Super Easy Crock Pot Roast for the Life-is-Kicking-My-Tail Days!

Super Easy Crock Pot Roast!!! I promise it will fall apart. No knives required.

In the great tradition of helping out new mothers, our friends Chris and Corinne brought over this roast, just after we had Joshua. I remember this day like the back of my hand. Corinne was 39 weeks pregnant herself, and she looked exhausted. We asked them to stay with us and enjoy the roast too, and I so enjoyed their visit. I have loved every single one of their visits. They are such an outstanding couple! We always laughed so much with them.

salt of the earth….photo lifted right off of Facebook….which did not even exist when Corinne gave me this recipe. HA! That’s right. It’s been 9 years, and they still look exactly as I remember them.

The roast was delicious, and Alan and I just went on and on about it. Corinne said, “It’s really so easy. It’s just a pork roast, and I added like a bottle of ketchup and a can of cream of mushroom soup.”

“That’s it!” we said in surprised glee. Oh yeah! High five.


Yes, I know, my roast photo has added veggies. That’s because Alan cooked that day. Yes, sometimes I let him cook. I DO have a kitchen control freak problem, but I also have more work than I can handle, thanks to home schooling, so Alan cooks sometimes. When we have yummy veggies on hand, we throw them in too. Yay, Alan!!!

So for those of you that didn’t actually read the story, here is the recipe in instruction form:


Roast (Pork or beef–whatever)


Cream of Mushroom Soup  (2 cans for a BIG roast)

About a bottle of ketchup, or until you just get tired of squeezin’ ketchup. I really use more like 8 ounces, if I actually measured it.

Optional: Onions, Carrots, Potatoes, peppers, or whatever veggies you like with a roast or happen to have in your kitchen.

Directions: I have this compulsion to salt and pepper all meat before I do anything else, so if you’re like me, go for it.

1. Dump roast in crock pot. Frozen? NO biggie. Dump it in. Cook it longer.

2. Turn cooker to low if the meat is thawed, high if it’s frozen.

3. salt pepper, and add all ingredients—If You are leaving it for too long, you may want to hold carrots until the last 3 hours.

4. Pop the lid on. Don’t peek. Don’t stir. That sets you back an hour in cook time.

5. Let it cook. Times depend on how big your roast is.

How long should I cook a roast?

This is not an exact thing. DON’T take your roast and chop it all up before cooking it. That will just get you an over cooked, dry roast. Bleh.

Small roast (as in a pound or two): 5 hours is good.

Big roast :7 or so.

For frozen roasts, try the high setting, at least for a few hours of that time. By the way, I have cooked a thawed roast in as few as 3 hours, but then it didn’t fall apart as nicely as one cooked 5 or 6.


Great News: No matter how bad you feel like life is kicking your tail, when you managed to get something in the crock pot in the morning, come supper time, YOU ARE the champion.  


Click and done. Thanks!

Joshua set us straight about Thor!

Hard at work, sword ready!

Hard at work, sword ready!

Alan was at the NEX the other day, and they were giving away free Captain America and Thor comic books. Naturally, Alan picked them up. We put them in the treasure box (incentives for children to behave and perform their best).

It didn’t take long for Joshua to spot them. He was pumped. “Thanks, Mom! I’m excited about those Captain America comic books!!!”

This morning, as Alan was cooking Joshua’s eggs, Joshua said, “Dad, why did you buy that Thor comic book? Thor goes against God. There’s only one true God, not Thor. I’ll read the Captain America one. He’s good, but I just don’t think I should read the Thor one.”


Sure, Joshua, we’ll get rid of it. We just didn’t think of that. We just thought of it as a harmless fairy tale, and that’s fine. However, when a person’s conscience is pricked about something, that should ALWAYS be respected and followed to the letter.

I love home schooling Joshua. Yes, at the beginning of the year, the battle lines were drawn. I had to work hard to get the respect that he had always freely given to his teachers in public school. It was reassuring to hear other home school moms tell me that’s normal–par for the course!

It didn’t take long before he was the easiest one to teach. At nine years old, he can do almost all of his work independently and help all of his brothers as well. I love this boy’s heart, and I am just so tickled pink to be his mom!

Goodbye, Thor.


Thanks for making us #52!



Dan's first t-ball game

Dan’s first t-ball game

Doesn’t Dan remind you of a little Peanuts character, with his big cap and long shirt on? I just got such a kick out of it, and Daniel had so much fun.

I think 4-6 year olds playing t-ball is ADORABLE. Dan had his first game last weekend. Alan stood at 1st base when it was our team’s turn at bat, and I wish you could have seen Daniel give Alan about 10 rapid high-fives as he excitedly ran to 1st base.

Yes, Daniel is small and has a lot to learn about this sport, but I love how much he’s enjoying learning. Our first two boys did not enjoy tee-ball much.

Here are pictures from the first two boys’ first year of tee-ball:

Joshua's first year of tee-ball

Joshua’s first year of tee-ball

Joshua was five years old. We lived inside Washington, DC. The air quality was so bad that year, they actually issued warnings about it.  Joshua never wanted to go to his practices, we probably didn’t praise his efforts enough, and as he got older that didn’t change, so he is done with baseball now.

The one year that they both played tee-ball.

the one year that they both played tee-ball

Caleb played tee-ball only one year. Caleb is the HUMONGOUS kid (Seriously, he was four in that picture, and Joshua was 6.) that a coach sees walking up the first day and thinks, “Yeah! Strong kid on my team!” Ha! While Caleb is strong, his heart wasn’t in it. He decided tee-ball was hot and boring, finished out that year, and switched to soccer.

Four-year-old Caleb

Four-year-old Caleb

I saved those cleats. Daniel should be able to wear them in a few years. Those are size 2 cleats!! Daniel wears an 11 1/2! The difference just amazes me.

Caleb's favorite sport

Caleb’s favorite sport

He never really acted that crazy about soccer either, but he says that’s his sport. He’s actually really great at basketball, but he refused to sign up for it too.

If we’ve learned anything from our 4 years in the world of being sports parents, it’s to go with the flow. 

The best way you can get a kid to like a sport:

Tell them how good they are at it! Compliment anything you can find to compliment! 

“Wow! Daniel, you hit that ball hard!”

“Daniel, you CAUGHT the ball! That was amazing!”

Now is not the time to be cool. Trust me. We learned all we know the hard way.

Does Dan like tee-ball because he thinks it’s fun or because he gets tons of praise from it? Only time will tell. We are just happy to cheer him on.



Oh, by the way, it’s official. We’ve booked our plane tickets and made condo reservations. We are Alabama + Destin, Florida bound this summer. I haven’t been to Destin since 2012. SO EXCITED!!!

Thanks for making us #52!!!


This Scripture changed my week for the better.

I had several goals for 2015. The only one I’ve made much headway on was “study Jesus in 2015.” In fact, this week I came across a commentary, on Luke 8:16, that profoundly changed my thoughts!

I have never been real big on reading commentaries or even the study notes in the several study Bibles that I own. In fact, Daniel ripped out so many of the first pages of my oldest study Bible, I don’t even know what version it is. HA!!  Parent problems!

HOWEVER, part of my goal is to STUDY, not just read this year, so I’m living outside my comfort zone. This week I pulled one of Alan’s off the shelf that has moved with us every blessed time we’ve moved, all over the country, and yet I have never once opened it. It has chapter by chapter explanations, and I think it’s swell. :)

Yeah. It’s expensive too. That means it’s either really good or out of print. Either way, if you buy it, I make 6% profit, and that’s why being a blogger is cool. ;)

Anyway. I blew the dust off of it, and gave it a look-see. It changed my week. Not really. IT didn’t. It just introduced a thought into my head–a JESUS thought–that changed my week.

These verses that I am referring to come directly following Jesus’s explanation of the parable of the sower, Luke 8:11-15.  Hang with me, this DOES get good, I promise.

Luke 8:16-18

The Parable of the Revealed Light

1“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

Now, just so you know, that’s Jesus talking.  I always kind of thought this was just like the “let your light shine before men” verses. The Holy Spirit lives in all those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, so we need to share that wonderfulness with others.

But, as I read it in its context, that didn’t relate much to 17 and 18, and I didn’t get 18 at all.

My study Bible bailed on commenting on these verses, as did Halley’s Bible Commentary.

I LOVED how Larry Richards explains it, though. This is on page 659 of The Bible Reader’s Companion.

First, he described how important lamps were–hello–no electricity, so they left the lamp burning all night, for the benefit of those who entered the home in the dark. When someone entered the circa 30 AD housing, he would see only the light at first.

So here’s where I think it gets GOOD:

“One must see Jesus first and only. When we have fixed our eyes on Jesus, we can be sure that the hidden things of our life will gradually be revealed to us. He is the key to our understanding of all things and possession of all spiritual insights. Seeing Him we will be given more. Not seeing Him, even the little spiritual insight we have will be taken away.”  (p.659)

This makes SO MUCH more sense than anything I thought up on my own to explain these verses. I never could understand that whole “even what he has will be taken away” part, but Jesus isn’t talking about worldly things. I have such a hard time not thinking in worldly terms!! Jesus is talking about spiritual understanding.

So how did this radically change my week?

Oh, this is hard to explain, and I have really always been one to keep my spiritual feelings to myself. These things are so personal. I share in hopes that it will also help someone else.

I’ve always gone to church, and I have listened to excellent preachers and teachers, but I have never gone to any Christian schools. I grew up in more of a young Christian house. Mom got saved when I was seven, and we kids were saved soon after. Naturally, we were still learning the simple truths of God’s word back then. Nowadays, my parents go to a Bible college, and they probably know a lot more of the details than I do. They get tested on it! But I’ve never been tested on the Bible. I was never “seeped” in Bible the way that even my homeschooled boys are.

I heard the idea, “always focus on Jesus.” but I didn’t understand how to apply it, until I HAD to. It was not until this year, this trying, patience-provoking, pushing the limits of my capabilities, year, that I learned to keep my eyes ALWAYS on Jesus.

Isn’t it funny how we have to sometimes travel down the rockiest of roads to come to the end of ourselves? God has helped me to do tons of things, my whole life, don’t get me wrong, but this was a year of staring hard at that light. (first year of homeschooling, cross-country move, the baby that didn’t sleep, etc….)

I’ve been applying that to my life, everywhere. It pops into my head constantly, “Look at the light. Jesus is the light.”

“You’ll get through this. Focus on Jesus, and the pieces will make more sense.”

The point is:

Jesus is the light.

If we are looking at Him, all the things that need to be revealed to us will be so much easier to see.

Listen closely to His words.

Whoever is looking at Jesus, will grow more and more spiritually, and if we are not looking at Jesus, even the spiritual understanding that we have will be lost. 

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Thanks for clicking!!!





8 Things You Might Hear In a House of Boys….Obvious Ones Aside

Boys, boys, boys

1. “Boom! Knock!”  *giggling*  “Bang!”

“Joshua, what are you doing?”

I was fighting with the milk. It had boxing gloves, I tell you!” He shouted back.

“boom! Bam!” More giggling, yet there is only one boy in the kitchen causing all this ruckus!

When it comes to what you might hear in a house full of boys, there is no limit. If you can imagine it, it won’t happen. No, it will be weirder. Yet, no matter how weird it is, unless you write it down, you will probably never remember it.

I actually DO write a lot of it down, and I still only capture about 5% of the hilarity. No, it’s not all hilarity. Some of it is adorable. Sometimes they will even melt your heart, and other times they will terrify and shock you so much all you can say is:

2. “Oh, Sweetie, no, no, no. That is just not an appropriate thing to say at all. Please never say that in public.”

What do I mean exactly? Well, I really can’t tell you because if you already have boys, then you know, and if you don’t, then you will suddenly judge MY boys, and I’d rather you didn’t. :)

Today was one of those days when Daniel said something super, super sweet, which believe it or not, many little boys say quite frequently. It is wonderful. The hilarious thing was that he SHOUTED it across the baseball field to me.

That’s right. Dan plays tee-ball now. We’re all quite excited about it. We keep nerd-ing out by showing up as a whole family to cheer him on, AT PRACTICE. Most of the other parents aren’t even there. We are nuts. Anyway. It was the middle of practice. He grinned at me, and then he shouted to me, with the kind of innocence that only a pre-schooler can have,

Daniel, running the bases

3. “Hey, MOM!” as he waved his tiny baseball mitt at me and smiled, “Me love you, MOM! Me really love you, Mom! Me really, really love you, MOM!”

I about died laughing, but of course, I still shouted back, “I love you too, Dan!” each time. That’s what he needs from me right now. Do you know what else is cute? None of the other kids there even seemed to find it odd for him to do that. :) I love this age group!

He’s the smallest little slugger on his team, which is such a new experience for us.

Dan is the little one, in the middle of the field, beside the girl, with the green shirt and the red hat.

4. “Mom! Caleb has a bloody nose!!  Mom, hurry! It’s REAL bad!”

Why do bloody noses have to happen so much? They just spontaneously burst it seems. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent, pinching a little one’s nose with a tissue!

5. “Can I eat it now? Can I eat it now? Can I lick it? Can I lick it when we’re done?”

dying cookie dough–One child could not stop eating it.


Making cookies: fun for boys too

6. “Can we make the rainbow cookies, pleeeease.”

“What! I’m not touchin’ that! Will you do mine for me?”

“Oh! Me do it!”

We have every type of person here. One couldn’t stop eating it. One didn’t want to touch it. One just had a ball because cooking is his specialty. See, boys aren’t always so different from girls. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make rainbow cookies? You can bet the one-year-old would have wanted in too, but he was asleep. I am smart about a few things. :)

Take my picture with it!

They turned out well.

Meet Oh.

7. “I’m going to do my best to talk like Oh from now on.”

So on Monday night, I took the three oldest to see the movie Home. It’s a super cute movie about an alien and his alien race that move to Earth. The voice of Oh is done by Jim Parsons, also the actor that plays Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.

DaddyO, wearing the Bazinga! shirt

Sheldon’s character in the movie, Oh, sounds like Sheldon….but with mixed up grammar. He says things like, “Why do you has this thing? You has me for companion on this ship.”

So….the alien in the movie also sort of talks like Daniel. hehe

Of course, Joshua has never seen The Big Bang Theory, but it still bothered me a little bit to hear my son talking like Sheldon all day today..

all day long

I have only myself to blame. I’m the one that loves to impersonate people. Remind me to show you sometime. I can do a few really good ones, mostly just people I know personally.

Do you know what else I, and many good homes in the world have had to deal with this week? Easter candy and Easter candy withdrawal. Tonight, Joshua was just sitting on the sofa in the dining room…’s an unusual floor plan…staring at the space in front of him, doing…..nothing….and for JOSHUA, that is WEIRD. He is ALWAYS busy doing something.

“Are you okay?” I asked him.

8. “Oh! I just want more Mini Eggs so bad!” he blurted out, sounding a little like Sheldon. 

Bless it. Now a well- meaning, healthy,GOOD mother would have been comforting and guided him through this withdrawal of sugar that he was clearly experiencing.

Not me. I viewed it as an opportunity. *insert evil laughter*

I said, “Well, I do know where another bag of them is. I will give you 10 Cadbury Mini Eggs, if you put away one load of laundry.”

“And read one chapter from the Bible!!!” Alan jumped in from nowhere, and chimed in.

“Really! YES!!” he shouted, in glee.

And so he did.

Guess what Bible chapter he picked? He flipped and flipped until he found “a short one.” Also, I guess he picked it because of the subtitle “Saul kills himself.” Nice.

“Wow, Mom! They hung his head in the Temple! Whoa-ho-ho! I’m glad I didn’t live back in those days,” Joshua said, with enthusiasm.

“Yeah, that still happens,” I muttered, thinking of ISIS and company. Ew. It bothered me to even type their evil name.

Okay, that’s all the somewhat humorous things I can think of tonight. Does anyone have a movie that Joshua will love that will get a new character’s speech patterns in his head??? I’m thinking something like this:

Thor. Now there’s a role model.

Thanks for clickin’! :)




How bad can you really mess up Easter though?



We sort of messed up on the ceremony of Easter this year.

On Friday, we had this conversation:

Me: I need to go to both the Commissary and Target.

Alan: Why Target?
Me: I usually buy them toys for their baskets. Plus, I don’t even have baskets.

Alan: No! Don’t buy baskets.

Me: My boys are getting Easter baskets.

Alan: No, I mean, what if they make their own Easter baskets?

Me: Heh?

A: I mean, they will do it. Just tell them to find things around the house TO USE as baskets. Think of the money we’ll save.

Me: hmm.. ehhhh…well…I guess we could..

Alan: Yes! Great. What else do you need at Target?

(Is he trying to keep me from shopping?)

Easter Sunday 2011 Joshua, Caleb, baby Daniel-- not even a month old

Easter Sunday 2011
Joshua, Caleb, baby Daniel– not even a month old


Saturday… in the next day…also the day before Easter 2015

Joshua said something about the egg hunt at church.

Me: Wait a minute! That’s right! There’s an egg hunt at church, and our children don’t have baskets!!  OH! This is so embarrassing!

Alan: It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. Caleb go find yourself something to use as a basket.

Caleb: Huh???

Alan: Grocery bags, April. They can use plastic grocery bags.

(We live in coastal California. Plastic grocery bags in California are like drug needles in Alabama. They are seriously frowned upon. They aren’t even legal in many counties, by the way.)

April: Alan, no! The embarrassment!

Joshua: Yeah, Dad, we do really need to have baskets like everyone else.

Caleb: Yes! I found a grocery sack to use as my basket! (He proudly held up his Commissary sack.)

*the shame of it all*

Me: Alan, for the sake of their mother, they need baskets.

Alan: OH, April, baskets are for girls. Besides, Target was out of them.


Later Saturday…… in the NIGHT before Easter….

Me: Okay, see ya. I’m headed to CVS. I happen to know they have Easter stuff there. (Remember the cat on the Easter aisle? lol)

Alan: What? Why?

Me: (mustering up the most serious-taking a stand-face that I possess) I’m going to buy Easter baskets.

Alan: Here. I’ll go. I’ll buy them some baskets.

Easter 2013

Easter 2013

So that’s where Alan is, as we speak. How I HOPE all will be okay!

Some years I am not well prepared for Easter, other years I do better. OKay. Truthfully, there was just that one year where I did really well. Proof:

Easter 2014, believe it or not

Easter 2014, believe it or not

That’s right. 2014. Matching outfits. I actually pulled it off.

But how bad can you really mess up Easter? Easter isn’t about what WE do.

Sunday shoes that actually fit all of the children? Nope. That’s not what it’s about either.

the Easter bunny? Nope. That’s just for fun.

eggs? no

chocolate? Well, that’s important. That’s all part of it. ;) But that’s not what it’s about either.

It’s about love. It’s even more about love than Valentine’s Day was. Love and forgiveness. This is what I’ve taught our children, and at Joshua and Caleb’s age they even seem to “get it.”

On Good Friday, the people, overwrought with jealousy of a man who had never harmed them–a man who had gone about teaching people, healing people, and performing miracles–was killed. He paid the price for our transgressions. God required payment for sins, and since Jesus had no sin, his death paid the price for all of us.

And on Easter Sunday, he rose.  He forgives us before we “get our act together.” We need only to ask him. That’s what I love about Easter.

You can’t “mess up” Easter. Easter isn’t something that we can do. It’s about something that He did for us. Just like faith. You either believe it or you don’t, but salvation isn’t something we can earn. It has to be a gift, freely received, from a creator that loves us.

Good news. Alan got the baskets. My children will not be misfits this Easter.



Ways to Use Brain Pop Jr. at Home School

Our new friends!

Home schooling may be one of the greatest challenges I have taken on as a parent.  One of my biggest struggles is making learning fun. If the boys spend all day doing seat work, writing, and listening to me teach them, they start to become unmanageable. A house of unmanageable children will wreck your day in a hurry. I figure if it is hard for me to find ways to make it fun, it must be hard for other parents too.

Of course, I occasionally run into those parents that seem to have it altogether, that LOVE home schooling, and their children seem to know everything. Then I think, “Oh, huh, look at that. Actually home schooling is quite easy for some.”

It’s amazing the difference that experience, preparedness, organization, and a toolbox of good ideas can make!

We’re getting there. S-l-o-w-l-y but surely.

I have one ace up my sleeve that is a big help. Alan’s mother and his sister are fully experienced teachers. Nonna taught in the public schools, mostly middle school, for 20 years. Amy also taught middle school for over 10 years. They have both sent me really great supplies this year, and I have used as much of it as I could work in and saved the rest for later.

When Nonna was here this last time, she helped me set up a FANTASTIC filing system. I’ll talk more about that on a future post.

Then she introduced us to……..Brain Pop, Jr.

This can be used whether you are home schooling or not. I just joined as a parent. First, I want to tell you upfront that this is not a free site, nor are they paying me to talk about them. Man, I wish they were! This site offers:

Screen-shot of the home page

-A huge selection of cute and funny teaching videos, divided by topics and subtopics in math, science, reading and writing, health, social studies, and arts and technology.

Even the subtopics have subtopics. This thing is endless!

-Each sub topic offers a game, printable activity, hard quiz, easy quiz, and more!

A science lesson, with options at the ready!

-For science, the print-outs are often easy-to-do and fun science experiments!!  I am loving this!

I have tech-savvy kids that are hard to impress, and they actually enjoy these videos and activities. It is the very first educational “computer center” that I’ve found this year that the big boys like!

Brain Pop does have a few free videos and games, and you can download all of that on their app as well. This site is computer friendly as well as app friendly.  They have a new “free movie” every week.

I warn you. The theme song is so catchy. It WILL get stuck in your head.

They have a whole website of just the freebies!

You can choose Brain Pop memberships for home school, school, or parent. I chose the parent option. It was $99.00. If you get your whole co-op to go in together, that cost goes down. I just forked over the money, rather than try to talk my friends into it. I have an instant gratification problem. :/

Oh! And you want to be careful which Brain Pop you get. We use Brain Pop Jr. because it’s for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. The only thing they were missing that I’ve needed so far was Evolution and Natural Selection information, to go with our current science unit in Classical Conversations. Brain Pop has the same hilarious robot videos, but on the more advanced material. Nonna said that her middle schoolers loved it.

(Side note on the evolution bit: Yes, I teach them about both evolution and creation. Obviously, I’m a firm believer that the Earth was created by God. The boys are too. )


Using Brain Pop Jr. with Classical Conversations

So far, we have barely scraped the surface of what all you can do with this technology. You can bet I will be sharing more detail on this in the future. For now, I’ll share what we have done so far, and my Brain Pop Jr. CC Cycle 3 Science Lesson plans for weeks 21-24.

-Composers and Musical Instruments! Brain Pop Jr. made learning woodwinds vs. brass, etc. a lot more fun!

That link will take you to the percussion site.

This will take you to the whole music section: Music

There are so many options there!

I also used Brain Pop Jr. to help Joshua with division:

I used it to help Caleb with Reading and Spelling Skills.

But more than anything, we are using it for Science:

CC, Cycle 3, Week 21:


Brain Pop, Jr. didn’t define uniformitarianism, but it did have a whole video, game, quiz, and activity section on gradual land change and fast land change.

There is an erosion experiment to download, as well as fossil activities, and a Grand Canyon puzzle!


CC Cycle 3, Week 22


Again, they didn’t use the word catastrophism, but they had all the bells and whistles for a fun lesson on “Fast Land Changes”, complete with science experiment and a sequence game.


CC Cycle 3, Week 23

Natural Selection– I couldn’t find it on Brain Pop Jr. either, but I guarantee you they would have it on the not-Junior version.

However, I did find a great video, somewhat related, on Extinct and Endangered Species. It’s a free video!


CC Cycle 3, Week 24

Good Science

I found a great lesson on the Scientific Method.

Look for a complete list for Cycle 1 to come soon!

Thanks again to Nonna for introducing me to Brain Pop Jr.! For more ideas from Nonna, you can find her here:


Happy Easter Weekend! He is risen indeed!!!



Thank you for clicking!