Monday, December 10, 2018

A Review of Simple Joys by Candace Payne

Finding joy in the trying and messy times of life can be hard.  When you are in the middle of chaos, it seems the last thing we look for is the joy.  But life doesn't have to be like this, does it?  That is why I wanted to read Simple Joys: Discovering Wonder in the Everyday by Candace Payne when I got the chance to read it recently.  In this book, Candace shares personal stories that are important to her and how she personally found joy in them.  She also shares how she takes the joy she gets from these stories and applies it to her everyday life.  She tells how she finds joy not only in the good times but also in some of the hardest times of her life.

Finding joy in the everyday can be hard, but with simple tips from Candace Payne in her book Simple Joys, you can find joy in the mundane.  Check out A Glimpse of Normal for my review of this book.
I received a 150 page, hardcover book to review.  It is divided into eight chapters and also includes a preface, epilogue, acknowledgments, and about the author page.  Each chapter includes a Bible verse page, a reading selection, a question for digging deeper with journaling pages that you can write out your answers on.  There is also a section in the back of the book for notes if you want to use it.  Throughout the book, you will find extra Bible verses and key thoughts.  Candace gives simple tips throughout the book of ways that you can start looking for joy in your everyday life.  I thought the book was laid out well, it has beautiful images, and it was encouraging to read.

I read this Christian non-fiction book by Candace Payne, who you may know better as "Chewbacca Mom," as part of my daily devotions in just over a week.  The stories that Candace tells are heartfelt and relatable.  I found them encouraging and inspiring.  Reading this book, I realized that joy doesn't always look like a happy, smiling face, but it sometimes looks like savoring the moments and cherishing those around you.  I also realized that you might not even see the joy at the moment you are in, but you will see it when you reflect on that moment and look for what went right.  If I want to find more joy, I have to look for it and be aware of it.  I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking to find the Simple Joy in your everyday life.  It is available to purchase here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Our Barn Home: A New Wall

It has been a while since I have posted an update on our barn.  We have been busy lately and doing little things around the barn, but not so many big projects.  My hubby reminded me that even the little projects are part of the story of our barn and worth documenting. 
It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal
Today's update is a bigger project.  It is one that has been rolling around in CJ's head for a little bit now.  He knew that I had really considered putting in a pallet wall at our old house, but then we found the barn and decided to move so it didn't happen.  That idea stuck in his head and I didn't really think much more about it.  There is a lot of wood in our barn which I ABSOLUTELY love so I wasn't really sure if a pallet wall would fit in anywhere in the barn.  CJ picked our back living room wall and decided that it would be a great place for a pallet wall.  Initially, I was a little concerned because I thought it might be too trendy or not look natural in the barn.  I was flat out wrong and I will be the first to tell you this.  CJ took on this project and ran with it.  Although he doesn't want me to tell you it was him and he would like me to tell you that it was Mae, yes the rescue dog, Mae, check the evidence.
It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal
CJ tore apart pallets, matched up board sizes, and prepped them for going on the wall.  Then he got started.  The only assistance he got from me was picking which side of the board should face out on some of the boards.  The only assistance he got from Dad was the very top row because not much is square in this old barn anymore and the very bottom row since it had to meet up to the floor.  Other than that, this project was all CJ and I couldn't be more proud of him for putting his vision into action.  Boys need to do this kind of thing.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the finished wall turned out.  I could tell with just a few boards up that the wall would look natural.  Once it was all done, it looks like the wall was always a pallet wall.  It looks like what I picture the inside of the barn looked like before it became a house.
It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal

It's been a while since I have posted an update on our barn home.  Today I am sharing the pallet wall that my son built for me.  It makes our rustic barn look even more rustic.  A pallet wall is a quick, DIY project that almost anyone can do. A Glimpse of Normal
What do you think?  Do you love it as much as I do?  I will be back soon with some more changes we have made in the barn.  Until then, stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Crochet Work

I have been meaning to update my Chain Stitch and Repeat page with some more stitch tutorials and some crochet projects but I have been busy working up crochet orders.  I was very blessed to get my first crochet order early this year.  Taking orders was only something I dreamed of because like all makers you wonder if your skills are good enough.  But I had a friend contact me for a project and it was something I could create for her and I had a lot of fun doing it.  Later on, she contacted me about a few more projects and then I had a few other people contact me as well.  So I have been busily working on projects behind the scenes.  Today I thought I would share them with you.
This was my first crochet order, a set of super cute teacups.  They were fun to work on.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
These teacups were my first order.  I got the pattern from Amigurumi Today.  It was easy to follow and fun to give each teacup a personality.
This crochet order was a lot of fun to work on.  This cute elephant lovey will make a great gift.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
This elephant lovey is so cute and soft.  I got the pattern from Tikva Patterns on Etsy.  I am currently working on a boy elephant lovey.  They are adorable.
This super fun, custom pillow was quick to work up.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
This unicorn pillow was super fun to make.  You can customize the colors which makes it super cute.  This pattern is from Yali's & Yabo's on Etsy. 
This super fun, custom pillow was quick to work up.  See more at A Glimpse of Normal.
My second order for a unicorn pillow wanted a brighter green and darker purple.  It turned out just as cute as the first one.  This pattern is from Yali's & Yabo's on Etsy. 

If you would like to contact me about creating something for you, feel free to message me, email me, or put a comment here.  I will get back to you about it and we can work out the details.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December 2018 Menu Plan

I seriously can not believe it is December already.  I knew that November would fly by, but it feels like I closed my eyes for a second and December is here.  If I could slow down time for a minute, I think I would.  December is another fun, but busy month for us.  We have gatherings, a Christmas play, family baking day, and other things going on so I am glad we have a menu plan to help keep us on track.  It comes in very handy when we are on the go during the day and need to get dinner going.  I check my menu plan and pull out what we need.  Here is what is for dinner at our house this month:
December is a busy month.  Don't get caught without a menu plan for dinner!  If you are looking for a practical menu plan, check out my December 2018 Menu Plan.
  1. Sheet Pan Steak and Fries
  2. Beef & Sweet Potato Chowder
  3. Meatloaf
  4. Egg Roll Soup
  5. Copycat Sonic Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burritos
  6. 3 Ingredient Baked Ravioli
  7. Italian Sausage Stromboli
  8. The Best Burger
  9. Stir Fry with Veggies
  10. Corned Beef & Cabbage
  11. Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
  12. Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti
  13. Quesaitos
  14. Texas Toast Garlic Bread Pizza
  15. Bacon Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes
  16. Chicken and Kale Linguine
  17. Hobo Foil Dinners
  18. Italian Meatball Soup
  19. Cheesy Garlic Sausage & Bacon Carbonara
  20. Fake Out Chipotle Burrito Bowls
  21. Pizza Bread
  22. Chipotle Lime Flank Steak Street Tacos
  23. Antipasto Squares
  24. French Dip Sliders
  25. BBQ Smoked Ribs
  26. Trisha Yearwood's Cowboy Lasagna
  27. Steak & Steakhouse Potato Gratin
  28. BBQ Chicken Pizza
  29. Black Bean Tostadas with Cilantro Sauce
  30. Copycat Wendy's Chili
  31. Philly Cheesesteak Cheesy Bread
As always you can find recipes for these meals on my December Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  There are lots of other meals on this board too so that you can swap out meals that your family won't eat.  Once I add a meal to this Pinterest board, I leave it on there for ideas and swap meals.  I hope my menu plans help you out.  What is for dinner this month at your house?

I updated my FREE printable menu planner so that you can print it and fill it in with your meals.  since I am giving you the whole month at once this month, you will need to print off extra copies so you have enough planning space for the whole month.  Let me know if you use it and like it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Our 2018 Blue Ribbon Award Picks

2018 was a great year on the Homeschool Review Crew!  We got the chance to work with many great vendors and products.  Since the Crew year is wrapping up that means we got the chance to vote for our favorite products of the year.  This year we worked on over 45 reviews which means we got to try out a lot of different products.  Our family was happy to get a chance to review for some of our favorite vendors again.  While I wish I could tell you that it is an easy process to vote for our very favorites, I have to be honest and tell you that it is actually really hard.  It is fun to go back and remember each vendor, but hard to narrow our vote down to just one.  That is what we are required to do so that is what we did and here is how our family voted:
2018 has been a great year on the Homeschool Review Crew.  The end of a year means it is time to vote for our favorite review products.  Come and check out which homeschool companies received our families votes for the best products we used this year.
Favorite Reading Curriculum: Home School Navigator
Favorite Writing Curriculum: Home School Navigator
Favorite Grammar Program: GrammarPlanet
Favorite Penmanship Program: Cursive Logic
Favorite Literature Curriculum/Resource: YWAM
Favorite History/Social Studies Curriculum: Drive Thru History Adventures
Favorite History/Social Studies Supplement: Home School in the Woods: A La Carte
Favorite Science Curriculum/Supplement: Apologia: Human Anatomy and Physiology
Favorite Math Curriculum/Supplement: Whizz Education
Favorite Fine Arts Program/Supplement: Memoria Press: Spelling, Music, Latin
Favorite Elective Curriculum: Code for Teens
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Teach Sunday School
Favorite Christian Education Supplement: YWAM
Favorite Elementary Product: Whizz Education
Favorite High School Product: Drive Thru History Adventures
Favorite Parent Product: Lisa Tanner Writing
Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: Lisa Tanner Writing
Best Online Resource: Bytes of Learning
Best e-product: Home School in the Woods: A La Carte
Favorite Book: Great Waters Press
Favorite Audiobook or Audio Drama: Heirloom Audio: Wulf the Saxon
Kids' Choice (ages 0-12): Carole P. Roman
Teens' Choice: Drive Thru History Adventures
Crew Favorite: Math Essentials

That is it!  This is how we voted in the Blue Ribbon Awards this year.  There were some categories we didn't vote in because we didn't review a product in that category.  I want to thank each and every vendor that we got a chance to work with this year for making great homeschool products.  There are so many that we worked with that we also really enjoyed, but we couldn't vote for every single vendor and product.

You can find out what vendors and products won the Blue Ribbon Awards for 2018 from the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking on the picture below.  This is where you can also read how my friends on the Crew voted by checking out their posts.  Also if you have ever thought about reviewing homeschool products, the Homeschool Review Crew is still taking applications for next year, so go and fill it out today.
Our Favourite Products Reviewed for 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2018 Christmas Ornaments

Every year we get our kids a new Christmas ornament that represents the year for them.
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
It is a tradition that we started back when CJ was a baby and have continued.  Someday when they move out, they will take their ornaments with them which makes me sad, but each year we love reminiscing all the past year's ornaments and they look forward to their new ornament.  Our Christmas tree went up on Sunday and that meant it was time for the kids to receive this year's ornament. 

CJ got a "Proud to be a Redneck" ornament.  He loves all things country, outdoors, camo, fishing, country music, cowboy boots, and Dukes of Hazzard.  So this ornament just fit for him this year.  We love that he is such a country boy and loves all things outdoors.
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
Missy got a gymnast on the balance beam ornament.  This is her this year.  It is her 2nd year of gymnastics, but just her first year at a gymnastics gym.  She is doing great and spends most of her days practicing cartwheels, handstands, and round-offs.  She can't wait to move up to the next class at gymnastics. 
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
Here are some other pictures of our tree now that it is all decorated.
2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal

2018 Christmas Ornaments, A Glimpse of Normal
I have not finished all the decorations in our house yet, but I hope to get them finished this week.  Then I will post pictures of them.  Is your Christmas tree up yet?  Do you have any special ornaments?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!!!

This year we are thankful for a warm home, family, friends, and a God that loves us unconditionally.  As we gather today we pray for many blessings for you all.  May you have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember all God has blessed you with.
A Glimpse of Normal, Happy Thanksgiving
Love,
The Holdeman's