Friday, June 24, 2016


I know this is a "homeschooling blog", but homeschooling moms need to make dinner, and I am convinced this recipe will add some loveliness to your evening.

I am not even joking, this recipe is a MUST-HAVE in your regular routine. My husband actually found this recipe last summer when I was speaking at Practicum. When I got home and tasted his concoction I was floored. I don't think I've cooked many dishes this good, and if I ever open a restaurant (which is less likely than me becoming a model), this would make the cut. Take a look, then come back and read my alterations, because there are many.

First off, I just use ground beef. I cook one pound, then set it aside in a bowl.

I don't use shallots. Not for any particular reason, I just never seem to remember to buy any. I usually chop up half of a white onion.

Half the time, I forget to buy mushrooms! The recipe works fine without them, you just cook the onion (or shallots if you remember) and then hop straight to adding the broth. This time, I had a small package of white mushrooms hanging out in the fridge, so I just chopped them up and it still turned out stupendous.

Sometimes I don't have a can of beef broth, so I just make two cups of broth using the cubed bullion and water from my insta-hot and try to pour in about 14oz.

I never have cognac in my cupboard, in fact, I have never had cognac in my cupboard. I have no idea what it tastes like, though I have probably had it in one of those delicious fancy drinks I love to get on date nights. I just use red wine, because I almost always have a bottle in the wings or currently opened (then I usually poor myself a glass to drink off until dinner time). I like 13 Hands' Cabernet Sauvignon - so divine!

I have never even tasted creme fraƮche, but my French-grown husband says it is amazing. I've used either half n half (though less of it), heavy whipping cream, or last night I used sour cream with a couple teaspoons of sugar on top.

Now that I have confessed how I don't actually follow over half the recipe, I will also confess that I have never eaten or served this recipe over noodles. Mark made it with mashed potatoes the first time and it was so amazing that I have just stuck with it. I don't regret it one bit!

I also do not follow a recipe for said mashed potatoes. I just peel four to six potatoes, slice them into sixths, boil starting with cold, salted water, and let them stay at boiling for about 15-17 minutes. Once strained, I add potatoes, about five Tbsp of butter, maybe 1/3 milk or half n half, a bunch of salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder into a bowl, then voila! Beat, serve, die from deliciousness.

Usually, I make roasted brussel sprouts with bacon for this meal, but it is super difficult to get the timing down for all the components. Broccoli was easier and everyone still enjoyed it. Every time I make this, I eat until I cannot eat another single bite. It's a little bit of work (especially if you do mashed potatoes instead of noodles) but it is worth the effort.

Let me know if you try it! I know I never regret making a mess of my kitchen with this meal. Bonus: the kids love it too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Hiatus, Sort Of.

Hello there! Been a while, right?

We've had a few interesting weeks around here. I will update you on all the news and let you know how the summer will look for my blog.

I have had a rough couple of weeks in my own mind. I hate to even say "I struggle with depression" because what happens in my mind is not what I imagined depression to be like, but I'm starting to see that I do struggle with some sort of depression. It isn't completely debilitating, but I get sad, and a little too into my own head, making it hard to function sometimes. I over-think, I feel tired and exhausted, frustrated at things in my life and things not pertaining to my life, then I get mad about my thoughts feeling so heavy and crippling. It's a weird cycle, and it's really hard to break.

I'm not on any medication, and I don't know if I will ever be. Whenever I feel myself spiraling I start thinking about the question of finding help medically. Is it bad? Not necessarily. Do I need it? Again, not necessarily. Would it be helpful? Maybe. So when do I decide to take action? How bad do I need to feel in order to seek out help? Is there honor in struggling through when there is no real danger? How much does my family need to see me struggle and fight to find joy in the life God has given me? Or would they benefit from just having me be more "happy" on a regular basis? Then I keep asking myself these questions over and over again.

I've always been a bit melancholic, so all the questioning and deep thinking has been the norm for me since I can remember. I hope by writing about this struggle, you can see an example of what depression might look like, that you might give me grace when my writing gets a little "heady" or pessimistic, and that you would pray for me when you my words are few and sparse.

Another reason I have been a little absent the last few weeks is that we have decided to sell our house!

Last summer, we put the house on the market for 30 days thinking if it sold we would move, but if not, we'd stick around for another year. It didn't sell, so we stuck around. Early this April my husband and I said we'd still stick around for another year, and possibly buy-out my in-laws if they were ready to get out of the city. After a month of praying and talking together, we decided we weren't ready to take on such a big financial burden to stay in a place we don't love, and Mark's parents are pretty well done with city life too. So here we go, listing the house and waiting for it to sell.

We had open houses this past weekend, and I'm really hopeful this hot market will give us a quick, painless sale. The last three weeks I've been packing and cleaning like a mad-woman. It's so good we finished our schoolwork early, and that I am not speaking at practicum this summer. I will still be attending practicum for CC next week, as I'll be a tutor in Milwaukie again next year, so June is kind of a crazy month.

I am doing something super awesome in July though, and I am SO excited! I am going to a Speaking/Writing conference called SheSpeaks where I will be getting my heart, soul, and mind filled with all sorts of wisdom, advice and practical help with fulfilling my dream of writing and speaking. It's in North Carolina, and since my husband is amazing (and since it was only $100 difference) I'm flying over to Boston for a few days afterwards to visit my big sister! I've never seen the Atlantic Ocean before, or really any of the states or historic sites on the East Coast, so to say I'm really looking forward to it is a giant understatement.

I hope to write and tell you all about SheSpeaks and my trip to Boston both during my time there and shortly after, but no promises on that timeline ;) I might be packing and viewing houses like a crazy person. But I do hope to spend a good chunk of time this summer plotting and planning some more for this blog. I'd love your input too! Do you want me to talk more directly about homeschooling? Or do you prefer more general topics about life, parenting and learning overall? Any certain subjects you want to see my brain tackle? I have a bunch of my own ideas, but I really want to be able to share and write about topics that interest you!

So there you have it. That's my life right now. If you want to see pictures and other updates, follow me on instagram @jojococamo

Hope you are having a fabulous summer!