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Monday Musings | Homeschool Blogging Mom

Why hello there Monday!! So we meet again! But it’s cool, it’s the FIRST Monday of 2015. Everyone, even Monday’s deserve a fresh start.

So here I am. Doing this blogging thing. Had great ideas and plans on how to start this off, but then life happened. Funny how that happens. I got news this morning that a pal passed from an aggressive form of cancer. It’s always heartbreaking to hear of someone dealing with that nasty ‘C’ word, but when it’s someone near your age, who you shared some of your life with, and they encouraged you always, no matter what, it really stings the ol’ heart a little bit more. Because it’s life. It’s that reminder that the countdown is happening. Not on your time, on the Big Guys time. It reminds us that no matter what we have planned for our future, that it’s not guaranteed that we will see it happen. Our days are not promised, and sometimes, most times, that is one tough little pill to swallow.

BUT today is here! And while my heart hurts for the family that said goodbye too soon, life, my life is NOW.

I’ve been tossing some things around, to go back to work, to not go back to work. To start a new venture, or not to start. But I think for today I am just going to live. Live in this moment, enjoy my life, soak in this time I have with my husband and my boys. Enjoy my mother more, get into trouble with my baby sister, and get reacquainted with people that have fallen out of my life and let my friends and family know just how much they rock my world!

Life is too short for the what ifs, the tomorrows, and regrets. So enjoy today, this moment, this minute, and live and love like there is no tomorrow!!

Thanks for popping by!

xoxo

Stacy

Welcome Back Spring |Homeschool Mom Randoms

Hello.

Spring has finally arrived.

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We’ve been soaking up the sun and staying busy.

We hit a baseball game during opening week. Which was great.





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We celebrated someones very special 9th birthday.

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We’ve also been celebrating our favorite city, St Louis’ 250th birthday! We are finding cakes and exploring our great city more than we have in a long time! It’s been great to get out and rediscover St Louis with the family.

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Snippets from our recent adventures in the city

 

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This guy and I celebrated our 15th year of marriage! So blessed to call him mine. We vowed to make more time for each other for the next 15 years. Which means … DATES ONCE A MONTH! Woo hoo! So in March we got hot and artsy! With glass! It was a HOT date. ;) ha ha pun totally intended. We had a great time doing something new and being creative together. How hip are we? We will totally be going back to The Third Degree Class Factory to do another class!

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Thanks for loving my crazy arse Mr. Smith! 1898124_268206763339144_144649220_n

 

 

Cheers to the next 15!

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We hit the famous St Louis St Patrick’s Day Parade. We haven’t done that since we had our oldest. It was a fun outing for us. It’s a long parade. We didn’t watch the whole thing. We ended up scooting off and grabbing a bite and heading home. It was a nice time. And it’s always lovely to hear so many bagpipes in one day! And the fact that is was a quick metro ride away from us was as good as pudding!

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Boys got some new friends. Caterpillars. We eagerly and impatiently await the miracle to unfold. Stay tuned!

 

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And of course no Spring is complete without the celebration of Easter! He has risen! We did eggs, paintings, and rejoiced! It was a lovely weekend!

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So now I leave you with what I am cooking up next …..

Possibly displaying my photographic artwork and selling it soon ….

Snapping some pics for some dear friends

Curriculum shopping

Our next date night …. BLUE MAN GROUP

My new health kick …. girl has got to get healthy and lose some weight. One step at a time …

So next time I will share what I am up to and how I’ve dropped nearly 15 lbs in the past few months!

He’s a glimpse …..

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My Irish Cottage Pie | In the Kitchen

With St Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would share with you some of my Irish heritage and recipes!

 

Have you hear dog Cottage Pie?

Some call it Shepherd Pie, but I read that Shepherd Pie is traditionally made with lamb, and that’s one meat not found in my kitchen. Nothing personal, just never bought it, never cooked it, and just never had a desire to eat it.

Wait, I might have eaten it, just didn’t know. Who knows.

Ok, back to the recipe in hand, Cottage Pie. Cottage Pie looks almost identical to Shepherds Pie, it contains ground beef rather than lamb.

So I call it Irish, but technically this is an English dish that the Irish adapted. I took a handful of recipes I had, added things we like and came up with my own recipe. I had a hard time finding one that didn’t involve a large amount of steps. I am a busy mom, like many, and am looking for something easy enough to throw together in a snap. I used mainly fresh veggies with this, but it could easily be done with can or frozen as well.

Here’s what I did. Please note, this is enough for one 13×9 and 9×9 baking pan. I like to make extra and freeze for days when mom isn’t home.

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I want to apologize if this ends up being hard to follow. I need to make alone time to do step by step blog posts. There was a lot of breaks while typing this out for you all. And don’t be intimated by all the steps. It looks like a lot, but I wanted to simplify it for you the best that I could. If you make this, I’d love to hear what you thought! And please, Pinning is WINNING! I think. So if you feel so kind, I’d love it if you shared this blog post! Thanks!

LET’S COOK!

Step 1.

Clean 5-6 potatoes. Cook how you cook them for mashed potatoes.
(I cut them up in 4ths, place in a pot, fill pot till covered with water, and cook on high till they are boiling like mad. I cook them till I can poke them all the way through with a fork. Drain and mash.)

While the potatoes are cooking, let’s whip up that meat & veggie mixture for the bottom of our pie. And preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

 

Step 2.

2.5 lbs of ground beef. (I have used half beef, half turkey, or half beef and half pork, depends on what I have.)
2 med onions chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic
splash of olive oil (if using 93/7 meat or bison)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Brown meat with onions, oil, and garlic
Drain fat.

Now add
1 cup of dark beer (
Guinness is my choice)
1/4 c beef broth
1/4 c worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs rosemary
1/2 Tbs oregano
1 large or two med tomatoes. (or one can diced, or in my case, 4 Romas, because that’s what came this week with out Market Crate)

Sometimes I add a Tbls of bacon fat or butter (don’t judge, just try it, you’ll like it, I promise)

Bring all of the above to a good rolling boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Perfect time to be mashing those potatoes.

 

Step 3. 

Steam (if fresh and if desired)
2 large carrots chopped
1 lb fresh green beans
1 ear of corn
I steamed the fresh carrots and green beans to soften them up a tad. I have been known to toss them in with the beef if I am really in a hurry.
*If you are using fresh veggies, add an additional 10 minutes to your baking time.

However you wish to add your veggies to the meat mixture, now is the time. Throw them in and mix.

When all mixed place the veggie and meat mixture into your baking dishes. Set aside. It’s time to get your mash on!! 

 

Step 4.

Add to your potatoes:
1/2 sour cream
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper to taste
milk to get the consistency you like
I add garlic powder to mine as well, just something we prefer. Do as you wish.

 

Step 5.

On top of that yummy meat mixture plop those taters on and spread them out. Poke the potatoes with the fork, and place on a cookie sheet, there is a possibility your pie will bubble over with joy. Some dot their potatoes with butter, your choice, I don’t.

Cook for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. And ENJOY!

 

Some ideas…

Add cabbage to your potatoes and give it an even bigger Irish flair.
This is a recipe that can be changed as you go. If your family likes peas, throw some in. Are you a sage fan, add it in there!
The possibilities for this dish are truly endless. It’s a hearty meal, and your kin will be signing praise with your culinary skills. Just don’t let them know how this rise tasty dish is truly a walk in the park to make!

Sláinte!

Confessions of a Book Worm

I am a lover of books. And often have found myself staying up way too late to finish a book. It’s starts off innocent and quickly spirals out of control. My, “just one more chapter”,usually ends up with a book done and me realizing my kids will be up in an hour or two. Which of course leads me to panic …. and if this sounds like you, you probably know the rest. A very groggy and tired mommy seeking lots and lots of coffee, and hopefully, if we are lucky, a nap.

I am currently reading a few books. Please tell me I am not the only one that does this. If you are interested in any of the books I share, simply click on the picture of the book and you will be lead right to the book on Amazon, ready for you to find out more info and if you choose, buy. Amazon makes it way too easy to have a book problem.

“7” by Jen Hatmaker was recently recommended by a fellow photographer. And boy am I grateful for her letting the world of Facebook know. This book is life changing! And currently on sale on Amazon (Kindle) for $2.99!

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I recently joined a book club. Our book this month is The Wicked Girls. I am on chapter 7 and was sucked in on page 1.

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The book I most recently finished is, Simply Homeschool. If you are thinking about homeschooling or have been doing it for years, this book is a great read. I highly recommend it. And it’s only $.99 right now!!

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So there are my three hot reads right now. Thanks for stopping by. And if you read or have read any of my recent picks, I’d love to hear what you think about it!

Happy reading!
xoxo
Stacy

In The Studio | Lebanon, Illinois

Saturday I got to hang out with one of my most favorite people. He’s short, chunky, and full of smiles!

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So many know by now that I will not be accepting new clients this year. The studio will still be there on the pretty brick street in Lebanon, Illinois. Amy of Speed of Life Photography will continue on without a studio mate. I am excited for her journey and can’t wait to see what she does, making the studio all hers. If you are looking for an exceptional photographer and person please give her a call. She does great things and I honestly love watching her work with little ones. She has a real knack with children of all ages. And if you are looking for a family photographer that captures you as you are, Amy is the gal to call!

I will be collaborating with her through out the year with classes. We are currently offering Basic DSLR Classes at the studio.

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We still have a few seats available, you can snag the last ones HERE.

And if you are looking for a class beyond Auto or a class for your kids, be sure to keep up on upcoming classes here on my blog, or my Facebook page.

New things are happening, exciting changes are being made, and I couldn’t be happier on this road I am traveling.

Have a blessed day friends!
xoxo
Stacy

In The Studio | Lebanon, Illinois

Saturday I got to hang out with one of my most favorite people. He’s short, chunky, and full of smiles!

315_5685

315_5721

 

315_5768

315_5793

 

So many know by now that I will not be accepting new clients this year. The studio will still be there on the pretty brick street in Lebanon, Illinois. Amy of Speed of Life Photography will continue on without a studio mate. I am excited for her journey and can’t wait to see what she does, making the studio all hers. If you are looking for an exceptional photographer and person please give her a call. She does great things and I honestly love watching her work with little ones. She has a real knack with children of all ages. And if you are looking for a family photographer that captures you as you are, Amy is the gal to call!

I will be collaborating with her through out the year with classes. We are currently offering Basic DSLR Classes at the studio.

1896951_638391399542193_845120991_n

 

We still have a few seats available, you can snag the last ones HERE.

And if you are looking for a class beyond Auto or a class for your kids, be sure to keep up on upcoming classes here on my blog, or my Facebook page.

New things are happening, exciting changes are being made, and I couldn’t be happier on this road I am traveling.

Have a blessed day friends!
xoxo
Stacy