Monday, July 29, 2013

Sharing over on the new blog…

I’m sharing our weekly menu plan and some back-to-homeschool organization tips over on the new blog

I’ve also finally put in an email subscription option and am still working to put in some RSS reader options. 

Slowly but surely it is coming together.

And as soon as I work up the courage to do it, this blog will transfer over also.  That process is just kind scary!

This week I’ll be sharing our most favorite & best ever salsa recipe, some more back-to-homeschool planning & organization, and some pictures from my first ever photoshoot as well as some lessons learned during the process!  And I’m going to continue with our small house story {part 2}. 

I’d love for you to come visit us at our new spot on the web!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

We’ve moved!

I’ve been saying for quite some time that I wanted to move this blog to Wordpress.  And now it’s a reality. 

But not only did we move, we’ve changed our name. 

We are now



La Cottage Family


(Pronounced “LUH” Cottage Family.  And my brain always sings it to the Addams Family tune… La Cottage Family…duh duh duh duhn {snap,snap}…duh duh duh duhn {snap,snap}…)

There’s a story behind that name that I started writing on the new blog and lost somehow!  (Still trying to learn Wordpress.)

This blog has not been imported into the new blog.  Actually, as of this post writing, there are only two posts on the new blog.  Will I import this blog?  I’m not certain yet.  But if I don’t, this blog will remain here for those who access the older posts.

The La Cottage Family blog will focus on many of the same things such as homeschooling, cottage gardens, and our family.  We will also be writing about cottage DIY crafts & remodeling and some beginner photography.

I invite you to join us at our new home.  As of the time of this blog post (July 21, 2013), I am still lacking any follow by email or much social media following options yet.  But I’m hoping to have that on the blog soon and possibly start a Facebook page for the blog.

I want to thank you for reading here at Simply & Truly.  I hope that you’ll follow our family over to the new blog La Cottage Family

Blessings, Adriane  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer reading

 Summer Reading

If there’s one thing I love about summer, it has to be the fact that I get to read more.  Ever since I was a little girl, you would find me soaking up a book during summer breaks.

And it’s not much different now.  True, my days are still as busy as during the school year with home, children, and activities.  However, I do have a looser schedule that allows me to stay up later to read and catch up on a little sleep in the morning.  Or I can spend time reading while the kids play in the pool. 

Now, let’s talk books…

Harbinger  David’s mom passed this book to us and it is an interesting read.  It is written in a fiction format but the information in the books is truth.  The author writes of verses from the book of Isaiah that are so precise that they foretell recent American events such as the stock market collapse and 9/11 (borrowed a bit of that from the book jacket). I’ve not finished it but it is an interesting read.

The Pastor’s Wife  This was a free download for the Kindle and since I was wanting some light-hearted fiction and I’m the daughter of a pastor’s wife, I decided to read it.  It was a sweet romance. Now, I rarely read romance but it wasn’t too mushy or silly.  It was an ok read.  I wanted light-hearted and that’s what I got.

Tell Your Time  This one has been sitting on my Kindle for a while and I’m in serious need of some time management skills so I figured there’s no time like the present to read it.  It is short but I really liked the information in the book and felt that it was helpful in leading me to wisely manage my time.  I plan to implement the methods she outlines.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle  I have heard so much about this book and when I saw it super cheap on the Kindle, I snatched it up.  But I’ve not really been able to get into it yet and have not completed it.  I’m going to try to finish it before summer ends.

Remember all those ebooks I purchased back during that big sale?  Here are a few that I’ve completed or am currently reading.

One Bite at a Time  This book is written to be completed one bite at a time so I’m reading it exactly like that.  The author has you work on one activity at a time to simplify your life. 

How to Grow Your Blog and Manage Your Home  You all know I'm not the best at being consistent with the blog while trying to care for my family.  But I’m always trying to figure out how to balance the two.  I wanted this book to help me and I did glean a few things from it.  However, I felt it was written more for the blogger who is just starting the journey.

The No-Brainer Wardrobe  Always in search of finding ways to breath life into my wardrobe and drag myself out of the yoga pants, I have enjoyed the books on fashion and beauty that were in this bundle. 

I’ve read more but this post is already getting too long.

What I want to read next…

A few weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and watched Hunger Games on Netflix.  I loved it!  It is rather intense at times due to the emotion of the movie so I would have to pull out my phone and browse Facebook to calm me down.  That may sound like I didn’t enjoy it but I really did.  So much that I watched it a second time with our teenagers. 

So I now want to reading the second book of the trilogy Catching Fire.  I’m waiting until I have a large chunk of time because I’ve heard it is hard to put down. 

I love to talk books so if you have some good recommendations, I’d love to hear it!  

Disclaimer:  Affiliate links are used in this post.  If you happen to make a purchase through one of the links, our family will receive a small credit.  Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do they give away an award to the worst gardener ever?

June 26, 2013 011

So I guess it wouldn’t actually be an award if it was for the worst gardener, now would it?

But if they did give it away, I’d surely deserve it. 

However in all fairness, I did almost let the garden lie fallow this year.  That should have been an indicator that my heart just wasn’t as into it this as it has been in the past. 

 June 26, 2013 013

Oh, I love the garden.  I love the beauty and the fresh fruits & veggies.  I don’t even mind the hard work. 

But I knew it was going to be a different summer than we normally had.  This summer would be much more active than or normal slow summers.  And working a garden properly would be hard.

The garden has been productive in some areas and we’ve reaped the benefits. 

But there have been some major fails.

Fail #1  Zucchini and the squash borer worms

June 8, 2013 021 The squash vine being literally eaten from the inside.

I always have trouble with the squash borer worm.  Since I shy away from chemicals in my garden, it makes it hard to kill these buggers.  Supposedly you can make a tent out of tulle to cover your plants (so the adult bug can’t lay eggs on your plant).  I did do that…for one day.  And my zucchini plants succumbed to the plant eating pests.

Solution:  Enjoy the few squash we actually harvest and gladly receive any being given away by gardening friends.  Or actually cover the plants with tulle for say…more than one day.  *smile*


Fail #2  Roma tomato jungle gone wild

June 24, 2013 066 Can you spy the tomatoes somewhere in that mess?

I snoozed big time on getting the Roma tomatoes tied to supports while they were small.  And once I finally got around to it, the plants were too large to tie up correctly. So now we have a Roma tomato jungle gone wild.  It’s kind of scary, folks.

Solution:  Search for the Roma tomatoes while praying that you are not reaching for something else with teeth that hurt.  Next year, support those tomatoes earlier!

Fail #3  Birdhouse gourds or butternut squash?

June 5, 2013 026

I wouldn’t know.  I planted both (I think) and I forgot to label them.  I guess we’ll find out once they fruit. 

Solution:  Always label plants!  Either in the garden or in a journal.  Always!

Fail #4  Potato crop loss

June 19, 2013 025 The yellow plants are the potatoes.  They actually look worse than that now.  As in, they look dead. 

Our potato vines are dying back and that is usually a sign that we are ready to dig.  Upon wanting to add a few potatoes to our dinner, I dug up a few plants.  There were no potatoes or the ones that were there were so incredibly tiny that a mouse wouldn’t get full on them.  I think we may have a diseased potato crop.

Solution:  Some of the potatoes planted were seed potato and some were from sprouts in our kitchen.  The experts say that if you plant from your sprouted potatoes, you chance them being diseased.  I think they are correct.  So always plant with certified potato seed. 

Fail #5  Grapes are picky about pruning

June 8, 2013 006

I have a hunch that I pruned the grapes incorrectly last year because we only had one bunch of grapes this year.  And they died.  This makes me sad.

Solution:  Read more about proper pruning in order to actually grow grapes on the grape vines. 

These are a few of our garden fails.  But we’ve had some good things happening in the garden too.  But that, my friends, is another post.

Blessings, Adriane  


Monday, June 24, 2013

the story of our {little} house {part 1}

June 8, 2013 045

This blog is often one of the spots where people land when they do a search for “homeschooling in a small house”.  I’ve written a bit about trying to stretch this little space we call home to make room for five children and our homeschool

In the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder if other people ever question why a family of seven would live in a small house? 

Chances are there aren’t many who do actually ponder this.  But I wanted to tell our story of our little house.  Maybe there are some who are curious.  Or maybe there are some who are small house dwellers trying to make the most of their small space.

  I’d like to share a bit about some things we’ve learned along the way and how we’ve adapted our home or our attitudes. Living large in a small house can be done because we’ve been doing it for ten years now. 

 August 27, 2012 003  Family night, August 2012

But we didn’t start our adventures in a small house as a family with five children…

Ten years ago…

We were a family of five: a daddy & a mommy, a 5 year old boy, a 3 year old boy, and a wee baby girl.

I had just finished up my first year as a public-school-teacher-turned-stay-at-home mom.  And our oldest was heading off to Kindergarten.  Previous to us living in our small home, we had been living in my husband’s hometown and he was driving the hour-plus (one way) drive every day to work. 

 August 27, 2012 008 Family night, August 2012

We knew we needed to move to the city so that we could spend more time with David.  The daily drive was sucking up hours of our family time and the was sucking up our money.  But we didn’t think we could afford a rental in the city and we weren’t ready to busy a house just yet.  And then there was the whole school district thing that had to be figured in now that our son was starting school.  Those good school district rental houses came with a hefty price tag.

Then came David’s Aunt to the rescue.  She had a house in a good part of town.  And it was in a good school district.  And since she had moved, the house was available. 

There was only one possible problem…the house only had two bedrooms

To be continued…

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

this week’s menu and goals

So it’s Wednesday.  And normally menu plans are posted on Mondays, right?  Summer has a way of making me lose all track of the days of the week, it seems.

June 19, 2013 028

Between trying to keep up with the garden and the kids, I’m good to even have a meal plan right now!  We won’t talk about the whole it’s too hot to cook thing either.  And when the deep south gets too hot for cooking, we turn to a lot of grilled foods with salads!  However, I will probably turn the oven on long enough to bake a blackberry cobbler with our garden blackberry bounty.

This week’s menu:

  • Baked tilapia, green beans with new potatoes, summer squash
  • Grilled pork chops, grilled squash,rice, cole slaw
  • Chicken fajitas, black beans, guacamole & salsa with chips
  • Fried rice with stir-fry chicken, veggie stir-fry
  • Pizza (maybe homemade but probably takeout…smile…), salad
  • Anniversary dinner…not sure what we will do just yet

As you can see, the garden is starting to contribute a lot to the menu.  This is one of my favorite things about summer!

Goals for the week:

I wrote here about my 3 in 30 goals for the month but since life is slowing down this week, I’m adding a few more goals to my to-do list.

  • cut a hole in the wall (Yep.  Remodeling)
  • shop for the kids’ summer camp needs
  • work on new blog & business Facebook page
  • write thank you notes
  • tie up the ever-growing tomato plants in the tomato jungle
  • rearrange living room and girls’ room

I know reading someone’s goals may be a bit boring to most.  But it helps keep me accountable by posting it. 

Ok, off to make progress on that to-do list!  On today’s to-do…cut a hole in the wall.  Fun stuff’s happening around here! 

Linking to


Sunday, June 16, 2013

3in30 {June} update

Last week I mentioned that I was going to set some goals for our relaxed summer months in order to keep our days a bit focused. 

What I didn’t mention was that the approaching week was Vacation Bible School…and I was teaching the older music rotation.  And making sure 5 children got to VBS every evening while wearing clean clothes and with brushed hair & teeth.

My advice to anyone participating in VBS:  have fun at VBS and just do the bare minimum in all other areas. 

So yeah, you probably know how much I accomplished towards my goals last week.  (Though I really thought that the homeschool curriculum goal would happen despite the busy week.)

Here are my goals for the month of June:

Goal #1  Finalize homeschool curriculum needs

June 8, 2013 046

I need to make this goal happen this month so it is top priority. 


Goal #2  Decorate living room walls & shelves

June 8, 2013 036

So about this goal…I’m not sure it will happen this month.  Why?  We are about to do a rearranging of rooms to better suit our family needs.  One of those rooms is the living room. So the living room decorating may have to wait a little bit or it may happen in the process.  We shall see.


Goal #3  Paint porch and side entrance steps

June 8, 2013 045

This one has also not happened.  It will probably be the end of June before we see a freshly painted porch since rearranging the house will take first priority.

Not much progress but we’ve still got time!

Linking to: 

Our Good Life
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