Home Maid Simple: November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Eliminate the Snacking {80 bites Week 4}

It's week 4 with my 80 Bites diet plan. We've moved on from talking about Quantity to learning about Frequency.

This last week has been more of a mental struggle for me. I love that I'm seeing results, and feeling better about my body, but I'm longing for snacks, and to not feel guilty whenever I eat something. I think my biggest problem right now is perhaps getting the right foods. Something I should probably take a closer look at, or at least at some vitamins to my diet.

So back to Frequency.  According to the 80 Bites program, there is a very simple way to cut back the snacking between meals - just brush your teeth.

Yep. Simple and easy really. You brush your teeth and you won't want to put anything into your mouth and ruin that clean feeling.

I was a little skeptical at first. The I decided to pay attention to my eating habits after brushing my teeth. I was pleasantly surprised. After brushing my teeth after breakfast, I don't really snack during the mornings. Brushing my teeth after lunch though is more of a foreign concept to me. It's definitely a good practice, but not one I've ever done. I've also noticed that most of my snacking, happens between lunch and dinner.

So looks like I'll be adding a good hygiene practice to my afternoons, in an effort to curb those snacking urges. To tell the truth, I'm excited. I don't usually snack because I'm hungry, more because it's "something to do" and "it looks good".  I guess what I'm saying is I'm a boredom eater. I look to food to satisfy things other than actual hunger. Go ahead, tsk tsk me.

In regards to last weeks lesson, I have slowed my eating considerably. No longer focused on that next bite.

 
How's it Going?
How Many Bites did you take?90-100/day

Feeling deprived?
Starting to a little. Just in the amount that I eat, though.

Weight at beginning of diet?
165

Weight today?
161

Are you still motivated?
Yes. Not as much as I had been, but I think it's just a phase. It's that mental block I mentioned above.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Potato Cakes {Foodie Friday}

 
Hosted at Home Maid Simple
 
 
It's a week past Thanksgiving, are you still eating leftovers?  We didn't bring any leftovers home from my parents, so we're not. I wouldn't be surprised if my parents still are though.
Last Saturday I decided I'd make a nice breakfast for everyone. My mom had done most of the cooking while we were visiting, so I wanted to give back.  I also wanted to help clear out some of her leftovers.  Potato Cakes are one of my favorite and easy breakfast recipes. They also take care of any leftover mashed potatoes.
 
 
Potato Cakes
 
Photobucket


 


Ingredients
2-3 cups Mashed Potatoes
1 egg
1-2 TBS Flour
salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together.  Heat a large frying pan, or griddle on medium heat. Add about a 1 tsp of butter to the pan to melt (or you can use cooking spray). Using a serving spoon, or soup spoon, scoop potatoes onto the pan, making pancake size portions. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown.
Enjoy! We usually eat these with ketchup, but they'd probably be great with leftover gravy as well.
 
 
~FEATURES~
Hot Cocoa
You can read all about my love of Hot Cocoa on yesterdays post: Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
 
Rainbow Swiss Chard
I just love the mixture of vegetables stuffed in these pasta shells. A surefire way to trick my kids into healthy eating.
 
Canned Peach Pie Filling
After my apple pie filling, I'll definitely have to add some peach pie filling to our cupboards
 
 
What's Cooking?
Link up below. Please limit it to 3 recipes that have not been shared on Foodie Friday before.
 
 



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider? {Think About It}

 
Last week we talked about the Stress of the Holidays, and I told you how I'm having a Stress Free Holiday.
After such a deep and though provoking topic, I wanted to lighten things up a bit. So this week curious minds want to know
 
Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
 
I know right?! What a conundrum you face when the choice is placed in front of you. There they are staring you in the face...a packet of Hot Cocoa with mini marshmallows, or that wonderfully harvest taste of hot apple cider! 
 
Which do you choose?  How can you choose?  You definitely can't have both. Cocoa and Cider do not mix (hmmm, though that does give me an experiment to try later).
 
The answer is simple. Two mugs. But now what? Do you start with the cocoa or the cider?  It's like we're back to square one.
 
I love both these drinks, especially this time of year. Could you tell?
I think they are for separate moods though. When I think Hot Cocoa, I'm snuggling under a blanket, my kids are snuggled up next to me, and we all have a steaming mug with a favorite story being read. It's cozy, it's warm, and definitely a good sleep aid. So I guess if it's night time, I'd prefer Hot Cocoa.
 
Apple Cider. Oh what do I say about you!  When we took a trip in my 1st grade class to the Apple Orchard, and they let us try you so fresh from the apples, I was hooked. You've been my friend ever since. Store bought, Big Name Label "Apple Cider" just isn't you.  You're my Adult drink; my sophisticated feeling, harvest loving, tree hugger, fashionable drink.  To change a catchy tune to fit me and you "The best part of waking up, is Apple Cider in my cup".
 
Admittedly, I do drink the powdered stuff, and enjoy it. When I can get the real stuff straight from the orchards though, that is good. A nice warm cup of apple cider wakes my taste buds and my senses up, and just warms me throughout the day.
 
Now tell me, what about you? Are you like me, and can't choose; or do you have a favorite?

Photobucket


Piano {Wordless Wednesday}



One thing I really miss having is a piano. While visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, I got to enjoy Mark's music as he played almost daily on their beautiful piano.  As soon as we close on this house, and move in, I think our next big home purchase will be a piano. My fingers are itching to play again.

Music truly makes a House more of a Home.

Stress Free Moving {Guest Post}

I need to remember this advice when we begin moving again in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, especially with the holidays upon us, I can stay as stress free as possible while we settle into our new home!


Staying Sane While Moving Between Homes

Moving is exciting, but it's also rather stressful. People tend to become so overwhelmed during the move that they just feel immense amounts of pressure and anxiety. Follow these tips to have a less stressful move this time around.

Take Time Off

Try to plan the move, if possible, for a fairly low key time at work, and then take a few days off. You'll likely want to take off at least a day or two before the move, the day of the move and possibly the day after as well. You're going to need this time to pack up, organize and just deal with the general steps of moving.

Make Lists

You might be paranoid that the movers are going to lose some of your beloved items, so keep accurate and detailed lists to maintain control. Mark each of the boxes, and note as they make their way through the doors and into the moving truck. Once you've arrived in your new home, check the items off of the list to denote that they have arrived.

Use Storage Units

Sometimes, it's not possible to move directly from one house into another. The house might not be ready yet, or the sellers are not ready to move out of the space for another month. In that case, you'll need to rent for a while or spend some time living with your family. Now, where are all of your items going to go during this transitional phase? Instead of cramming them all into a space that's too small, simply rent a storage unit, like Dallas Texas Self Storage, for the time being.

Children and Pets

Two of your biggest worries are likely going to be your children and pets during the move. If possible, board your pets for the day, so they aren't able to get out. When that's not an option, keep them in a separate room while the doors are opening. For small children, hire a babysitter or ask a family member to help for the day.

Generous Time Limits

If you insist that the job must be completed within a few hours and that all of your items must be unpacked that very night, then you're really going to stress yourself out. Remember, moving is a process, and it will likely take several days or even weeks to be settled in your new house.
Whenever the anxiety and stress creep up, remember that it will be worth it once everything is done and finished.

Author Bio:
Melisa Cammack is a busy mother of three young boys (with one little girl on the way), wife to one handsome man, and a freelance writer who loves writing health, travel, parenting and self-help articles. Though she is originally from Seattle, Melisa is currently living in Western Australia with her little family for the next few months due to her husband’s job, and is looking forward to going back to the States in December for a white Christmas, but is already dreading the 30+ hour flight.

Changes are Coming

Good morning everyone! I made a pretty big change here on Home Maid Simple over night.  Look up, up there, see the blog address?  Cool right? 

You can still get here through the .blogspot.com url, but you no longer have to. We are now proudly www.homemaidsimple.com
 
Like I said, this won't really affect you right now. either url will still bring you here - for now.  I have plans by the beginning of the New Year to have a new host as well. Don't worry though, I'll let you know plenty of time in advance, so you can make the switch with me. I'd hate to lose any of you.
 
As always, thanks so much for hanging around with me, and reading Home Maid Simple.  Our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages will not change, so you can always find me there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm donating to.... #GivingTuesday

I have been looking forward to today for quite some time now. We've had Thanksgiving and followed it up with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Today marks the first and hopefully annual Giving Tuesday. Today we encourage you to get involved and give back. No matter how small, there is something you can do today to give to someone else.
World Homeless Day

Here are some ideas to get you started
  • Take your neighbor some home made goodies. Stay and chat.
  • Offer to pick up an elderly's groceries.
  • Help a mom - hold open the door, push her groceries to her cart, smile at her kids, compliment her mothering.
  • Donate to your favorite charity
  • Pick an angel to help this Christmas

If you have kids, encourage them to give as well. I find leading by example is the best though. If you are giving, they will want to give too. Enjoy the good feelings you will get as you serve your fellow humans.

I've recently learned about an easy way to donate to your favorite charity, that costs you nothing! 
 
 
When you sign in to goodsearch you can pick you favorite charity. Then everytime you use Goodsearch to search the internet, a penny is donated to your charity. You do nothing but what you already do - search the internet! 
 
I signed up this morning, and am donating my searches to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. You can learn more about why I chose this charity on my Sponsor Page.  It is a cause near and dear to my heart.
 
In addition to using GoodSearch today, I am also donating a portion of my last months earnings from this blog (approximately $50) to another cause 
 
 
LDS Charities was established in 1996.  They span all across the world helping in many different areas including Wheelchairs, Clean Water, and Immunizations.  I can't think of a better way to help people then giving them the things they need to live and grow healthy.  I was recently listening to a couple who had just returned from Cambodia serving a mission with LDS Charities. Did you know that one of the leading causes of death among those unable to walk (in Combodia) are snake bites?  That took me by surprise.  By providing them with wheelchairs, these people can avoid the snakes better, and their quality of life is improved so much. 
 
 
What will you do today to Give back?
 
I'd love to hear your ideas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Flirty Aprons 40% Off and Free Shipping {Cyber Monday}

Today ONLY
Get your Flirty Aprons for 40% Off and FREE Shipping.
 
Use code CyberFlirty at checkout
 
 
When it comes to online shopping, the shipping costs always get me down. In fact I tend to not shop online very much for the very reason of shipping costs. So to me, this deal is GOOD!

For more Cyber Monday Deals, check the right sidebar --->
 

www.FlirtyAprons.com
 
*This post contains affiliate links.

Cupcakes and Sisters {Menu Plan}

Wednesday night, my sister and I took a trip to the store for some last minute Thanksgiving items. It was nice to spend some time with just her, so we decided to make the trip extra special, and went to a little Cupcake Bakery.  It was one of the cutest little places I've been to in a long time.



My sister knows me uber well, and knew that I love cupcakes. I'm not a big television watcher, but one show I make sure to record each week is Cupcake Wars. It just so happens that the bakery we went to, had been on Cupcake Wars earlier this year, and I remembered them!  Cravings - Alisha's Cupcakes, was in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle episode, where they had to turn pizza into cupcakes.

No I didn't try a pizza cupcake.  I enjoyed a Salted Caramel Cupcake, and my sister tried her Snickerdoodle Cupcake. They were both very yummy!  She had also made some fudge and was offering it as a free sample.  Along with the yummy cupcakes, Alisha has created a fun atmostphere for eating them. She has couches, and tables and chairs, even a little corner for kids. None of the furniture matched, but it all gave off the same feel, fun. Just perfect for enjoying a girls night with my sister.

I had hoped to take my Princesses back before we left town, but it just didn't fit into our schedule. So over Christmas vacation, we'll definitely be visiting Alisha again.  She actually just opened her store front a few weeks ago. So if you live in the Utah County Area, you should go visit her on Main Street in Pleasant Grove.

Did I mention, I got to meet Alisha too? Yep she was the only one there baking and serving cupcakes when my sister and I stopped by.  She is a lot of fun, and extremely friendly. I kind of felt like I was meeting a rock star.  I'll definitely be tuning in when she makes her 2nd appearance (voted a fan favorite!) on Cupcake Wars.  This was my first trip to a Cupcake Bakery, but it won't be my last.

Have you been to a Cupcake Bakery? 
 
Now, what to eat this week? We left all the leftovers at my parents, so no more Thanksgiving food for us.
 
Monday - Bean and Cheese Taquitos
Tuesday - Macaroni and Cheese
Wednesday - Chili
Thursday - Caprese Chicken
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Lasagna

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Best of One Kings Lane Sales

One of my favorite Home Decor places to browse online is One Kings Lane.  Periodically they have a really good sale on something I want, like when I bought cute blue organizing boxes for Prince L's room. Or the more recent purchase for Mark's Christmas present (yeah my husband reads my blog, so I can't tell you what it is).  

I am especially excited about the sales they have going on this weekend!  It's the Best of One King's Lane, with a new sale starting each day, and lasting for 4 days.

Yesterday kicked off with a Holiday Ornaments and Decor Sale, featuring items like these glass angel ornaments!
Glass Angel Ornaments, Asst. of 2


Today get deals on Bedding, Upholstery, and Home Accents.
Get your guest rooms ready for the holidays with some Flannel Sheet Sets
Flannel Gingham Sheet Set, Blue

Sunday's Sales include

While Monday's Sales will bring you

Also, when you sign up you'll get a $15 credit off purchases of $30 or more.

Slow Down {80 Bites Week 3}

Well, it's week 3 of my 80 Bites Diet Plan.  I'm really enjoying this plan. It's easy for me to follow, I don't have to give up my favorite foods, and I have actually seen the results!

Week 3 is the last week focused on quantity.  It supposedly takes 21 days to form a habit. I'm not sure anyone anticipated Thanksgiving in this quantity thing though....

Actually, I impressed myself. I did indulge in Thanksgiving feasting, but I know in years past, I've eaten way more than I did this last week.  I actually felt full, and made that decision to stop eating. I didn't NEED a second serving potatoes and turkey, so I didn't have one.

This last week of learning about the quantity of food we eat, 80 bites talked about my food, in the moment. Focusing on one bite at a time. Are you one of the many that think about their next bite while still chewing the first?  I noticed I was quite a bit. Not neccesarily consiously, but I'd have bite 2 on the fork before I had even swallowed, which led to swallowing before really having my food chewed properly.

So the lesson learned this week -  SLOW DOWN. Chew your food. Enjoy the flavors.

How Many Bites did you take?
aprox. 80-90

Feeling deprived?
nope

Weight at beginning of diet?
165

Weight today?
Since I'm on vacation, and Thanksgiving was this week...I'm not weighing..

Are you still motivated?
Yes. I even brought my running clothes on vacation. I didn't go running, but we did take a very long walk to the park, instead of driving.
Even better, Mark noticed, and asked if I had lost weight this week.

Week 3 Question: Are you a fast eater?
Sadly, yes. I will be working on putting my utensils down between bites, and really chewing my food properly.


Author Kimball Fisher's Top 10 Christmas Books {Blog Tour}



Thanks for stopping by Home Maid Simple in the Finding the Baby Jesus blog tour!
I had the opportunity to ask the Author for a Top Ten List.
Since the theme is obviously Christmas, I wanted to know Mr Fisher's Top Ten Christmas Book List.
Here it is!
 
1 - A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens). Best Christmas book ever. Tiny Tim, Scrooge, and the Spirits of Christmas.
2 - The Night Before Christmas (Clement Clarke Moore). Of course! Not even mice were stirring.
3 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Seuss). From a modern genius of both word and illustration.
4 - Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Robert L. May). For the kids. Old ones, too.
5 - The Little Match Girl (Hans Christian Anderson). Look for the volume illustrated by Rachel Isadora.
6 - Nutcracker (E.T.A. Hoffman). The story that inspired Tchaikovsky's ballet.
7 - The Polar Express (Chris Van Allsburg). Haunting words and illustrations. Modern classic.
8 - Louisa May Alcott's Christmas Treasury. Charming stories from the author of Little Women.
9 - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson). A personal favorite and one of the inspirations for FINDING THE BABY JESUS. My wife and I loved this story, which although shorter than many, was always too long to read out loud in a single evening. I wrote FINDING to be read in a single sitting (even with most wiggly children).
10 - The Christmas Box (Richard Paul Evans). A fairly recent feel-good story.
 
Thank you so much Mr Fisher for sharing your favorite Christmas stories with us, and giving us one more to add to our list!

Finding the Baby Jesus by Kimball Fisher

After being forced to wear lederhosen for the annual holiday card picture, twelve-year-old Chris thinks that the least his parents can do is get him the Tony Hawk skateboard he wants for Christmas. But when he recovers the hand-carved Baby Jesus that everyone thought had been destroyed in a fire the year his Grandma died, Chris realizes that some gifts are even more important than skateboards.

When the author had to discontinue a cherished tradition of reading Christmas stories out loud with his family and holiday guests each week in December, he wrote Finding the Baby Jesus. He had been unable to locate enough meaningful stories that could be read in a single sitting with wiggly children.

Purchase


Author Kimball Fisher

Kimball Fisher writes novels for young readers. He is also a best-selling business author, professional speaker, and management consultant. Some of his past jobs include: sailboat builder, ghost writer (not as scary as it sounds), illustrator, and factory manager (more scary than it sounds). For fun he builds furniture, stained-glass windows, and writing pens.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities (with minors in English, Asian Studies, and Japanese), and a Master of Organizational Behavior degree from Brigham Young University. He and his amazing wife Reenie live in Portland, Oregon, where they have seen pheasants, coyotes, and a bobcat in their own backyard.

Links


Book Blast


Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/26/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.





Friday, November 23, 2012

Flirty Aprons - 40% OFF {Black Friday}

Are you all back from Black Friday shopping yet?  I hope so, because now it's time to check out this deal online!

Today ONLY you can get 40% OFF any purchase at Flirty Aprons

This is a Black Friday deal only! So go get those Aprons....Mark...


*This post contains affiliate links.

Craftsy Online Classes On Sale

Have you ever wanted to learn something crafty, but don't have the time? There have been so many classes I've wanted to take, to enrich my life, and learn something fun and new. As a mom, though, I can't always get away for those things, or they cost too much, or I don't live close enough to anything.

Recently the local college was having a Reupholstery Class. I so wanted to do that, but we had just moved here, and were still trying to get settled.

So, I introduce to you, Craftsy!  The online classes for all things crafty.  They have everything from sewing to cooking.  And from what I can tell, they are not just basic skills, they come very specialized to what you want.

For example, you can take a

After browsing them for days, I think I've finally settled on taking a Vegetable Gardening Class. Should definitely help us with our new garden next spring!

BLACK FRIDAY to CYBER MONDAY
Online Sewing Class

Sale at Blurb - Black Friday to Cyber Monday

It's that time! Black Friday. Are you out shopping or are you still curled up in bed recovering from turkey, potatoes and pie?  Either way, take a moment to check out Blurb, and save your memories from this year in a beautiful book.
Blurb is offering 25% your total Blurb purchase.
Use coupon code HOLIDAYTHANKS
Just look at all these cool things you could make.


This sale only lasts through 11:59 pm, local time, on Monday 11/26.  Only one coupon per user. Cannot be used with any other offers, or on previous orders.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anise Orange Biscotti {Foodie Friday}



Hosted at
Home Maid Simple
and
Simple Living and Eating

Every year my family has an h'or doeve contest for Thanksgiving. It gives us something to snack on during the day while waiting for the big meal.  This year I decided to try making some biscotti. I've never had biscotti before, but heard it's good. I was not expecting it to be so hard though.

So, make sure you have something nearby to dunk these in. Today's choices ranged from tomato soup, wassail, and hot chocolate.  All were found equally enjoyable.

Anise Orange Biscotti

Ingredients
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp anise extract
2 tsp McCormick Valencia Orange Peel
dash of anise seeds
2 TBS 100% Orange Juice
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, anise extract, orange peel, seeds and juice together.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Slowly stir the dry mixture into the wet, until fully combined.
Separate the dough in half, and form 2 logs. Aproximately 2 inches by 12 inches.
Grease a cookie sheet!
Place the logs on the cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, and the tops are slightly brown. Remove from oven. Lower the heat to 325.
Allow the biscotti to cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2 inch slices, and place back on the pan cut side down. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Let cool.
You can dip them in chocolate, drizzle chocolate on top, or leave plain.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanks for being a part of Foodie Friday. I am truly grateful for my cohost Diane. She really helped kick this party off the ground. And without all of your, this party wouldn't be so much fun. I am grateful to those of you who come by every week and link up with us. You're recipes, kitchen creations, and food knowledge always inspires me.

Now on to the 
~FEATURES~
Post image for Recipe: Sugarplums from Real Food for the Holidays by Nourished Kitchen
Sugar Plums
from Real Food Forager
This screams Holidays! I've never had sugar plums, but watching the Nutcracker always makes me want one.

Baked Cheesy Chicken Taquitos
Baked Cheesy Chicken Taquitos
After all the Thanksgiving fare, I was looking for something a little more light. This looks perfect!

Portuguese Style Orange Cake
This just looks so yummy! Even if I did eat some pie recently, I think I could go for this!


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving
Here's a tidbit of history for you



May we all find reasons to be Thankful today and give Praise. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stress Free Holidays? {Think About It}


What are Your Biggest Challenges with the Holidays?

For me, holidays aren't really challenging. I mean, I guess they could become challenging, if we had more family nearby, and had to figure out a bunch of schedules, and make sure we didn't accidentally offend someone, or forget something, or leave anyone out.  

Fact of the matter here though, we keep it simple. I think our biggest challenge will be getting enough snow (which we obviously have no control over), an finding a good enough hill to take the kids sledding.

Are you looking at me funny now?

Let me tell you why that is my biggest challenge - because holidays, for me, are about spending time with family. It's not about the toys, the gifts, the perfect party. It's about spending quality time with my husband, kids and extended family - making memories that will last, and be imprinted forever in their minds. 

Will they remember whether I got them that special doll years down the road? probably not.

Will they remember if I was stressed, and couldn't play with them, because I was too worried about things being perfect? Most likely yes

Will they remember me telling them no to certain toys, because it was too expensive? probably not.

Will they remember sledding, building a snowman, throwing snowballs at Daddy, and snuggling up with Hot Cocoa and a Christmas story?  I sure hope so!

This year, I'm casting off the worry of finding the perfect gift and replacing it with the ultimate gift - Time Spent Together.
I'm leaving behind the worry that things might not look perfect, or run as smoothly as planned in favor of enjoying the moments of smiles and laughter with my kids.


Thanks for coming by Think About It Thursday! We'd love for you to GRAB THE BUTTON, and place it on your blog. Then link up below with what's on your mind.
Then head over to Mumfection and Tim & Angi's Blog to see what Challenges they're facing this season.

Finding the Baby Jesus - Book Blast and $50 Paypal Giveaway


Finding the Baby Jesus
by Kimball Fisher

After being forced to wear lederhosen for the annual holiday card picture, twelve-year-old Chris thinks that the least his parents can do is get him the Tony Hawk skateboard he wants for Christmas. But when he recovers the hand-carved Baby Jesus that everyone thought had been destroyed in a fire the year his Grandma died, Chris realizes that some gifts are even more important than skateboards.

When the author had to discontinue a cherished tradition of reading Christmas stories out loud with his family and holiday guests each week in December, he wrote Finding the Baby Jesus. He had been unable to locate enough meaningful stories that could be read in a single sitting with wiggly children.


Praise for Finding the Baby Jesus:
“Tender and true, this warm Christmas tale brought tears to my eyes.”
–Heather Vogel Frederick, author of the much-beloved Mother-Daughter Book Club series and Oregon Book Award winner for The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed

“A touching story that speaks to the importance of family, giving, and the true spirit of Christmas.”
–Matthew Kirby, author of Icefall, winner of the Edgar Allen Poe and the Pen Center USA Literary Awards for Children’s Literature

“Deeply moving. Poignant.”
–Deborah Halverson, former editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and author of Honk If You Hate Me, a Gayle McCandliss Literary Award Winner

"The perfect little book to tuck away with your Christmas things and bring out year after year to read with family. As mother to three boys, I can't imagine a better protagonist than Chris. His typical teenage attitude followed by the softening of his heart towards a friend teaches a poignant and very relatable lesson on the true meaning of Christmas."
–Amazon review

"After I read this short story I felt like I had read a novel--every sentence is packed with action and imagery. I was emotionally connected to the characters, and the story is touching. I didn't see the plot twist at the end coming! A great story to read every Christmas."
–Amazon review

Purchase



Author Kimball Fisher

Kimball Fisher writes novels for young readers. He is also a best-selling business author, professional speaker, and management consultant. Some of his past jobs include: sailboat builder, ghost writer (not as scary as it sounds), illustrator, and factory manager (more scary than it sounds). For fun he builds furniture, stained-glass windows, and writing pens.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities (with minors in English, Asian Studies, and Japanese), and a Master of Organizational Behavior degree from Brigham Young University. He and his amazing wife Reenie live in Portland, Oregon, where they have seen pheasants, coyotes, and a bobcat in their own backyard.


Links


Blog Tour
November 23rd to December 21st
Tour Schedule

Come Back to Home Maid Simple on the 24th to see Mr Fisher's Top 10 Christmas Books!
 
Blast Giveaway:
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/21/12


Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We found a House

When we decided it was time for a change, and made the decision to sell our home of 1 year, it was hard. For me, it was extremely emotional. We had spent 6 years moving around, renting where we could find the cheapest prices, and we had finally decided to settle our family down, in a home of our own, where we could paint the walls however we wanted.

Packing up and moving a year later was not in the plans. Not even the slightest thought of that. But we did it. It happened. After being home owners, though, going back to renting has been extremely difficult. I am grateful, mind you that our landlord rented his house to us on such short notice, so we could move as a family. I'm grateful for a roof over our heads, that keeps us (mostly) warm at night.  I am grateful for a kitchen, with a stove and fridge to prepare yummy meals for my family.

I am most grateful however, for my husband. That together we knew we wanted to find a home for us again. One that fit our lifestyle, and our kids. One that we could change from just a house, to a home.

And after much searching, we finally found it. I was hoping to show you pictures this week of us moving into it. But it's taking a little longer to close than we had hoped. That is not going to get me down though! It means instead of moving over our holiday break, we get to relax and enjoy family time.

However, I do want to show you some pics of our almost new home.
Sorry it's not the greatest picture. It is pretty amazing though! I can't wait to show you more pictures once we've moved in...hopefully before Christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Flowers...for me?

Part of Mark's new job, is also teaching the drama class. Although it's not what he went to school for, he did work for a local theater production for many years, and knows what he is doing.  Last week they put on Little Shop of Horrors.

A quick summary if you've never heard of this musical:
  • An orphan boy was taken in by a flower shop owner. They live on Skid Row, where life is hard, and no one amounts to much. It's basically the slums.
  • Seymour, the orphan boy finds a strange looking plant, and brings it into the shop. He finds the only food that makes it grow is blood.
  • The plant grows into a man eating giant human trap.

The kids did so good! I know they all worked hard, and I was very excited to see the production. This was Mark's first theater performance with him as director as well. I couldn't be more proud of him.

What I wasn't expecting, however, was to get flowers. After the curtain fell, and bows were given, they called Mark and "his wife" on stage. They had this beautiful flower arrangement for me (no worries, I checked for man eating plants in it, and I think we're safe). 
 
In Mark's 2 previous years of teaching band, I've never been called on stage before. I think I like this drama thing. Though someone remind me, wear something nicer than running pants and a tshirt for all future events....
 
On another note though, Congrats NS High students! You put together a great play, and you all did so well.  You should be very proud of yourselves.

Thanksgiving Traditions {Menu Plan}

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a feast! Both of food and people. Many of our family friends had no family nearby, so we had them over to our house for Thanksgiving. I remember filling our Great Room with 3-4 long folding tables, plus one smaller table for the kids. You could hardly walk around there were so many of us gathered.

While we would wait for the main meal to be served, we always had a fun little contest.  H'or Doeves!  Everyone was allowed to bring 1 h'or doeve to enter the contest. Categories were set up by age group.  It was always so much fun. I remember one year I used my Roald Dahl cookbook, and made a hoagie sandwich look like a crocodile.

The past couple years we have really tempered it down, keeping it just to family.  As a part of that the h'or doeve contest got cut. However, this year, my sister is bringing it back!  I was just told this weekend though, so now I have got to pull something together fast. I'm feeling stuck....pinterest and foodie friday have given me way too many options.

This Bread Dough Cornucopia from the Jazzy Gourmet Cooking Studio would look amazing on anyy Thanksgiving table
 
I know my sister has a soft spot for Biscotti sinve she traveled to Europe. So I might try this Orange Anise Biscotti I found on pinterest
 While I personally love bruschetta inspired h'or doeves, like this Artichoke Bruschetta
 


In the meantime, I should probably figure out dinner for the rest of the week

Monday - Bsicuits and Gravy
Tuesday - Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
Wednesday - Chili
Thursday - Thanksgiving! My mom is doing the dinner. I'm making apple pie and these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls from Will Cook for Smiles
Friday - Dad's birthday. Leftover Thanksgiving and hopefully some cherry Cheesecake
Saturday - Dinner at my parents
Sunday - Dinner at my parents (I love vacation!)


Saturday, November 17, 2012

40 % Off & Free Pillows from Natures Sleep

It seems almost too good to be true. Right now...I mean RIGHT NOW....you can get 40% off your Natures Sleep order.
 
If you purchase a Natures Sleep Mattress call this number
877-557-5337
to claim your 2 Free Pillows.
 
Natures Sleep
 
 
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lincoln in Theaters Today! {Date Night}

It's Friday Night Date Night!
 
In an effort to date my husband more, I'll be bringing date night ideas to you each week! 
 
Tonight, Lincoln, the new Steven Spielberg movie, is open in theaters. I have been waiting all summer for this movie!!!  We would be at the theater tonight, except we have other things going on this week.
 
Here's my idea though, and if you're headed out to see Lincoln this weekend, you can use these to make the night a little more special
 
Dress Code!
Ladies - curl your hair in ringlets and pull back into a net. Then dust off those hoop skirts! (or borrow one, or wear your fanciest dress you own)

 
 
Guys - pull out those suits, vests and pocket watches! If you have a top hat, wear that as well.

Dinner
If you're doing dinner before the movie, find somewhere that has a good cornbread, and enjoy civil war fare.  Or whip up your own batch of cornbread and Lemonade.
 

Then head on out and enjoy the show!  I'm hoping we can sneak away for a bit next weekend for our own date night.

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