October 31, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up with an Answer

It's been ages since I last participated in sharing five favorite things of the week at Friday's Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story. Time to get back into it. It helps me to focus on the blessings of life, and it allows my readers to see a more personal side of me.

1. Medical Answers. We learned that Brother will not be stopping his medication. In early October he had an overnight EEG. It showed "abnormal activity" so he is still at risk for seizures. I suspect we're all disappointed, though he is the only one who voiced it.  You can read more here.

2. Writing Project. I've been working on a bit of a writing project related to (yet separate) my new blog Little House Companion. A portion of it is complete, which I find to be rather exciting. However, I haven't started editing that first draft yet.

3. Field Trip. I chaperoned Big Sister's second grade class to the Colonial Plantation of Pennsylvania. It was well-worth the trip. I really enjoyed myself. Big Sister asked when we can return with the family. I may have taken a bunch of photos to use at Little House Companion, too. (What can I say...I'm a blogger!)

I find this eighteenth century chair to be beautiful. (I don't know if it's a replica or authentic. We didn't actually tour the kitchen...I just stepped in to look around.)

October 29, 2014

The Quiet One

Often we tend to pay the most attention to those who are loudest. Don't overlook the quiet one; often we can learn the most from those who speak the least.  

October 28, 2014

October 2014 Book Reading

I've had a fabulous month of reading. Let's just say, when you've heard for years a book is fabulous and "everyone" loves it, it's worth reading. In this post, I'll highlight the books I've read and the chapter books and favorite picture books I've read with the children during October.

If you follow This Simple Home on  Facebook you likely already know which book I mean. We'll begin with what will likely be a favorite book of all-time, not just the year. Please note, this post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I earn a small percentage at no cost to you. Thank you!
What's On Your Nightstand 
I've also begun a rating system based on five stars. No half stars...torture! To get five stars, it has to be not only a book I really recommend, but also a book that I will want to read again and is worth purchasing for my limited-space bookshelf.

Adult Fiction

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Of course I've known about this book for years. I even picked
it up about twenty years ago and read the first page.  I was turned off by the husband and wife calling each other Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, if I remember right. Later, I dismissed the book because it was a romance. How foolish of me! A while ago, my husband's grandmother gave me her copy (not hers originally) of Pride and Prejudice. It's inscribed, "Xmas Greeting 1898." I opted not to read that delicate copy. Early in October, I wasn't feeling well and needed to hunker down with a book to relax. I chose P&P to do so. Oh! How refreshing and wonderful. I appreciated Austen's insight into personalities and people. Yes, I will be reading more Austen. This is a book I want to read again. And again. If you have never given it a chance, do so!

October 26, 2014

Giant Cookie Cake {Birthday Cake Alternative}

Not everyone loves birthday cake. I am one of those people. Actually, I like sour cream pound cake, chocolate chip cookie cake, and spice cake. One of the reasons I like those cakes is they do not use traditional frosting. (I will fully admit to liking Cool Whip frosting. I don't scrape that frosting off my cake.) Now I can add another cake to my list, but cookie cake is not really a cake at all.

Between my fight with frosting cakes (and refusing to buy a cake) and my dislike for traditional birthday cake, I let my children choose what they want for their birthday dessert each year. I was thrilled when Big Sister, now 8...eek...chose to have a cookie cake. She made one this summer (during one-on-one time), loaded with fruit and asked for one for her birthday treat. 
The giant cookie cake was a huge hit. I used our favorite chocolate chip cookie bar recipe. (This is different than five-star chocolate chip cookie recipe.) The mini chocolate chips make it extra awesome, in my opinion.

October 24, 2014

Finding Calm After School

 For two school years and two months of of school, every day between 3:30 and 5 o'clock (dinner time) has been stressful and tiring.

I need to spend those ninety minutes between the bus stop and the table preparing the meal AND with my children.

But yesterday I had it right. It was a first.

October 22, 2014

Yoda Ears Headband Craft and Tutorial

My husband happily introduced our children to Star Wars. I've encouraged the family passion a bit by creating Star Wars dolls for the children. My children are enjoying

My sister recently offered some Star Wars costumes for our children to borrow. They're quite awesome. However, our three year old (yes!) does not prefer to wear the Yoda mask.  So...I made a simple Yoda ears "costume" from paper.

October 20, 2014

Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

I've heard about the health benefits of sweet potatoes for several years, however, until now, the only recipe I ever made was sweet potato fries. I was looking for recipes on Pinterest and found this.   It seemed to be an interesting sweet potato salad recipe so I tried it right away.

I adapted it, a bit, for some friends and I who were getting together one morning. A few days later, I made it again and ate it for lunch over the next several days. (My husband doesn't prefer sweet potatoes.)