American Girl Doll Bed/Trunk Combo Recommendation

I wanted to pass on this bed/trunk combo for American Girl Dolls that I found last year. I ordered one for Hope's birthday last year. I paid for the trunk, Grandma bought the bed, and Oma bought bedding--- altogether- very affordable and a very nice keepsake. I started looking for this because Kirsten was being retired last year, and I had always thought I would buy the trunk to keep the dolls in until they had daughters. With it being discontinued, I thought I'd better get on that. However, if you've looked into them, they're VERY expensive- and- by October- they were sold out. So, I went looking online and found this one for a quarter of the price! We got it and LOVE it. The bed actually fits inside the trunk- and the doll can lay on the bed and clothes can be stored underneath the bed. The man who makes them was quite willing to work with me on customizing it, too- which I appreciated.

Without further ado...the link to the Bed/Trunk Combo. : )

Also, if you have these dolls, may I also recommend the Beautiful Girlhood Collection at Vision Forum? Particularly the historic dresses and books. To get all 4 books and dresses is about $100 but they can be purchased individually. We have really enjoyed the books. I can't recommend all the clothes- we were very disappointed with the Medieval Princess Doll Dress--- the Velcro destroyed the dress the first time we put it on the doll- and it didn't fit very well. That said- the historic dresses were much better. Books were GREAT! : )

10 minute meals?

When you're in a BIG hurry or kids are SUPER hungry, what can you fix in a flash?!?!?
Bean Burrito- {Can of refried beans, put some on each tortilla (flour or corn for GF), half a piece of cheese on top, nuked. Can of corn makes a quick side or chips/salsa}

Guacamole- to some, not a complete meal- {1 or more avacados (soft- peeled and mashed), 1/4c. or so of salsa, dash of lime juice, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, etc - mix. If you're in a big hurry- just the avacado and salsa is good... it only gets better incrementally with the spices.}

Beanies and Weanies- Do I dare admit this? Yes, hotdogs chunked up in pork and beans or baked beans. A variation- ground beed (if you have leftover or have it in pre-measured frozen packets) in baked beans.

If you can spare 15 minutes to get it ready...

Red Beans, Rice, and sausage- {I keep the boil-in-bags of brown rice on hand, and cook in micro in covered pyrex for 10min- cook (if you cook rice in broth- has lots more flavor!), add can drained kidney beans, and any kind of sausage (I keep turkey kielbasa in the freezer), and a small can of V8 adds nice flavor and makes it saucier. A small can of tomato sauce with spices would do, too.}

Mexican Mix-Up- {Do the rice in broth in the micro again, add drained/rinsed cans of black beans and corn, some spices- cumin, cayenne- stir w/ salsa, sprinkle shredded cheddar over top- and a dollop of sour cream if you have it. Serve alone, over crackers, or wrap in a tortilla for a fancy burrito!}

What do YOU fix when you're in a hurry?!?!?! Let us know... it seems there are more rushed meals right now than there should be as we all adjust to the new schedules of fall.

God bless your cooking and your eating!

Some "fresh coat" improvements...

I've made some fresh updates and improvements to the blog...

*An updated "bookshelf" carousel of what's on my bookshelf

*A new look- thanks again to Leelou Blogs

*New worship music added to the Playlist

*A new picture slideshow with summer and beginning of school pictures- coming SOON!

Thank you for coming to visit the "Inspired Life"--- I pray that you ARE inspired to walk hand in hand with the only One who inspires me,



Hi friends! In case any of you are going through a transition of any sort… new to homeschooling, new job, transitioning after a move, transitioning to an additional child in the family, etc.- I thought you might find this helpful. It was sent to me by my good friend, Heidi Lewerenz, of


To me, life transition often feels like the transition in child birth...  To say it's intense is an understatement.  While I'm in it, I can think of nothing but getting out of it.  Often, in transition, I vow "never to do this again".  I often yell, cry, try to keep breathing...surviving. 

Even though I've had a few births, I always forget that transition is the shortest part.  I often lament "I can't do this ANY longer!".   But, somehow I do.  Transition is the relatively short - not so sweet-  necessary part of birthing anything new.  Are you in transition?

Survive the transition.  Embrace it if possible.  It usually means something beautiful is coming.

Back to Homeschool Tips

As we started back to homeschool this morning, earlier than most in our area, I thought I might share a few tips for a smooth transition. I hope you find them helpful- and I hope to keep them at the forefront of MY mind by writing them down!

  1. Start with prayer : ) beforehand and with them.
  2. Keep lessons SHORT. It will take to build up the attention span and learning stamina again.
  3. Stop while they're still having FUN! If you do it until they're tired and bored, it won't be as appealing tomorrow.
  4. LOTS OF PRAISE! Focus on the positives as you get back. Make necessary corrections, but keep it light.
  5. Use incentives if you think they might be necessary. We have for a few years had a "cheerful change" jar at the beginning of school. They start out with one or two of each coin. Complaining or whining brings the largest valued coins out of the jar and back to mom first. What's left when work is completed is theirs to keep. You probably know what will motivate your reluctant pupil!!!
  6. In a multi-age setting, have older children help younger children on a simple task or two for 15-20 min. Joshua had help with letters and sounds from Anya. Josiah had help with penmanship and health from Hope. They all seemed to enjoy that time together! (Again, keep it short and stop while it's still fun!)
  7. Don't forget to take a picture.

Enjoy your year- and remember- what is not learned today can be learned tomorrow…you are building a solid foundation through which all learning and Truth can be built.

God bless your teaching and their learning~