catching up… finally

It’s been a good, long while since I’ve posted anything. Part of that is laziness, part of that is a “dry spell,” and part of it is just being plain busy with “real life.”

I had a mom tell me I needed to start blogging more. That was several months ago, and it has been nagging at the corners of my mind. What do I have to say that would inspire anyone? Maybe nothing.. maybe something. So I do this now for mainly selfish reasons. To keep track of our busy life, the comings and goings, the seasons, and wanting to remember. Some things practical, some not.

So where are we at right now?

Homeschooling? Yes. We are entering our 5th year of homeschooling (Wow.. really?!). Our curriculum isn’t changing as drastically as some years, but our schedule is. More on that later.

Still hosting international students? YES! We are just hosting one at a time right now, and I will write more on this later. Positives and “challenges” to both sides of this coin (singles vs. multiples). Way more positives though. Seriously. We are blessed.

Still menu planning a month at a time? You bet! I tried not to do too much planning this summer since we had a lot of coming and going. I thought that maybe it would be better to just ‘go with the flow.’ Umm. Not doing that next year. Note to self.

Still working from home? Yes. In a nutshell, I do email marketing and website maintenance for a couple businesses. Also building a WordPress site for a local construction company, and a couple other “rebuilds” in the works.

Today’s #onegoodthing: This year, I discovered Daily Audio Bible. I’ll probably bring it up a lot, because it’s played a huge part in my spiritual growth this year. I expect that it will play a big part in the year to come as well.

You are going to find that I am pretty random, but I like a schedule.. how is that for a combination? So while I’ll be blogging about anything and everything, I’ll try to do it regularly.. ha ha!


nw mama’s dinner menu: week 24, 2014

I really love to be in my kitchen, however I am especially looking forward to cooking this week. Just writing this menu is making me hungry. I have not looked up a recipe for gluten free meatballs yet, so I may just be making it up as I go. Feel free to send suggestions!

This is also the week before Father’s Day. For my family, this Sunday’s dinner carries almost the same amount of anticipation as Thanksgiving in that we only partake of it once a year… for the sake of our health <smile>.

NW Mama’s Menu for June 9 – June 15

Read More »

Father’s Day Triple Bypass Recipe

Inspired by this recipe at, the “Triple Bypass” has become a Father’s Day tradition at our home. I’ve tweaked this to our family’s liking, but the recipe on it’s own is quite fabulous.

If you are vegetarian or a heart patient, stop reading now. You will be sick.

If you are a Carnivore with a capital “C,” this will unleash the meat-loving animal inside of you!Read More »


nw mama: embracing culture shock at home

Culture. Shock.

Are you ready for it?

nwmama-lauraI don’t think.. rather, I KNOW I had no clue what I signed up for when my husband and I decided to host international students. I was not ready for the “culture shock” that would affect not only my students coming to the United States from the other side of the world, but how it would impact my own family as well. So far, it has caused my world views to be expanded beyond the borders of this country I live in, to be open to other traditions and practicalities, to realize some things are the same about us no matter our geographical location and patience. Loads of patience.Read More »


nw mama’s meal planning: leftovers & inspiration

What to do with Leftovers (Re-Purposing)

I was once discussing grocery shopping and meal planning with a friend of mine, and when I said the word “leftovers,” she said that her family refuses to eat the dreaded “leftovers.” I know, I feel the same way about them. But I hate wasting food, especially when good, nutritious, fresh foods are often “not cheap.” Honestly, my family doesn’t eat “leftovers” either. We re-purpose what was left over and use it to make something new for the next dinner meal.

A couple examples:

This week we are having chicken and mashed potatoes. Most likely the chicken will get gobbled up the first night, but we’ll have a mound of potatoes left over. That’s okay! The next night we are having breakfast for dinner. Mashed potatoes will become potato puffs via a great recipe I found on Pinterest! If you are planning on enough chicken left over, it can be used for chicken salad wraps or chicken tacos the next night.

Roast beef is also expensive when feeding a large family on a budget, so I like to make it stretch! We might have traditional pot roast with lots of vegetables one night, and the leftovers will be used for stir fry, stew or french dip the next day.

Suggestion: If you are planning on using “leftovers” to make something new the next night, put the amount you need in the refrigerator before serving dinner. If your family is like mine, mark it so that it doesn’t get taken for lunches. This guarantees you will have what you need for the next evening’s meal.

Where to Find Inspiration:

  • Let your family in on the planning! Get suggestions from whoever shares your dinner table. Find out what they would like to see on the menu.
    • Example: One daughter loves pizza, one daughter loves hot dogs, both love chicken (baked, bbq’d, fried). I try to get those things on the menu once each month as a treat for them. My husband loves a good salad, so especially during the summer, we have salad bar a couple times a month.
  • Are you addicted to Pinterest yet? Do you have any favorite recipe websites or magazines? Do you have a board or binder or recipe box full of recipes that made your mouth water? Go look at them before you make your grocery list! I use both Pinterest and a few of my favorite recipe bloggers / websites to put my plan together.

This is the second post in my meal planning series. You can find the first one here: “nw mama’s meal planning: getting started.”