Wren Update for early September

(Affiliate links included.)


Hello friends!

It has been quite awhile since I’ve updated you. Honestly, chemo does take it out of you. And it can keep a person doing the bare minimum, which I’ve often felt was pretty descriptive of me. But here is a short list of the latest!

The end is in sight

Friday, September 1, was my 5th chemo session.  Of 6!  My next and last chemotherapy treatment is scheduled for Friday, September 22.  It takes about 6 hours from start to finish.

I have had some unexpected issues come up; one was that my potassium level dropped below normal.  Apparently there is a range that potassium needs to stay within and if it’s below that, it can really wonk out a person’s heartbeat.  (As Yoda likes to say in the “Bad Lip-Reading” video, “Not fun!”)  I’m taking a potassium supplement, which has helped, and am eating bananas and potatoes and consuming Gatorade and orange juice (and water).  All of these are helping.

Post-chemo (especially the first week after), there is nausea and joint and bone pain.  This time I’ve also been a little shaky.

But, I am pretty pooped.  We started homeschooling for my son’s 10th grade year a few weeks ago.  It is going well but I am really, really tired.  Apparently chemo takes it out of a person in more ways than one, for I’ve noticed that I just have less energy.  But again…the end is in sight!  So that is encouraging.


We have been overwhelmed by the love of our friends and family, and organizations…

…who have provided meals, gift cards, more meals, companionship, swim dates, and so much more.  I even had a girlfriend come and visit with me while I was having chemo last week!

I’ve also been given a wig, cute beanies (see above), a bag of makeup (nice makeup!), and even a lovely bottle of night cream from various nonprofits, cosmetics companies, and even a department store.  There are people out there who want women who might be feeling particularly unlovely to feel more beautiful.  So kind.

I also have to give a shout-out to MyFreezEasy.com.  I reviewed MyFreezEasy in the fall and, although Erin Chase, its founder, may never know this, freezer cooking really helped us at various points in the chemo.  Just putting together ingredients for meals in freezer zipper bags that could go into the freezer now and into the crockpot some morning was a huge help.  I haven’t been able to do this consistently (uh..only twice) but am looking forward to getting back into the habit of freezer cooking once chemo is completely and finally over.  And, I want to give another shout-out to our friends who brought us frozen meals!  Same principle entirely; just keep in the freezer til you’re ready to cook.  What a blessing.

And on a funny note…

…and this really is funny.  So feel free to laugh.  After years of getting Ulta and Sephora emails touting their latest makeup product or freebie…suddenly I am getting a LOT of hair product emails!  This is funny b/c I have VERY little hair to put product on.  As in almost none.  Less than a military buzz cut, in fact (yes, this is a result of the chemo).  In fact I’m not using product at all.  My hair product of choice these days is a fun hat or beanie.  Of which I have a few!

But no, dear Sephora and Ulta.  I don’t need your latest fabulous product for curly hair.  Yet.  (Get back with me in March or April, please.)


thank you for keeping up with me!  Thanks from the bottom of my heart to the readers who have hung in there, who read my posts, or who sent encouraging notes or comments.  You have been a huge encourager.


Enjoy!  –Wren






Don’t Forget to Enter My Music Curriculum Giveaway ~ Ends 9/30/16

Did you get to read my review of Gena Mayo’s wonderful 25 Lessons in 20th Century European & South American Music Appreciation?  Just click on the link to read more about this excellent digital music course—which includes history and links to actual performances.  It’s truly phenomenal.

And you can enter to  win a copy for yourself!  Just enter via the Giveaway Tools form below.

Enjoy!  –Wren

From Our Archives: It’s Farmers’ Market Time!

Here’s a great post from Finch, from our archives.  Even has a kitty pic.  Enjoy!

Well, lesson learned today..decided to visit our local farmer’s market. We arrived at 9:20 a.m. lots of cars and still quite a few Farmers with produce to sell.

We were quickly schooled by an older farmer who when I asked “What time do you get here?” He replied: “6:45.” Oh, I said: “and what time do the customer’s arrive?”

“5:45, I have a line out the door.” Oops…early birds do get the worm…

We were still able to buy some wonderful things:

Loaf of Sourdough bread, fresh and warm

Homemade mixed berry jam


Bell Peppers


A ton of Basil

Two gorgeous Cantaloupes

Best of all…loved seeing the local farmers and buying true organic!!  Cleo was less than thrilled…


I cant eat this

5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents: Joy

Hello again!  Welcome back to our 5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents Blog Hop!

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool ParentsMy tip for today is a bit less tangible than those I’ve talked about earlier. But I believe that it’s still a key idea for me to be aware of.


All of us who went to church camp probably remember the song which said, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart….”  And those of us who are Christians are probably familiar with Nehemiah 8:10, which says “….the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  I do believe that!  But I’ve also noticed that I can also make some choices and do some things that bring me joy in my daily life as well.  And I think that is important for me as the mom of my home, because we all know that mama’s attitude affects everybody else’s attitude!  I can teach every day, and do the other mom things I do (you know—meals, chores, directing the kiddo in his responsibilities, etc….).  But especially if and when times are hard, which they can be in life from time to time, only I can choose to do those things which uplift me and bless my family members.

Bible devotional readingSo what are some of those things?

I do spend time in God’s Word.  I’m currently working on a Bible study of the book of Hebrews, and I do some devotional reading too (I’ve been loving Psalm 46 lately).  And that’s really a baseline for me….it just sets me out each day on the right path.

I’ve also noticed (though I’m no great artist) that sitting down to do art (whether it’s on my own or with my son) really creates a sense of peace.  I find this most in painting with watercolors and drawing with pastels in my little art journal.  I have some awesome art tutorial books (one especially for moms!) but I haven’t had time to sit down with them.  But at some point….

I love gardening as well.  Of course, where I live we’ve still got snow on the ground….but I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks to do some garden planning and seed shopping.  Once it’s planted and the seeds are sprouting, I go outside and gaze at it nearly every day!  It makes me feel so peaceful and thankful.

And friends and family!  I don’t get to spend nearly as much time hanging out with either of them.  But at least I’ve finally taken up texting!

I guess my point is….

that self care is very important for the homeschool mama.  (Or daddy.)  In order to keep ourselves going, we’ve got to keep an eye on our health…our meals and exercise…and making sure there’s time for fun and joy.  At the end of the day, that will enable us to keep our own homeschools bright and healthy!

My fellow Crew bloggers….

have some neat tips today as well.  Hop on over to these 10 of my friends’ blogs, for their homeschooling tips of the day!

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom’s Plans

And check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog as well!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Curried Thai rice bowl!

Hello Fresh Curried Thai Rice Bowl; this is hands down one of our favorite dishes. The curry was fabulous and the lime accent added a delightful zing!

Curried thai rice bowl box

Curried thai rice bowl box open


  • 3/4 c Basmati Rice
  • 1 Can Lite Coconut Milk
  • 4 oz Button Mushrooms
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 T Curry Powder
  • 1 oz Cashew pieces
  • 1 T Peanut Butter
  • 2 Scallions
  • 1 Lime
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 c Water

Prep the ingredients:

Roughly chop the mushrooms, set aside.

Curried thai rice mushrooms

Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the greens and whites separate.

Curried thai rice scallions

Preheat oven on roast setting to 400 degrees.

Cut the eggplant into ¾-inch cubes, place into paper towel to soak up the water from the eggplant.

Curried thai rice eggplant


Put eggplant into bowl and toss with olive oil to coat; then place onto a pan and place into oven for abut 30 minutes or until tender.

Curried thai eggplant roasted

Cook the rice: In a small pot, bring 1 ½ cups water and a large pinch of salt to a boil.

Toast the cashews: Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the cashews to the dry pan and cook, tossing, for 2-3 minutes, until toasted and fragrant.

Curried thai rice cashews

Heat a drizzle of oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the curry powder and scallion whites and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

Curried thai rice sauce

Add the mushrooms and ½ cup coconut milk to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil.

Curried thai rice with mush

Once boiled add 1 Tablespoon peanut butter to the pan and stir to combine.

Curried thai mix with PB

Simmer for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender; season with salt and pepper. Then stir the roasted eggplant and rice into the pan with the coconut curry mixture.

Cut the lime into wedges.

Curried thai rice limes

Serve the curried Thai rice bowl topped with the toasted cashews and 2 lime wedges.

Curried thai rice finished