Homeschooling in the Time of a Pandemic

Homeschooling in the Time of a Pandemic

This post may contain affiliate links.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave or on your own personal island for the past few months, you’ve already heard about the rapidly spreading virus hitting our world. With this understanding, I’m not going to get into what it is, not only because it’s all over the media, but because I honestly don’t understand it any better than the next random person.

What’s Changed

Recently state governments have been taking steps to help prevent the spread of this still-debated illness. These steps include asking people who might be infected to self-quarantine, practice social distancing, banning group gatherings of 50 people or more, canceling large events, and most recently closing schools.

That’s where I come in.

Homeschooling in the Time of a Pandemic

If You’re Unexpectedly Homeschooling

Last week your kids were attending classes at their public or private school, and today they’re home for a few weeks or more. You could use this as an extended vacation, or you can help them stay ‘on-track’ by creating a life of learning. 

Homeschool, Not Public School At Home

I’m sure your head is already spinning. 

You not only have to figure out a whole new daily routine, which might include working from home or finding childcare, but now you need a way to make sure your children aren’t being adversely affected by this unexpected change.

It’s going to be okay.

Take a breath, Momma. You’ll get through this. 

First, homeschooling doesn’t have to be, and in fact shouldn’t be, about trying to recreate public school at home. You don’t need to come up with eight-hours a day of table work for your children. 

Below you’ll find several ways to make sure your children continue to learn even while the doors to public education are locked.

Read Good Books

The best thing to do during the public school closure is to make sure there are high quality books available to your children. These can be in the form of physical books, e-books, and audiobooks.

Reading aloud is one of the most important things we can do for our children, but this doesn’t mean you have to read an entire book in one day. 

Take your time, even a little time is better than no time. 

Your children should also read books and listen to audiobooks for themselves.

If you don’t already have an Audible account you can get a free trial by heading over to Amazon.

Educational Shows

With all the different streaming options available, as well as YouTube, there is no end to what your children can learn while they’re home. Decide on a subject they’re interested in (or one they were studying when schools closed) and do a search for shows and movies that focus on those topics.

Currently my children are enjoying the show The World According to Jeff Goldblum (available on DisneyPlus) as well as videos on the various rain forests in the world.

Play Games

At our house we have a closet full of board games and card games. They range from games my three-year-old can play to advanced games like Bible Pictionary. Game Wright has several games that are both fun and educational, and most are available through Amazon.

There are many homeschool families who exclusively learn through games, this is referred to as game-schooling. 

Games You Might Enjoy

There are endless options for you as a family; this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, just a sampling for a starting place.

Plan and Make Family Meals

One thing that doesn’t change is the need for our families to eat. This is the perfect time to work together to plan and make meals. Search online for recipes that would be as simple or challenging as you and your children could handle. 

The point of this experience is to make memories with your children. To slow down, and do something together. 

After all, everyone knows food you prepare yourself tastes better. 

Get Outside (Just Not Close to Other People)

Being conscious of social distancing is the name of the game during these times of closure. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside your house, though. 

Get into the yard and play together.

Watch birds, and look for bugs.

Smell the flowers as they begin to bloom.

Spend time in nature, and remember how wonderful God’s work is.

Slow Down and Talk to Each Other

We’re a society that is constantly on the go; over-planning our schedules so there is a neverending rush to do,do,do.

Take this time to slow down. Spend mornings enjoying breakfast together and discussing whatever interests your children. Read books as you lounge around the table after lunch. Answer questions they might have about what is going on, and how you as a family can help those less fortunate (while still maintaining social distance). Our children grow up so quickly, and if they’re usually in public school you don’t get as much time together as you’re going to get over the next few weeks.

Make this time count.

Something to Consider

Don’t look at this shutdown as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to really connect to the children God has blessed you with. Embrace the experience with joy and acceptance. Consider ways to make the long days God-centered, and remember this is just a short time in our lives.

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father, 

During this time of uncertainty and doubt may we embrace the opportunities to connect with our children not in fear but in praise of You.

In Your Holy Name,



A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

Busyness, the New Social Competition

After a conversation the other day, with my dear sister-in-Christ, Jeanne, I began thinking about the busyness of not just motherhood, but of the busyness of childhood.

Admittedly this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this topic, or written about it on this blog.

In fact, this post on, “saying ‘no'” was written in 2015.

Although many things in my life (and in my writing) have changed since that post, much still remains the same.

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Just typing that was exhausting. It makes my brain hurt.

But What About Socialization?

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

If you’re reading this you’re likely a homeschool mother, or at the very least are familiar with the homeschool community. The constant question from the general population is always, “what about socialization”?

Having had to answer this a time or twenty, I understand the frustration.

Sadly though, I’ve discovered the continual barrage of this question on homeschool mothers has led many to over-socialize their children (and themselves).

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Mothers are humans too (although they’re often more superhuman than mere human), and they want to fit in with others just like their children do. This leads to worry about their children missing out on all the ‘things’.

Things = extracurricular activities: drama, music, dance, cooking class, various sports, etc.

There are quite literally more options for activities for our children than I can even wrap my head around. There could be several posts spent discussing these possible options.

Some of them are even good.

However, do our children really need to be overwhelmed by a smorgasbord of ‘good’ activities if it doesn’t leave them (or their mother) time for things that would prove to be more than just ‘good’?

Yes, I’m “That” Parent

I’m an introvert by nature, and a homebody on top of that. My family is convinced that I’m one step away from becoming a hermit. Especially since I can now have pretty much everything I need delivered to my doorstep.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

Being a mother of highly social and obviously extroverted children, I’m not likely to see hermit-hood anytime in the next eighteen years or so.

So instead, I know that I need to maintain my sanity, while still providing for the interactive needs of my children.

This means making sure my children have outlets and activities to participate in.

Activities in and of themselves aren’t ‘bad’.

Over-scheduling ourselves and our families is.

I’ll be honest, there are tons of things my children want to get involved in.

There are even quite a few I’ve considered for my children.

However, after prayerfully considering these activities, and my own sanity–as well as God’s call for me to raise my children for His glory, I always come to the realization that these extra activities are just ‘good’.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

Does this mean I say ‘no’ to a lot of opportunities for my children?


Is my twelve-year old daughter bummed about missing out on a social group or activity her friends are participating in?

Also, Yes.

As Mothers We Need to Know When to Say “No”.

My children are already busier than I would ideally like. However, the activities they’re in were prayerfully considered.

Whenever possible they’re in activities at the same place and time.

Since my husband works nights and is often gone for long hours of over-time and commuting; I treasure the time he is home, and try to make sure the kids are home to get every extra moment they can with him.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

There are times when this actually causes us to skip a particular activity for the week, simply because, to me, family togetherness far outweighs social activities.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

Our Activities:

  • As a family we attend church together on Sundays.
  • Tuesdays my husband takes the three older kiddos to the gym where they participate in homeschool PE (and I stay home for much needed snuggles with the youngest).
  • Wednesdays the kiddos and I participate in Awana at our church. Two Wednesdays a month my eldest works with the tech team for the middle school worship team during our Awana time.
  • Thursdays we have our homeschool Co-Op

The days we don’t have scheduled activities we have game time, and just take it easy.

Children need time to “be bored”, and if every moment of their days are scheduled with activities they never have the opportunity to discover ways to entertain themselves.

There are weeks when my eldest is invited to a birthday party, or to spend a few hours at a friend’s house.

Most of the time she’ll be allowed to go, and always enjoys her time.

Other times, I’ll use my motherhood superpower and say, “no”.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

Not because I have anything against her having friends, or experiencing life; but because sometimes there are things more important than those moments of excitement and fun.

Sometimes, there is a voice whispering in my heart “no, not this time”.

I’ve learned to listen to that voice.

Give Yourself Grace

One of the hardest parts about being a mother, is remembering to give ourselves grace. We often forget that God shows us all grace everyday, but we find it nearly impossible to show that same grace to ourselves.

Saying no isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll second guess your decisions. That’s normal.

I’ve learned in the last four years so many amazing things about myself, and my children. Had I said yes to every activity that sounded good, I don’t think there would have been time or closeness for these discoveries.

Saving my ‘yes’ for only the best things, has made a huge impact on my family’s lives.

We may not be doing ‘all the things’, but we are getting to know each other; to learn together, and to live our lives together.

Not just living from one activity to another, but actually living in the moment.

Something to Consider:

Start small. Try setting one day a week aside where you don’t participate in any activities outside the house. Use this time to connect on a more relaxed level with your children.

Something to Pray:

Heavenly Father,

May we strive to prayerfully know what the best use of our ‘yes’ is. We ask for guidance in saying ‘no’ when everyone else is saying ‘yes’. Help us to make intentional use of our time with our families that we may raise our children for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name,


Until next time,

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say

If you’re looking for a good book on this topic, I recommend this book by Lysa Terkeurst.

12 Christian Gift Ideas for

Christmas Shopping Guide 2019: 12 Gifts for Christian Women

12 Gifts for Christian Women

It’s That Time of Year Again

The harvest festivals are over, and the Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t been made yet; it’s obviously time to prepare for that year-end holiday, Christmas.

I’m firmly in the “not preparing for Christmas until after Thanksgiving” camp, (and by after I mean, at least a week after) but I know that not everyone procrastinates as I do.

Many people even prepare for Christmas right after Halloween.

So for those of you who are already knee-deep in Christmas music and decor, this series of posts is for you.

To begin the series I’m including gift ideas for that Christian woman on you shopping list (or maybe for you, if you’re looking to treat yourself).

This post does contain affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase something through one of the Amazon affiliate links in this post I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

12 Christian Gifts for Women

12 Christian Gift Ideas for
Photo by Alizee Marchand on

Faith T-Shirt

Mansy Women’s Vertical Faith Tee makes a comfortable and stylish gift for any woman who is boldly living their faith, and it comes in several styles and colors.

Titanium Therapy Bracelet

Crosstraxx titanium therapy bracelet with Philippians 4:13.

Delicate Cross Bracelet with Isaiah 41:10

This cross bracelet is both beautiful and delicate. A gorgeous gift for the stocking or under the tree.

BPA Free Glass Water Bottle

I’ve heard nothing but good things about these glass water bottles, and the inspirational quote will get you through the tough moments (like finishing all the water you’re supposed to drink each day.)

Table Cross

How gorgeous is this table cross? Do I really need to talk it up anymore? I actually want to add this to my personal list. It will look great on my seasonal shelf–and would likely stay there throughout all the seasons.

Cozy Faith Blanket

This “blankiegram” faith blanket would be super comfy to cozy up with during chilly nights. It comes in several colors as well as different themes.

Coffee for Jesus

Even though I don’t drink coffee, this Bold3 coffee delivers the Word of God to three children with each bag purchased. If that doesn’t sound like a perfect Christmas gift, I don’t know what does. I hear it tastes pretty good too. If you like that sort of thing. 🙂

Vintage Coffee Cups With Verses

To go along with that Bold3 coffee, this set of four biblical mugs is a perfect compliment. Maybe a nice gift basket arrangement.

Sterling Silver Infinity Necklace

I’d be willing to wear jewelry again with this necklace. How beautiful.

Gratitude Journal

What gift list would be complete without a gratitude journal? This one is gorgeous and would make a great gift by itself or as a stocking stuffer.

Too Blessed to Be Stressed– by Debora M. Coty

Too Blessed to Be Stressed 3- minute devotions for women. A nice gift that will keep blessing your loved one long after the holiday has passed, and the leftovers are gone.

Too Blessed to Be Stressed for Moms– By Debora M. Coty

This one, Too Blessed to Be Stressed for Moms is a perfect gift for the harried and overwhelmed mom. Or, if you’re reading this honey, for me. The title alone is a good reminder for our daily lives, right sisters?

Hopefully this guide will be a helpful starting point for you holiday shopping.

Something to Consider:

While you’re searching for the perfect gift for your loved ones, have you considered helping another family in need? Local churches often adopt families for Christmas, providing gifts for the children. Our church does an event called Holiday Hope, and it is such a blessing to be able to help another family this year since we struggled so hard last year.

Something to Pray:

Heavenly Father,

May this holiday allow us to share your love and Spirit with all those we come into contact with.

In Your Glorious Name,


Until next time,


Before you go, might I recommend this article for your reading pleasure?

Also, make sure you’re following the real life of this crazy mom on Instagram.

Join in the discussion on Facebook too.

Prayer Warriors: This Family Could Use Our Prayers

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Needs Our Prayers

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Needs Our Prayers

(And Support)

Not My Usual Friday Post

Hello Dear Sisters,

Daniel, Ashley, and their three kiddos

Today my heart is filled with sadness.

A family I know from my days working at the local YMCA has suffered a sudden and heartbreaking loss.

Ashley’s husband, Daniel passed away suddenly while at work. He was 35 years old. He leaves behind three kiddos, and a sweet, caring, Jesus loving wife.

This family could use prayers not only for healing, but for the strength to get through the basic needs of every day life.

I can only begin to imagine the heartache this dear family is experiencing, and although you may not know them personally, I felt led to share their story with you.

After all, we’re all in this life together.

Join me, please?

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father,

Bring this family closer to You.

Lay Your healing love on them.

Surround them with Your strength.

May they know Your peace as they walk through each day without Daniel.

May they know compassion from this world as the struggle to make sense of this unexpected loss.

In Your Name,


Something to Consider

If you are interested in helping financially, please prayerfully consider donating to their GoFundMe account.

Thank you all so much.

Until next time,

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Could Use Our
3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your Day

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your Day

A Bad Moment

We’ve all been there, right?

Swimming along, staying in our own lane, when something happens and our forward momentum stops.

Our good day disappears like smoke on the wind.

Enter the bad day.

This is caused by anything from major to minor; being transparent here, it’s generally something so incredibly minor I’m hard-pressed to remember what caused my day to go off the rails.

A telling sign that I’m a mother and have children who insist on bombarding me before I’ve had a chance to shake off the sleep fog; there are days when this moment happens even before I get out of bed.

Other times I might pat myself on the back for the great day we’ve had, and then bedtime becomes my unraveling.

You know the drill. The kids refuse to brush their teeth, or are running back and forth in the kitchen after repeated reminders about the house rules.

These bad moments happen without warning. Each time I promise myself that I won’t let it ruin my day.

That’s often easier said than done.

So what can we do to fight against these itty-bitty day destroyers?

Stop Dwelling on What Was Wrong

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your
Photo by Pixabay on

Those itty-bitty day destroyers only have the power we give them. Focusing on what we did wrong, what we missed, the way we reacted; those things sap our energy.

I’ve always been an overachiever when it comes to tearing apart everything I’ve ever done. I’ll analyze each action and reaction for the flaws I know are there. Then I’ll dwell on what I could have, should have, would have done better.

You know, if I were perfect.

The problem with this course of action? It’s inherently flawed. I can never be perfect. No one can be. We were born into a sinful world, and we’re sinful beings.

This said, we need to change our focus.

We must accept that we’re imperfect humans, that we’ve already been forgiven for our sinfulness by a perfect and loving God.

Then we face the next moments with joy and peace.

Remember to Be Thankful for the Good and the Bad

When the good-day feelings vanish with the onslaught of those itty-bitty day destroyers, it’s difficult to be thankful.

The good mood has vanished, and the last thing on my mind is giving thanks to God for anything at all. Let alone giving thanks for that itty-bitty day destroyer that just wrecked my flow, and proved just how flawed and imperfect I am as a person–let alone a parent.

This is exactly when we need to be thankful.

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your
Photo by Pixabay on

It’s easy to be thankful when everything is going smoothly. When the kids are being those oh-so-perfect (and totally unrealistic) children of our imaginings. It gets much more difficult when chaos is running the ship.

When everything is going wrong, and the itty-bitty day destroyers have taken over, that is the most important time to be thankful.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Our wonderful God knows exactly what we’re going through, and He isn’t leaving us to struggle during these moments of struggle. He is right there with us.

Be thankful for that.

Those struggles we’re facing–the screaming, crying, negativity–they’re building us up and making us stronger for the days ahead.

Be thankful for that.

Then be thankful when everything has calmed down, and there are smiles and laughter again.

3 Ways to Overcome a Bad Day


Prayer is always the answer. No matter what the question might be–pray. It can never hurt, and it will always help.

Turning to God in prayer and praise is like talking to your best friend and you father at the same time. You know the goodness and wisdom He shares has been proven time and again through thousands of years.

You’ve seen it in your own life, and the lives of others around you.

He brings you the comfort you need, while you wallow in the negative emotions you’re feeling.

Then He gently reminds you that He also suffered, and that there will be bad times, but they won’t last.

You’re not alone, and with His love and guidance you’ll get up and move through the rest of your day with the joy that only His love and redemption can provide you.


After you’ve prayed, rejoice.

Sing a Hallelujah song, raise your hands in the air and rejoice in God’s love.

Your sinfulness has been forgiven.

You’re loved beyond reason.

You’ve got a whole day, or another day, to do better.

Rejoice that you can learn from your mistakes.



Just smile.

Even if it’s strained and hard to manage–smile.

Let your children see you smile.

Smile at them.

When you speak to them, make sure you smile.

A smile can go a long way to changing the outcome of a day.

It can do a lot to mend fences and bring back the joy and happiness those itty-bitty day destroyers tried to steal from your family.

Something to Think About

The next time you feel like your entire day has been ruined, consider three think that have blessed you that day.

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father,

You alone know the struggles I’m facing. May the Holy Spirit fill me with joy and gladness, that I may be thankful for each up and down throughout our day.

In Your Glorious Name,


Until next time,


Might I recommend this article next?

3 Ways to Keep a Bad Moment From Ruining Your
Quick Recipes: Green Chili Chicken

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas

Happy Food Friday, Sisters!

It’s November 1st and enchilada week! This makes me incredibly happy. Well, the enchiladas, not so much that it’s the first of November. This year has flown by, and now I have to start getting serious about Christmas shopping.

Anyway, back to those cheesy and delicious enchiladas…

I absolutely love enchiladas (even though I can guarantee mine aren’t really authentic), and since it’s been a heck of a week recovering from our family vacation this Momma is in need of a little comfort food.

As much as I enjoy this green chili and chicken enchilada recipe, I tend to only make it once in a while (which translates to about once a month in our family).

I’ll admit they’re not the healthiest dish we eat around here, but they’re not nearly as bad for you as food from the local restaurant.

Quick Recipes: Green Chili Chicken
Look at all the delicious cheese!

This recipe makes enchiladas that are the perfect comfort food, and can be prepped (ideally) a day ahead and stored in the fridge overnight.

Something about letting them soak up the sauce overnight makes them that much more delicious.

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken
Pair it with veggies and a salad and boom!

An added bonus to making them the day before, means I can just pull them out of the fridge and slide them into the oven. This allows me to continue lessons (or snuggling–sometimes both) with the kids, or even take a shower!

So without further ado…

Green Chili and Chicken Enchilada Recipe

Green Chili and Chicken Enchilada Ingredients:

  • Approximately 4 Cups shredded chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken from Costco or Walmart)
  • 1 large can of green (or red if you prefer) enchilada sauce
  • 1 can of mild green chilies
  • 8 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 pound shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella, but have also used Colby-Jack and Cheddar)
  • Toppings of choice: Salsa, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), avocado, etc.


This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the links I will make a commission–at no extra cost to you.

To make these delicious enchiladas, grab a large casserole dish and pour in just enough enchilada sauce to cover the bottom.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine chicken, approximately a cup of cheese, chilies, and just enough sauce to add a bit of moisture and color.

Mix well.

I roll the enchiladas right in the casserole dish so the tortillas grab moisture and are easier to work with.

Scoop meat mixture evenly into each tortilla.

Roll tortillas and fit snuggly together in the casserole dish.

Pour remaining sauce over rolled enchiladas.

Cover in cheese.

Refrigerate or bake immediately.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warmed through.

Top with your favorite garnishes.

I hope you and your family enjoy this quick meal perfect for the busyness of life.

Until next time,


For more quick recipes take a look at this one and this one.

Quick Recipes: Green Chili and Chicken
Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to Read

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You’ll Want to Read

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You’ll Want to Read

We All Have Christian Parenting Goals, Right?

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to
One of those days when the “goals” weren’t a top priority.

Being responsible for the Christian parenting–not just the physical well-being, but the spiritual life of our young children, can be especially daunting.

We often have amazing ‘goals’ we are striving for as we follow God’s teaching of how to raise our precious little ones into God honoring adults.

Raising and loving on our children is what can only be considered a long season; sometimes it seems incredibly lonely when you’re in the trenches.

Knowing we’re all in this together can definitely help.

The wonders of the internet have brought amazingly insightful posts from Christian mothers who are just like us; with a few more years (and possibly meltdowns) under their proverbial belts.

Sometimes It’s All About Grace

There are days when all those big goals we have for raising our kids get lost in the dust and chaos of crying and disobedience. Our sinful natures are always only one breath away from our choices.

When these moments inevitably happen, we need to remember that Our Father has shown us unending grace. All we have to do is remember that, and accept this precious gift.

Then share that gift with our children.


Christian Parenting Resources

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to Read
Photo by Nate Hess on

Once again, I’m using the wonders of the internet to find a community for us all. Answers, connections, and recommendations from other God honoring mothers.

I pray the following list of posts meets you right where you are today.

Christian Blog Posts

Until next time,

Around the Net: 7 Christian Parenting Blogs You'll Want to

If you’re interested in other collections of Christian posts from around the web click here.

Make sure you’re following me on Instagram, where there are no perfect pictures, and reality is messy.

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Chocolate-Orange Shortbread

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Sugary Chocolate-Orange Shortbread Recipe

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Sugary Chocolate-Orange Shortbread Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through a link, I receive a profit at no additional cost to you.

Baking Shortbread: Embracing the Kitchen Chaos.

Good Morning, Sisters!

It’s time for another peek into baking with the kids. I’m happy to say, this round was quite a bit easier on my anxiety than the last one.

Improvements, even if they’re little, are still important.

Today, I’m sharing a shortbread recipe that I tweaked one day after discovering all of my chocolate chips had vanished.

I’m still not 100 percent sure they didn’t grow legs and walk away, but I’m moving on (and keeping a better eye on the chips I’ve bought to replace them).

This recipe is a quick, easy, and versatile shortbread recipe that will work perfectly for gifts or gatherings this holiday season.

Bonus, it is simple enough for your children to do (mostly) on their own.

Quick and Easy Sugary Chocolate-Orange Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread Ingredients:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Spray
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark bakers chocolate chopped (or mini-chocolate chips)
  • 2 teaspoons orange flavoring (or flavoring of your choice)
Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Chocolate-Orange Shortbread
Look at all that sprinkled sugar sparkle.

Shortbread Recipe:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cover an 8×8 pan with foil, allowing the foil to hang over two of the edges.

Lightly coat with bakers spray (I use Crisco baking spray).

Sprinkle with 1 TBS of the granulated sugar.

In a stand mixer (or large bowl with handheld mixer) cream butter.

Add powdered sugar and beat well.

In a separate bowl stir together flour and salt before gradually adding it to the butter mixture.

Beat until well blended.

Stir in orange extract. Then fold in chocolate pieces.

When combined, press dough into the foil-lined pan.

Sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake at 325 degree F for 40 minutes or until golden.

Cool for 30 minutes in the pan before lifting the foil edges and removing the shortbread.

Gently remove foil and slice into squares.

At this point, you can sprinkle even more sugar on top of your shortbread squares, or dip them in a bowl of sugar for a sparkly finish.

See, a super simple and quick shortbread recipe.

I hope you and your kiddos enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. If you experiment with it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Until next time,


For other great recipes check out here and here.

Follow my behind the scenes life at instagram.

Marriage: 5 Frugal and Simple Ways to Date Your

Marriage: 5 Frugal and Simple Ways to Date Your Spouse

Marriage: 5 Frugal and Simple Ways to Date Your Spouse

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using the links in this post, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Why It’s Important to Date Your Spouse

According to Christine Hammond, a counselor who has personally worked with over a thousand couples, it’s important to date your spouse because:

In the beginning, the reason for dating is to get to know someone better to see if this is a good fit. After marriage, the reason for dating to know your spouse better to ensure a good fit. The best explanation I’ve heard is that dating prior to marriage is the equivalent of an elementary education of a person. The education should not stop there. Rather, it should be just beginning with a desire to have a Ph.D. level of understanding of your spouse.

With this in mind, it is important to make time to be a couple again; to take off the “mom” hat and take time to embrace the role of woman and wife.

Finding Time to Date Your Spouse

Between over-time hours and commuting (my husband), and children’s activities, keeping up with the house, and homeschooling (me), dating my spouse rarely happens in our family.

Marriage: 5 Frugal and Simple Ways to Date Your

I’m aware of the damage this can cause, and I’m working to remedy my tendency to focus on tasks instead of on building a lasting relationship with my husband.

Knowing I need to make time for this important aspect of married life, I’ve been considering how to “find” the time.

What it comes down to isn’t that I need to “find” the time.

I need to use the time I already have. I must decide that stoking the fire in our relationship is more important than folding another load of laundry, or even taking a shower.

Although, I think being clean might be a bit more of an aphrodisiac than limp hair and baggy shirts covered in baby snot and dog fur.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Step Away From Social Media

If you’re like me, I can lose track of time scrolling through social media.

I’ve cut my social media consumption way back, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not using up perfectly good “date” time by wiling away uncounted minutes looking at Instagram posts.

Skip Your Workout

I’m not saying fitness is a waste of time (it’s not), but if you’re having a hard time “finding time” to connect with your other half, skipping it one day a week won’t destroy your hard work or set you back.

After all, being healthy is more than just having muscles and visible abs.

Put a Movie on For the Kids

I’ll preface this with saying: I’m not a proponent of children watching television.

Do mine watch TV?


Does it make me want to toss the giant box with moving pictures out a window?


However, there are times when treating the children to a new movie rental, or an old favorite can give you just enough time to have a quick date with your spouse.

You won’t even have to find a sitter.

Put It On The Calendar

If something is on the calendar it is harder to push to the side or ignore. This also has the added benefit of creating anticipation. It allows you to think about the upcoming date with the enthusiasm a date deserves.

5 Frugal and Simple Ideas for Dating Your Spouse

Marriage: 5 Frugal and Simple Ways to Date Your
Photo by Pixabay on

With that newly allotted time you have, here are a few possibilities with what you can do.

Floor Picnic

Spread a blanket on your floor, grab some crackers, cheese, and your favorite beverage; splurge on dark chocolate and seasonal fruit.

With the kids in front of a movie or sleeping, this is a simple and romantic way to reconnect with your spouse.

Lock your screens away and get to know each other again.

This is not the time to discuss “important” things. Those can wait.

Cocoa Under the Stars

One of my favorite things to do is to sit out on our porch and drink cocoa.

Now that the temperature has dropped below sauna and is feeling more like Autumn, I’m looking forward to some quality dates with my spouse and my favorite warm beverage.

Consequently, I have a nice supply of different cocoa varieties I’ve received with my subscription to Coffee and a Classic.

Luckily for me, they were willing to change it from coffee to cocoa, so I’ve been enjoying their products for the last year.

Watch a Favorite Show

Put those little loves to bed or down for a nap (since my husband works nights we have to be a lot more flexible with date times), pop some popcorn or go all out and make finger foods; then sit back and relaxed together–snuggled up of course–to catch up on all those episodes that have been waiting for you.

This of course should go without saying, but those handheld screens we’re always connected to–they need to be far, far away.

Play a Game

We have a closet full of board games and card games. I have high hopes to one day do weekly family game nights.

Right now with two kids under 6, they’re a bit hit or miss. I have goals though. We’ll get there.

Until then, these games can be utilized for date night.

It’s simple to set up and put away, and if you have a closet filled with them already–entirely free.

You can make this as simple or fancy as you’d like.

Add dinner or dessert, to add an extra dose of special to your evening playing “Clue”.

Complete a Bible Study

Since marriage is a covenant we make to each other and to God, it is important for us to stay connect to Christ as well.

There are several really great Bible studies we’ve done together in years past.

They’ve done more for us than any dinner and a movie in town could.

This doesn’t have to be one done with a group.

In fact, it would be perfect to do together in the comfort of your home, and can fit into short periods of time.

The important thing when it comes to dating your spouse, is that you’re connecting with them. You’re getting to know who they are today, because let’s face it, we’ve all changed since we said “I do.”

Selection of Bible Studies:

I’m not an expert on marriage or even on keeping up a great relationship with my husband. I am however, determined to rectify that. I hope these ideas help you find frugal and simple ways to date your spouse too.

Until next time,


If you enjoyed this post, please check out my article on how the military life strengthened my faith in God.

Follow me on Instagram for sneak peeks of upcoming blogs, and behind the scenes of my real life.

Marriage: 5 Frugal and Simple Ways to Date Your
Sare's Simple Go-To Instant Pot Taco Tuesday Soup

Sare’s Simple Go-To Instant Pot Taco Tuesday Soup Recipe

Sare’s Simple Go-To Instant Pot Taco Tuesday Soup Recipe

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s Fall Food Friday Y’all!

The temps in our area have finally started to cool (with some mornings down-right chilly) enough for it finally feel like fall.

Fall means a lot of different things to people. To me it’s a great excuse for soup multiple nights a week.

I love the ease of soup, and making it in the Instant Pot makes it even easier. Admittedly, if I have the time, I prefer to simmer my soups on the stove, because who doesn’t love the smell of delicious soup filling the air?

Instant Pot Taco Tuesday Soup

This soup is super simple, and I often make the beans in the Instant Pot as I’m walking out the door for co-op on Thursday mornings.

Yes, we do Taco Tuesday on Thursdays.

And Tuesdays.

Also, sometimes on Fridays.

We really enjoy tacos in this family.

Taco Tuesday Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 package Hambeens Cajun 15 Bean Soup Mix
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • taco meat (my favorite recipe is coming soon, but any “taco meat” recipe would work)
  • 1 container bone broth
  • 8 cups of water
  • shredded cheese (your choice of flavor)
  • salsa

Note: I generally purchase my bone broth from Costco, and my Hambeens from the local grocery store, but I’ve included Amazon links for them in case they’re not available where you live.

Plus, who doesn’t love the ease of delivery?


Sare's Simple Go-To Instant Pot Taco Tuesday Soup

Place beans inside instant pot (set seasoning packet aside for now).

Add 8 cups of water and stir together.

Close lid and make sure the valve is covered.

Turn on.

My off-brand Instant Pot has a setting for beans, so I select the highest cook time that setting offers, which is 30 minutes.

During this time you can chop of the onion and garlic, and make your taco meat. I often brown the onions and garlic in ghee, because I really love the flavor.

Remember, good fat isn’t the enemy.

When the beans have finished their cook cycle, release the pressure and open the lid.

Add the container of bone broth, onions, packet of seasoning, can of tomatoes, and the taco meat to the pot.

Seal the Instant Pot, once again closing the valve.

Select the soup setting.

I tend to set this for 30 minutes as well, just to make sure all the flavors are combined.

Once the cook cycle is finished, the soup is ready to eat.

Garnish with shredded cheese and salsa.

You can also top it with avocados, fresh diced tomatoes, and either sour cream or Greek yogurt.

I hope you and your family will enjoy this Taco Tuesday soup recipe as much and my family does.

If you try it out, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Until next time,


For a great bread to pair with this try my Bread Machine Hamburger Bun recipe. Trust me, they’re great even without the burger.

Sare's Simple Go-To Instant Pot Taco Tuesday Soup