Home Maid Simple: December 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Choosing the Right Lighting

The end is near!  We finally closed on our house just before Christmas. It has made moving a bit of a nightmare, but the house is ours, and it is time to turn it into a home.

Today I want to talk a little about lighting. Finding the right lights, creating the right mood with lights, and not over lighting or under lighting any area of your home. See I have a problem. Our new Front Room is very much under lighted. I've been browsing some of the Kartell lighting over at LBC Modern.

Under Lighting

Here is a snapshot of our front room (ignore Christmas...)

It's a fairly small room, and the only lighting is that old antique light hanging from the corner - which by the way, doesn't work. So now our only light in this room is the big picture window facing north. I mention that, because the north side of the home gets the cold, and not as much sun. Leaving our lighting pretty dim here.
I want this room to be welcoming, which means it needs the right lights.  I'm thinking a bourgie table lamp next to a small couch would look pretty nice.

Kartell "Bourgie" Table Lamp
Above the shelf I would like to add some recessed can lighting as well, to spotlight any decorating I do, or pictures we may hang there.
These small lighting additions would bring this room up to the perfect lighting atmosphere to be welcoming, but not overly lit or gaudy.

Over Lighting

Our new kitchen has had the opposite effect with over lighting. The kitchen is a small little space in this home (yes another remodel is on the horizon!). My current issue however, is the overabundance of lights, and the separate switch for each one. I think I counted 3 or 4 different switches in the kitchen, and each one only turned on one single light. It's enough to spin me in circles trying to get the right light on. There is a dining area light, an above the sink light, and a laundry light. With the way it is set up right now, the laundry light is needed. It could easily be changed though, to have one longer light in the kitchen that would give light into the laundry side of the room and extend to the dining area. This would especially work as the dining side could use the light from the south facing window it sits next to. Again, south side of the house, you'll be getting more sun, and therefore, don't need as much lighting.

Use Lights to Set the Mood

Lighting truly effects our moods. The more light, especially natural light from the sun, the happier we are. I strive for joy and happiness in our home, something I think we all probably do. So I love tossing open the curtains and blinds and letting in the sun. There are some areas of a home though, that don't get the natural lighting. Areas such as a basement. They tend to be dark. By finding the right lights, you can create a joyful area in the basement, despite it's lack of sun. I would go with bright lights, and soft shades for a table lamp. If the ceilings are tall enough in your basement, hanging overhead lights can give off more light than those closer to the ceiling.
If you're creating a space for kids, though, you may want to try different colored lights. They can spark creativity and a joyful mood for your children. I personally love these Pablo Tube Lights I found. Not only would my kids love the colors, but they are also dimmable lights, so I can adjust them to just the right amount of light we need.
Pablo Designs Tube Top 14
Well, I'm off to pack some more boxes, and daydream of the future remodels in our new home. I can't wait to show you pictures of what we do!
*This sponsored post was made possible by SheHeard. I have been compensated for my time and work on this campaign, however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Frequency and Quality {80 Bites Week 7}

I know I missed the last two weeks of letting you in on my progress here. What a wonderful, but busy time of the year for everyone.
This last week especially though, I have had a different perspective on my life, and the things that truly matter. This diet plan does matter to me.
Why? Although I would love to be losing a lot of weight, what really matters to me, is being healthy. The 80 Bites plan teaches you in small steps how to eat right, and stay healthy through food.
The program started with Quantity, then moved into Frequency. I learned how to listen to my body, and stop eating when I was full. I am still working on my frequency of eating. Maintaining 4 "meals" a day - Breakfast, lunch Mid-afternoon Snack (I call this my afterschool meal with the kids), and Dinner. In between those times if I feel inclined to eat something I brush my teeth, or find something productive to do instead.

This last week started the Quality section with 80 Bites. The first week is what I have been looking forward to. A chart of how to balance my meals to get the appropriate nutrition. 
Here is my condensed version:

A handful of carrots may be healthier than a couple cookies - but it's not balanced. Every meal should be balanced. 

80 Bites has an easy to grasp, with fun graphics, building blocks for a balanced meal.  Now every time I grab something to eat, I run through the building blocks. What am I eating? A piece of bread? Where's my protein, veggie/fruit, and drink?  And voila, I've sat down to a balanced meal.

Now to figure out where my chocolate fits in.....

How Many Bites did you take?

Feeling deprived?
No. Especially now that I have the tools to balance my meals, I'm feeling more empowered

Weight at beginning of diet?

Weight today?
159.5  Yes I am losing weight, and peopple are noticing.

Are you still motivated?
Very much so. If it hadn't become suddenly very cold, I'd be out running even more.  As it is, I've recomitted to my morning crunches with an ever growing baby lying on my legs.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mint or Cinnamon Hot Chocolate {Foodie Friday}

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It got nice and cold out here this week. We had a pretty big snowstorm blow through. And by big, I mean big for this area. There's a couple inches on the ground, and it's melting pretty fast. The temperature however, has stayed nice and freezing, meaning lots of hot cocoa.
We are in the middle of moving into our new home, on top of Christmas, yes. So I've been trying to make do with what we have in our fridge and pantry. I created the following two Hot Chocolate recipes on a whim when the girls came screaming in from the cold.


Mint Hot Chocolate

4 1/2 cups milk
4.67oz (or 28 pieces) Andes Mints
1 tsp Dutch Processed Cocoa powder
Heat milk over medium high heat until warm. Add mints and cocoa powder, turn heat to medium. Stir frequently until chocolate is all melted. Serve in mugs, and enjoy.
If I had had Whipped Cream it would have been that much better with some chopped Andes on top as well.

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

4 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup Dutch Processed Cocoa powder
2 TBS sugar
Handful semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat milk over medium high heat until warm. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir frequently until chips are melted and powder is mixed in. Turn the heat to medium-low for another 5-10minutes. Enjoy a nice cinnamony chocolate drink.
Copycat Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup
You can't go wrong with cheddar and brocolli. This soup is sure to warm you right up this winter.
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
Minimal ingredients, make for another quick and easy hot chocolate I'm sure my kids will enjoy.
Lady Behind The Curtain - Snowball Fight-Cake Balls
Snowball Fight Cake Balls
What a fun name! We've been having some real snowball fights around here. I think these are probably yummier though.
 *We will not be having Foodie Friday next week. Diane and I will be spending the time with our families, and getting ready for a new year. We do hope to see you again in January!


Creative Teacher Gifts with Printable Gift Tags

I saw this really cute teacher gift idea on pinterest, and decided I would make my first ever Printable!

The idea was cute, but I wanted to make it a little extra special. So I mustered up my courage and made the easiest printable for this.  Who knows, now that I've found just how easy it is, I might be making a lot more for you.
The paperclip and saying came from I saw that Going Differently in my Mind blog.  As a teacher, Mark thought paperclips were a bit redundant since they do have a lot of paperclips already. So I paired them with the New Deo Perfume Candy.  Then I tied it up with some pretty ribbon, and the gift tag!

You should be able to right click on the picture, open in a new window, and then print it out. If that doesn't work let me know, and I'll find another way to make it accessable to you.

We made three of these little gifts - 1 for Princess V's teacher, and 1 each for the secretaries at the High School and Middle School where Mark works.

Holiday Traditions {Think About It}

A little later than normal, but I'm here with another Think About It Thursday! Joining me are Mumfection and Tim and Angi's Blog
This week I'm talking

Holiday Traditions

Current Traditions

We have yet to start any of our own family traditions, but I'm hoping to soon. For now we have carried on some traditions from both Mark's family and my own.
In my family, we always got to pick one present to open on Christmas Eve. We could pick any present we wanted.  Mark's family always gives pajamas on Christmas Ever (something I've learned is common).  So to merge the two traditions...well basically it's just his tradition. I'm ok with it though, because we still get to open a present on Christmas eve, and it's something useful!
Breakfast is another major tradition both our families had. While Mark's family was eating Christmas Crunch, mine was cooking up Poffarages.  My dad served an LDS mission in The Netherlands, and that was a food he brought back with him. I have yet to find Christmas Crunch before it sells out, so we stick to (my personal favorite) poffarages.  Although I only have an Aebelskiver pan, the concept is similar, so we make do. (hmm, a recipe might be in order!).
Sinter Klass day is one from my family that I'm trying to keep around. On December 4th we leave our shoes by the door for Sinter Klass to fill. This year the kids got a big bag of M&M's. Nothing fancy, just good old fun. I may have introduced Swarte Pete this year as well...but he may make a quick departure when my kids really thought he'd come and take them away if they misbehaved.

Baking. Who doesn't spend the holidays baking?  Admittedly with our upcoming move, I haven't done as much, but we have snuck some in. Especially our Gingerbread Houses! It's just not the holidays without a gingerbread house overloaded with an instant sugar high.  Thank goodness for my Everyday Elegance Chair covers. They helped keep some of the mess to a minimum.

Traditions I wish we kept, would like to start again

It used to be tradition that on Christmas eve my family would host a talent show. We'd invite some friends to have dinner with us, and then everyone had to share a talent. One year, I decided to be creative and played "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause" on the piano, with my big toe. No, I won't go dig the picture out for you.  Although at times, I felt it was an embarassing tradition, it was also my parents way of encouraging us in our talents, and letting us shine.
Playing out the Nativity.  After our talent show, my dad (sometimes my uncle) would pull out the Bible, and read the Christmas Story. While he read, the kids got to dress up as the different people, and act out the story. I mostly remember playing the angel, proclaiming the birth of our Savior. Our mood went from one of fun and laughter, to reflection on why we celebrate this holiday.
Last, and I'm thinking I will do this next year, was our Penny Auction.  Some fun times came from this event.  My grandma loved yard sales. So what did we do with all the nick nacks? Wrapped them up, tossed them in a huge red bag and auctioned them off for penny's. My dad would dress as Santa, and the kids took turn as an elf - passing out the won prizes.  Again we'd invite a bunch of friends over, give everyone 20 pennies and begin the bidding.  So much Fun!  I still have some of my most prized wins from those auctions.

What are your holiday traditions?

Go ahead and link up with us!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More ways you can Help Newtown, CT

Earlier this week, I posted a list of different ways you can help through donations to Newtown, CT and the community in the wake of another tragedy.

Today I'd like to share some more ways you can offer support, and love to help remember those who lost their lives, and the let the community know the nation loves them.

26 Random Acts of Kindness

I've seen a couple different posts about this. People are committing to do at least 26 Random Acts of Kindess. 1 for each life lost.  For some ideas you can visit Shine Your Light. If you choose to write about your RAK, you can share it on a linky at The Frugalette.

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

This would be a great way to involve your small children in spreading a little Christmas cheer. Sit down, cut out some snowflakes, and send them to the PTSA by January 12. 
Connecticut PTSA,
60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103,
Hamden, CT 06514

For other actions from Connecticut's PTSA you can visit their webpage.

Stricter Gun Laws

I'm all for the right to bear arms. However I think it needs to be within reason.  I like what Diane from Simple Living and Eating said.
If you'd like to sgn a petition for common sense gun laws see this one.

Charities giving aid

For a list of charities giving aid in the aftermath, and to donate to them, visit here.

The Girly Girl in me {Haircoverings Review and Giveaway}

I've told you all how I'm no girly girl.

At least I wasn't for a long time. I considered myself a tomboy. I enjoyed getting out and getting dirty. Playing with the boys. I have 2 older brothers that I always looked up to, and wanted to be like them.

I don't wear makeup. I'm not a very good hair-doer (unless I spend uber amounts of time I don't have to get it right).   And, I'm just not very stylish. I'm working on that one though. I want more cute and fun styles.

I want my girls to have a sense of fashion that their mother lacks. So they can put themselves together, look nice, but also value themselves for who they are, not what the look like. The joys of trying to balance life and values.

I was really excited to get to review a product from HairCoverings.com again (they sent my girls a pretty hat and flower clip last year).  This year I was looking more for me. I wanted something to add, that still kept me, me.  I'm pretty happy with this black scarf I received. Since it's black I can pair it with just about any outfit for a little dressier feel. Despite it's thin feel, it actually kept my neck nice and warm on a cold night.

As you can probably guess, my oldest is quite the girly girl. I received the black scarf just in time to wear to her ballet recital. 
Princess V absolutely loves dancing, and really enjoys her new dance studio (I was so glad we found one in the area thanks to TimeDog).  You can see she is quite the Diva, as she leaves the stage waving to her fans.

I love the wide range of products I can get from HairCoverings.com as well as the reasonable pricing. I have a feeling I'll be visiting them many times over the years for all my girly girl needs. 

*I have to add though, working with their PR was a bit confusing at times, but everything fell into place, and overall I am happy to work with them. 

20% OFF
Home Maid Simple readers can get 20% OFF their order through 12/31/12 with code

1 Reader will receive a Surprise box of Hair Items worth $25
Open to US residents 18+
Use the Rafflecopter to enter
Giveaway ends Dec 31st
*I received products mentioned above to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Living Room by Bill Rolfe {Book Review}


The Living Room

The Living Room
by Bill Rolfe
About the Book:  Daniel Clay has good looks, money, and a rising career as a New York investment advisor. Meanwhile, his personal life is barren of love and family. But when a distant relative dies and leaves him a house in England, Daniel embarks on a life-changing journey—toward love and his soul’s awakening.

He meets and falls in love with Claire, a children’s palliative care nurse. With her help, he opens his home and heart to comfort young patients in their final days. As Claire tends to the children in a beautiful glassed-in room overlooking the sea, Daniel prays for miracles. Just when his prayers are answered, a mysterious illness strikes him down and relentlessly drains away his life. With no hope for a cure, Daniel holds fast to a deep secret that he can never reveal. And now, he needs a miracle of his own.
About the Author: 
Late on night back in July 2002, I fell asleep and had a dream. It was unlike any dream I had before or since. It was like watching an extended movie, and it ended with instructions for me in the rolling credits. I awoke in shock and glanced at the clock next to my bed, only to discover what seemed like hours of sleep had only been a few minutes. I got up, sat at my desk, and spent the rest of the night writing everything down. Never having written anything before, I took the next few weeks to follow the instructions from the dream - share the story in a novel. After a few months of being inspired by the story, but at the same time feeling overwhelmed with the project, I put it away. However, I couldn't forget it. Now, after more than nine years of struggling with the process and battling against my own self-doubt, I'm ready to share the story. "The Living Room" was my dream. Bill Rolfe
My Thoughts:  I cried. What a touching book. I was not prepared for The Living Room and the emotions it would stir up. Bill Rolfe has taken a dream he had, and turned it into an emotional story of faith, love and the importance of family first that will touch every heart, and perhaps remind this busy world what truly matters. 
To be honest thinking of this book today, after so many children were thoughtlessly killed over the weekend, I can't help but feel it's message is even more important. Hold to your families. Let their love hold you up and carry you through. Working parents, hold your children a little tighter. You never know when something could pull them from you. Don't get so caught up in the work life that you don't have time for home life. When you make home life a priority, the rest will work itself out.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Help Sandy Hook Elementary and the Community

There are no words to describe the emotions our nation, and the world has felt over this weekend. I found myself sitting staring at my computer screen, thinking "This is pointless. This blog doesn't matter. How can I keep blogging about such silly topics when there are families suffering on the other side of the nation."
I almost decided I was done. To give up this blog. To spend my time, all my efforts and energy into my kids and husband. They truly are what really matters, and from this moment on, I plan to do better by them.

But then I decided, I can use this space, my little corner of the Internet for good.  So today I'm telling you of all the many ways you can help the school and community of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Monetary Donations

You can visit the homepage of Sandy Hook Elementary for an address to send checks.

To Donate through United Way of Western Connecticut follow the link.

To Donate to the Emilie Parker fund (Utah native, killed in the shooting) you can visit the Facebook page. Monies go directly to the Parker family to help them through this difficult time.

Donate to the Newtown Youth and Family Services.  This is a mental health clinic serving the Newtown area. The more aware we become to mental health issues, the better equipped we are to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

Memorial Donations

For donations to specific families and the children's memorials, visit This Page.  Families have asked for donations to go from churches to planting trees in Israel. Help these families remember their children in ways that mean the most to them.

School Donations

We all know schools are always in need. Teachers can always use donations of classroom items. If you go to the Staff Directory on the Sandy Hook Elementary web page, you will find a list of all the teachers, with links to their own sites. Each teacher has a "wish list" of items they can use in their classrooms. This would be a great way to send items to help the school continue forward with learning, without the worry of supplies - especially after such a tragedy, it's the last thing the teachers want to worry about.

For Bloggers

If you are a blogger, and want to join an online memorial, tomorrow there will be a Day of Silence across many blogs. You can find the info for that on Kelly's Korner

For those who want to help, but feel they are unable to do any of the above, turn your hearts to God. Pray for the families, that they may feel comfort through this truly hard time. Then go hug your kids, your moms and dads, your friends. Speak nicely, and remember that even words can hurt. Strive to bring peace back to this world in all you do and say.

May we all find some peace this time of year, as we reflect on our Saviour's birth, and the gift of Life He has given to us all. 

Ham, lots of Ham {Menu Monday}

Mark was given a 10lb Spiral Cut Ham for Christmas. It's large, and more ham than our little family can eat in one night (way more!).  It was very nice of the local music store to think of the School Band directors though. So this week, we'll be eating lots of ham.
Since we are also closing on our house tonight or tomorrow, I need quick and easy meals as well, that don't use a lot of dishes. I actually bought paper plates to use as well, so I could pack our nice plates.

Monday - Ham fried Rice
Tuesday - Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Wednesday - Ham Fritata
Thursday - Ham and Potatoes
Friday - Eating out on the way to my parents
Saturday - Date out
Sunday - family dinner at Mark's brothers.

Lunches - Ham Sandwiches
Breakfasts - Ham and eggs, Quiche, Ham egg and cheese sandwich, donuts (for moving day)

What do you do with a lot of ham?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Steak and Potatoes {Foodie Friday}


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Home Maid Simple
Simple Living and Eating

Steak and Potatoes
A couple weeks ago, we sat down to a nice light pasta and veggie dish.  Mark turns to me and tells me "This is girl dish".  I kind of look at him weird, as if to say "Did you seriously just say that?"
It's not really that it's a girl dish per se (especially since at one point he asked for more pasta nights), but more that we hadn't had a good Man's dish in awhile.
To make up for that, I made this simple Steak and Potatoes. A true manly mans dish.
(it would appear I deleted the photo, so sorry)
2 small steaks, your choice of cut
Wildtree's Basil Pesto Grapeseed Oil
Wildtree's Rancher Rub
4 medium potatoes
Garlic Pepper Seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Rub about 1-2tsp Rancher Steak Rub into each steak. Making sure to cover both sides. Set aside.
Chop potatoes into bite sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss with 1/4 cup Grapeseed Oil and Garlic Pepper Seasoning to taste.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Cook for 10-20 minutes until potatoes are soft and starting to brown around edges.
Heat 1TBS Grapeseed Oil in  a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add steaks.  Cook on both sides, until your desired "done"ness.  We went medium well - just a slight bit of pink on the inside.
Add some green beans, peas or corn to the side, and enjoy your manly man's dish.

Crispy Thai Chicken Wraps
from Half Baked Harvest
These both look and sound so yummy!

Mini Fritata's with Aspargus Hollandaise
from Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby
Words have left me. I want this, and I want this now. This would make a great Christmas morning breakfast.

Holly Topped Cupcakes
from That Skinny Chick can Bake
These would be perfect for setting the fetive mood at any holiday party.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Funny gifts - To give or not to give? {Think About It}


Funny Gifts?

Do you give funny gifts?  I'm not really a funny gift giver. I like to appeal more to the sentimental side of people when I give a gift. I enjoy the thought going into a gift. The hunt for that perfect gift that someone will cherish for years to come (or as long as it will take them to eat...I give a lot of food gifts).
So I can't really think of any funny gifts I've ever given. I'm not sure I've ever received a funny gift either.  Though there was this one time, my brother gave me, I guess a funny gift. I thought it was pretty neat, and I still have them.
One part of the gift was a Barbie Wedding Dress (no doll included). His reasoning behind it, was because someday I would get married.  True that! Maybe I should have looked to that dress for inspiration before purchasing mine, but I didn't. I still have it somewhere though!
The second part was a model car. It too is in storage somewhere, or I would tell you what model, but it is a nice silver car.  My brothers reasoning for this gift? Because someday I would have my license and be driving around.
Mind you at the time he gave me these, I was I think 10 or 11. I thought they were the coolest gifts ever!  He was probably trying to be funny.
Now cards! I do have a funny card from my brother. The picture was 2 eggs sitting on a beach. One was cracked and frying. The other had his sunglasses on and relaxing with a quote bubble "Bob forgot his sunscreen" or something to that effect.
How about you? Do you give funny gifts?
I'd love to hear about them.

Why I wear a Dress to Church

Sorry for the interruption today. I don't talk about my religion much on here. I don't want you to feel like I'm preaching or pushy.
Today, however, I feel a strong desire to say what is weighing heavily on my heart.  It has to deal with a movement I became aware of yesterday "Wear Pants to Church day".

This movement has my heart feeling heavy. I am so sad that this is even happening. Please, bear with me, as I tell you why I will continue to wear a dress to church every Sunday.

I am a woman.

Plain and simple. I wear a dress because I feel, for me, it shows greater respect for worshipping my Father in Heaven.  I don't wear a dress every day of the week. In fact, I only wear a dress for special occasions. Every Sunday is a special occasion for me.

Sunday is a day I set aside for the sole purpose of learning and worshipping. A day I focus on my family, and the eternal importance they are to me. It is a day I take to reflect on my Savior and His gift of Life.

When I wear a dress, I feel different, and so do those around me.

Wearing a dress, means I have to be more conscious of how I act, how I move my body, and the care I take in looking nice.  A dress gives me the time to ponder on my Savior's life, because I can't go for a run in a dress. I can't sprawl out on the floor and be lazy in a dress. While wearing a dress, I just feel better. I feel closer to my Father in Heaven. 

Recently while going out to do my monthly Visiting Teaching (a program in our church, where 2 women visit a list of other women to check on their well being, and leave them with a spiritual message), my partner noticed I was in a dress.  It was laundry day at my house, and my skirt was the only thing clean to wear.  However she told me "We should wear a dress every time we go visiting. I think it would help us feel the Spirit more."

And you know what? I think she's right. When I visit these women, I want to take with me the Spirit of Christ, that we may be more receptive to what the women may be in need of.  It's obviously not just me, but my partner felt that Spirit more as well, just from wearing a dress.

I am not inferior to men.

I am so so so very tired of being told that because I wear a dress to church, or because I can't have the priesthood power, that I must be inferior to men, and therefore am subject to them, and am living an old way of life. I am tired of being told that times are changing and I need to get with them; that somehow because I enjoy the old way of life, I must be brainwashed and am a victim of male domination.

I am here to tell you I am not any of those things.  Mark and I work as a team. We both have divine responsibilities set forth from our Father in Heaven. Who am I to tell God He is wrong?  Who am I to go against what I feel is the divine role of women?  Would you like to know what I feel is my role as a women?

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
- The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Given By Gordon B Hinkley (Prophet, Seer and Revelator) in 1995
I truly believe my divine role as a mother is to nurture my children. To see to their needs both physically and spiritually. To comfort them when hurt, sick, and afraid. To guide them with an eternal perspective.  This is my role, and I am proud of it. I take great pride in teaching my children eternal principles - self worth, respect, love and more.

As the Proclamation states, I am an equal partner to my husband. I help support him in providing our children with the necessities of life and protection. In turn, Mark also helps with the nurturing at home. He is present in our daily family prayers, and embracing the teachings we want our kids to understand.  Together we are a team, and without each other, our family life wouldn't be the happy place it is.

In essence, my whole idea of making our house a home, would not happen, if we were competing with each other to be the provider, or the nurturer. I don't feel inferior. I feel divinely inspired to stay home where I can watch over the well being of my children, morning noon and night.

I enjoy feeling feminine.

I actually like being a girl. I've told you before that I'm no girly girl. I don't wear makeup daily, I struggle making my hair and the kids hair look fancy (or even just really nice), but I love dressing up. I love knowing that I'm a girl at heart. I enjoy kisses in the moonlight, Mark holding my hand, wearing high heels and perfecting the poise needed for stilettos. I love crying at sappy movies while cuddling up with Mark.  This is who I am.

I like cooking. I enjoy having a warm meal for Mark to come home to. I feel accomplished when I can 6 jars of peaches for my family to eat throughout the winter. The smells of cookies/bread/pie baking are some of my favorites to indulge in.  Sewing is another passion of mine. I enjoy making pretty things for my kids to wear/play with. Seeing their smiles because I made something just for them (even if it's not that great), warms me to the core.

My message to the Feminists reading this

Please leave politics out of my sacred time at church. I want to go to church and feel the Spirit. I personally don't care if you want to wear pants. As long as you come ready to learn and worship with me, you could be naked for all I care (OK really please don't go that far, I might blush).

Your mindset is wrong. I truly believe that The Church of Jesus Christ is led by a Prophet of God. I believe Joseph Smith saw God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ in a grove of trees in New York. I have been in that grove and felt something amazing.
God is our Father. He loves each of us equally, because we are His Children. He is no respecter of persons. God looks on the heart.

Making a political statement at church is to me, equivalent of telling God He is wrong, and needs to change. Your heart isn't in the right place. He knows that if you come to church wearing pants, and you feel that is your best dress, then He won't care. He will love you for coming to Him.
But if you come to church intent on telling others they are wrong for wearing a dress, that they should seek "gender equality" because somehow they are inferior, your heart isn't at church. You aren't there to worship. God knows that.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on this subject. I have prayed about writing this.  I don't want to offend. I just needed to get this out there. I need the feminists to understand where we women who don't embrace your movement are coming from.  Why we feel the way we do. We are happy with our roles, and would very much like you to stop telling us we are inferior. We don't feel that way, and we are sorry that you do. 

With that I'd like to end with this quote from church leadership

The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses should be nor whether they should wear pant suits or other types of clothing. We have always counseled our members to be modest in their dress, maintaining such standards in connection therewith as would not be embarrassing to themselves and to their relatives, friends, and associates. We have advised our people that when going to the temple they should not wear slacks or mini-skirts, nor otherwise dress immodestly. We have not, however, felt it wise or necessary to give instructions on this subject relative to attendance at our church meetings, although we do feel that on such occasions they should have in mind that they are in the house of the Lord and should conduct themselves accordingly.
- Church Policies and Procedures. 1971
According to that, you can wear pants to church. So why you must make a big deal out of it, I don't understand. It just shows more that your heart is not at church. Again, I am sorry to any women who feel like they are less, but please don't tell me I must feel that way. I don't. I am happy with who I am, and my divine role.

*I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many know us as Mormons. If you'd like to learn more about our church and what we believe, please visit Mormon.org  or feel free to ask me any questions. I am an open book.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tips for Hosting Christmas Dinner {Guest Post}


Hosting Your First Christmas Dinner? Your No Panic Guide

Perhaps you were just married this past year, or maybe it’s your first year in your very own home, but whatever the case may be, Christmas will be held at your home this year, and excitement is echoing from wall to wall, but you're also a little bit nervous. How can you prepare for this big event?



Organized Lists

Have a list of everything, so you aren't in a frenzy on Christmas day, take note the exact location of all dishes (pantry, fridge or freezer), and write down the time that you want to prep them and/or put them in the oven to heat. Keep this little list in your pocket throughout the day, and you'll always feel in control.


Going overboard with decorations isn't a must for holiday parties, but it's nice to have at least some reminders of the holiday. Be sure to include a nativity in the decor setup to act as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. Set up your Christmas tree in a spot where all of your guests will be able to see it beautifully decorated with a few gifts beneath its branches, have your favorite Christmas music playing softly in the background and warm scented candles (or to be on the safe side, plug-in room fresheners) to complete the cheerful holiday environment.

The Final Preparations

Make as much of the food in advance as you possibly can, but some items, such as gravy, generally need to be made on the spot. However, Christmas stroganoff, with exception of the noodles, generally freeze very well, so make items such as that a day or two before the Christmas party. Even the smallest of homes can be suited to accommodate a large number of people, so take some time to arrange the dining room, and this might involve moving tables around to different angles or setting up a children's table in the kitchen. If enough seating isn't available, consider having a buffet style meal, but don't panic if it seems that space will be limited, because on Christmas, most people are bouncing from house to house, so people will be in and out.

The Greeting

When people come into your home, you want them to feel warm and welcome, so offer to take their coats, and hang them the attire up where they can see to avoid confusion when they’re preparing to leave. Laying them on a bed is an option; however, if you have pets that sit there, it's best not to do so for allergy purposes. Once they have said hello to everyone, offer them a drink, tell them to make themselves at home and let them know where the food and the plates are, and don't be shy about taking that first scoop of dip if you think it will get other people eating.
Above all else, enjoy this very first Christmas in your home, and don’t stress, just do your best. Employ the help of your nieces and nephews who are always eager to help out, and give them a special treat at the end of the evening for helping, like a traditional chocolate orange or an iTunes gift card.

Author Bio
Melisa Cammack has been freelance writing for a number of years, married for 13 years, mother for seven years, and is the biggest Christmas enthusiast on this side of the equator.
Melisa is currently promoting Five Star Holiday D├ęcor and
Christmas Lighting in Dallas, and would like to wish everyone a beautiful and happy holiday season!

Making a Gingerbread House {Wordless Wesnesday}

We picked up these gingerbread house kits at Ikea the last time we were there. 
The kids had a lot of fun making their own home with candies like they like.

For What It's Worth by Karey White {Blog Tour}


Tour Schedule
Thanks for stopping by Home Maid Simple on the For What It's Worth Blog Tour. Click on the above banner for the whole tour schedule.
For What It's Worth by Karey White

Twenty-four year-old, Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.

Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?

Book Trailer

My Thoughts
I am a sucker for all things romantic. So a clean book about wedding cakes with a romance blooming on the side, right up my alley.  I loved the detail the author took to describe the remodeling of the home into a bakery, the different outfits Abby wore, and the beautiful cakes. So many books go overboard in their descriptions of the small details, but Karey has taken just enough time for you to picture it all in your mind, and continue with the story.

I just love that there are recipes included. I'm a big fan of novels with recipes included. Each chapter begins with a new recipe.  We even tried out the Pumpkin and mini chocolate chip Mufiins.  I do think a little more editing needed to happen with the recipes. Some were a bit hard to follow, or were missing ingredients, that were mentioned in the directions. For example the muffins direction asked me to dredge the raisins in flour...but there were no raisins in the ingredients list...so we left that step out.  Nothing big, and since I do a lot of baking I was able to pull some together pretty nicely.  The kids are enjoying them for breakfast right now, actually.


Author Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.


Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card + A Copy of For What It's Worth
Paperback available to US only, Ebook Available Internationally

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, December 11, 2012

The Path of the Fallen by Dan O'Brien {Book Review}


The Path of the Fallen
by Dan O'Brien
About the Book: The world is broken. The coming of the Intelligence pushed the remnants of humanity deep into the tundra. What remained was a vast sea of ice and the machine city, Culouth. E’Malkai Armen, descendent of the Fallen, has been a citizen of Culouth his entire life. A bitter betrayal, and the inception of a war that will destroy millions of lives, forces E’Malkai to confront the past and undertake a pilgrimage that is his by birthright. As he travels to the cold tundra of the north, the realm prepares for war. The Path of the Fallen is a lonely and arduous path, but it must be walked for the sake of all mankind.
About the Author: A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Portent, The Path of the Fallen, Book of Seth, and Cerulean Dreams.  He also works as an editor at Empirical, a national magazine with a strong West Coast vibe.
My Thoughts: When I first got this book, my thought was "That is a BIG book".  I haven't picked up a book that thick in quite some time.  I have some mixed feelings about The Path of the Fallen. I feel it has a very strong storyline, but it is lacking in areas. I think the author has assumed too much of his readers, and leaves out some pertinent information. I do enjoy when the author lets the reader imagine what happens, or lets us infer an emotion. Mr O'Brien seemed to allow too much of that in this book for me.
I quite thoroughly enjoyed the concept behind the book. It's a different take on life, death and the creation of mankind. It's a book we can all relate to in reference to life, and what things are most important to us. What are we willing to sacrifice for the greater good?  What darkness may have a hold on our hearts?  Can we let go of that? Are we good enough to give all, whether we truly know what it is we're giving?
Buy It

Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 12/10

Well, we still don't have a set date for moving yet. It's making me a little crazy, especially with the holidays approaching. We haven't put up our tree yet, because we'd like to move before Christmas, but we may not.
I decided to go ahead and start packing, in hopes it would make our loan get approved faster, and therefore mean we moved faster. Basically trying to keep the optimism going around. 
The waiting however, has also put a damper on what I cook. I don't want to go fill our fridge and pantry with food, just to move it a few days later. So this week, I'm trying to use up what we have on hand. Then I'll do one huge grocery shopping trip after the move. 

Monday - Chicken Nuggets
Tuesday - Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
Wednesday - Eat Out (sometime between dance dress rehearsal and Band concert)
Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese
Friday - Chili
Saturday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Sunday - Steak and potatoes

Breakfasts - Steak and eggs, Corn Muffins, Eggs and Bacon, Pancakes

Top 5 LDS Songs and a Giveaway!


Music sets the mood in the Home

I love listening to music throughout the day. Either from my Pandora account or CD's I've collected throughout the years. Music can turn a rough day into a bearable day, and a good day into a Great Day!  Especially if you're listening to the right kind of music.
A lot of the music I listen to is LDS themed. (Learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  The language is clean, the words uplifting, and the spirit it brings into your home really does make the day better.

My Top 5 Favorite LDS Music Songs

  1. Window to His Love by Julie De Azevedo
  2. Michelle by Julie De Azevedo
  3. Consider the Lilies
  4. I Feel My Savior's Love
  5. Anything by The Piano Guys

New LDS Music Store

yourldsmusicstore.com is a new online store for all LDS music.  I've been browsing around their site, and really love the selection of music they have. I hope they continue to add more, as some of my favorites are yet to be found on there.
They have many free downloads as well as albums you can purchase and download to your computer. 

Connect With YourLDSMusicStore

Facebook  ~   Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Rhoades CookBook Giveaway

Giveaway Extended through the Weekend!
With the Launch of their new website, YourLDSMusic store is giving away a Rhoades Home Baked Cookbook here on Home Maid Simple
Home Baked Cookbook - Softcover
All you have to do is comment here with your Favorite Christmas Song, and best email to contact!
Giveaway is open to US residents. Ends on 12/16 at midnight.
Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond.

Flirty Aprons One Day Sale 12/10

It's Green Monday and Flirty Aprons wants to give you a great deal!
TODAY, Monday 12/10 ONLY

Friday, December 7, 2012

Win a 2nd Honeymoon! Pin it to Win It with ModernGreetings


Do you remember me telling you about Modern Greetings? I reviewed their website here, and am sending out our Christmas Cards we got from them this week.  Then I shared some HIL-AR-I-OUS wedding photos that I entered into their 2nd Honeymoon Contest.
Well, I didn't win round 1. Thankfully they've got a couple more rounds coming to win a 2nd Honeymoon.
Round 2 has started, and it's a pinterest of a good time!

Here's what you need to do to win a 2nd Honeymoon

  1. Follow ModernGreetings.com on Pinterest
  2. If you didn't enter round 1, you'll need to enter your email on this page
  3. If you did enter round 1, head on over to the Facebook page for the official Round 2 entry form
  4. Pin the official contest Image (can do from the facebook page) onto a Second Honeymoon Contest Board, and make it the cover image.
  5. Start pinning images of your ideal 2nd Honeymoon.
  6. Go back before December 13th at midnight and fill out your entry form.
The winner will be chosen by and independent Modern Greetings Judging Panel.  So what are you waiting for? Go start pinning!!

I'm off to pin some images from Italy. Gondola's, vatican city, gelato, and pasta.  

Il Volo: We Are Love. Music for the Holidays {2012 Holiday Gift Guide}


Music for the Holidays

I love this time of year. Have I mentioned that? It is one of my most favorite seasons, because of the feeling of love and caring in the air. There is a special kind of feeling around the holidays, most describe as the "Christmas Spirit".

I start getting the feeling about the beginning of October and it lasts through to the New Year.  One way I like to indulge in the Christmas Spirit, is by listening to music. Not just your ordinary radio station music, but music with a meaning.  We all know the classic Christmas songs, and I think everyone can get into the spirit with these songs playing.  I like to add more classical music as well this time of year, and other vocalists. 

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Did anyone watch the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center this year? I love watching this program every year, but this year I only caught a little bit of it. It's not just any Christmas Tree Lighting, there is live music and an overwhelming feeling of the Spirit of Christmas. You can't help but feel joy watching this program.  Anyone know where I can find it online? One year I'd love to attend it in person!

This year Il Volo, a new Italian teen sensation, performed at the Lighting. I just became acquainted with their music, and it makes me slightly more bummed that I missed them singing. They are a very talented trio of boys.

Il Volo: We Are Love

Il Volo just released their 2nd music CD, We Are Love, in November. I have been listening to it weekly as I try to keep the Spirit of Christmas in our home.  These boys really do have some amazing talent. It doesn't matter that I don't understand their Italian, I do understand the feeling of love and joy behind their music.  

We Are Love includes Il Volo’s soaring version of the Aerosmith/ Diane Warren hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (“Questo Amore”) along with a new Warren song “I Bring You To My Senses”.  Il Volo also performs a cover version of the U2 Hit “Beautiful Day” and the title cut “We Are Love” both in English. The group’s members are Piero Barone (19), Gianluca Ginoble (17) and Ignazio Boschetto (18).

Connect with the Group

Purchase your own copy of We Are Love on Amazon

3 readers will win a copy of We Are Love in the 2012 Holiday Gift Giveaway

*I received a copy of We Are Love to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Chipotle Lime Taquitos {Foodie Friday}


Hosted at
Home Maid Simple
Simple Living and Eating

I have had quite the week in the kitchen.  It was mostly one day, but it felt like the whole week.  Sunday night I decided it was high time I use the pitted cherries in my freezer. I had been sitting on a recipe for Cherry Vanilla Butter for quite some time.
Well, a crock pot of burnt Cherry Butter later, and I decided to try something safe - bread in the bread machine. It shook itself right off the table, and someone unplugged it before the bake cycle. I saved it in the oven, but I was a bit nervous to make anything else on Tuesday.
Thankfully I had a successful dinner Tuesday night with Hezzi-D's Bruschetta Chicken Pasta.  Thank you Heather for a yummy recipe on a crazy day.

We've been craving some Mexican lately, and I've felt some inspiration from some Taquito Recipes I found on past Foodie Friday's.  These Chipotle Lime Taquitos turned out quite nicely, and the kids even enjoyed them.

Chipotle Lime Taquitos


Corn Tortillas
1 can refried beans
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Wildtree Chipotle Lime Rub (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella
3 Roma Tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Guacamole (Optional)
2 ripe avocados

Mix the guacamole according to the directions on the seasoning. Set aside in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix the beans, 1/2 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, and chipotle lime rub.
Working with 2 at a time, microwave the corn tortillas for about 1 minute.  Place a heaping spoonful of the bean mixture on one side of each tortilla. Roll the tortilla, and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.  Once the pan is full, top with the rest of the mozzarella.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Enjoy with Sour Cream, Guacamole and fresh chopped tomatoes

Poppy Sesame Vinaigrette tossed with Greens, Cranberries, Chicken and More
Sometimes after a lot of hearty winter meals, a salad is the perfect meal.

Bacon Hash
from girlchef
This is the perfect hearty breakfast for cold mornings.

orange julius recipe
Orange Juice Smoothie