Tag Archives: food

Yummy Freezer Meals!

Today, “The Artist” and I put together 11 meals for the freezer!

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“The Artist” is making the Baked Apricot Meatballs, while I make the sauce to put on them.

Here, we have the really good smelling topping to add into the Baked Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops. I wish you could smell this, instead of just seeing it, because it just smells so yummy, and I’m sure it’s going to smell even better baking in the oven!

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This is all 10 of the meals from the recipes above, 2 of each, plus a package made using the extra pork chops and Vidalia Vinaigrette, so a total of 11 meals.

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And finally, 11 new supper main dishes in the freezer to add to whatever meals were left from the last time we did this!

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We have a membership with My Freeze Easy, and every few weeks I just go in and create my own menu plan, but you don’t have to. Each monty there are 12 new menus to choose from. Each recipe will make 2 meals for the freezer, and we chose to use 5 recipes this time. I also set my meal portions per meal at 8 so there will be leftovers, often enough for a second supper the next day! If you click the link earlier in this paragraph (affiliate) You’ll find the join page, and also a “try it free!” click at the top. We have been using and loving this for almost 3 years now, and my crew loves it! We get so much more variety now, and I never have to worry about having something already prepped to just thaw and bake, slow cook, Instant Pot, or skillet! Another reason I started doing this is that I’m part of the “Care Bear” ministry in our church (Mesa Baptist Church). I never have to say no anymore, because there are always good meals in my freezer, which enables me to do a meal for someone in need wil very little notice. I like that!

As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Filed under family, food, Freezer Meals, Freezer Prepping

Weekly Wrap-up . . . Revival Meetings and Some Silliness!

Well! This has been a very busy week! Our church had special meetings this week for our Family and Friends Revival, from Sunday through Wednesday. It was so good, too! Our guest speaker was Brother David Hetzer, and he was just wonderful! He has also been a speaker for our youth camps in years past.

We also were treated to The Epleys coming to sing for us! My family had last seen them many, many years ago, back during the early years we spent in Port Huron, MI. They came with their children and sang at the church we attended at that time, and we just loved them! We still listen to their music in the car! Well, now, We are in New Mexico, and they came to the church we are members of here! These days, their kids are grown and raising families of their own, so it’s just mom and dad singing now. I did not get a good video of them during the meetings, but here is one from youtube of them singing one of the songs they did for us. I hope you enjoy it!

It was a busy but good week! Monday and Tuesday, our church provided a meal at 6:00 for everyone who came before the meeting at 7:00, and then Wednesday we did potluck at the same time. Our pastor says we’re “the eatin’-est church in town”, lol!

Before all the business, we had a bit of silliness at our house one evening after supper, when my husband and some of the boys started fooling around with one of “The Puzzler’s” Christmas gifts, as you’ll see in the video below. They were sure having fun!

All in all, it was a pretty good week! 🙂

This post is being linked up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. If you’d like to write about your week and link up, please click the graphic below for the guidelines.

As always, I’d love it if you’d join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” space at the top of the blog, and never miss an update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook page and “Like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, Church, family, Mesa Baptist Church, The Epley Family, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . New Years Week . . .

This week, we had our mid-week service on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. We had a potluck fellowship at 6:00, followed by the service at 7:00. Two of the boys at our church are home from college for Christmas, and they, along with two of the boys from the teen group each were given the opportunity to preach for about 10 minutes each. I thought they did an awesome job! The service ended around 8:30, and we went home to get the boys to bed. In fact, my husband and I did not stay up late, either, because he had to get “The Batman” and “The Artist” up very early, so that he could get them back to the church in time to leave with the youth group for winter retreat, in Colorado.

On New Years Day, the rest of us kind of had a lazy day. I wasn’t feeling real great, and napped off and on, but was better by that night.

On Thursday, friends from church came and got “Mr. Loquacious” and “The puzzler” for an overnight with their kids. I ended up with most of the day yesterday and today to myself!

I told you yesterday what I would be doing with the time, and I did. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve decided to join in with the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats. As I told I would, I cleaned out and inventoried my pantry, fridge/freezer and deep freezer. I’m embarrassed to say I had to throw out a bunch of stuff. That’s the other reason I’m doing this, so I can learn to keep track of what we have, and use it up, thereby being a better steward.

So, I have rather a lot of odds and ends in the pantry, but very little meat, veggies or fruit. So, before I head out in the morning for groceries, we’ll be going over what we have and figuring out what we need to go with it.

I will update on the pantry challenge at least a couple of times a week. Not necessarily every day, because I have other things scheduled for posting too, but I will keep up to date on this. 🙂 You can find out all about where I got this idea by clicking the graphic below . . .
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Today while the kids were all still gone, I worked on my ministry cards. I have my own tiny ministry at church with my hand-crafted cards. So far, I have eleven ladies and one family on my encouragement list, and I make them a card every week. I bring them to church to give them on Sunday. I really enjoy it, it feels good to encourage others!

I also worked on getting my blog planner printed out so I can either get it into a notebook or have it spiral bound at an office supply store, and printed out the words to the song I’m singing next Sunday evening, so that the pianist and I can practice it.

Then, it was time to go pick everyone up! We got back a little while before my husband got home, and then he cooked supper, hamburgers and hot dogs, the extras we didn’t use on New Years Day. We also had the rest of the potato salad, coleslaw, and some potato chips. It was nice. 🙂

How was your week? Why don’t you write about it and then link up with us over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers? Click the graphic below to read about the guidelines . . .

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please do go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under card making, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Mesa Baptist Church, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

“Gone, Gone, Gone, Gone, All My Kids Are Gone”!

OK, so, let’s just be real here . . . I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kids, and if anything ever happened to any of them, my heart would be in shreds. However, as any of you who are moms surely know, especially if you are fellow homeschooling moms, sometimes, we just need a little break. Right? 🙂

So, my older two, “The Batman” and “The Artist” left yesterday with the teen group from our church for their annual winter retreat to the Cross Bar X Ranch in Durango, Colorado, and the twins, ”
Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” just left a little while ago for an overnight with friends from church who have two kids that are great friends with our kids. I am kid-less until late tomorrow afternoon when the teens return, at which time I’ll be getting the twins back as well.

So what will I do with my time alone, you ask? Well, write this post, for one, LOL!

I will also shortly, be doing an inventory of my pantry cupboard, fridge/freezer and deep freezer, in preparation for joining the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats.

You can read all about it by clicking the graphic below . . .

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She is doing a two week challenge, with specific goals. My challenge to myself is not for a specific time period, because I am planning to simply have us use up what we have, with a goal towards purchasing only the grocery items needed to round out meals made as much as possible from existing supplies. This will do a few things . . . it will save money, first and foremost. It will also force me to be more creative in meal planning and preparation, and it will help get these three areas emptied out for cleaning. I think it will also serve to show me where I need to make changes in food shopping, either because we have things that turn out to be something we don’t care for, or because it may give me the incentive to try harder to use more “real” foods, instead of convenient, packaged things. It will definitely help us become better stewards of what we have, which, as a Christian, I believe is something we should all learn to do.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what I find in my inventory, and hopefully, how I plan to implement this whole thing, and we’ll see how it goes.

In any event, I’m going to give it a try. Anyone game to join me? 🙂

As always, I’d just love it if you join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and you’ll never miss another update! If you enjoy “My Journeys”, how about a little Facebook “like”? I’d sure appreciate it! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, Church, family, food, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Oh What A Busy Week We Had! :-)

I think that Monday was the ONLY day we stayed at home! Tuesday, as I posted earlier in the week, Our church homeschool group had a field trip to McCall’s Pumpkin Patch, in Moriarty NM, followed by Ladies Bible Study at church that evening for me.

Then Wednesday of course, “The Batman” and “The Artist” had Teen Choir, after which we had Bible Study and Prayer Meeting at church. On the way home after church, we needed to stop and buy milk, because nobody had told me the day before that we were almost out (I don’t drink it, so I didn’t know).

Last night, our church had the annual Chile Cook-off and Fall Festival. I’ll be doing a post in the next few days with pictures from that, but here’s one picture of some of the Chile entries before we began sampling! 🙂
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This morning, our church homeschool group met for our November activity, which was a missions project, as our missions conference is this month. We divided into groups, three families per group, and we each filled a box with gifts for our assigned missionary family, along with a box for one of our college students who are away at school.

Here are our packages, with the kids in our group . . .

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I’ll do a full post about that later, too, with more pictures. Meanwhile, that’s how our week has been, and now I am finishing this post, doing laundry, getting things together for a Close To My Heart Gathering being held tomorrow, and then getting my ministry card that I do each week made.

So, how was YOUR week? Why don’t you write about it on Fridays and join the weekly wrap-up linky? Just click the graphic below to find out how!

As always, I would love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”, by entering your email information in the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog. And please, do also go here and “Like” our Facebook page! 🙂

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Filed under card making, Christian faith, Church, Close to My Heart, education, encouragement, family, food, home education, Home-school Group, Homeschool Field Trip, Kids, McCall's Pumpkin Patch, Mesa Baptist Church, NM, Weekly Wrap-Up

Transitions Part 6: A 1700 Mile Adventure

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When we left off yesterday, my boys and I had just left Oklahoma City and headed toward Texas, where we would be spending one final night on the road. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, as I had never driven so far on my own before. I had been out west, as far as Phoenix and California, many years ago, but had gone by plane, never driving. I had honestly had my doubts about how well I would manage, and thought I would get lost, even with my GPS lady talking to me through my phone blue tooth, and my printed out directions from place to place. But so far, I had done well, even on the stretches where we had changed hotels, and thus changed directions!

My husband had warned me to put the AC on re-circulate for a while after crossing the Texas border, and he was RIGHT! I’ve never driven through cow country before, and the smell is very strong! We did enjoy looking at the scenery while going through the state though. I think Texas is where we saw a massive windmill farm. The boys thought that was pretty cool. They had been seeing lots of horse trailers on the freeway for a while, too, which was new to them.

At one point, we stopped for gas, and I took a picture of the sign for the sole purpose of posting it to Facebook, back to our friends in Port Huron, because when I left Port Huron, I paid nearly four dollars per gallon for my gas!

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We also took the opportunity to have everyone go to the bathroom. In the ladies bathroom, they had put up large sections of paper for travelers to write something about their trip. I added “moving from Pt. Huron MI to Albuquerque NM”

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Eventually, later than planned again, we reached our motel in Amarillo Texas. My husband had booked us into a Super 8, where we ended up with a surprising room! I got us checked in, and we went to the room we were directed to, but once I opened the door and went in, I was SURE they had us in the wrong room. I told the kids to stay put while I went back to the lobby to find out what was up. I asked the lady who checked us in if this was the room my husband booked us into, and she said yes, it was. Still concerned, because I honestly thought that perhaps after seeing that I had all the kids with me she had switched us to a bigger room without saying so, I asked how much they were charging me for this room. “$72.99”, she said. “Seriously?” I asked. “But it’s a suite!” She then told me that all of their rooms were like that, and that it was the only Super 8 in the country set up like this. So, if you ever need to stay in Amarillo Texas, go here!

When I texted my husband to tell him, he cracked up, because the only reason we were at that Super 8 was that the one he had stayed in when HE moved to Albuquerque the month previously was all booked up! 🙂

Here are all the boys relaxing in the living room of our little suite . . .

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The couch pulled out to a bed for the twins, so no using their inflatable sleeping bags that night!

Our eat-in kitchen area, where we chose to eat supper. Rather than going out, I ordered in a pizza for the boys and a salad for me . . .

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Here is the bedroom . . .

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Since we didn’t have to check out until 11:00 a.m., we didn’t! It was a comfortable room, and really, we needed to kill some time anyway. Our plan was to arrive at our new home AFTER my husband had gotten out of work that day, since I didn’t yet have keys to the house.

We left the Super 8 at around 11:00 a.m., and hit the road for New Mexico. According to my directions list from Google, which matched my GPS turn for turn, it would be about 5 hours (I think) to Albuquerque, so I figured it would work out just fine for getting there AFTER my husband was home. But then, as we crossed the state line into New Mexico, there it was. The big sign that said “you are now entering mountain time”. I had forgotten we would be going through one last time change, and it would suddenly be an hour earlier! So, I decided we needed to stop for lunch and kill another hour!

We got off the freeway at “Historic Santa Rosa NM”, where we saw signs saying we were on historic Route 66, and found this restaurant . . .

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From the Santa Rosa, NM website:

“Route 66 Restaurant

Offering the best in American and Mexican food, including home-made specialties like chile rellenos. Walking distance to major motels.
Historic Route 66
Contact: Patricia Velasquez
Phone: 472 9925”

We really enjoyed our experience there, the food was very good, and the children’s menu had Mexican dishes for my twins, which they liked. The place is decorated with historical Route 66 pictures and memorabilia, and my kids were snapping pictures of everything, using their camera functions on their electronic games. I would definitely go there again. It’s locally owned and operated, which is something my husband and I really like.

Stopping for lunch used up just the right amount of time, and we crossed into Albuquerque shortly after 4:00 p.m., right in the middle of big city (to me!) rush hour traffic. It scared me half to death! We had just moved from Port Huron, MI, a city of about 7 square miles in area, to Albuquerque, a city of about 187 square miles in area, and I had not had a lot of experience with this amount of traffic, at least not in a very long time. But, we made it to the house, getting there about 5 minutes before my husband. He took us in, and we saw our new home for the first time, filled with moving boxes that had finally arrived.

This is our front room, which is now a combination playroom, TV room, music room, library and craft room.

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The dining room area, just off the kitchen . . .

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Master bedroom . . .

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and master bath . . .

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As you can see, a lot of work was ahead, to get all of those boxes unpacked and put away! One of the first things on my agenda was to get the master bedroom in order, so we’d have a comfortable sanctuary at the end of each day . . .

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But before getting started on putting things to order, I just wanted to sit. This is me, in my new living room, after going around to look at all of my new home . . .

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Then, my husband took us out to supper at IHop, since we’d not had one in Port Huron, and the boys had never been. It was good, but I was tired, so once we got home again, I think it wasn’t too long before we all went to bed, because, as I said, there was a lot of work ahead! 🙂

I’ve come to the end of the 2013 Summer Blog Hop, and have enjoyed it, so much so that I think I’ll probably participate in the next blog hop hosted by the Review Crew, so stay tuned! And as always, to make it easier for you to stay tuned, I invite you to follow me via email, by clicking the “sign me up” button at the top of the page. I’d love to have you join me on my “journeys through life”!

and hop on over to the main blog post, to check out the other 89 bloggers participating, by clicking below . . .

Summer Blog Hop

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Filed under 1700 Mile Adventure, Albuquerque, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, family, food, moving, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Transitions, Travel

Simplified Pantry . . . a TOS Review for the Mamas! :-)

I was so excited to be chosen as one of the reviewers for Simplified Pantry written by Mystie Winkler!

As a reviewer, I was given access to three different products, and asked to choose one to use during the review period so I could tell my readers about it. I chose Mystie Winkler’s e-book Simplified Dinners, because I am ALWAYS looking for some way to simplify this part of my life, while at the same time, making sure my family is well fed with meals they actually enjoy. Well, Simplified Dinners is a definite winner with us!

This is a 30 page e-book, which I chose to print out and put into a three-ring binder. This is not a “cook-book” like I was used to, rather it is more of a how-to book. In her e-book, Mystie has given us first an explanation as to how and why she came up with this system, an explanation which really struck a chord with me. She was really tired of thumbing through and bookmarking cookbooks, recipe cards, etc, and having to keep track of ingredients needed. This system helped Mystie to pare down her pantry, purge her recipes, and even made it easier to let her children help in the kitchen. That last one turned out to be important for me, as during the review period I had surgery, and am currently unable to stand at the stove and cook, so my husband has had to take over a lot of what I normally do, with at least one of our children (“The Artist”) helping some. More on that later!

Mystie then gives us a master pantry list, which I went over when deciding which meal ideas to use during this review. I wanted to see just how much I could do without actually needing to go out and buy a ton of special stuff. I was surprised to discover how many things I was already set to make, with only minimal purchases! The reason for this is (from the Simplified Dinners website) “Simplified Pantry is all about encouraging homestyle cooking with basic ingredients. It is possible to cook good, healthy food without a pantry full of specialized ingredients, and it is possible to make easy dinners without shortcut, pre-prepared products. Simplified Dinners (and the gluten- and dairy-free edition!), enables anyone to transition toward home-prepared, real, whole foods cooking—even those less confident in the kitchen. Simplified Dinners helps keep dinner streamlined while allowing flexibility.”

Mystie also points out on her website how essential menu planning is in helping to promote peace in our home and our mind. However, we rarely think much about all the steps that are involved in menu planning. Also from the website:

“But do you realize how many steps are actually involved in menu planning? Typical menu planning involves multiple dependent steps:

1.Find out what’s on sale or what coupons you have.
2.Find recipes you can cook and want to eat.
3.Figure out what ingredients you need to cook those recipes.
4.Try to mesh the ingredients you need with what’s on sale.
5.Make the grocery list.
6.Shop.
7.Remember what you’re going to make for dinner when, and pull it off.
8.Use the perishables before they go bad.

No wonder we often dread it, forget to do it, or procrastinate.”

That was me, before this review, to be honest.

The e-book Simplified Dinners is SO easy to implement . . . if *I* could do it, anyone can do it, believe me! I make no claims whatsoever to being a “domestic diva”, lol!

Mystie has broken it down into categories:

•Slow-Cooker Roasts
•Slow-Cooker, No-Defrost Chicken Pieces
•Chicken-in-a-Pot
•Skillet Cutlets with Pan Sauces
•Marinades for Grilling or Broiling
•Foil-Packet Fish
•Stovetop Pasta
•Bean Pots
•Fajitas
•Quesadillas
•Taco Bar
•Burritos or Enchiladas
•Taquitos
•Frittata
•Oven Omelette
•Pizza
•Simple Stir-fry
•Potato Hash
•Baked Potato Bar
•Bean Soups
•Stews
•Blended Vegetable Soups
•Quick Soups
•Main Dish Salads
•Vegetable Side Dishes
•Side-Dish Salads
•Starchy Side Dishes

What Mystie has done, rather than create yet another recipe book, is to give a basic method for each of the above mentioned categories, along with anywhere from three to six or more alternative ways to make the same basic dish into something different. For example, Chicken-in-a-Pot gives the basic method for cooking a whole chicken, but then gives us three other ways to do it, called “Sassy”, “A More Interesting Basic”, and “40 Cloves of Garlic”. Each alternative idea switches up some ingredients, while using the basic method.

At the end of the e-book, Mystie even gives us a sample winter menu plan and a blank menu planner.

If you’d like to get a better look at what you’ll be getting, you can download a sample here, but really, I’m telling you that at the price of $12.99, Simplified Dinners is well worth the purchase!

Here are some of the dinners we had during the review period:

Peanut Butter Chicken (in the slow cooker) . . .

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and on the plate!

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Here, we have the Oven Omelette, which was a huge hit at my house!

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Orange Honey Chicken . . .

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Chicken-in-a-Pot (sassy version) . . .

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Now then, as I said above, I am now recovering from surgery on both of my feet, and unable to do a lot of what I usually do. My husband was able to take this method, with ingredients I had made sure to have on hand, and with “The Artist” as his assistant, he made the Flexible Frittata for our supper one night!

Here are the ingredients . . .

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The process . . .

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And the finished product!

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I think they did a great job, don’t you? Just so you know, that was my plate, and I only eat small servings since my bariatric surgery. There was enough for a family of six, with the other five being pretty big eaters, and nobody went hungry! 🙂

Mystie also offers a Simple Gluten Free & Dairy Free Meals edition of her e-book, also at the reasonable price of $12.99. I know a lot of people who need to find ways to feed their family without using gluten or dairy . . . this one is for you!

The third product reviewed by members of the crew was Paperless Home Organization, which is available for only $3.99!

I do intend to give this one a try when I’m feeling more recovered from my surgery, but I am more of a hard-copy schedule and list maker type, to be truthful. I know a lot of people who are really more likely to go paperless if given an easy way to do so, though, so here is the product if that description fits you!

The prices for Mystie’s e-books are very good as they are, but right now, she is offering a discount to my readers of 30% off any or all of the e-books! Just use the code TOS2013, and you will receive this discount. You do need to hurry though, because this code will only work until June 3, 2013!

Click below to find out what my fellow crewmembers thought of Simplified Dinners, Simple Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Meals, and Paperless Home Organization!

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Filed under cooking, family, food, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post