Blue Monday

Blue Monday

Did you know that today is Blue Monday? It’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

Blue Monday happens every year and is determined by a number of factors including weather, time since Christmas, low motivation, and DEBT (presumable from the holidays).

Not much can be done to control some of the factors (like the weather), but we can definitely do something about the DEBT – especially holiday debt!

On the 25th of each month, we’ll be getting ready for the holidays at Our House. And, we’ll be sharing ideas to do it DEBT-FREE!

I hope you’ll join us this Friday as we kick off our journey to Christmas 2013!

As for the rest of Blue Monday – head out and do something fun!

Free and Low-Cost Kindle Books

There are dozens and dozens (if not hundreds or more) of blogs and websites that list free and inexpensive Kindle books every day. Here are a few of my favorites:


Pixel of Ink

A huge assortment of free and bargain Kindle books – fiction, non-fiction, children’s, and more.

They offer a daily e-mail with all their findings, or you can get all the latest updates on their facebook page.


Dining Downloads

Free and bargain cookbooks for your Kindle.

Sign up for daily e-mail summaries or follow their facebook page.


Inspired Reads

Fiction and non-fiction Christian Kindle books.

They also offer daily e-mails, or you can follow them on facebook.



An assortment of free and discounted books for the Kindle including fiction, non-fiction, children’s, cookbooks, and more.

Sign-up for e-mail updates or catch the updates on their facebook page.


Joybilee’s Original Free Kindle Books for Homesteaders

A list of free Kindle books focusing primarily on homesteading and homeschooling, with a few other gems thrown in here and there.

You can find the list on their blog or follow them on facebook  to find out when the daily list is posted.


Since some Kindle books are only free for a limited time I like to follow the pages on facebook, that way I’m less likely to miss out on something that sounds good. I also get the e-mails in case I miss something when it goes through my newsfeed.


In case you accidentally click and buy a book that’s no longer free, did you know that you can request a refund from Amazon? According to the Kindle Return Policy, all you need to do is visit your Manage Your Kindle  page and select “Return for refund” in the action tab for the book you want to return. You have 7 days to request a refund. (I sure wish I would have known about this sooner… I’ve accidentally bought several unintended books since I’ve had my Kindle.)


Read on and ENJOY!!

No Kindle? No Problem!

If you spend much time on facebook, you’ve probably seen posts with links to great sounding Kindle books – for free! Well, that’s terrific, if you have a Kindle. BUT, did you know that there are not only free Kindle books but free readers as well? That’s right, there are apps that allow you to read Kindle books on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or even right in your internet browser. You can find them here.

We will be sharing free Kindle books from time-to-time on our facebook page. Keep in mind that many of these books are only free for a limited time. Be sure to check the price before you click “buy.”

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some of my FAVORITE resources for free and inexpensive books for your Kindle (or Kindle app).


Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

The boys wanted to do something special for their friends at co-op for Thanksgiving. When the girls were little we used to do all sorts of fun little things for their preschool class every time a holiday rolled around. Of course, that was several children ago, and they were in preschool at separate times, and their classes were smaller.

But, how could I say no? I remembered a cute little project I’d come across years ago and decided to update it for them to make for their friends.

It’s a fun project that you can pull together quickly! That is unless you need 60+ of them- I think my boys are in the biggest classes at co-op.

For this project you’ll need:

  • Bugles brand snacks
  • Tiny twist pretzels
  • Candy corn
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Printable tag
  • Piece of card board like a cereal box
  • Stapler
  • Zipper top bags

In each bag, put a small spoon of sunflower seeds, several pretzels and bugles, 5 candy corns. Seal bag.

The tags are the trickiest part of the whole project.

1) Print tags and cut sheet into quarters. A paper cutter is super helpful if you have one.

2) If you want, write your child’s name under the “Happy Thanksgiving.”

3) Cut a square of cardboard 4 ½” x 4 ½”.

4) Line up the cardboard with the bottom of the tag (where the owl turkey) is, and fold the “Happy Thanksgiving” flap over.

5) Staple tag onto the top of the sealed bag.



Making Your Home a Haven Challenge – Weeks 1 & 2

With all the craziness of trying to get the materials ready for Nigeria and then helping LBC  get a few things ready for their annual fundraiser, I was more than ready to join Courtney over at Women Living Well for the Making Your Home a Haven 2012 Challenge.

Then I got stuck on the first challenge.

Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home. I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen – the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.”

Well, I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of candles. I used to be, but not anymore. I hate all the breathing in all the chemical “stuff” they dump into the air. Add to that three little boys who are home all day, and cats who get into everything, and lighting a candle is way more stress than it’s worth. So, that was pretty much a no go.

So, on to week two…

Play soft music everyday in your home. Choose worship, classical or another form of peaceful music that the family enjoys. I’ll be playing Christmas music! Focus on using peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships. Work on gentleness this week.”

OKAY! I can totally do this! In fact, we’ve had the Christmas music playing since the day after Halloween!

My favorite Christmas album (alright, it’s really a cd, but it seems weird to say that) is Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. I like all their Christmas music, but this is my favorite – has been as long as I can remember! We’ve also been listening to the Mannheim Steamroller Holiday channel on Pandora as well.

It’s been fun to listen to it with the kids this year. M & S have recorder class at co-op and N is trying to learn along with them at home (I knew all those years of band and music lessons I had would come in handy some day. I’m playing along with them as well.) They love to listen for the recorders in the pieces and try to figure out the other instruments as well.

Stop back next week to check on our progress as we work to make Our House a haven!

What are you doing to make your house a haven during this busy holiday season?

What’s Up at Our House

It was never my intention to launch my blog and then leave it and you somewhat abandoned, but a huge project that I’ve been working on for the better part of three years needed some last minute attention. Let me explain…

My dear friends Jim and Sheila own a curriculum company, Living Books Curriculum, in case you want to check it out. It just so happens to be the curriculum we’ve used for years, and we love it! All the proceeds go to support their mission project which, in part, works to provide curriculum and training for teachers in areas where there is no or inadequate access to education. So far they have established seven schools in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Over the years our family has done what we can to support the project because we believe it is a wonderful, valuable thing. Several years ago, K and one of her friends organized a book drive to help build a library in one of the schools. They packed up the books and shipped them to Nigeria.

For years I felt a nudging to do something more to support the project. Finally, when the time was right, I approached Jim and Sheila and shared my idea, they were totally on board. Well, God works in funny ways, and that initial project idea is still on the drawing board. I’ll save you all the twist and turns that this project has taken over the years, and tell you that the finished project is a curriculum that will be used in the LBC-schools. As hard as it is to believe, it is my understanding that there are no books on Nigerian history, geography, literature, and famous people in the schools there; not just the LBC-supported schools, but NONE of the schools!

Last year around Thanksgiving, the first unit, Geography, went to Nigeria.

In a few weeks, a unit on History and Government will be going to Nigeria along with a volume on Notable Nigerians. I have frantically been preparing the books to go and be printed. The person who normally does the layout and design work is off on an adventure, so I offered to step in and get them ready. I worked my way through college as a graphic artist and have done lots of projects over the years, so it wasn’t a big deal, just lots to get done with everything else on my plate. I am happy to report that they are completed and on their way to be printed!

There are at least a couple more units in the works, but I won’t be picking those back up until after the holidays.

If you are so inclined, please pray for this ministry. If you are interested in learning more, check out Worldwide Education in a Box.

Happy Halloween – 2012 Edition

Who could say no to these adorable goblins?

Over the years our Halloween traditions have changed, this year was no exception.

The kids wanted to attend Trunk-or-Treat in a nearby town. We had gone last year, and they really enjoyed it. As soon as the weatherman started to predict cold rainy weather, I started to think about alternate plans. Maybe it would be fun to stay home, play games, watch a movie, and have some special treats thought this mommy who HATES the cold! Deciding to kind of get a feeling for how the kids would react (I was afraid they might stage a revolution), I mentioned something in passing. Much to my surprise, they were actually all for it and even excited.

Halloween morning I found out that the church across the street from our house was having a Trunk-or-Treat event. I didn’t mention anything to the kids, but dad and I decided if the weather cooperated we’d venture over for a bit. We braved the cold and headed over and then hit a few houses in our neighborhood – something we’ve never done! We even entertained a fair number of costumed visitors, mostly from the Trunk-or-Treat event, something we’ve never had as there are very few kids in our neighborhood.

When all was said and done, both S and N pronounced it, “The best Halloween ever!” I’m not sure the puppies would agree with that assessment, not only did we dress them up for a photo shoot; the trick-or-treaters at the door drove them crazy as well. I guess a few extra treats are in order for them as well.

Rollie sporting her ladybug costume. Ironically enough, her puppy cousin got the same costume!

Rocky the Rocket wearing an appropriately themed costume.

How did you celebrate Halloween?

Autumn Insanity

This time of year always seems busier than usual – back-to-school and all the extra activities. This year, it seems that we’ve been MUCH busier than normal around Our House.

Since starting back to school last month, we’ve also been busy with our home school co-op (M and I are teaching an oil pastel class), dog school, art lessons, 4-H, music class (and lots of practice at home), and church activities and events. We are also busy working on getting lots of stuff done in the yard and garden before the snow flies. Judging by the weather outside my window today, we might not have much time left…

We’ve also been busy learning to can.

We’re getting ready for Halloween.

The pumpkins are ready to be carved…
And the costumes are selected.

But there is still a LOT to be done!
There are leaves to rake.

The girls and I are heading up north for our annual weekend away next week, a soap making day is in the planning, Christmas gifts that need to be started, and so much more. Hopefully things will start to settle down before long.

What’s on your agenda for this autumn?

Meet the Cast and Crew at Our House

The Girls

K: 17 years old

* The Ultimate Animal Lover (except for opossums and ferrets)
* Homegrown
* Favorite Foods: Pizza, tacos, noodles, pudding and gummy worms
* Dislikes: Spiders, Chores, and Early Mornings (except on rabbit show days)
* Favorite Free-time Activities: playing with the rabbits, being with friends, anything outside, and sleeping
* Life Goal: To become a vet

M: 13 years old

* Artist and baker extraordinare
* Homegrown
* Favorite Food: Lion stomach – there is a story and a recipe that I’ll share
* Has a black cat named Bruticus who loves milk, meat, his toy mouse, and M
* Fantasy Vacation Destination: The Rings of Orbis; specifically Rings 1 & 3
* Has spent an entire night locked in the library – twice
* Favorite Bible Verse: 1st Timothy 4:12
* Loves to write in her free time
* Life Goal: To jump into an Olympic-sized swimming pool full of Jell-O

The Boys

S: 9 years old

* Our NFL fanatic – favorite team is the New England Patriots
* Adopted from Korea, home a few days shy of 5 months
* Favorite Foods: M’s homemade pizza and cheeseburgers
* Favorite Book: Wacky Wednesday
* Loves Pokemon and Wii
* Life Goal: To play football for the Patriots AND the Rams

N: 6 years old

* Loves anything Star Wars, Pokemon, or shark related
* Adopted from Korea, home at 6 1/2 months
* Favorite Food: M’s homemade cinnamon rolls
* Loves to play in the snow
* Favorite TV show: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
* Life Goal: To be a shark scientist

D: 4 years old

* The first of five to get stitches – something about a Pokemon battle, N, and the marble fireplace
* Adopted from Korea, home at almost a year old
* FULL of giggles!
* Favorite friends are a Webkinz chihuahua and a pink Webkinz hamster named Pinky
* Likes candy, pizza, and M’s cinnamon rolls (Or at least that’s what he told me)
* Favorite activities: Bubble baths, coloring, playing outside, and cuddling with mommy and daddy


* Technical expert, photographer, and jack-of-all-trades around “Our House”
* Spider killer
* Favorite Foods: Cherry cobbler and kimchi
* Likes driving RC cars and flying RC planes
* A man of few words (according to him)


* Wife, mom, homeschool teacher, writer, crafter, storyteller, candy maker, event planner, organizer, financial guru, menu co-ordinator and chef, student, lover of all things fiber, daughter of the King
* More interests than I could pursue in 100 lifetimes

Along with the humans is a menagerie of (mostly) furry friends – rabbits, cats, dogs, a gerbil, pet mice, and a big tank of fish.

Now that you know who we are, please take a moment to leave a comment and introduce yourself!


At Our House…

  • we play.
  • we experiment in the kitchen.
  • we are always learning something new.
  • we create.
  • we believe in family and adoption.
  • we have lots of furry friends (and some aquatic ones as well).
  • we tell stories.
  • we love God.
  • we study Korean language and culture.
  • we laugh, a lot.
  • friends are always welcome.

At Our House we do life … together.


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