The Top 10 Burger Recipes

This weekend is Labor Day. Labor Day comes with a lot of changes:

1. School is starting

2. White is no longer allowed to be worn.

3. Fall is coming.

(Who follows #2 anyway? I wear white even on Christmas, so evidently, I am not a fashion expert!)

The 10 best burgers for Labor Day

I gave you some ideas of Back to School Teacher gifts. I also got you set with a list of 12 things your child’s teacher wants you to know about the start of school. Next week, I will be posting some fun things for fall (including a giveaway!). You already know I can’t help you with fashion, but to make up for it, here are some awesome burger recipes! Now you are set for Labor Day. Go forth and grill!

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How to make homemade peanut butter

If I knew how easy it was to make peanut butter at home, I would have started doing it ages ago.

How to make homemade peanut butter

Have you ever looked at the ingredient list in the peanut butter you buy at the grocery store? Here’s hint, it doesn’t just say, peanuts.

How to make homemade peanut butter

1. It is better for you – you don’t have all those extra preservatives and nasty ingredients added in

2. It’s cheaper than other natural peanut butters

3. It is much more yummy than any other peanut butter!

4. You can customize it however you want. You can add honey to make honey peanut butter, you can add chocolate and make nutella. It is super versatile.

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Lina.J Bag Review and Giveaway

I love being organized. Planners and notebooks, baskets and bins are all favorites of mine because they help me stay organized.

I can’t imagine that I am the only mama on the planet that STRUGGLES with keeping the diaper bag organized. I organize that thing and before I even arrive somewhere, I take a peek in the diaper bag and it looks like something blew up in there.

Lina.J Bag Review and Giveaway

Then, I learned about the Lina.J Bag. Oh my goodness. This bag is the beautiful marriage of a fashionable purse and a functional diaper bag. I am so grateful that they sent me one to review.

Lina.J Bag Review and Giveaway

Inside you can fit all your essentials and keep them organized so you can grab something in a pinch.

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What your Child’s Teacher Wants you to Know at the Beginning of the School Year

I’m sure, as a parents, you have wondered what goes on in the classroom. You might have even imagined what your child’s teacher might say to you if there were no repercussions. Well, here you go from this ex-teacher to you. A list of what your child’s teacher wants you to know at the beginning of the school year.

What your Child's Teacher Wants you to Know at the Beginning of the School Year

1. The beginning of the school year is tough.

Teachers have meetings, professional development, a classroom to get ready, students to meet, and  parents to please.

 2. Teachers are more nervous on the first day than the students.

You know those first day of school nightmares where you forgot everything (even your clothes) and you don’t know where to go? Yeah, teachers get those too. The first day of school comes with as much butterflies if you have been teaching one year or fifty.

What your Child's Teacher Wants you to Know at the Beginning of the School Year

Photo by Sarah Harvey


3. Tell them later.

Back to school/meet the teacher night are NOT the time to tell your child’s teacher about all your child’s allergies, academic concerns, interpersonal problems or your marriage issues. This is also true for the first day of school. Drop your child and leave.

4. It’s not ALL true.

Don’t believe everything your child tells you about school and their teacher, you would be VERY surprised at what your child tells the teacher about you. Make an agreement not to believe everything you hear from their little mouths.

5. Respect the teacher’s time.

If there is an after school event that ends at 6:00 in the evening, don’t make them stay after and talk about how your child is doing. (see #6)

6. If you want to talk to the teacher, schedule a conference.

7. Give the teacher a month.

If your child comes home on the second day, or even the second week, hating the teacher or classroom; give them a little more time. I had a student who despised me for a month because he was so in love with his previous teacher and thought I was trying to replace her in his heart. By the second month…I had.

8. Don’t be a flake.

Don’t sign up to help in the classroom or buy supplies unless you will follow through. It was so frustrated when parents would sign up to help and then not show up. Or, if they signed up to bring some school supplies to help the classroom and they never did. If you aren’t sure you can do it, don’t sign up and leave that spot open for someone who can.

9. Anything with “World’s best teacher goes into the trash.

Unless it’s a Starbucks cup filled with their favorite drink.

What your Child's Teacher Wants you to Know at the Beginning of the School Year

Photo by Sarah Harvey

10. Be careful what you say

I know how easy it is to tell your husband or your best friend how disappointed you are that your child didn’t get so and so for a teacher this year. You might even talk about how the teacher your child DID get is such a loser. How the teacher is lazy and should be fired. Please be careful, your children are listening. It’s not a matter of if they are going to repeat what you said, but a matter of when. Your attitude about school and their teacher affects them – for the rest of the school year.

11. Show your teacher your appreciation by bringing them a lunch.

I would have the most amazing parents in my class send me an email and say, “I’m bringing little Johnny lunch from Subway today, what can I get for you?” It blessed me so much. Teachers bring their lunch to school just like your child. You know how excited your kid gets when you bring them a hot meal from a local takeout place? Yeah, same thing for teachers.

12. They probably don’t love your child. Yet.

By the end of the school year, they will not only love your child, but they will grieve when they have to send them on to the next grade level. When I was a teacher, I missed my students from the year before so much that sometimes it took me until about Thanksgiving to fall in love with all my current students. Now, years after I have left teaching, I still hold my students in my heart. I loved every single student (yes, EVERY one) and miss them.

What your Child's Teacher Wants you to Know at the Beginning of the School Year

What would you add to this list?

 Have you ever done any of the above for your child’s teacher?

Lessons Learned from Homeschooling

Greg and I have talked about homeschooling. We are definitely leaning that way with our kids. I am so grateful my bloggy friend, Melissa, is here today to share a few lessons she has learned homeschooling. She blogs over at Lone Star Signers and is amazing! Please go over and check out her blog!


Now that it’s August, we’re officially gearing up for our third year of homeschooling. I’ve discovered a lot about home education (and myself) these past two years, so I thought I’d share my knowledge with any families who may be considering homeschooling for their own children.

1. You don’t have to have a degree in education to teach your own children! While my love for lesson-planning and my enviable children’s book collection have made homeschooling a tiny bit easier, I’ve also had to unlearn quite a few things along the way.

The hardest part for me was letting go of the desire to re-create school at home. Our first year, I set up a learning area for my 4-year-old and expected her to sit at a desk and complete worksheet activities. It didn’t take long to realize my expectations were not developmentally appropriate for my daughter! These days, we either do lessons sitting on the floor, couch, or at the kitchen table. I work hard to ensure that my teaching style matches how Addie learns best—and we include a lot of gross-motor activities, too.

Homeschooling doesn’t mean six-eight hours of focused schoolwork five days a week. With a smaller teacher to student ratio, most of our subjects require only a small mini-lesson (5-10 minutes) and time to practice the new skill. Most days, we are able to complete all of our “table work” in less than two hours, leaving plenty of time for free play, trips to the library and the park, and lessons in life skills.


2. Homeschooling allows parents to “redeem” their own education! We moved a few times in my childhood, so I attended four elementary schools in two states. I’m quite certain I missed a few things, including whole sections of history and U.S. Geography.

My strongest desire is that our children will develop a lifelong love for learning. Although I am now the “teacher,” there is no shame for me to answer a question with the response: “Let’s find out together!” My 1st grader and I are learning states and capitals together this summer. I’m filling in my own gaps in education next to my sweet babies and nothing could be sweeter.

3. There is no “one size fits all” education. For our children to truly be successful as adults, they need to fully understand how they learn, how to use their strengths to help others, and how to compensate for any areas of weakness. Homeschooling allows parents to tailor their child’s day-to-day learning and gives each child the freedom to work at their own pace. (And even if your children attend a public, private, or charter school, you can always try “afterschooling” as a family!)


4. The idea that homeschooled children will not be “socialized” is a big myth. The school environment has changed so much in the past 10-15 years—children now work in cooperative-learning groups, but they don’t have the same opportunities for free play that we did at that age. I’ve even heard that some public schools have “silent lunch.”

My own girls spend their days making memories with each other and learning about relationships with people of all ages. We have a social activity nearly every day of the week because our learning schedule is so flexible!

While I know that homeschooling is not possible for every family, I do honestly believe that each parent can be their child’s first and best teacher. Take heart, new homeschooling families, and have courage—this is going to be a great adventure!

How I save money on cheese

My husband and I are trying to eat less meat.

It’s expensive and it clogs up your arteries. Or so I’ve been told.

Since we are carnivores at heart, it has been hard for me to make the transition to more veggies and less meat.

Cheese helps.


Matter of fact, cheese pretty much helps most situations.

You have a fight with a friend? Eat some four cheese pizza.

Sick with pneumonia? Eat some mac and cheese.

See how beautiful cheese is?

That’s why saving money on cheese has become essential for my family.

How I save money on cheese

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What does it mean, Beauty for Ashes?

I have had a few questions about the name of my blog.

What does beauty for ashes mean?

Maybe you have heard of it and know exactly what I am talking about. Maybe you haven’t the slightest idea.

I added an explanation page under “About Me” on the menu bar above.

Click on the picture below if you are curious and want to know more!

what does beauty for ashes mean

If you have any questions about beauty for ashes or my blog name, please leave a comment below! (Or just leave a comment because you know I love to read and respond to them!)


20 Things to Know Before Having a Toddler in the House

We are headed to family vacation next week.

My husband, toddler, infant and me are all headed to my parent’s house.

20 things to know about having a toddler in your house

It has been a while since they lived with a toddler, since it the last time was when I was one.

Therefore, I created this list 20 things to know before having a toddler in the house.

20 things to know about having a toddler in your house

1. Milk will be spilled.

2. We are potty training, accidents happen. Most of the time, they occur at the worst moments possible.

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Healthy Blueberry Coffee Cake

You know something fun about summer?

It’s hot.

Okay, that isn’t so fun. At least not in Texas, where it’s five thousand degrees (slight exaggeration). You know what is REALLY fun about summer?

blueberry coffee cake

It’s blueberry season.

Which means, you can make all kinds of fun blueberry treats.

blueberry coffee cake 2

Take this blueberry coffee cake, for example.

This isn’t just a breakfast treat either, it’s great for lunch, as a snack, a dinner side salad. Well, this might not really qualify as a salad, but you can try.

blueberry coffee cake

It’s fairly simple to make.

Normally, you would put it in a cake pan, but I spiced things up a little and made it in a bundt pan.

healty blueberry coffee cake

I know how to live on the wild side.

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