12/22/15

Tiger Butter (aka: Tiger Bark)

I came across a friends post who was visiting family here in NC that had shared a yummy picture of some sort of chocolaty fudgy looking peppermint bark stuff. After stalking the comments I find out its  "Tiger Butter" or as some call it "Tiger Bark". I set out to find an easy recipe (and one I had the ingredients handy for because, being out in the country we have a good drive to the store) I find one that seems simple & call my dear mother in law to find that she has my "missing"  ingredient, Almond Bark. I shew the kids out of the kitchen, mostly because if they are in there I will most definitely scorch my chocolate! But also because sometimes mama just needs to relax & indulge! I decided to add my own twist to the original recipe by chopping up some mini recces cups & mini chocolate chips on top. You could go crazy here whatever you have on hand! Some ideas... M & M's, Snickers, Nuts, (or use crunchy PB) PB chips, Salt, etc. The list could go on & on. 

Melting the chocolate:
I do not have any special directions here except have patience, use a non heat conducting bowl, stir stir stir! Start at 30-45 secs or so and each time decrease the time. I personally can usually do 35 sec stir then 20 sec, stir stir then 8-10 sec. Give it a minute and really stir before microwaving additional time. Also make sure everything you use around it stays dry!!! Even a drop of water will cause it to seize up. (This is also why I recommend microwave over the double boiler method) 

My tray was ready/set after about 15 minutes in the fridge. The Almond Bark sets up pretty quickly when cold. I chopped mine into triangles and let my daughter break some too. Store in an air tight container. We kept ours in the fridge for the most part because we burn wood at night and it can get pretty hot in our kitchen. 



Tiger Butter Bark :
3 ingredients,So easy! 
  • 1 package (20-24 ounces) white almond bark
  • ½ cup peanut butter crunchy or smooth
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (Milk chocolate will work fine too)
Instructions:
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Set aside
  2. In large mixing bowl, break up almond bark as best you can (or you can just toss the whole thing in). Place bowl in microwave for about one minute. Stir well. Microwave at 30-45 second intervals or shorter, stirring after each, until bark is melted and smooth.
  3. Stir in peanut butter until melted and well blended.
  4. Spread out onto waxed paper lined baking pan.
  5. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave at 30-45 second intervals or shorter, stirring after each, until smooth and melted.
  6. Drop dollops of chocolate onto peanut butter mixture in pan. Swirl with a knife. **If desired add toppings now**
  7. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until hardened or allow to harden completely at room temp.
  8. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. 

12/16/15

Organizing & Stuffing Pocket Diapers

Organizing & Stuffing Pocket Diapers with multiple brands.



Lets face it...stuffing is the WORST part of using pocket diapers. This is how i keep up with my multiple brands and what I like in each. 


12/15/15

Changing table set up & organization for Cloth Diapering

Changing table set up & organization for Cloth Diapering 

 
Click the video below to see my changing table set up and what works for us! 


Please don't forget to subscribe!

12/11/15

Like my mama did.

Yes, a post about breakfast!

This day in age alot of you would look at this plate and turn up your nose. They would see the grease, the butter, the cheese, the lack of color and swear to never touch anything that came close to it. Now I'm not saying this is the healthiest option or even my favorite but it means so much more then a meal to most.

For those of you who don't know Southern cuisine this is a fried egg, cheese toast and buttered grits.

My mama's probably laughing at this because she had to fight me nearly every morning to eat it. I never understood why we had to have the same thing almost everyday.  I never thought how much time she took to get up out of bed before us all and fix everybody a good meal. I never thought that might be all we had or all we could afford.

I never looked at this meal and saw that my mom was trying to give us something special made with love. She probably started with grits & toast (because if was quick & easy) but we needed protein so she would scramble some eggs or fry us one. Then she would add cheese to our toast to make us eat it ( or make us happier to) Sure she could've just gave us cereal, and many days we did.

For me & my kids this is a rare large breakfast for us thru the week. Now as an adult for those of us that do like this kind of food, this meal is a treat to our strict diets & "lifestyle" changes. It's not elaborate or fancy. It's not "Instagram" worthy. But I beg to differ. It's so much more than that to many of us out there. So if your a mama who feeds this to your kids or maybe tgis is what you ate growing up for whatever the reason may be. Share on & be proud! Just like my mama did! 

12/9/15

Minions Goggle's craft

Spent our Tuesday night crafting using the Roku. We found this cool easy craft for minion googles from coolschool and crafty Carol! Find them on Instagram here!
https://i.instagram.com/coolschoolshow/

Aren't they cute!

12/8/15

Big Changes!

As you may notice we have had a few big changes, including our name! Free range farm mom is now : The Country Homemaker and we have a new site address: www.thecountryhomemaker.com I am still working on Changing over all of the sites links & photos. So please bare with this busy mama! Hope you all will find the new name more fitting and this means a broader topic ground for me!

11/25/15

Bare Air Free Baby Bottle Review + FREE GIVEAWAY!


I have recently been out to find the PERFECT bottle for breastfed babies. After my now 3 month old refused EVERY bottle I tried, he finally took this one. See my thoughts in this video! 

Get your own here using this 10% off coupon code  bare10-72 HERE 
OR Enter for a chance to win one below! 


Here's my little one the first time he took it from dad AND nana! 




11/4/15

The Top 3 Breastfeeding Online Resources

This is something I think every nursing mama needs handy at all times!
In those early days its especially handy when its 4 am, you have a fussy hungry baby and you boobs are rock hard sore and you don't know why or what to do!

Kelly Mom-
There is NO other website that has as much accurate information as this one does! ANY issue you may have check here first! www.kellymom.com

Facebook support groups:
We all value other moms opinions and advice! Lots of help and support to be had here!
Group 1 https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1489334864661107&tsid=0.6598645292688161&source=typeahead

Group 2
https://m.facebook.com/groups/194503807253492?tsid=0.3566671358421445&source=typeahead

La Leche League-
Find a local chapter (or start one!) Socialize get help from certified lactation consultants and so much more! http://www.llli.org/

11/3/15

FREE Fall Short Story Prompts


Do your kids like to write about their life? These fun Fall Short Story Writing Prompts are a great way to increase their creativity, promote proper grammar or just for some fun. Head over to The Multi Taskin Mom and download yours today!

GET IT NOW

10/9/15

Review! Math U See

*I am not a paid spokesperson. Providing these reviews solely for your information!*

After an awful year with math last year with a certain big name company I knew it was time to change our math program. This year Riley (4) is going to start kindergarten and Mason is at a 3rd grade level. We are doing primer & beta.

We were so excited to get our books! I.was nervous because the teachers manual contains ALOT of information. I thought to myself oh no, here we go again... Information overload! Once we started the program I haven't really had to follow it for the actual lesson because we watch to DVD but I do not suggest skipping it because it does contain some really cool tricks and tips throughout.


Breaking it down:

DVD: Easy to work the menu, navigate, etc. It is a little hard to hear on my (new) computer. We haven't tried in a regular DVD player but I wouldn't think it's a big change as Mr. Demme's voice is very mellow. He clicks with my son very well and he is able to sit thru the short lessons and research it if necessary very easily.

Teachers manual: I Love the quality of the hardback book. As stated above lots of information! Skim thru of it seems too much for you.

Student book & Test booklet:
Again, very well made. I love the binder holes prepunched. Easy to add as many worksheets and enrichment sheets as needed. We usually do a lesson a week and really make sure we have it down.

Blocks:
Love the way these work! They make this curriculum as great as it is. My son is dislexic and this makes so much sense to him. My 4 y.o understands them very easily too. They are very good quality as well!
We needed a box to store them in a scored this at Walmart for $4.99! ($DEAL$) It fits all the blocks perfectly & I love that it's see thru.


Over all This program is very well thought out. Each part works with the next. Mr
Demme's has solved many of the "why's" of math! Kids just get it! We are definitely a Math U See family from now on! I will post a lesson walk thru in a few weeks! Meanwhile, check out www.demmelearning.com  for more information all all levels & products! 

9/12/15

Free Recipe Binder Printables

I LOVE these recipe binder printables and cannot wait to put mine together!
  • Front Cover, Spine & Back Cover
  • Menu Idea Pages (Last Minute Meal Ideas, 1-3 Hour Meal Ideas, Morning Start Meal Ideas, & Night Before Start Meal Ideas)
  • 4 Page Substitute List & a Kitchen Conversion Page
  • 13 Category Divider Pages with Printable Tabs
  • There are 3 Color Options to choose from too! Pick the Color you want to download the whole binder!

9/1/15

Our newest addition!

I'm so glad to be back after a very difficult pregnancy & easy labor(for the most part). I'd like to introduce you to our newest addition Clayton:


& yes...we are so in love!

4/14/15

Winner Chosen! Family Registration to the 2015 NCHE Homeschool Conference "Thrive!"

4/6/15

Tips to make the most of your NCHE conference weekend {Conference Giveaway Alert!}


Whether this is your first time at the NCHE Homeschool Conference or you have attended for years you are sure to get some good tips from this list. My husband is from Winston Salem and my sister in law still lives there. So lucky me I get to stay with her for free! I am so blessed to be apart of this years "Conference Blogging Team"! & So excited to give YOU a chance to win a FREE family registration conference package!

 This year's conference will be held at the Benton Convention Center in Winston Salem,NC 
On May 21-23 2015
In case you missed my last post about this awesome event check it out here >  "Calling All NC Homeschoolers"  

What to take into the conference:

* Rolling file cart or stroller- You will most likely be toting lots of personal things items (more on this below) Also, if you plan on visiting the vendor hall you may be making purchases or getting catalogs and information from vendors. Last year I tried a large beach bag and it was a huge pain in my shoulders as well as to drag around everywhere. Never. Again. I may just take the stroller this year since I will be nearly 30 weeks into this pregnancy at conference! Even if you are attending alone no one is going to look at you funny because you are pushing around a kid less stroller filled with books! I promise! If they are it because they wish they had thought of that! You can also purchase a fairly cheap file cart like this  or make your own!

* Dress in layers! Its cold in some rooms and hot in others. Always have a jacket handy!

*Take address labels with you that way want to enter giveaways available from the vendors or join a mailing list (be sure to include your email), you just stick the label on, and you are done! I had so many people complement me on this! Biggest time saver ever!

*Its a good idea to bring some snacks or even your own lunch. As well as a refillable water bottle or other beverage. There is a concession stand at the convention center but it gets pricey. You may get hungry before they break for lunch or just want to save $. 

*Pens,Highlighters,paper/notebooks and a clipboard. There's lots of info you will want to write down to look back over later so this is a top priority in my book. Also of you have a smartphone/camera or tablet(remember to bring your chargers in with you!) handy a lot of the speakers will have info on a power point screen. You can always snap a quick pic of the screen. They do not mind this but try not to let that flash go off its a distraction to others. 






* If you are planning on purchasing curriculum make sure you research and price out from different vendors and online vendors to get the best deal. The last day of conference a lot of them have big discounts. Make a list of things you need or companies you are interested in. The vendors are more than happy to answer any questions. 


*A folder of all you important paperwork. I put together a folder with my schedules I had printed as well as hotel & ticket registration information. That way it all was in one place when or if i needed it. Study the Schedule, Speakers, and Workshops. This is very important in getting the most out of your time and money. It is best to focus on things your household needs improvement on. I highlighted the ones I was interested in. 


 *Here is another thing I like to do. I print copies of the schedules and highlight everywhere i need to be at each time frame. This helps me keep track of my "free" time & the workshops i'd like to attend or narrow them down. You also see a copy of the program booklet they give you once you arrive, in this I highlighted the "final" choices I made. I did end up changing a few of these once I met some of the speakers but this did help me easily track where I needed to be/when. 
 


  Other Tips & information:


There is also many area restaurants within walking distance of the Benton Conv. Center. Some of my favorites are Mellow Mushroom Its a good walk but do-able. It does get busy during lunch.  Jimmy John's is another. They deliver and they are super quick & close. This is great if you have kids. There is also tropical smoothie cafe or Starbucks close by if you only want a small meal or snack. 



Make sure you being cash for parking or bus/cab fairs if your hotel doesn't cover it. Most parking decks are $3-6 per day. I'm sure some are higher and lower. This is why its best to stay close to downtown when eating and taking breaks from the conference because its very hard to find a good parking spot! 



Are you ready to enjoy all this fun for FREE? Enter below for your chance to win a FREE Family Registration to the 2015 NCHE Homeschool Conference "Thrive!" 





3/19/15

FREE copy of NCHE GREENHOUSE magazine!


NCHE is offering a complimentary issue of GREENHOUSE magazine to those who have not received  the magazine before. You must act fast., You have until 8 am tomorrow (Friday march 20th) to get your free copy ordered! If you like it you can subscribe for a very low rate! Go Here now to order yours!  Be sure to check back around Mid-April so you can enter to win a FREE free Conference tickets! 

-North Carolinian's For Home Education-

3/16/15

Can you catch the sneaky leprechaun?

St. Paddy's day is tomorrow and we have had a little leprechaun sneaking around the last few days! We set a trap to catch him so we can get all of his GOLD!
We took an empty tissue box and covered it in green construction paper then we used a skewer (also could use a Popsicle stick) to prop it up. To "bait" the little guy in we used pennies! Easy enough right? We shall see tomorrow!

FREE Butterfly Garden Starter Kit From National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation is offering a FREE Butterfly Garden Starter Kit for anyone who snaps a photo of themselves (or their kids) making the American Sign Language sign for butterfly. We cannot wait for ours to arrive. Both of my kiddos are butterfly fanatics! We are already preparing an area to plant our garden! 

From nwf.org: 

Your butterfly garden starter kit will include:

  • Seed packet with native milkweed or a flowering nectar plant
    • Monarchs drink nectar from flowers and their caterpillars eat only milkweed
  • A list of milkweed and nectar plants native to your region
    • Ask your garden center for the best plants on our list to add to your garden
  • Ranger Rick Nature Notebook
    • Observe your garden and the butterflies, caterpillars, and other wildlife that make it their new home!
  • Butterfly Heroes Sticker and Poster
    • Show your Butterfly Hero Pride!

2/27/15

FREE Dr. Seuss copywork


Do your kids love Dr. Seuss? Are you looking for some fun copywork ideas for their penmanship lessons? The Multi Taskin Mom has a great new set of FREE Dr. Seuss copywork printables that you’ll want to download today!

2/11/15

Calling all NC Homeschoolers!


It’s that time of year again! Conference season! So start researching curriculum and getting those pens/notepads ready!

  I have attended a few homeschool conferences but one I always plan on attending is The NCHE Homeschool Conference in Winston Salem, NC. This year it is known as Thrive! Doesn't that name say it all! As homeschool parents that is the one thing we wish for our children is to see them thrive! The registration prices are lower this year and you can get an even better deal by taking advantage of the Early Bird prices (through Feb 26). Most of us are on tight budgets & every penny counts right?

 I always leave with such inspiration and motivation to get organized, be a better mom and teacher, and of course grow closer to our Savior. Last year my favorite session was Amanda Wares "Homeschooling for preschool" This was my first year homeschooling a preschooler all by myself. I thought I had it all figured out but she gave the best HONEST advice a newbie could get! I have 2 pages of notes from this pinned to the wall behind my desk till this day! I had many other favorites like Andrew Pudewa and Diana Waring had me in tears on that last day! But enough about last year.

This year I am honored to be chosen to be on the 2015 NCHE bloggers team! This means throughout the conference I will be blogging, tweeting & instagraming my lil heart out, keeping you all updated & on the current happenings and tips for you in the days leading up to, during & after the conference! So be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss a thing!

      This year the lineup is stacked with some amazing people including Debra Bell, author of Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling & many more great books. I am looking forward to two of her sessions "Developing Motivation and Interest in Kids of All Ages" & "Education by Design: Understanding God’s Blueprint for Your Child” We also have Jon Erwin, writer/director best known for the movie "Mom's night Out". Jon is a homeschool graduate himself as well as Homeschool parent. He is a huge advocate for homeschooling & credits a big part of his success to being homeschooled. This is why I can’t wait to hear his session "Teaching Your Kids to Dream”.

   There are so many other great speakers and topics offered this year so be sure to check out the link below and get a head start on planning out your schedule today! I do believe this year will be the hardest for me to choose! I'm sure I will be purchasing lots of mp3s for the ones I will miss.
There are always so many things to take advantage of here besides the amazing speakers. The Children's Conference, Teen Activities, Graduation, the talent show. I have not personally experienced these but this year I may take my kids to the Children's Conference if they choose to. They usually like a weekend with dad! (And I don't mind a weekend away!) Either way there is sure to be something for each member of your family.

Then there’s the Massive 45,000 square foot Vendor Hall! Nearly every company you have heard of or may want to hear about will be there. Some even offer workshops and they are always willing to help you choose what suits your family’s needs. I will be posting more about this and other helpful tips in my upcoming post “Tips to make the most of your NCHE conference weekend” Also be sure to keep a watch for your chance to win a FREE family registration to this year's conference
Here is the link to the NCHE Conference where you will find tons of information and full schedules!

2/10/15

Valentines Fish Bowl Craft


Both the kiddos are working on projects this week. M's is on Alligators & R's is on fish. Since she is only 3/4 we are taking hers more lightly. So in the spirit of valentines, she wanted to make heart fish that she saw on tv. Our valentines decor is lacking so I thought it would be perfect to make a large fish bowl with our "fish" swimming around!

We took a sheet of red poster board that we had on hand and I just traced a "somewhat" shape of a fish bowl. The we added all of our "fish" & used pipe cleaners stapled to the board as plants and heart confetti we had for the "rocks" Hope you enjoy! You can do this anytime with any holiday or theme! Just play with it!  <3
                                                              

2/2/15

Super Easy Mini Prayer Booklets


A few days ago, we finally made our prayer books! We've had these on our "wish to-do" list for a while now. They are not anything fancy...  They each chose the paper and opening style of there own. For R's We took one 8x11 sheet of paper and cut into 4 equal pieces then just stapled them together. For M's we cut it in half longways and places them together then folded & stapled. His opened from the bottom-up. Both of them wanted a rainbow (of one wants it the other usually does....) Riley wasn't happy about how hers turned out, so I printed one off and she glued it on over her other. -gotta keep em happy ;) -

Here's How We Use Em':
Each morning before we start school & before we pray I ask for there prayer requests. We write them down and update any previous. We also are working on praising God as much as trusting in him. So they write praise reports and things God has done for them. I let them choose who or what they pray for. Sometimes I gently remind them "do we have someone that's sick/in the hospital we know?. Or Is there someone who needs some encouragement? Riley's first request was to ask God to help her pray better. (melted my heart!) & Mason's was for  Mom & Dad. (We were both sick this day....) 

So far they are filling up and both learning about asking for gods help and giving them the glory and praise when good things happen. I plan on letting them take them to Church and use them there too. We can always add more pages or just date & file it. Hope this gives you some ideas on how to make & use your own prayer books. 

Next round we may do prettier & sturdier ones! If so I'll add tutorial here! I have some ideas using my binding machine!


1/26/15

Anne Bryn Saves The Day Cookbook Review & FREE Giveaway!


First off I have to admit I am a HUGE fan of Anne Bryn & her cookbooks! She is a Nashville native and a mother of 3. Her recipes are always "tried & true". I was so excited when I received two copies of this book and couldn't wait to give one lucky reader a FREE COPY of there own! 



Most of us live a lot of our lives in a rush. Surprise company or last minute changes are always going on. Let Anne help! In this cookbook she offers easy to follow time saving ways to ease kitchen stress! I love how she includes Money saving tips as well as the Do-Ahead Tips! I know we all love to save time & money! There are SO many awesome recipes in this book. My favorites are the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho & Grilled eggplant stacks. She also tells you how to have a well stocked "Save-The-Day Pantry" The graphics are very appealing and I love that there are pictures for many of the recipes. 

                                     Enter below for your chance to win this FREE copy! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


1/22/15

Homemaking & Homeschooling Through Pregnancy


"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers,not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  That they may teach the young women to besober , to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home,good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed"  Titus 2:3-5 


*Please note: This post is from Jan. 2015 & we are not currently expecting. Just resharing an older post that needs some love.*


Now, before I begin let me say this is a touchy subject not just to me but many of you. As women we seek to be equal with man. Currently I am nearing 10 wks of my 3rd (viable) pregnancy. I have been instructed to have limited activity until 12 weeks due to a hemorrhage a few weeks ago. I also have horrible nausea & morning sickness. Normally I would be grateful to have a few weeks "off the hook" but I have been studying homemaking in the bible and striving to be more of a virtuous mother,wife,person. With this has came guilt & a worthlessness feeling. 


A Typical day for me: 
      I typically prepare 3 meals a day, Home school 2 kiddos, Have my own bible study/prayer time (usually this is at night after everyone is in bed) Blog or working on preparing school work/projects for the next day/week, clean the house, dishes, laundry etc. Along with the normal everyday "to-do's" Some days we are gone to doctors appointments, play dates, co-ops,library or just running errands and doing household paperwork upkeep. On those days we usually do "computer school" and history/science may be a national geographic show with questions at the end of course! 

So...Why does this "rest" bother me? 
    I strongly feel that God chose me to stay at home. I had no intentions to home school and had plans of going back to college as soon as the kids were in public school. It wasn't until I started praying about leading healthier Christlike lives that I would realize that this was for us. I was scared. I continue to pray about this till this day. My family deserves me. They deserve to have a good meal,a fun day, and a great education. My husband deserves a clean house and supportive wife. I WANT to give that to them. Not because they think so its because I think so. So when I am having a bad day or in this case a bad month I feel like I am not giving them what they need and i feel useless. The good Lord has given me this chance and I feel like I am failing him. I like order..no no I Love order. I like being on time (if not early) I like my meals planned out for the week so we only have to shop one day. ( this also saves $ on trips to town) I have to have some order. In the bible, it says "Let all things be done decently and in order"  1 Corinthians 14:40

 BUT Wait... It also says  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LordIsaiah 55:8 . So, of course I cannot argue with Gods plans. As bad as it makes me feel to take the back seat to homemaking for a few weeks I have to trust him & obey. I have a wonderful husband and kids that help out and understand that this is a rough time for us. I am thankfully God has chosen me to stay home with my children and home school them. It's a gift from God to have children and be able to raise/school them at home. 

Here's what we CAN do:
 -Pray for yourself & family.
-Plan easy to prepare meals and I promise your kids will not be mad if you feed them PB & J sandwiches & frozen pizza everyday. 
-ASK for help! You Are not super-mom stop trying to be! My husband and I have already had this conversation. He knows I cannot do it all right now. He helps me prepare dinner (some nights even does it all himself!) & does laundry with my sons help! They are amazing! 
-If morning sickness is an issue...Get up SLOW in the morning and have a quick snack until you feel up to fixing breakfast for everyone. Alot of mornings my son (7) fixes his and my daughters breakfast. Granted it is usually cereal or more PB & J's lol but they get fed. 
-Help with cleaning but find a way to be comfortable doing it. I fold clothes but I am sitting or on my bed. I have had a few days where I "cheated" and cleaned like all day. My doctor would probably disagree with my choices but it needed to be done & I had the energy. 
-READ to your kids! If you do not home school but normally play alot with your kids you can always always always read to them. I have friends who are on flat bed rest and this was the one thing they could always do no matter what. 
-If you do home school you can do lessons later in the day when your energy is up and nausea is low. We chose to do this and break up lessons with breaks. It helps me to relax for a dew min. every hour or so. Also take advantage of the interweb! There's full lessons online and you can find almost any kind of work. Use this time to review or nail down math facts,sight words etc. 
-Use this time to grow closer to God as I have. Life isn't always peachy don't try to tell yourself it is. Be humble. Be True. Be your best right now. That's all we can do :) 
*I hope this post makes sense...I am in a very emotional state and just wanted to provide some encouragement out there for those mamas trying to do it all while pregnant!* 

I just HAD to share....




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