don't look forward to every bit of summer though.

Please keep reading for a bit of an announcement, too!
Big Sister enjoyed the water last summer.
Last summer, I realized just how hard down time can be for the children and me. My children like to be entertained. They do play by themselves for a while, but eventually the bickering begins. With three children, this may be inevitable, but I know it’s more frequent in this home than in many others.What's worse is the direct disobedience. This all drives me crazy. I respond. And not with grace and love.

May 5, 2016

Oven-Friend Chicken Strips Recipe

I've oven-fried pork chops and chicken breasts before, but the seasonings and butter come together in this recipe for a dazzling taste that pleases adults and children alike. The first time I made these oven-fried chicken strips my husband asked if I had fried them. I knew what he meant and explained they were fried in butter in the oven. Since then, I have changed the recipe a little. We all love it. My nine-year-old has even requested leftovers in her lunch at school. Get ready to pin this one and share it!

Oven-Fried Chicken Strips

3-4 chicken breasts
1 cup flour
 4 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk*
1 tablespoon vinegar

1. Place vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup to the one-cup line with milk. Let sit for five minutes to make buttermilk.
2. Cut chicken breasts into 3 or 4 pieces each. Place in a large bowl and cover with the buttermilk. Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400°.
4. Melt butter in your baking dish in the preheating oven. When melted, cover the entire bottom of the pan with butter.
5. Place seasoned salt, pepper, paprika, and flour in a large zippered bag. Shake to mix it. (Or skip the bag and mix in a bowl.) 
6. Shake extra buttermilk from chicken breast. Place in the bag and shake to cover in the flour mixture (or dip in the bowl). Place in the baking dish after butter has completely melted.
7. Bake for 40 minutes. Flip each breast after baking for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Please note:
If you want to use 5 or 6 chicken breasts, I would recommend doubling the dry ingredients and dividing 1/2 cup of butter between two 9x13 pans.

*If you have buttermilk handy, use buttermilk and skip the vinegar. I cook from my pantry, so I always make my own buttermilk.

This chicken strip recipe is quite easy, though there are quite a few steps. I promise, it's worth it! This chicken recipe was inspired by this one.

Have you signed up for my author newsletter yet? I hope you will! Please sign up here.  
Thanks so much!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I earn a small percentage at no cost to you. Thank you!
~ Annette
Sign up for weekly or daily emails from This Simple Home.

March 29, 2016

Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

Until I learned to make them myself, I typically ordered one of two things in a restaurant: french dip or french onion soup. I make my french dip recipe in the slow-cooker. In my opinion, it's at least as good (and often better) than what I've had in restaurants. This easy french onion soup recipe is incredibly easy and simply GOOD. I hope you'll give it a try.

French Onion Soup Recipe

1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1 box beef broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices french bread, toasted
4 slices provolone cheese 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large pot, brown onions in oil and butter. Stir frequently. When onions are transparent add broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium/medium-high heat. Once boiling, lower temperature and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls. Add cheese and bread, layering. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. (If your bowls are not broiler-safe, bake at 400° for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and browned. 

Tips:
When making this french onion soup recipe, I have forgotten to add the Parmesan cheese. I've substituted American cheese for provolone plenty of times. I have also toasted regular bread in a pinch when I didn't have french bread. It's really an adaptable recipe!

This french onion soup recipe was originally posted on my old blog. When I made it this winter for a friend and me to enjoy over lunch, I knew I needed to share it here. It really is easy to make.

Most of my recipes are easy and family friendly. I hope you'll check them out!
~ Annette
Sign up for weekly or daily emails from This Simple Home.

March 15, 2016

4 Ways to Use Resurrection Eggs

Resurrection eggs use plastic eggs and small objects to tell the Easter story. A dozen eggs are filled with different objects. Each object acts as a reminder of one part of Jesus' story. Below are three ways to use resurrection eggs. 

Make Resurrection Eggs Together

Older children will appreciate the process of making a set of resurrection eggs. Use a marker or stickers to number the eggs. Have the child look up the Bible verses. Maybe they'll find a different object to represent the verse!

Introduce Resurrection Eggs One Egg at a Time

Some people like to take twelve days to teach the Easter story. They would begin twelve days before Easter and open one egg each day with a child. This allows for more focus on each of the twelve parts to Jesus' story. Before introducing the new resurrection egg and object each day, be certain to review the previous parts of the story.

February 21, 2016

Vocabulary Parade Costumes

Each year our school asks the children to enrich their vocabulary by creating a vocabulary parade costume. Then the children walk around the hallways checking out others' costumes. Some costumes are truly clever!

Students in grades K-2 make the vocabulary parade costumes at home with parental guidance. The older students take in supplies and create their costumes at school. I must admit it's a challenge to guide the children without taking over at home.

January 2, 2016

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Happy New Year! 

This past year had fewer posts than ever here at This Simple Home. As my children get older, I seem to be the one who is busier. That combined with other writing commitments and desires, blogging must take a backseat. However, YOU, faithful readers, keep coming back when I share anything new and return for the old posts, too. Thank you for visiting and sharing what you like!

Here are the TEN MOST VIEWED 2015 POSTS in case you missed any!

10. Photo Shoot for Kids at Home
9. Chicken and Waffles Recipe 
8. How to Make an Image Hyperlinked in Blogger
7. How to Make Pie Crust 
6. Ranch Chicken Recipe (Oven-Baked) 
5. Cinnamon Dippers (Semi-Homemade) 
4. Rainbow Yogurt
3. 10 Things to Know About Go Set a Watchman 
2. Small Space Mudroom Alternative 
1.  Clutter-Free Printables

Here are two recipes that nearly made the top ten. I hope you'll give them a try!


The most-visited post of all time at This Simple Home is THIS ONE! I still use it regularly!

If you haven't liked This Simple Home and Little House Companion on Facebook yet, please do so! I also have an occasional newsletter if you are interested. Thanks so much for supporting this blog!

Monday will arrive too soon with alarm clocks and schedules. Bummer! Christmas vacation has been fun!

Sign up for weekly or daily emails from This Simple Home.

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!
~ Annette
Sign up for weekly or daily emails from This Simple Home.

December 8, 2015

Handprint Christmas Tree Craft

We are keeping things a little more low-key this year for Christmas, but when our church's children's director gave me this handprint Christmas tree idea, I knew we'd do it.

Really it took just a few minutes. I traced all the hands and Big Sister helped me cut them out.
We have it displayed above our sofa table. The handprint Christmas tree is a nice crafty touch to our home.

If you don't already follow This Simple Home on Facebook, do so today! I've been giving daily recommendations for children's Christmas books as we read through our collection of Christmas books. (These are some of the HIGHLY recommended Christmas books! Lots of fun!

~ Annette
Sign up for weekly or daily emails from This Simple Home.