Free Kindle e-books…..3/4/13

open books

Recently (as of 3/1/13) has asked their affiliates (folks that receive a small financial bonus from amazon by associating their accounts with amazon and folks buying through the affiliates referrals to amazon) to please stop listing free kindle e-books.  There are financial repurcussions for those that continue to list them.  I do totally understand amazon’s stand on this, however I know that for me it was a HUGE benefit being able to download so many free e-books each week. While I don’t have a TON of time to donate to this each day, and can’t do it every day, I will do it as often as possible.

You do NOT have to have a Kindle device, you can download a kindle app to your mobile device, or simply read on your computer.

The free offers often don’t last for very long so PLEASE verify that the links are still listed as $0.00 before clicking to buy!

Here are some that I found today….

The American Frugal Housewife 

Letters of a Woman Homesteader

Everyday Foods in Wartime 

The Quest of the Simple Life

Home Vegetable Gardening: a complete and practical guide to the planting and care of all vegetables, fruits and berries worth growing for home use

In His Steps

11:15 The Making of a Halfling

The NIV Gospel of John: with devotional notes 

A Hearth in Candlewood

The Pursuit of God 

A Halflings Rescue 

The Accidental Hero

The Hungry Girl’s The Guilt Free 3

Green Juicing Diet to Detox

Crowd Pleasers: big food for big groups 

Amazing Cakes

Fall Cupcakes

Quick and Easy, Fat-free and Low-Fat Vegan Cookbook

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipe Book: 30 Easy Set it and Forget it Meals



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In my home today….2/24/13



Sunday’s are my absolute favorite day of the week…..I love fellowshipping with my church family and coming home and resting and relaxing with my family.   Well, last night I was feeling a bit dizzy before bedtime (I have dealt with recurring  vertigo for the past 12 years—it comes and goes and some “episodes” are worse than others), so I took my meds because I didn’t want to miss  church this morning.   THis morning I woke up and was even more dizzy than when I went to bed last night.  But it was different than normal….I was fine when I was moving around, it was when I sat down or layed down that the vertigo was the worst.   SO, I said to myself that Satan was not going to keep me from fellowshipping with my church family so I went to church!   Made it through about halfway through the fabulous teaching of our Pastor and had to go for a walk…the dizziness was BAD.   Walked around until I was feeling better went back and sat back down and was instantly dizzy again 😦    We didn’t stay for Sunday School, came home and I took a nap and made lunch.

Took another nap and now the kids are on their way home from winter camp…..I decided this morning that take and bake pizza sounded like a great idea for dinner……camp kids texted me to tell me that they REALLY want tacos!  SO, my honey is going to go to the store when they get home and grab a couple of things that I need  🙂

What I had WANTED to do!

  • clean kitchen
  • make cookies for kids
  • work on laundry


  • rested, rested, and rested some more 
  • worshipped with my church family

Not exactly the day that I had planned, but a good day nonetheless.   I am thankful to have a day of mostly rest each week to spend with my family.



Posted in Family, Home/Daily Life | 2 Comments

My own version of an Everyday Food Magazine recipe

One of my absolute favorite cooking magazines in recent years is Everyday Food from the Martha Stewart line of magazines.   Well, when I got my December issue it had a notice with it saying that that was going to be the last issue of Everyday Food as a stand alone magazine, that from now on the subscribers would be getting Martha Stewart Living magazine, and a few times per year there would be a little Everyday Food insert with the Living magazine.   To say that I was disappointed is an understatement!   I honestly do not like Living (have subscribed in the past and there just isn’t much in it that is beneficial to me to justify spending the money for a subscription).  SO, because I had JUST (2 weeks before that) renewed my subscription for two years I am stuck with a useless (to me) magazine (I will be taking them into one of our Doctor’s offices next time we go in).   Well, this past week I got the issue that had the Everyday Food insert and I couldn’t have been happier!    I went through it and decided to try one of the recipes that very night!   I did have to adjust the recipe a bit to accomodate what  had on hand.   Here is a link to the original recipe……  and here is MY version 🙂



Thai Inspired Coconut Lime Chicken

adapted from an Everyday Food magazine insert recipe

  • zest from 4 limes
  • juice from 2-3 limes (1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice)
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp. raw sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • 6  chicken leg quarters (I cut into legs and thighs)

Serve with:

  • steamed rice
  • shredded carrot (or fine julienne)
  • cilantro leaves
  • chopped peanuts
  • green onions
  • lime wedges

In a non-metalic bowl or deep baking dish mix together first 8 ingredients.   Mix together, add chicken.  toss to coat, cover and put into refrigerator for 4-24 hours (4 hours definitely wasn’t enough… time I will do overnight).   Remove from fridge 30 minutes before putting into oven to bring to closer to room temperature before.   Preheat oven to 450 degrees.   Remove chicken from marinade and place on baking sheet and place in oven.   Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken pieces reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees.   Remove from oven, let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

**I did have some leftovers from this meal so the following day I made chicken and vegetable fried rice for lunch…..YUM!

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In my home today….2/23/13



This weekend our two middle kids are at winter camp….praying that they are drawing nearer to God, and that they are safe and having fun with their friends 🙂   My honey left a little earlier to go to church (35 minutes away) for a meeting, and I am trying to get some things done, as well as relaxing a little bit…..the things that I’ve already gotten done are things I’ve been putting off, so I’m VERY excited to have gotten them done 🙂

Gotten done already:

  • cleaned microwave (SUPER easy….cut up 2-3 whole lemons and put them in a LARGE microwavable glass bowl, fill the bowl halfway with water.   Place in microwave and heat on high for 5 minutes.  You should be able to use the hot lemon water with a clean sponge and wipe down the inside of the microwave.  If you have a lot of splattered foods that are “baked in”,  and they don’t EASILY wipe off, put the bowl of lemon and water back into the microwave and heat for another 4 minutes….wipe down again.)  
  • completed FAFSA (financial aid forms) for our oldest daughter
  • grocery shopping and menu planning and blog updated on those things
  • general household cleaner made (normally I use just citrus peels in my vinegar, but I was blessed with some past prime organic lemons for the purpose of cleaning with, so I cut those up and divided them between my cleaner jars and covered them with vinegar…..those will set for a couple of weeks, and then they will be ready to be strained into my spray bottles and be used for cleaning and sanitizing my kitchen, bathroom, and tile floors
  • put a few things away in the garage

Still to do:

  • nap (as soon as I’m done with this post :))
  • some planting and weeding and watering
  • laundry laundry and more laundry
  • iron

Looking forward to:

  • family time tonight!  


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Menu planning for week of 2/23/13


(I will edit this post on Monday with a link to MPM 🙂 )

This morning I went to my favorite locally owned grocery store.  If we hadn’t been referred to this store, it is not one we probably would have ever gone into….from the outside it looks old and rundown and probably dirty.  Once you get inside you found a family-run full service grocery store that is clean, well maintained and well stocked!   I can get HIGH QUALITY meats, organic produce, locally grown produce, and all kinds of different cuisine items that I normally have to get at Trader Joe’s or Cost Plus WOrld Market.   The best part?  Their prices are AWESOME!   yes, some of the stuff I can get cheaper at Save Mart or at WInco in a nearby city, but for locally this is the best!      So, this morning I went in without a real list….but I had a plan!   I was going to see what meats they had on sale (you walk through the meat department to get to the rest of the store) and build my menu plan from there and get the rest of the ingredients as I walked through the store.   I don’t recommend this normally, but I have a large arsenal of recipe ideas that float through my head and am able to adjust ingredients as necessary if they are out of them or don’t carry or they are too expensive/not on sale.    It worked today because I was alone and didn’t have a lot on my mind 🙂   I didn’t even know what was on sale (I had glanced at the sale ad earlier this week but I didn’t pay that close of attention to it).   So, as I was walking through the meat department, they had (on sale)

  • turkey italian sausage 
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ground pork
  • extra lean ground beef
  • roast

I added some lowfat ricotta cheese to this line up to complete the week’s protein sources.

Here’s what our week’s meals will be using the protein sources above:

Saturday, 2/23/13

  • grilled chicken sandwiches
  • green salad
  • pasta salad

Sunday, 2/24/13

  • roast beef 
  • roasted carrots & potatoes with garlic butter
  • homemade rolls
  • fruit
  • green salad

Monday, 2/25/13

  • asian pork & long beans (they didn’t have any chinese long beans, so I bought fresh green beans…this recipe will use some of the ground pork)
  • steamed brown rice
  • asian veggie stirfry

Tuesday, 2/26/13

  • sausage & broccolini & pasta (they didn’t have broccolini, so I bought regular broccoli)
  • homemade french bread
  • green salad

Wednesday, 2/27/13

  • Creamy cheese & spinach lasagna roll-ups (would have been manicotti but the lasagna noodles were A LOT less expensive) with homemade marinara sauce
  • roasted root veggies

Thursday, 2/28/13

  • chili (made from ground pork, ground beef, lentils and beans)
  • cornbread
  • fruit salad

Friday, 3/1/13

  • homemade bbq chicken and thai chicken pizza (using leftover chicken from Saturday’s grilled chicken sandwiches…leftover chicken went into freezer and will be thawed overnight in fridge)
  • salad
  • dessert

Saturday, 3/2/13

  • bahn mi pork sandwiches (using pork loin chops from freezer from a sale about a month ago)
  • asian cabbage salad
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A new recipe—chicken tortilla soup



This past week one of my friends mentioned on facebook that she had made some chicken tortilla soup and had put cactus paddles (also known as nopales or nopalitos) into it.   I had never made chicken tortilla soup (have eaten it a number of times and LOVED it, but had never made it before).   I asked my friend for a recipe….she cooks like I do….just tossing this and that into a pot… I started looking at recipes online.   A trip to our local hispanic market on Saturday morning combined with the ideas that I had gotten from all of the different recipes that I had looked at, and I had a firm idea of what it was that I wanted to do.   SO, as inspired by my dear friend Angela, here is my original recipe for chicken tortilla soup.

Now, before I share the recipe, I wanted to share how I made the chicken broth and got the chicken cooked.   I bought 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts at the hispanic market, liberally salted and peppered them, put them in my large (I believe it is 8 quart) stock pot and added an onion that I had washed, but not peeled, cut into quarters, a jalapeno pepper that I cut in half, half of a bunch of cilantro, and 4 large cloves of garlic.  I filled the pot with water and put it on the stovetop to cook.  Brought it all to a boil, and turned it down and let it simmer for about an hour.  Removed the chicken breasts, pulled the skin and bones off of them and put the skin and bones back in the pot and let it simmer longer (2 1/2 hours total….I adjusted the seasoning after removing the chicken from the bones and added more salt and pepper to have a nice flavorful broth).  I shredded the chicken and set it aside in the refrigerator until I was ready to assemble the soup. (The 4 chicken breasts and all of the broth was enough to make 2 pots of soup….one we ate for dinner over the weekend, the 2nd I made and a couple of us had it for lunch yesterday and the rest of it went into the freezer for another lunch).

Here’s the recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 6

an original recipe by Lori4squaremom, as inspired by Angela 🙂

  • 2 chicken breasts, shredded (approx 3 cups of shredded chicken breast meat)
  • 1 cup diced red, yellow, green peppers (I used a mixture to equal 1 cup)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced cactus paddle (nopales), you can rinse it to remove some of the sliminess if you’d like….the way I cook it, it does cook out)
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (or finely ground cornmeal) dissolved in 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked dry black beans)
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked dry pinto beans)
  • 1 can ro-tel original diced tomatoes with chilis
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • approx 2 quarts chicken broth (or enough to fill soup pot)


  • baked tortilla strips (or tortilla chips)
  • grated cheese
  • salsa
  • diced avocado
  • lime wedges
  • cilantro leaves

To make soup:

In soup pot, heat oil, add onions, peppers and cactus.  Cook until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.  Add chili powder and cumin and cook for just a moment until you can faintly smell the spices, add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.   Add masa harina slurry and cook for another 2 minutes.   This will create a thick paste.  Slowly add 1/2 of the chicken stock, stirring in after every cup or two added.   Add Ro-tel tomatoes, canned beans and chicken.   Stir in enough broth to fill soup pot, or to cover meat and veggie and bean mixture by a couple of inches.   Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a few times.  At end of 30 minutes, turn heat off and let soup sit for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Pour into bowls, top with tortilla strips (chips), grated cheese, salsa, avocado and cilantro leaves.  Serve with lime wedge.


This soup does freeze very well!

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Menu planning week of 1/21/13



This week I am doing my menu plan Monday on Tuesday 🙂   At least I’m DOING it though 🙂    If you would like to see other menus or participate in Menu Plan Monday, please click on the graphic above and check out Laura’s blog at Organizing Junkie.

Here’s my menu…..

Menu planning week of 1/21/13










Yogurt & granola & fruit parfaits











Monday, 1/21/13

  • Oven roasted chicken leg quarters (marinated in a southwestern spice blend)
  • Cilantro rice
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Green salad with homemade salad dressings


Tuesday, 1/22/13

  • Beef bourginon
  • Popovers
  • Green salad


Wednesday, 1/23/13

  • Bbq turkey legs
  • Baked beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Fruit salad


Thursday, 1/24/13

  • Teriyaki grilled chicken thighs
  • Stir fry veggies
  • Steamed brown rice
  • Chinese slaw




Friday, 1/25/13

  • Stromboli
  • Pasta salad
  • Dessert


Saturday, 1/26/13

  • Hot dogs
  • Chips
  • Cupcakes
  • Apples with caramel dip ?


Sunday, 1/27/13 (our 23rd Anniversary)

  • Lamb chops
  • Whipped potatoes
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Green salad
  • Molton chocolate cakes with ice cream



Posted in Family, Home/Daily Life, Kitchen | 1 Comment

Changes 2013

I thought that 2012 was the year of change for our family…..we moved, we lost one of our beloved furry family members, we added a new furry family member, we sent our oldest daughter off to college, we brought our oldest daughter back home from college due to health problems.  Well, it appears that our 2013 is going to be another year of change and firsts….

Just a few days before the New Year we added another new furry family member…..please meet Benji (she is the white fluff ball on the right)



We adopted Benji from the same friend that we adopted Stella from…..she has been involved with pet rescue for a number of years, and in October of 2011, shortly after she re-homed Stella with us, she found Benji on the highway in a city near her.  Benji didn’t have any tags or anything, and they went from home to home trying to find an owner, and couldn’t find anyone that knew Benji.   She took her home, cleaned her up, cut her hair, and got her to a place where she is a total love bug.   Benji was still a pup (right around a year old, maybe younger than a year old) when Sandra found her.  Benji lived with my friend and her family for 14 months and has mostly outgrown her annoying puppy habits, but she is still very playful and active and fun.   When Sally (our beloved schnauzer) died in August, we told our youngest that we would adopt another dog sometime “next summer” and that she would be able to pick the new dog out.  Our girl REALLY wanted a little dog.  She really wanted a shih tzu, or something similar.   We told her that when it was time, we’d start checking out the shelters and rescue places around us.   Just before Christmas I mentioned to my friend that we were planning to add another fluff ball to the family this summer, and that our girl really wanted a shih tzu or something similar.   She asked if we would consider taking Benji.   We talked about it as a family, and unanimously agreed that Benji was the dog for us!   The cool thing about Benji is that she is a shih tzu/poodle mix.   We had all told our girl many times since August that we didn’t know if she’d get a shih tzu or not…..God provided for our girl’s heart’s desire 🙂   Isn’t He Good?   🙂

Benji is such a great addition to our family!   It took a few days, but she and Kennedy became fast friends, and they wrestle, and play tug of war and have so much fun together.   Stella was a bit slower to warm up to Benji, but in the past week and half or so has started wanting to play with Benji, and it isn’t just her normal “playing chase”, she is wrestling A TINY BIT with Benji.   And in the past couple of days she has started giving Benji kisses.     We are one big happy family now 🙂

Another big change for this year (that I won’t go into as much detail about) is that our oldest daughter is back home attending one of the community colleges in our area.   She had a major health crisis in early November, and had to make the very hard decision to come home and focus on her health (she was diagnosed a year ago with an auto-immune inflammatory disease that is similar to lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and has really struggled with getting to a place of stability with that for many many months, and then in November she had a semi-related health crisis that is what caused her to come home….she just wasn’t getting better at school).  It is awesome having her home again, and being able to help her when she needs help.   But my heart breaks for her that she had to change her plans so suddenly.   She is relying on God, and waiting on Him for her future and His plans for it.


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Today in my home….1/22/13

(I want to get a cute graphic to use for this daily post, just need to find something that is appropriate)…..I am wanting to go back to my blogging roots a little bit.  This is something that I used to share several times per week, I would share what was going on in our home each day.  It is fun going back and reading those things…..

I know that it is the end of the day, but today started out much like my Sunday….I woke up not feeling well.   I had a low grade fever (99ish), sore throat and massive headache.   I had to cancel my babysitting job so that I didn’t spread my germs to the precious little girl that I babysit each morning.  By noon or so I was feeling much better, and as the day went on I felt better.   I did get a little nap this afternoon until the dogs started barking at our next door neighbor dogs.  I am skipping my bible study tonight to rest and to not spread any potential germs.

This morning I intended to rest and recuperate, and hoped to get some baking done.   Well, I did plenty of resting but I didn’t get much done in the house or kitchen.  I had planned to have the kids clean the house, but they were all busy studying today.   SO, it was a quiet day here.

Tonight I’m snuggled up on the couch with my little dog, and my honey, and my computer and my blankie, and we are watchng hockey and I’m blogging.   Our two middle kiddos had bible study groups to go to in a neighboring city, and our oldest was feeling good, and wanting a change of scenery to get her schoolwork done in, so she drove them.  She is currently sitting in our youth pastor’s office studying, then she’s going to head to Starbucks to get something yummy to drink for the drive home, and I’m sure a few more hours of studying.   Our youngest is here with Mom & Dad watching hockey 🙂

Praying that you all had a blessed day!   May the Lord richly bless your evenings, and your day tomorrow!

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A Moment in God’s Word today…..12/3/12



This morning was another morning where I just wasn’t sure that God COULD speak to my heart through His word.  I woke up after a full night’s sleep feeling very fatigued and still exhausted, not renewed and refreshed at all.  Woke up with a little bit of an attitude, and like the spoiled child that I am, I begrudgingly got my coffee and my phone (while I prefer my paper and ink bible, I do use my phone and the Bible apps as well as a devotional app from Our Daily Bread for my morning devotions) and sat on the couch to spend time with God. It hasn’t been a time without it’s distractions, but God got my attention with the very first devotional that I read this morning!   THANK YOU LORD for YOUR faithfulness!  If it were all up to me, I’d just sit on the couch with my computer and facebook or recipe sites.

This morning’s BLESSING from God came from today’s Our Daily Bread devotional (if you have the printed guide check it out, or look it up online…’s is EXCELLENT!)

Ephesians 2:1-2 (NKJV) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.

The specific portion that struck me was in verse two where God writes “in which you once walked according to the course of this world”.  The ODB devotional explains that is pointing to your own day’s moral compass.  Our hearts, even as Christians, can be so swayed by our current moral culture to where we accept that which is unacceptable, or even worse, I think, is to be blind to sin in our own lives because it is normal in society.   Society/the world/our culture is ruled by Satan.  This world is ruled by Satan (God does allow this), and when we commit our lives to Christ we are to turn away from the ways of this world.   I have found, personally, over the past few years that I need to stick very close to God’s word.   I can’t even completely trust what pastors, bible study leaders (I’m specifically speaking of ministries that put out Bible studies, not any people that I have had in my own life as a Bible study leader…..but this is only specific to ME, not everyone), Christian non-fiction books (about the Bible or culture or living life as a believer in today’s cultures, etc), etc.   I learned a very hard lesson, a very painful lesson a few years back that God gave us HIS WORD… was meant to be a stand alone document, He didn’t send it with historians, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.   Not that those can’t be useful, but if we are distorting God’s word according to those guides, then they have just become more important than the Bible.

Yikes, I really digressed there!   Ok, back to my point, I have found that I need to stick very close to God’s word in living life as a Christian in today’s age.   Society’s moral compass has gone so far askew from God’s word, and it has happened so gradually and slowly, that we as Christians have come to a point where sin is acceptable because we don’t see sin as sin.   If everyone else, including our Christian friends, is doing it or accepting it, then it must be ok, right? NO!  God’s Word is plain and clear in what sin is, and we all sin.  My daily prayer for a number of years has been for the Holy Spirit to point me to the places of sin in my life so that I can repent and turn away from those sins.  In a few different instances, I have argued with God about whether something that I thought was OK was really a sin or not…..I went to God’s word to prove the Holy Spirit wrong (HAHAHAHAHA…..I bet God was laughing about that, like I do when my kiddos are so stubborn about something) and found that the things that I really thought were ok were sin.

Brothers and sister in Christ, stick close to God’s word!  And do not be conformed to this world.   The ruler of this world is the prince of lies, and he gets no better pleasure than to trip up God’s followers!

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