Family Crest

Great introspection

has lead her here. The tombs of 
her ancestors greet

the carriage like lost 
lovers. The rain-ruin’d stones im- 
pose their hoary au-

gustness on the frail 
child, pressing upon her the 
greatness of her lin-

eage. She kisses 
the cenotaph with linger- 
ing lips, her home found. …

Family Goulash Recipe


* 3 Lbs. of Beef Chuck 
* 1 1/2 Cups White Onions, chopped 
* 1 Cup Spring Onions, chopped 
* 5 Spoonfuls of Paprika (DO NOT CHANGE THIS AMOUNT!
* 1 Tea Spoon chopped Garlic 
* 4 Table Spoon Tomato Paste 
* 4 Table Spoon Beef Broth 
* 3 Table Spoon Olive Oil 
* 4 Table Spoon Butter 
* Salt and Pepper, to taste 
* Flour


1. Cut beef into cubes, 2 inches long, 1 inch wide (3 cm x 2 cm).

2. Sprinkle beef cubes with a little bit of flour, salt and pepper.

3. In a big pot, heat butter and oil in medium heat, then add onions and cook until they are almost transparent.

4. Add paprika while stirring, and then add the beef to sauté, stirring once in a while until golden.

5. Add the beef broth, previously prepared, and finally add the tomato paste.

6. Cover the pot and leave it over low heat for approximately two hours, checking and stirring every once in a while. If the beef juices start to dry, you can add a little more beef broth.

7. Serve! It goes perfectly with white rice! Serves 6 people.…

I Lost My Job, but Life Kept on Rolling

It was in the height of this recession and something should have tipped me off in the beginning to what was going to happen. My boss was behind on his credit card payments, he kept harping on about making ends meet and then when hiring someone to work on the production line he was hoping to find someone who didn’t need medical benefits. So don’t ask me why I was shocked when on that Friday at five p.m. he told me and some other employees that he had to let us go. When I was hired, my boss was looking for a minimum wage secretary, but being a seasoned veteran, I negotiated more than that amount. I offered to take less hours at a reduced rate, but he said he couldn’t afford that. So right then and there I knew I was going to be unemployed for a while.

I left the office feeling numb, it hadn’t worked it’s way into my system yet. I left to go pick up my son and called my mother to tell her what happened. When I spoke those words… it hit me like a paddle on a fraternity pledge’s rear: I was unemployed. Right then and there I started to scream in my car on my cell phone until the police pulled me over. I handed him my registration & license, still screaming on the phone. He let me go without a ticket (probably out of pity) and when I got home I began my long, arduous search.

Much to Craigslist’s credit, they have many employers who list some great jobs… but unfortunately for me, it seemed for every one authentic job I applied to, there were two spammers. I tried the Careerbuilder route, but I’m only 24. I can’t tell you how many jobs called me to thank me for my time and inform me I was their second choice behind some old dinosaur who has been in the field since before I was born. I fought hard and despite being qualified, I was passed over dozens of times for either more experienced or cheaper candidates. I finally gave in and lowered my expectations….

I took a lower paying job, with no benefits and barely over minimum wage. It was supposed to be an office manager position, but with receptionist pay. I toughed it out and paid my dues in purgatory. I’ve never appreciated the jobs I had, because they landed in my lap with ease. I wowed my bosses with my skills and quickly worked my way up in the corporate world. After this experience, I know I’ll never take a good job for granted again.

I’ve found a new, better paying job. I finally can get benefits and respectable pay…. I start work Monday. I finally get to go back and wear my business casual suits I took for granted and turn my cell phone back on. I can play a little with my budget instead of whittling everything down to the last dime. If anything, I am grateful for this experience but disappointed it had to happen this way. I am grateful I have the work experience and references I have, and feel lucky. I’m dreading the future, but can’t wait for Monday…. or the following week for my first paycheck. I guess the future isn’t that bad but from now on like most of America, I’ll always have a plan B.…

Crises of Family Life by Years

Family Time photo

The crisis of family life – a situation in the family, when no explicit reasons for deteriorating relations between husband and wife, and it seems that there is no understanding and exit. Of course, it’s hard to keep the relationship, if you do not know the person with whom you live, if all annoying, and always want to change something.

Crises of family life can be divided approximately 1,3,7,15,25,40 years of married life. But in every family there is no specific scenario of life, and focus on the number makes no sense. Therefore, try to determine the crises by events.

1 year of marriage

“Who are you? I do not know you! “- The main phrase of this crisis, which begins after the wedding or after the decision to live together.

Reasons. It’s no secret that before the wedding and after, people are a little change, relax and start being themselves.

How to cope? Sit down and think hard whether you accept the flaws of your partner? and pay attention to his dignity.

3 years of marriage

“Firstborn” – the crisis is connected with the first birth of a child in the family and called the crisis of the third year.

Reasons. Having a baby is related to emotional and physical stress for both. Wife unhappy that her husband does not help, and her husband, in turn, angry from lack of attention to his person. If between a pair of no sexual relations, resentment starts to grow into a riot.

How to cope? You should pay more attention to each other. Do not forget that you love each other, do not put all your love for a child. There are grandmothers, aunts, godmothers – give them an opportunity to pay attention to your kid. At this time, go to the movies, cafes or simply walk down the street.

7 years of marriage

“Routine” – crisis seven years relationship.

Reasons. Tired of all! Life, children, work – all in a circle. No emotional outbursts.

How to cope? You need to go on a vacation, take a trip to another country – a change of scenery. You can go to the dance as a couple or in the gym, go ice skating or rollerblading, in general, to do something that you have not already done long ago.

15 years of marriage

“Midlife Crisis” – usually occurs in those who are “about forty” – that’s about 15 years of living together.

Reasons. Comes time revaluation of values. Begin torturing questions: “Are all right in my life?” And it seems that time is running relentlessly fast and suddenly need to change something, and another chance will be gone.

How to cope? Do not be afraid to tell her husband that you appreciate it and much love. Pay attention to him, giving nice gifts and not ties for all holidays.

25 years of marriage

“Empty nest syndrome” – a crisis of parents when children leave the family. Approximately 25 years of marriage.

Reasons. Children grew up, they now have their own families. And you suddenly realize that life has lost its meaning and it seems your family except for children has long been nothing in common.

How to cope? Find a new meaning – save up for a house, buy a cottage. You have lived together for so many years, you have so much in common. Remember your dreams together and start to implement them.

40 years of marriage

Retirement – a crisis of loneliness on the forties family life.

Reasons. Retirement is waiting impatiently, and when he finally comes this long-awaited moment, the man begins to panic, not feeling fit, he does not know what to do.

How to cope? You need to find some useful hobby. Do what you want. …

Why My Wife and I Chose to Keep the Kids at Home

I want to start by saying that I loved my kids’ daycare here in Effingham, IL. Tree House Too was fantastic for my first two children, Megan and James.

It was April 2008 that my wife and I reached a crossroads. Our third child, Maggie was born. All three of my kids were under the age of five. Megan wouldn’t turn five until 2009 and my son was only 15 months older than my newest baby. At the time, I was doing work as a substitute teacher in the county we live in, but the work was inconsistent, as it always is. The decision we had after her six weeks of maternity leave was this: Do I continue to sub or do I stay at home with the children? Here are the reasons why the decision wasn’t hard.

Daycare prices were on the rise

For us, it was approximately $25 per kid/per day to go to the daycare service we loved. In the summer, I wasn’t working, so there was no extra money to pay for daycare. So with the summer of 2008, we considered it the trial run to see how I could handle a baby and two toddlers at home. After almost three months, I was doing well.

Substitute pay didn’t cover the daycare costs either

While my sub pay per day was a little more than the cost for one day of daycare for my three kids, it didn’t cover days I wasn’t teaching, and unless we made the kids go full-time, the cost was even more. Most jobs in America don’t cover the costs. It would take a person making over $10 per hour just to break even with three kids.

Being a teacher made me the best teacher for my kids

This probably ended up being the deciding factor. My children were getting great bits at the daycare, but that’s educationally what they were. The laws have changed in the past six years and daycares are required to more now to prepare kids for school. Most of this has happened since the pre-school system has been all but wiped out here in Illinois. What I could give my kids was more one-on-one with the basics to have them better prepared for school.

We ended up doing this for four school years. As Megan went off to kindergarten and first grade, we had one more child, our baby Jenna. After the fourth year of having me without a paycheck as a substitute teacher, we received a blessing in the summer of 2012. My mother came to live with us as she recovered from a second heart attack and later breast cancer. So as the 2012-13 school year came, I was able to begin going back to the teaching field and subbing on a somewhat regular basis. My mom stayed home with the baby as my other three kids are now all in grade school.…

Family First

Friends turn on you and betray you.
They have their own agenda and you are just a tool to them.
Family however, is forever
Friends move away and never call or write.
Family is always there
Friends steal your girl or your job or your games
Family always have your back
Remember your family and put them first
They do the same for you…

Family Recipe: White Bean Soup

My step mother concocted an awesome White Bean Soup recipe a few weeks back, and passed it onto me. I tried making the vegetarian form last weekend (albeit slightly altered – see my editorial notes in italics) and not only was it as simple and delicious, it sustained me all week long. Highly recommended – let me know if you try it.

“Really Yummy White Bean Soup”

48 oz. Chicken or veggie stock (Note: I used vegetarian “Better than Boulion” – my broth base of choice)

1- 14 oz. Can diced tomatoes, drained

4 -14 oz. Cans cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans)

1 Medium yellow onion, diced

1 Bulb garlic, roasted (Note: I roasted 2 bulbs and saved some to make garlic bread – extra flavor to account for the lack of meat)

2 Medium carrots, diced

½ head of curly kale roughly chopped, de-stemmed (Note: I used a full head for extra substance)

OPTIONAL: 1 pinch red pepper flakes (Note: mom says optional; I say crucial)

OPTIONAL: Turkey sausage

Roast garlic by cutting off top, drizzling with olive oil, wrapping in foil and cooking in 350° oven for 30 to 40 min (until soft). If using sausage, remove casings and brown, breaking into pieces over medium heat. Remove sausage from pan and set aside; pour off grease.

In a large kettle, heat 1 T of olive oil. Add half of diced onion; cook 3 – 4 mins until slightly soft. Add stock; add ½ of the roasted garlic (squeeze softened cloves into kettle), reserving the rest for toast. Add 2 cans of beans.

Over medium heat, cook above ingredients for 5 – 10 mins. Place pot in sink and blend together with hand blender until smooth (if you don’t have a hand blender, a regular one will do).

Return mixture to heat. Add: carrots, remaining onion, kale, tomatoes and pepper flakes. Simmer 10 – 15 mins until carrots are firm and tender. Add remaining 2 cans of beans and optional sausage; simmer 1 – 2 mins. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Highly recommended accompanyment: use the remaining roasted garlic to make some cheesy garlic bread, and then dip like crazy.…

Managing Life with a Large Family

I am the mother of four children. Many people have asked us why we decided to have such a large family. It appears that a family of six is considered large these days. When my grandparents were children they were all members of families with at least ten children a piece. Now that’s a large family! But these days four children feels like a lot. Why do we have four children? We’ve been asked if having a large family is a religious thing. My husband is a minister, but no, it was not a religious thing. We had four children because we did not want to have five. My ten year old son once asked me if his dad and I knew we were going to have this large family. I told him, yes, we did. I believe it is time for “the talk”.

I have also had many people ask, “How do you do it? I t must be crazy at your house with so many kids.” Well, yes it certainly can be crazy at times, but there are ways that my husband and I have found to help make it a bit less crazy having a large family. Fortunately, we did not have them all at once. Truly the poor parents who have the entire litter at once, through the miracle of fertility treatment, are the ones who suffer. We had ours spread out over seven years so the growth of our family was more gradual. We truly didn’t see much change when we went from one child to two children. He had one and I had one. The big jump came when baby number three arrived on the scene. Now we were out numbered. I had one, he had one, and then there was still one left over. We bought a big stroller. That helped.

Then the big decision to have the fourth child truly changed everything. We knew pretty soon we would both have to be on top of our game, and stay there, or there would be mutiny in this large family! We were outnumbered two to one. So how do we manage? Well, early on we knew that daycare and after school care was not an option for us. We wanted to raise our children without that outside help, and to pay for daycare for four children would be just too much money. We have had to be creative from time to time, but we have never wavered from that plan. I am in a profession that allows nighttime work so for the last nine years I have worked two nights a week to help bring in money to meet our budget. It’s not ideal, but at least our children are cared for at home by their parents. I know this is not possible for everyone, so I do feel blessed that we have been able to accomplish this. We live several hours away from grandparents, and have not been able to call on them for help with child care. That is a great option if you live close and they are willing to help out.

It is a huge task to clothe such a large family. We have had a few friends over the years that have passed down clothes for the boys to wear. That has been so wonderful. I have also been a diligent sales shopper. I wait until the absolute final markdowns for the season to buy clothes, and then pack them away until next year. I have found shoes are the hardest thing to save money on, but I do my best to try and find them on sale. I have asked the kids to try not to outgrow their shoes all at the same time. I’m kidding, of course, but it does seem to work out that way more often than not!

Feeding a large family can be challenging as well. I have tried many different strategies over the years. I have clipped coupons. I have gone to the warehouse clubs and bought in bulk. Lately, I just skip the fancy stores and drive to the plain and simple store a few more miles away. I try to buy everything for the week in that one trip. I find that you spend more money unnecessarily if you go every day or even a few times a week. I also try to have a list prepared so I know exactly what I need to buy. Taking the kids along …

Involving Family and Friends when Homeschooling

Homeschooling photo

A homeschooling parent should take inventory of the talents in other family members around him or her. For example, I have a friend whose Grandfather was a journalist. This Grandfather drove thirty miles each way once per week to give his homeschooled grandchildren a lesson in writing. This gave the mother a break for two hours each week.

The children also benefit from shared family talent. If mom is not a good writer, but Granddad is, then the kids benefit by learning from someone who can give them real writing expertise. Chances are, their writing ability will be higher than it would have been before Granddad started helping out.

How to take a family inventory:

Write a list of all of your family and friends. Next to each name, write their strengths. To list their strengths think about what degree(s) they hold, or what they studied in college. List their natural talents as well, such as art or music.

Contact each family member and ask them if they would like to participate in your homeschooling endeavor. They don’t have to commit to giving lessons every day or even once per week. They could simply come the first Monday of every month or the last Tuesday of the month, whatever works with their schedules. Once per week may be ideal for the main subjects, but it is not necessary if you want them to come to do a craft with your child.

My father has published numerous science fair project books so whenever my daughter has a science fair project to do, I take her to his house. The difficulties I would have had in teaching that particular project, he made easy. My daughter was able to understand the concepts and she had a lot of fun working with her Grandfather. This may only happen once or twice per month, but it is still a big help.

Include anyone in the family, if they are willing to help. You can always put them in charge of taking the kids on a nature walk or practicing soccer moves in the back yard.…

Five Ways Your Kids Can Go Green at Home

Kids want to save the planet, and kids want to help the family. So, why not teach your kids ways they can go green at home? Here are five things kids can do at home to help the environment and to help lower family expenses.

Go Green by Turning on Cold Water. Explain to your kids how using cold water–instead of hot–saves your family money. In addition, teach your kids how to brush their teeth with minimal water usage by turning off the water stream while brushing. This conserves water and impacts both the environment and your water bill.

Go Green by Turning Off Lights. Getting your kids to turn off lights when they leave a room is an important first step, but it’s not the only way to go green with lighting. Kids can help open drapes or blinds to take advantage of free natural light during the daylight hours. Use of natural light saves electricity and saves on your electric bill.

Go Green with Compact Florescent Light Bulbs. Explain to your kids how certain light bulbs use more electricity to operate. Let your kids help swap incandescent light bulbs for compact florescent ones in your home, starting with their bedrooms. The initial cost of changing light bulbs in your home may pinch a bit, but you will save energy and cut utility costs over time.

Go Green by Replacing Paper with Cloth. Instead of using disposable paper towels and paper napkins in the kitchen, choose cloth. Explain to your kids how these items are easy to wash along with family laundry. Have a handy place in your kitchen to store cloth towels and napkins, and allow kids to help wash, dry, fold, and put away the cloth napkins and towels.

Go Green by Sorting Family Trash. Kids can help sort family and personal trash by separating out recyclables. Provide containers for glass, aluminum, cans, bottles, cardboard, and newspaper. Teach your kids how to determine what can be recycled and what cannot. A great motivation for recycling is to allow your kids to enjoy the money earned from recycling.

As your kids make these five simple changes at home, you will see a positive impact on your family budget, and your kids will be doing their part to go green.…