Italy - Food Passport

This week our family "traveled" to Italy on our Food Passport. Italy is filled with many amazing recipes... it was hard to choose just one. We went with Spinach & Mozzarella Gnocchi with Cheesy Garlic Bread (from Blue Apron). The Italian dinner has three types of cheese. The gnocchi is coated in a delicious tomato sauce with garlic, herbs, fresh mozzarella and sprinkled with parmesan. On the side, we enjoyed, oven-toasted garlic bread with a creamy layer of fontina. Doesn't that sound wonderful... it was!!

Along with eating our delicious Italian meal we also took the time to learn about Italy... their food, culture and so much more! Below are a few videos we enjoyed watching:


Here are some interesting facts that we learned about Italy:
  • Population: 61.6 million people live in Italy (2016)
  • Capital: Roma (Rome), which is often called 'Eternal City', with 2.6 mio inhabitants and Italy’s biggest city.
  • Name: Repubblica Italiana (Italian Republic) or simply: Italia, Nickname: 'Bel Paese' which means beautiful country
  • Government: Democracy, Republic
  • Language: Italian as well as German, French and Ladin in some regions in Northern Italy.
  • Literacy: More than 98% can read and write.
  • Religion: mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 90%)
  • Currency: 1 Euro=100 cents, before 2001 Italian Lira
  • History: The country has a long history, as Rome its capital city today was founded in 753BC. After the Roman Empire broke down in 395AD, there were many separate kingdoms and city states. However, Italy became one nation only in 1861 and since then includes the islands of Sicily and Sardegna. It was a kingdom until 1946 after the second World War, where Italy sided with the German Nazis. Italy is founding member of the European Union (EU) and the NATO.
  • Flag: The colors represent these virtues: hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red).

Also, using this song the boys learned to count in Italian:

There are many more things to learn and explore about Italy. It is an amazing place. Hopefully one day we will get to visit there in person! 

Next up..... (India, South Asia) 


A Dog For Michael - Book Review

Book Description:

Adopt a rescue dog and change both your lives! Doug was eight years old when he arrived at a rescue facility, confused and scared. His owner had passed away, and her final wish was for Doug to have another loving family. She had raised and loved him since he was a five-week-old puppy and knew he would make another family as happy as he had made her. When eight-year-old Michael and his family adopted Doug from the shelter, a happy new chapter of his life began! A Dog for Michael is the true story of Doug's adoption and his new life. Anyone who spent time with Doug fell in love with this sweet, funny, and joyful dog. He has traveled throughout the USA with Michael and made friends in every city and town he visited. Many people have been motivated to adopt adult dogs after getting to know him. Shelter dogs are desperate for a home, and adult dogs make wonderful companions. If you can't adopt, consider supporting your local adoption facility, either financially or by volunteering-you will make a difference in the lives of the animals and the generous, committed people who run these organizations. ~from amazon 

My Review:

This is such a sweet story! Sweet little Doug.. I just wanted to squeeze him and bring him home! 

This is a great story to help people realize how much an older dog can bring love and joy into your life. This book has been enjoyed by both my sons (ages 9 and 11). My youngest son has actually read the book 3 times since we received it. 

The book is great quality. Sturdy and hardback with a smooth cover... one of the nicest quality children books I've seen in a while. The pictures in the book are full of color and capture the story completely. 

This is a must read for families out there who love dogs... well, animals of any of kind. It will touch your heart to read this sweet story. 

Harvest - Book Review

Book Description:

A beautifully photographed, gift-worthy guide to growing, harvesting, and utilizing 47 unexpected garden plants to make organic pantry staples, fragrances, floral arrangements, beverages, cocktails, beauty products, bridal gifts, and more.

Every garden--not just vegetable plots--can produce a bountiful harvest! This practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide will help make any garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using unexpected and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit: turn tumeric root into a natural dye and calamintha into lip balm. Make anise hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and turn apricots into a facial mask. Crabapple branches can be used to create stunning floral arrangements, oregano flowers to infuse vinegar, and edible chrysanthemum to liven up a salad. With the remarkable, multi-purpose plants in Harvest, there is always something for gardeners to harvest from one growing season to the next.

My Review:

This is a lovely book.. full of wonderful information. Who knew there were so many things you can do with garden plants... amazing! Not only does this book have 47 projects for you to enjoy... the photographs in the book are beautiful. 

Harvest has helped to spark my imagination... 


Quick Tips For Busy Families - Book Review

Book Description: 

Ingenious Parenting Shortcuts Every Mom and Dad Should Know
Parenting can be hard work, and our lives continue to get busier and busier. Is it possible to lighten the load but still raise great kids?

From his experiences as a dad as well as interacting with countless other parents, Jay Payleitner has gathered scores of secrets worth passing along--simple things veteran moms and dads have learned over the years. Things as simple as passing along truths during TV commercials. Or connecting with your children as you tuck them in at night. Or learning how to laugh over spilt milk.

Some of the ideas are old-school secrets that were passed from one generation to the next; others deal with issues that would have never crossed Grandma and Grandpa's minds. All of them are easy to implement. 

This book is designed for a quick, breezy reading experience, letting parents pick and choose those ideas that will make their lives easier, their kids happier, and their futures even brighter.

My Review:

This is a wonderful book... full of tips and advice that you can take and start using right away! The book is easy to read with pretty short chapters and helpful for any family to use. This book has a great Christian inspiration and I highly recommend it.

Nothing To Prove (Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard) - Book Review

Book Description: 

No More Pretending. No More Performing. No More Fighting to Prove Yourself.

Are you trying your best to measure up—yet you still feel as if you’re losing ground?

You are not alone.

Jennie Allen understands the daily struggle so many of us face with the fear that we are not enough. And she invites us into a different experience, one in which our souls overflow with contentment and joy. In Nothing to Prove she calls us to…

* Find freedom from self-induced pressure by admitting we’re not enough—but Jesus is. 
* Admit our greatest needs and watch them be filled by the only One who can meet them. 
* Make it our goal to know and love Jesus, then watch what He does in and through us.

As you wade into the refreshing truth of the more-than-enough life Jesus offers, you’ll experience the joyous freedom that comes to those who are determined to discover what God can do through a soul completely in love with Him.

Discover the answer to your soul-deep thirst

Too many of us have bought into the lie that our cravings will be satisfied if we are enough and if we have enough. So we chase image, answers, things, and people—and we wonder all the while, Why am I still thirsty?

My single goal with this book is to lead your thirsty soul to the only source of lasting fulfillment: Jesus. He is the living water, a limitless supply that will not only quench your thirst but will fill you and then come pouring out of you into a thirsty world. 

Because of Him, you are loved. You are known. You can take a deep breath.

Because you have nothing to prove.

My Review: 

I love those words... "Because Of Him, you are loved."

This book has changed my life. It has been such a blessing to read and I am happy I was given the chance to review it. My hope is that others will take the time to read these words and feel the love of our Lord all around them.

The world tries to tell us that we are not enough.. we will never be.. we were never meant to be... but God's love shows us who we are and what we are meant to be! To truly know Jesus is enough!

Order this book today.. I feel the Holy Spirit was working through Jennie Allen when the book was written and it will help you in more ways than I can express.

With Love Wherever You Are - Book Review

Book Description:

Everyone knows that war romances never last . . .
After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time.

Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real―and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?

Based on the incredible true love story, With Love, Wherever You Are is an adult novel from beloved children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall.

My Review: 

A beautiful love story... you won't be able to put this book down!

A handsome military man, a beautiful nurse... love at first sight.... simply amazing... 

This story is told through letters they wrote to one another. This is a classic love story of two loving souls.... 

Finding God's Blessings In Brokenness - Book Review

Book Description:

Is it possible to be broken and blessed at the same time?
Life brings so many hardships, from failed marriages to lost jobs, from health crises to broken relationships. How can we stay strong in our faith in spite of these obstacles? Trusted pastor and bestselling author Dr. Charles F. Stanley answers these questions and more in Finding God’s Blessings in Brokenness. “Affliction acts as spiritual fertilizer on a believer’s faith,” he says, and can enrich our hearts and spirit.
Perhaps you’ve already experienced circumstances so shattering that you may wonder if it’s even possible to pick up the pieces. And maybe you can’t. But God can—and the good news is He wants to reassemble the shards of your life into a wholeness that comes only from Him.

My Review:

This book came into my life at the perfect time. I've been struggling through some troubles and sadness... reading these words helped to life me up. This is a small gift book written by Pastor Charles Stanley. I found peace reading the words and looking at the photographs. This is a must read for anyone in need of some encouragement.

Nascar Speedpark

I'm a little behind on writing this post, however, the end of February we were in need of a break. My husband, myself and our two boys (Aidan and Noah) went to Pigeon Forge, TN for a fun day at Nascar Speedpark. If you have never been there before you must visit. There are eight go-cart tracks, mini golf, rock climbing and so much more! Plus, you can buy an all day pass and enjoy the rides over and over again. 

Inside the building is a big arcade. There are so many fun games to play and if it rains you can still enjoy all the fun (plus they offer a raincheck so you can visit again soon).  

Nascar Speedpark is a great place to visit... especially for wild boys like mine, ha! After spending the day there we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Joe's Crab Shack... sooo good!! 

2 more weeks of Homeschool then we are ready for more adventures!