A Sneak-Peak Into a Newly Released Novel

There’s a new book on the market! And it’s been written by my husband, Scott! Simmer Down, Mr. C is a novel that you’ll be able to relate to if you’ve ever sat in a classroom. The book is being released today so I thought I’d give you a little taste of this great read. Enjoy!

As a teacher, Halloween takes on a whole different meaning. It went from being something I used to anticipate to something I dreaded. As the kids walked in that day, I could feel the tension in the air. These kids were wound tighter than a guitar string. Trying to get and hold their attention was becoming more and more difficult with every slow-sweep of the minute hand. Six boys already had their faces painted like vampires. Two girls came in wearing see-through fairy costumes, leaving little to the imagination. “Go to the office, girls,” I said. “There’s no way you’re wearing that in here.” They both rolled their eyes and left in a huff. By lunch, I had collected four sets of vampire teeth, two fake cigarettes, one pipe, three containers of white make-up, and six sword-like weapons. “You’ll get these back in June,” I said, knowing full well I wasn’t planning to keep them that long. What kind of a cruel tyrant keeps kids’ toys until June? I really wanted to, but knowing some of their parents would be here later in the afternoon to help at the party made me realize I didn’t have the guts to follow through with it…..

The party was supposed to start at exactly 2:00 with an all-school parade. Because this was a new experience for me, I told my kids to start getting into their costumes at 1:30. Huge mistake. It took exactly twelve seconds for most of them to get ready, leaving twenty-nine minutes of pure pandemonium. Even the most mild-mannered children were running around like they had hot coals in their pants. Kids screaming. Boys engaged in sword fights that involved gouging each other and trying to cut the other person’s head off with their plastic weapons. One kid took it upon himself to hide behind the door and try and scare everyone that walked through. The pinnacle of his success came as one of the classroom mothers came in carrying a tray of meat and cheese. As he jumped out, she dropped the whole thing.

For more information, go to http://scottbitelybooks.weebly.com/ or http://scottbitely.com


Once a Year…

Here’s a quick little game. No blindfolding and spinning you silly before sending you out with a tack in your hand. No bobbing down into a tub of cold water to find an apple several others have already bitten or licked. No riding down a bumpy path on a rickety sideless wagon full of rocking hay bales and rollicking costumed children. Just a few clues… just a word game! Ready?

Clue number 1: Think of a special holiday.

Yes – your birthday is very special, but that’s not what I’m thinking of.

Clue number 2: Think candy, flowers, and cards.

Sorry – the answer is not Valentine’s Day.

Clue number 3: Think autumn.

Nope. It’s not Halloween either. (Seriously… flowers at Halloween?)

Clue number 4: Think sweetness. Think love.

Okay, I’ve got you confused, don’t I? It’s SWEETEST DAY! Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of it?!?!

Sweetest Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of October, once a year! I know, I know…. It’s just another ‘hallmark’ holiday. There’s no ‘history’ behind it. And you may never celebrate it either, but wait. I’d like to use this holiday, Sweetest Day, to remind us of the sweetest gift in our lives… LOVE.

Real love. Love as a choice. Love as a gift that is given to us and that we give to others. And love as action. As I read the paraphrased version (below) of the greatest chapter on love, I had to stop and reflect on how love is genuinely displayed in my home. Much too soon, my children will be grown and gone. What will they remember of their time at home? What will I remember? How am I doing at being alert and alive in the moment? In the now? In real time?

Love {I Corinthians 13 (paraphrased)}

If I keep my house immaculately clean, and am envied by all for my interior decorating, but do not show love in my family – I’m just another housewife.

If I’m always producing lovely things – sewing, art; if I always look attractive, and speak intelligently, but am not loving to my family – I am nothing.

If I’m busy on-line, in community affairs, teach Sunday school, and drive in the carpool, but fail to give adequate love to my family – I gain nothing.

Love changes diapers, cleans up messes, and ties shoes – over and over again.

Love is kind, though tired and frazzled.

Love doesn’t envy another wife – one whose children are “spaced” better, or in school so she has time to pursue her own interests.

Love doesn’t try to impress others with my abilities or knowledge as a mother.

Love doesn’t scream at the kids.

Love doesn’t feel cheated because I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do today – shop, read, zumba, soak in a hot tub.

Love doesn’t lose my temper easily.

Love doesn’t assume that my children are being naughty just because their noise level is irritating.

Love doesn’t rejoice when other people’s children misbehave and make mine look good.

Love is genuinely happy when others are honored by their children.


A great reminder to have posted on the fridge, I say! Because in the moment, in the now, in real time, sometimes it’s hard to keep the right perspective! Here’s my commitment from this Sweetest Day forth: In this house, we do real, we do mistakes, we do “I’m sorry”, we do second chances, we do fun ,we do laughter, we do hugs, we do forgiveness, we do LOVE! Love is a verb. It’s action. It’s not so much what you say, but what you do! Do LOVE.

Needing A Little Kneading?

It’d be a real hassle to tell you about the hassle I’ve had to deal with today. I bet you’ve had some pressure, strain, or anxiety of your own.

Do you need a little kneading? Been rubbed the wrong way and need a quick rubdown?  A massage sounds really good about now, doesn’t it? We can all use a remedy (albeit short term) for the stress in our lives.

And here it is. It’s absolutely free. It’s been medically documented to be a real benefit to your body. And you can experience it as a family, in the comfort of your own home – even yet today!  LAUGH!

Yes, laughter is a wonderful medicine. Research conducted by the UCLA Medical School found that there are indeed physical benefits of happiness… and that laughter and joy are the perfect antidote for stress. Did you know that the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, and lungs are given a massage during a hearty laugh? Yep. That’s the kind of ‘kneading’ and ‘rubdown’ I was referring to. A massage on the inside!

It’s true that you can’t just sit and watch a comedy to totally de-stress and get healthy. You need a balanced approach to health, with exercise and healthy eating as well. But I’m here to remind you that a hearty laugh is great therapy for the body, soul, and spirit. And it’ll build fun memories with your family, too.

“A merry heart does good, like medicine” Proverbs 17:22

Porridge for the Poor turned Baked Oatmeal Extraordinaire

Oats are a wonderful breakfast food!  And you can find them at a very low cost when bought in bulk. A 25 pound bag can be purchased for around 60 cents a pound. That’s some healthy eating for a minimal cost. And your doctor will be proud of you, too!

Recall the meal young Goldilocks tested at the Bear Homestead? Too hot… too cold… just right? It was porridge! Once upon a time, deep in the forest… Last week, I posted about A Homegrown Reading Machine and here I am on the ‘book’ topic again! But for good reason.

No matter how you cut it (how you cut the oats, that is – steel cut, whole rolled, …. ), OATS are good for you! Here’s a simple, poor-man’s breakfast. It’s the familiar breakfast bowl our kids created. Put 1/3 cup oats, 1 t. brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon (and sometimes a dab of peanut butter) in a bowl. Add a bit of hot water. Mix with a spoon and eat.

When I leave the ingredients on the table with the proper size measuring cup/spoon beside each, they can easily make this meal on their own (even the 4 year old). While the amount (1/3 c. oats) doesn’t fill them up and they end up making a few batches before they leave the table, I find that they don’t waste as much as making a huge portion that doesn’t get completely eaten!

Ready for the deluxe edition? Occasionally, I make up a pan of Baked Oatmeal Extraordinaire for the family to enjoy. It, too, is simple to make. I love eating it warm with that little bit of crunch along the edge of the pan! And when I make it the night before, this dish is just as popular the next morning as a cold breakfast. Here’s the recipe.

Baked Oatmeal

2 c. oats                                1 ½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt                                 1 c. milk

2 eggs                                   ¼ c. oil

½ c. brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients. Put them in a greased 8 ½ x 11 pan. Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes.



A Homegrown Reading Machine

Not all children naturally ‘take’ to books. Finding a really good book may be the key to kick-starting a homegrown Reading Machine. The trouble is identifying the really good books for your really reluctant reader! HOW DO YOU MAKE A GREAT CHOICE?

There are hundreds of thousands of options! One of the best things your can do to instill a love of reading is to provide an enormous supply of high quality literature. It’s difficult to fall in love with books UNLESS they “tingle with high adventure”… “make for laughter”… or show the “true nature of courage”.

Books read aloud may be what are needed to whet the appetite of that struggling reader in your home! (And uninterrupted family reading time is an investment that you’ll never regret. P.S.> Uninterrupted means no technology will compete with you and your child having this time together. No texts. No tweets. Nothing!)

I’m not comfortable letting my kids read ‘whatever’ they pull off a shelf. And I don’t have time to spend returning what ‘looked’ to be a decent story but wasn’t. I’ve found, as in so many others areas of life, that it’s best to get advice from others.

Here are a few trustworthy resources I’ve used to help in choosing great literature.

1. One is a book called Honey For A Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. It lists reading material that will both delight and benefit children. It contains a short summary of some of the books it recommends.

2. Another is an extremely comprehensive list of “1,000 Good Books” on the Classical Christian Homeschooling Website (www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000.html).

3. I also use the websites for Sonlight Curriculum (www.sonlight.com) & Veritas Press (www.veritaspress.com) to compile a great book list since I trust their choice in reading material.

I truly believe that it is because our kids have consistently had some of the best books read aloud to them and have had a wonderful selection of stories to read on their own, they have become insatiable readers, homegrown Reading Machines!

How do you make selections for the types of books you encourage the children in your home to read? I’d love to hear about it!



WHAT TO READ: “Stories that make for wonder. Stories that make for laughter. Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true nature of courage, of love, of beauty. Stories that make one tingle with high adventure, with daring, with grim determination, with the capacity to seeing danger through to the end. Stories that bring our minds to kneel in reverence; stories that show the tenderness of true mercy, the strength of loyalty, the unmawkish respect for what is good.” (Ruth Sawyer, The Way of the Storyteller, NewYork: Viking Press, 1962)

Stock Up (on Stock) for Flu Season!

Forget the flu shot; get some chicken stock! It’s the famous Jewish penicillin.

As the weather gets colder and the sniffles begin, add ‘whole chicken’ to your grocery list. According to Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, “Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate.” Both delicious and nutritious, chicken stock has been tagged as ‘superior’ to everything else, even more relaxing than Tylenol.

Stock can be made from all sorts of meats (fish, lamb, venison, duck, you name it), but I have only made it from chicken, so that’s what I’ll share with you today. While modern research confirms that stock helps “prevent and mitigate infectious diseases”, don’t save this for times when you’re under the weather. You’ll find that the flavor is simply irresistible. Make it and become known as an excellent, health-conscious cook!

Chicken Stock

1 whole chicken

3 – 4 quarts of water

2 – 4 T. sea salt

1 T. apple cider vinegar

4 medium onions, coarsely chopped

8 carrots, coarsely chopped

6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

2 – 4 zucchini, chopped

4 – 6 T. coconut oil

5 garlic cloves

4 inches grated ginger (3/4 t. dried)

1 bunch fresh parsley


INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients except the parsley in a large pot. {A stockpot is a very important piece of equipment to have in your kitchen!} Bring to a boil. Remove the scum. Cover and cook on low for 12 – 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. Add parsley for the last 5 minutes. Take the pot off the stove. Remove the chicken. Let it cool a bit before taking the meat from the carcass. Use the meat as desired – for chicken salad, enchiladas, etc. (but do not leave any of it in the stock). Strain the stock (removing all the vegetables and spices) through cheese cloth or a thin towel. Refrigerate/freeze or can the liquid. (If canning, place in quart jars in a pressure canner at 10 lbs. pressure for 25 minutes.)


‘Good broth’, says a South American proverb, ‘resurrects the dead.’  Don’t wait until then to try this recipe!



The Most Effective Beauty Aid

Have you ever seen a lady in desperate need of a make-over? Of course you’d never say that to her face, but you’ve thought it just the same. I admit it. I have, too. I’ve seen several that need to read what I’m about to share. Because it just might change the entire course of their life.

All over the city, I’ve passed by women that the world would consider stunning. Physically attractive. Very well dressed. Confident in every way. A model of beauty in appearance. And yet, these are some of the very same women that need to know about this most effective beauty aid.

Don’t worry.It’s not expensive. You can afford it – no matter your income.

This most effective beauty aid is FREE. It is a product called “A Joyful Smile”.

My little girls (ages 7, 5, and 4) already ask if they ‘look cute’. My standard answer has been “only when you have a happy heart!  Let me see your face.” They’ve learned to respond with a sweet little grin. And that smile does make them beautiful… even if they’re wearing a stained shirt, ripped jeans and have not yet brushed their hair!

True beauty comes from the inside out. I’ll never forget my neighbor telling me about his ex-wife spending long periods of time getting ready to go out. When she was finished, he’d say, she never really looked beautiful to him because of the way she acted! Others thought she was a gorgeous little gal but he knew what she was like at home…and it wasn’t very pretty! Always a crab. Always a nag. Never happy.

Everyone is drawn to a happy face. A face that smiles with the lips and the eyes. You can have a total make-over of your own by simply following this three-step application for the product “A Joyful Smile”.

1. Learn to think TRUTH about yourself, your priorities, your marriage, your children, your emotions, God, etc. (A great source is the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss) Revive Our Hearts…..  http://www.reviveourhearts.com/

2. Learn to give THANKS for the things you already have. (A favorite resource on this topic is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp) A Holy Experience…..  http://www.aholyexperience.com/

3. Learn to put on a SMILE every day. It’s the one sure way to dress for success. (A study titled Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl has been very helpful) No Greater Joy….. http://nogreaterjoy.org/

You can’t afford to pass up “A Joyful Smile”. Right thinking (TRUTH) leads to right speaking (giving THANKS) which leads to right living (with a joyful SMILE!).

Change your perspective. Change your outlook. Change your future!

What is reflected on your face today?