Recent Posts by Tera Bare

Kicking Kidney Cancer’s Butt!

Just wanted to let all of you know that my husband’s kidney cancer surgery went great!  He had surgery last Thursday to remove a portion of one kidney that had a small tumor.  First surgery is now done and he can heal, then it’s one more surgery to go.  Next surgery they will be completely removing the other kidney.  He is doing great, in awesome spirits and not even hurting; a little sore, but very little pain.  Thank you so much for all the prayers! God’s Got This!

Got My Blog Back!

I’ve got my blog back!  Well, almost…

Hi y’all!  It’s been over a month since I was hacked and man have I learned a lot.  First off, for those of you that blog, here’s the details of what we think might have happened and what I’m doing to fix it.

Like many of you, I was in the grocery store getting supper and I was going to look up one of my recipes on my blog to use; I think it was one of my gnocchi soup recipes.  Anyway, I went to Pinterest, found my pin and went to my blog.  Yes, I took the long way of getting of there, but that’s beside the point!  All of a sudden, a porn site popped up.  I tried not to completely freak out in the middle of the store and just thought to myself that maybe somehow the pin actually got redirected and I tried again and all was fine with the world.

Next day, I received a message from a reader graciously letting me know that my site was redirecting to porn and apparently a college essay site, which I would find out later.  Who knew?  I totally freaked out and started trying to run a scan on my site and it wouldn’t work.  I tried to delete the antivirus/firewall plugin that I was using so I could download another one and it wouldn’t delete.  Every time I tried it kept asking for my ftp information, weird right?  Then I remembered that a few months ago, I had some weird hiccup on my blog and I had to delete my antivirus and decided to try a new one.

I’m pretty sure this is when everything started.  I also received an email that came through my Contact me page, and it seemed legit, except it was very personal.  They seemed to have been following my blog for a very long time, but it was oddly personal with lots of spelling mistakes.

From this point on I’ve been back and forth with GoDaddy, SiteLock, my personal techie, and hours and hours of research and trial and error trying to figure out what happened and what to do.  I immediately put the site in maintenance mode so that no one would have to go to that disgusting site.  GoDaddy did everything they could, short of deleting my site, which is a bloggers worst nightmare.  SiteLock was gracious and I did pay $80 for antivirus/firewall that I was talked into, but it couldn’t fix it and then they wanted me to pay over $200 or $50 a month for them to fix it.

We found out that the hack actually altered my core WordPress files and images, in other words, a total loss.  I cried, I actually broke down and cried as if my best friend had died.  I just knew that years of blogging were gone.  So now what?  I decided to not do anything for a while.  Just sit, breathe, pray and then not even think about it.

So I handed my computer over to my favorite techie to make sure that my computer itself wasn’t infected.  I figured if I left it alone, maybe something would come to me.  Maybe I would start over with a new blog and a new domain, or maybe I would just quit altogether.  Then it came to me, would starting over be the worst thing in the world?  Nope!

So I thought I backed up my blog using the export tool from my WordPress dashboard.  Apparently that’s not the best backup method.  Anyway, I contacted GoDaddy, and decided to take the site down.  My thought was, if I took the bad, broken site down, downloaded a fresh install of WordPress and just started with everything fresh, it would be all clean, in theory.

It worked!  Well, sort of.  The install was a success.  It’s taken a lot of tweaking here and there and a good bit of back and forth with GoDaddy and JetPack to get some things working smoothly,but I have my site back.  I did lose three years worth of blog posts due to them being corrupted by the hacked and all of my images.  I’m having to reinstall every plugin and redesign my entire site.  It’s taking forever, but I’m getting there.  I run WordFence with every time I’ve uploaded files or migrated files. I’m having to go over each post and upload all images and configure the SEO all over again.  Not to mention, I still have three years worth of posts that I still need to upload from my XML file of my site.

But, that’s ok.  I have my site back and it’s going to be better than before.  I’ve learned, to be very careful when things seem a little fishy.  Use a backup plugin to store your files offsite your host, don’t rely on the export site tool in the dashboard either.  Have a good antivirus and firewall on your site and change your passwords occasionally.  I sure have learned a lot from all of this and I hope you have too.  I still have a lot of work to do and I hope you’ll be patient with me as I rebuild, but in the end, starting over hasn’t been so bad either.

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A Battle We Didn’t Expect-Cancer

All of us will face battles from time to time.  Most battles we can anticipate, but some come out of the blue.  Our family is facing a battle we didn’t expect-cancer.

2017 has started off with a bang for our family.  We thought last year was crazy with 5 surgeries in our little family; Becca had wisdom teeth surgery and rotator/labrum surgery, I had a hysterectomy and Emily had knee surgery and labrum surgery.  We should be done right?  Well, I guess not.  Now it’s my husband’s turn and we’re facing a battle we weren’t prepared for and a battle we didn’t expect.  My husband has cancer.

My husband has cancer.  Those are words I never expected to say.  They don’t even want to come out of my mouth.  But now I’m being forced to say them.  He’s being forced to say it.  Our kids are being forced to say it.  Not how we expected 2017 to begin, but here we go.  First I’ll tell you how we found out because it’s just a testament to how God works and how we could have easily missed it.

My husband, Todd, is only 50 and very active and healthy, so when he had a lump/knot thing come up on his shoulder-blade, me and a lot of doctors and nurses that he works with (he works at a hospital) encouraged him to see his primary doctor and get it checked out.  We all figured it just fatty tissue and nothing really to worry about.  His doctor decided to send him in for a scan just to check.  Everyone was right, it was no big deal, BUT, she saw tumors on his kidneys and immediately consulted with a Urologist and they both agreed it was cancer and it was aggressive.

He had to tell us, and I sat frozen for so long, unable to speak, or move.  I couldn’t even ask questions, or check on the kids.  I think I honestly went into shock.  Then fear hit me when I looked in his eye and saw this wasn’t a dream.  He took the news very well, he’s a rock that man.  The kids, well, I’m amazed.  I’m the one that’s freaking out!  Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of appointments.  Just so you know, he feels great!  No symptoms at all!  Which is the weirdest thing, because when people find out, they expect him to actually look sick, or feel sick, but he doesn’t.  Matter of fact, if he hadn’t had the lump come up on his back we would have NEVER known he has Kidney Cancer.  That lump saved his life!

In a  little over a week from now, my husband will have a part of one kidney removed, and then a month from that, he will have the other kidney completely removed.  All of the doctors we’ve spoken to, have said that he will be able to live a completely normal life after his surgeries and recovery, even will one partial kidney.  Totally blows my mind!  Just think about how many times we go in for physical, and they do blood work and everything checks out fine.  That’s what my husband has had, normal blood work!  It would never have been caught and one of his tumors is huge; covering 1/2 to 3/4 of the kidney.  Makes you wonder if everyone should have a head to toe scan every year to catch stuff.

So far, the hardest parts have been listening to my husband tell us the news and the waiting to find out what exactly we’re facing.  Waiting to find out, if I was still going to have a husband and a father for our kids.  Waiting to get to the specialist.  The fear of all of the unknown.  Telling other people.  Having other people look like they are going to break down, for you when you tell them or they ask how we’re doing, but you’re smiling because you have a secret that’s really not a secret to those that have faith.

From the moment he found out, my husband looked at us and said, “I’m not worried because God’s got this.” Whatever the outcome, He’s got this.”  That’s what we’ve been saying and that’s what we believe.  So when other people look at us like we’re crazy for not freaking out, or not falling apart (which I promise I have my moments and I know that all of us have at some time), we just tell them, God’s got this.  Does it mean this will be a cakewalk?  Of course not.  It just means, that He’s here with us.  It means, we’re ready to fight and he’s fighting with us.  It means my husband has a life to live and he plans to live it and be back on the lake fishing tournaments by spring!  It means that even though this is a battle that we weren’t prepared for, that God is already prepared for it and He’s got this.  We just have to trust Him.

Please be in prayer for my husband and our family.

God’s Got This!

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Best Barbeque Meatballs

Absolutely the easiest and best barbeque meatballs in the world!  This is a favorite recipe of my kids.  They ask for it over and over! It’s quick, easy, and very tasty!  I’ve taken it to church and potlucks and it’s always a hit.  It even works great as an appetizer!

I’ve been making this barbeque meatball recipe for as long as I can remember.  I don’t even remember where I got the recipe from, but it’s definitely yummy.  I love serving it with a plate of steamy, white rice or creamy macaroni and cheese.

Meatballs:

2 pounds ground beef

1-2 eggs

2 tbsp. flour

2 tsp. mustard

1/2 tsp. onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 –1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)

BBQ Sauce:

1 cup ketchup

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix all of the meatball ingredients.  Make meatballs about 1 1/2″ diameter and put in baking dish.  Set aside.

In a small bowl mix all of the barbeque sauce ingredients.  Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Cook time is determined by the size of the meatballs or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Great served with rice or macaroni and cheese!

Crockpot Version:  Make just like above and put in crockpot.  Cook on slow for 4-6 hours.

Red Velvet Cheerwine Cupcakes For My Valentine

Red Velvet Cheerwine Cupcakes…For my Valentine…Perfection!

My husband is crazy for Cheerwine and don’t go thinking that it’s liquor! It’s not, it’s only the best soda in the entire world. There is no description for it because there is nothing like it. It’s closest cousin is a cherry soda, but that would be like a seventh cousin. It’s amazing and full of cherry flavor and all fizzy and yummy. Ok, back to the recipe!  I saw a picture online of a cupcake that was red velvet with Cheerwine, cream cheese frosting with dark chocolate drizzle and a maraschino cherry on top. Sounds divine, right? Well I spent the better part of yesterday looking for the recipe but I couldn’t find one. I found versions of red velvet with Cheerwine, but none exactly like what I wanted. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to surprise her valentine? Come up with it on her own! They are so good!  

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:

1 Duncan Hines Red Velvet Specialty cake mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups of Cheerwine

1 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the above together just like the cake mix calls for. Be careful opening the Cheerwine! If you are inexperienced with Cheerwine, then you don’t know about its exploding all over the kitchen capabilities and turning everything within a 10’ radius pink! So open it very slowly. Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Put them in the fridge to cool completely.

Icing Ingredients:

1/2 stick of butter room temperature

8 oz. package of cream cheese softened

1 large bag of powdered sugar (8 cup size)

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

1/2 cup Cheerwine

4 tsp. maraschino cherry juice

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla, maraschino cherry juice and Cheerwine and mix. Slowly add 5 cups of powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time until all creamed together. Add more sugar until desired thickness is reached. Sit in the fridge to set and thicken up for a little bit. Ice cupcakes. I put mine in an icing bag with no tip and swirled it around the cupcake. Put cupcakes back in the fridge to harden while youmake the drizzle.

Chocolate Drizzle:

1 square of semi sweet chocolate

1-2 Tbsp. butter

Put both in a bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stir and continue until chocolate is melted. Mix thoroughly. Take cupcakes out the fridge and using a spoon drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes. Top with a maraschino cherry.

My flub for the day: The first time I made the icing I used a whole stick of butter and I just couldn’t get the icing to thicken up and stick to the cupcake. So I wound up using a whole bag of powdered sugar and a good bit from another one. I realized I used way too much butter, the oil in the butter was keeping it from thickening and making it slippery and so was the corn syrup in the cherry juice. So in the recipe above I cut the butter down to 1/2 stick. That should work much better! Or you can leave it with a whole stick of butter and use a ton of sugar and then you’ll have some left over to use another day. The oops icing turned out wonderful anyway and the cupcakes were amazing!Red Velvet Cheerwine Cupcakes

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Homeschool Mid-Year Check up

It’s time for a homeschool mid-year check up!  Just like you get check-ups, your homeschool needs them too.

Do you go to the doctor when you’re not feeling well?  Hopefully you’re better about it than I am.  I typically wait until I feel like I’m dying before I call the doctor and that’s usually one of the worst things I can do.  If I would have gone sooner, not only would I have felt better faster, it also wouldn’t have gotten as bad as it did.  All those years of not going in for a checkup isn’t the best thing either.  What if something was wrong with me and I didn’t know it yet?  You would know if you did a homeschool mid-year check up!

A check up could alert the doctor and myself to something that’s wrong before it gets serious.  So why do we put them off?  It’s no different for my homeschool or yours.  Even homeschools need checkups,  and doing a homeschool mid-year check up is a must.  Why bother?  Especially if everything seems to be going really good.

It gives you a chance to review your goals – are you meeting them, or not, or sorta kinda. Maybe homeschool is going great, but could you spice it up a little more?  Are your kids really learning?  Is everything going great because the work is too easy and not challenging them?  Maybe you’ve just found a really great rhythm and nothing needs tweaking.  Congratulations!  Enjoy this phase while it lasts!

Why do a mid-year homeschool review?   By the time you reach the Christmas break you’ve been using your curriculum long enough to hopefully now if it’s working or not.  This is the best time during the homeschool year to make change.  You can start fresh after the break.  There is still enough time to tweak what you’re using if it’s not working for you.  Can’t order new curriculum?  Then just tweak what you’re using or go back to what was working.  Make it work for you, not the other way around!

Review your goals for the homeschool year.  Are they obtainable?  Have you met your goals?  Make some new ones.  Look carefully at your kids grades, is the work too hard?  Is it too easy?  Or is it Goldilocks?  Are you having any discipline problems that need to be addressed?  This can be a reflection of the curriculum, learning style and many other things.  Take time to think and pray over these things now before it becomes worse.

How’s your record keeping?  Are you keeping up?  If not, take this time to get caught up.  Do you like your record keeping or would you like to switch next year?  Make notes!  Take time to really assess your whole homeschool, the curriculum, classes, projects, extras and make notes of what you’d like to change for next year.  Are there fun projects or field trips, movies, anything that you forgot about or would still like to do?  Try to see if you can work them in.

Talk with your kids!  Ask them how they feel homeschool is going.  Are they being socialized enough?  Are there things they want to learn that you didn’t know about?  Do they feel like they’re struggling anywhere or would they like a little more of a challenge?  You’d be surprised at what your kids will tell you when they feel like they can open up to you and they should be able to be honest with you about homeschool.  But be prepared, we need to be critiqued too, and sometimes that pill can be hard to swallow.  But if we need to make changes, then they should start with us.

Think about a mid-year review like a review at your job.  Some companies only do annual reviews and some do both.  This gives the employer and the employee a chance to find out the company as a whole is doing and if it’s moving along the projected path.  It also does the same for the employee. Are you still heading in the right direction, how’s your attitude toward the company and fellow employees, etc.

It’s really no different for a homeschool.  We need to know as teachers how we’re doing.  We need to know how our homeschool as a whole is doing and are we still on the path we set at the beginning of the homeschool year?  How does the principal of the homeschool think we’re doing?   If that’s your spouse, are they fully aware of what’s really going on?  And what about our students, how do they feel about the homeschool as a whole, their work, curriculum, attitudes, etc.

Now is the time to fix what needs to be fixed for the remainder of this homeschool year.  Above all, take time to pray over your homeschool, yourself as a teacher and your kids as students.    Then take time to reflect and review.  You could do it a home, Starbucks or do it retreat style and go away for a weekend.   Wherever you will have some quiet time.  Just remember this is not the time to beat yourself up.  It’s just a mid-year checkup!  Blog Signature

 

Free Printable History Syllabus

Just for you today! A free history syllabus!

Today I’ve been working on my plans for History and I just finished laying it all out and I thought I’d share it with you as a free printable history syllabus. It’s Emily’s senior year and I really want to cram it all in. It worked out that she is finishing up year 4 of Tapestry of Grace. But whether or not, you use this curriculum you can still use this plan of study or syllabus (if you need the fancy-shmancy word).

We split up our years differently than Tapestry of Grace, but this takes you through Modern Times or 1920 through present. Feel free to download and use as a guide for your homeschool. Where you see 1920’s or 1980’s I’m using videos about those decades. I use a lot of videos and movies for history! Happy Homeschooling!

To download your free copy Click Here!

Effortless Homeschool Planning

Did I say, “Effortless Homeschool Planning?”  Yes, I did!  Well, maybe you have to put a little effort in, but with a few tips, it sure will be a breeze!

Time to break out the coffee, chocolate and snacks again, and send the kiddos to grandma’s house and the hubby to work!  It’s time to plan for another homeschool year!  I still can’t believe this will be my last year planning for our own homeschool.  Believe me, time does fly!  To help your homeschool planning go smoother, here are some of my posts to show how I plan my homeschool year.

It’s really not hard to plan your whole homeschool year.  If you use a traditional textbook method like Abeka, then it’s really easy because the whole year is already planned.  You just have to copy what you’re doing each day from each subject into your planner.  For example:  Math-Day 1, page 5, problems page 6; Science ready pages 6-10; English test 1, etc.  That’s it!

Then you can add fun stuff to go with it, like a history movie or a lap book!  If you’re like me and you kinda do your own thing, then it gets a little more complicated.  But it also stretches your creativity, too, which I really like.  Don’t feel like you have to plan every minute detail at this point; before each school week, take time to look your week over and get more detailed.  This week and next week, I’ll take you step by step as I plan for school, but for right now, just get the nuts and bolts down.

Here’s some posts to get you started, just click on the picture to go to the posts from my archives! Enjoy the old pictures from my planners!

Homeschool Planning 101 – Course Projections

Homeschool Planning 101 – School Calendar

http://girlfriendsguide2.com/homeschool-planning-101-daily-schedule/

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Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ok, ever since Panera started advertising their chicken noodle bowl, I’ve been dying to try one.  Problem is…

I never have time to get there, and today I had a teeny, tiny stomach bug.  I started craving a chicken noodle bowl and I’ve never had one!  How does that happen?  Really great advertising on their part I’d say!  So I started a little Pinterest research, looked into my pantry and made one using the leftovers I had on hand, like yesterday’s grilled chicken and it was delish!  I still don’t know what Panera’s noodle bowls taste like, and it doesn’t even matter because this was so good!

And the best part, I used what I had on hand and it took around 2o minutes or so.  I didn’t really time it, because it tasted so good, I forgot!  I didn’t measure the seasonings exactly so start small and adjust, being careful to go easy with the oyster and soy sauce. Doesn’t that make you hungry?

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ingredients:

1 pack of ramen noodles (discard flavor packet)

3 or more cups of chicken broth depending on how much broth you want

2 tbsp. finely diced onion

3 baby carrots sliced thin

a small handful of baby spinach with stems removed

1 small thinly sliced pre-cooked chicken breast (mine had been grilled and was sprinkled with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders)

10 very thin julienne

red pepper strips

4 dashes of garlic powder

1 heaping tbsp. oyster sauce

1 -2 tsp. soy sauce (low sodium if you want  control the salt)

a few dashes ground ginger

a dash of pepper  sriracha sauce

Directions:

Pour chicken broth in a pot on high and let boil.  Add onions and peppers and carrots.  Let boil for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Add ramen noodles and stir occasionally.  Add seasonings and stir.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  Everything should blend together.  You should taste the soy sauce/oyster sauce but they should not overpower.  If you really like heat add more sriracha sauce!  I allowed it to cook for about 15 minutes on medium to reduce the broth and let the flavors come together.  When everything has been added and the noodles are done, then add the spinach and let cook until spinach is just wilted.  It’s done!

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Free Printable Graduation Planning Countdown

Get ready for Senior Graduation with this free printable Graduation Planning Countdown!  From my book Girlfriend’s Guide 2 Graduation Planning.

Ready or not, it’s graduation time!  It’s Senior Year and you don’t want to miss anything.  Please enjoy this graduation planning timeline from my book.  Graduation Planning Timeline

To download and print a copy please Click Here!

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