For the month of July, some friends of mine on the Schoolhouse Review Crew are hosting a 31-day posting challenge, and I thought it might be fun to join in. There are a couple of days where I have specific things to write about already, so I won’t be doing the challenge on those days, but my goal is to do them the rest of the days. Hopefully it all works out!

The first day, the theme is “Who.” That means it’s just a basic introductory post about me. Rather than write it all out here, I’m going to offer a few highlights and then give you a couple of quick links if you want more information.

First off, I’m Wendy. I’ve been married to Will since 2001; we got married when we just 19 (me) and 20 (him). Our birthdays are only two days apart – mine’s this coming Friday and his is Sunday – although he’s a year (minus two days) older. I’m a stay at home mom of three boys, expecting one more child in mid-November. We’ll find out gender next week. I’m super excited about that! I homeschool my children with the help of the Schoolhouse Review Crew (yay for free curriculum in exchange for writing a review). We live in a fairly small town (population approximately 20,000) in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve lived here my entire life – the general area always, and this town all but 3 years. All three of my children were born at the same hospital as I was. Seahawk, my oldest, was born in the same physical location, and the other two, Munchkin and Small Fry, were born after the new hospital was built, but I still count it as the same because it’s the same “company,” just a new facility. (And for those of you thinking I don’t know how to name children, those aren’t their real names. We gave them nicknames to use here on the blog to help maintain their safety.)

So there’s us in a nutshell. For more, be sure to click on my about page. That covers info on all 5 members of my family. For more on just me, I did a special birthday post in 2013 and another in 2014 that was chalk full of random facts about me.


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Make sure and visit Lynn at This Day Has Great Potential and Jennifer at A Glimpse of Our Life; they’re the hosts of this month’s challenge. There’s a linkup at each of their blogs where I’m connecting with other bloggers working through their challenge. If you blog and want to join in, one of those blogs is the place to go.


Pan Fried Meatloaf Patties {Recipe}

Pan Fried Meatloaf Patties recipe

Some days, you just want comfort food. Even if it’s June and 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. But when it’s that hot out, most comfort food isn’t really practical to prepare, especially if you don’t have air conditioning in your home, since a lot of them require baking for a long period of time.

This was the “dilemma” I found myself in earlier this week. Meatloaf sounded amazing, but the last thing I wanted was to turn the oven on for over an hour and heat up the house. (We do have an air conditioner, for the record, but it’s just a window unit. Even though it’s pretty powerful, it struggles to keep up with the oven heat.) So, what’s a girl to do? Come up with an alternative to baking the meatloaf, of course! So that’s just what I did.

I used the same ingredients as my normal meatloaf, but instead of putting it in a loaf pan and baking for an hour (or longer), I shaped the meat mixture into patties and pan fried them in just a touch of oil. When the meat was cooked through, I added the sauce to the top of the patties and let it cook for just another minute or two to set.

The result? These patties were just as good as a traditional meatloaf, and a lot quicker to prepare. I’ll definitely be using this method again, and I hope you’ll try it too!

Pan Fried Meatloaf Patties
Serves 6
A traditional meatloaf recipe is turned into patties and pan fried instead of baked.
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357 calories
20 g
101 g
19 g
24 g
6 g
158 g
497 g
6 g
1 g
11 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 357
Calories from Fat 173
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 101mg
Sodium 497mg
Total Carbohydrates 20g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 6g
Protein 24g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1-2 tablespoons oil, for cooking
  2. 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce, separated
  5. 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (fresh or store-bought)
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 1-2 tablespoons sugar (white or brown, it doesn't matter)
  8. 1-2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  9. 1-2 tablespoons white vinegar
  1. In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat the oil.
  2. In a medium to large bowl, combine the meat, egg, half of the tomato sauce, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Combine thoroughly, but don't over mix.
  3. Shape the meat into 6-8 patties.
  4. Carefully place the patties in the hot oil and cook until they're no longer pink in the center, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the other half of the tomato sauce, mustard, sugar, and vinegar (I do this right in the tomato sauce can).
  6. When the meatloaf patties have cooked through, pour the sauce evenly over the patties and let it all cook together for an additional 2-3 minutes.
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Book Review: Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

I recently had the pleasure of reading Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton. I saw this one in the available from Book Look Bloggers back in February, and I really wanted to read it, but I had a few other books to finish first. So when I’d done that, I jumped on getting my copy of Betting on Hope.

Maggie Hope is a advice columnist for a newspaper. Tru Monahan is a cowboy, through and through. When Maggie is assigned to interview Tru for the newspaper (not her normal gig, since she’s not a reporter), things go from bad to worse very quickly. Before either of them realize what’s happening, they’ve made a silly bet (Tru suggests he can teach city-girl Maggie to ride a horse; she’s not so sure) and both of their employers insist they follow through. So Maggie moves into the guest house on Tru’s property, he trains her to ride horses, and sparks fly.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple, but what I’ve given you is a fair representation of the book. There are a lot of side characters and interesting back stories which make this book better than my synopsis.

My thoughts?

I liked it. It took me a long time to get through, but that’s not the book’s fault. It’s simply because reading hasn’t been a huge priority in my days lately. The ending was pretty rushed, but I can forgive that. I really enjoyed the side characters; I thought they added a lot to the story. The back stories of the main characters were interesting, and I could understand why they would keep their histories from each other. But I think the story would have been better served if Ms. Clopton had shared a bit more of the circumstances behind those back stories with the reader, especially Tru’s.

Overall rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.

Picture of the Week: Painting with Watercolors

Picture of the Week: Painting with Watercolors

Seahawk requested some watercolor painting supplies for Christmas, so we happily obliged. As part of that, we got him a journal made with watercolor paper rather than regular paper. The understanding was that he would use his paints and journal to record some of the experiences we have this year. The goal is to paint a picture every day, but that doesn’t always happen. I’d say we’re averaging about twice a week at this point. In the few weeks he’s had the opportunity to paint regularly, I can already see drastic improvement in his skill.

Have a great weekend!


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2014 Year in Review {Blog Style}

2014 year in review copy

As you all know, 2014 saw some big changes in my blog. First, I joined the Schoolhouse Review Crew. This commitment has been really good for me in several ways. It helps to make sure I blog regularly. That’s not too hard, since I love sharing my thoughts and ideas on these pages, but knowing that it’s expected of me is a pretty good motivator on those “I just don’t want to” weeks. I’ve learned a lot about social media and blogging by being a part of that group of wonderful ladies. And let’s not forget the curriculum! I have the wonderful opportunity to try out different things and share them here with all of you.

Besides the Crew, you’ll remember that I also changed my blog name and platform earlier this month. That was probably the biggest change to “my space,” and it’s one I haven’t regretted for one second. I love the new name and URL! [Read more…]

Homeschool and Homemaking Interview

homeschoolers at home

Hello dear readers! I have just a short post for you today. A friend and fellow member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, Kemi of Homemaking Organized, is running a series of interviews with homeschoolers. She’s exploring such topics as homeschooling methods, average daily schedule, and balancing homeschooling with homemaking. Today is the day my interview is up on her blog. I hope you’ll take a moment to click through and read it. While you’re there, poke around on Kemi’s site for a while. She has tons of tips for homemaking, saving money, and her life as a homeschool mom of one daughter.

Have a great day, and I’ll be back later this week with more thoughts!


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Trying Something New…

Hello friends,

I’m going to try something new to see if helps traffic on the blog a little bit. From now on, you’ll see just a bit of the post in your email, and will need to click through to continue reading. If you hate this, please let me know via a comment on any post or through the Contact Me form. I’m not set that this is the way it has to be forever, but I want to see how it goes for a while. Thanks for understanding!



Happy Independence Day


I just wanted to take a moment to wish my fellow Americans a very happy Independence Day. I hope your celebrations are memorable yet safe.


I have a Simplicity post drafted in my head, but our internet has been wonky this week. Hopefully we can get it fixed next week; as soon as we can get it figured out, I’ll be in a better position to write that post up.