thoughts for this week..

The other day I came on social media and I said that if anything going on these crazy days has made you curious about natural remedies or hand made products for cleaning and such… that I would love to share with you. And I mentioned that my passion for these things has grown in recent years and it’s true. On my Website you can find tutorials for our homemade foaming soap and our natural laundry detergent. And it is also true that I love to share what I’ve learned about plants and whole foods and essential oils that can help with soooo many things!

But ever since I posted that story on Instagram I’ve been thinking about what I didn’t say!
THis world is a crazy crazy place and right now, it’s sort of showing the truth of that in ways we have never seen before.

And whether you are scared of catching a virus or what overreacting people can do to others. If your concern is in germs or in government over- reach. Either way… there is something that I am more passionate about than any of these other things. And I’m sorry I failed to mention it before.

With the world around us changing drastically moment to moment. With Media hype and school closures and empty store shelves. What you really need (more than extra TP) is to know that JESUS LOVES YOU!

If you are scared, that’s ok! If you are nervous or even mad and just want to feel secure again.. I get that. Here’s the thing. Jesus has never failed and he never will!

When I am being truly honest, I have to admit that I’m a little nervous. We live in a crazy time right now and I don’t know what the future holds. But, I cannot even imagine going through all of this without knowing Jesus’ love for me and my family!

So, I wanted to write this to YOU. In case you don’t know the peace that Jesus can give you in the midst of this storm.
Yes, I’ll share my recipe for germ killing hand soap, and I’ll even share the tp we have, if you need it… But Above all you have to know my Saviour! And I hope that if you don’t know HIM you would reach out and let’s talk about Him.

Last week in Awana, we talked to the 3rd – 5th graders about the gift of JOY that Jesus gives us. And we talked about how that doesn’t mean we walk around with a plastered fake smile on our face reciting “everything’s OK” it means that even when things are wrong… Jesus’ joy is there for us. Confidence in knowing HE holds our future.

The boys learned last year in VBS that even “when life is crazy, God IS GOOD!” and when “Life changes, GOD IS GOOD!”

And for my sisters and brothers in Christ, I pray you seek out ways to show Christ’s love to those around you. That you remember that your HOPE is secure in Christ and HE has a plan! And it’s ok to be nervous or concerned but FEAR doesn’t come from Christ. Use the love and sound mind HE gave us to think of others and provide for our families.

Praying for you all as I write this. I’m praying that instead of sitting in fear and dread you will find the One who loves you more than anything!! He gave HIS life for you and HE’s got all of us in HIS hand!

Praying you all have everything you truly need and that anything you have extra.. You will share with a neighbor.
Praying for protection.
Pray for our country and leaders. That they only have the power that God has given to them and use it for good and not evil.

Pray for wisdom and kindness!

Love you,
Deanna Grace

5 Things that Don’t Need To Change in 2020

5 things that don’t need to change in 2020.

I LOVE New Years. I know that there isn’t any magic to the changing of the calender year. But there is something so refreshing about looking ahead. and even with putting things away that are behind us!

It is easy for me to write lists, goals, plans, hopes for the new year. It is exciting to me.

I like to write out goals for each one of the kids as well as personal ones for me, and even some goals for Ryan and myself too.

 We will be adding things like project we would like to do around our home. And even adventures we hope to have as a family. 

If you are like me, then you don’t find it hard to quickly come up with a long list of things you would like to change or at the very least improve in the new year.

But the other day I was flipping through a Real Simple Magazine and came across this picture. It’s the title of an article (and honestly I can’t remember what the article actually said.) The title is what stopped me in my tracks.

The tag line said, “It’s the time of year to take stock of what you’re already doing right. “



New Year things

Wow! In the midst of all the plans, goals, and changes… why not stop and think about the things that DON’T need changing.

Here’s my list of things that don’t need to change in 2020

1.We have been more intentional about more fun family time this year. The boys’ ages help with this being more enjoyable for everyone. We have all loved the evenings of playing video games altogether. Movie nights, watching football while eating nachos, board games.

Please note all of these are activities enjoyed in our home and cost little to no money!! comfy, no pressure, cheap, and a blast!! We will for sure continue these things in the new year.

2. Bread making!! Bread making was a goal I set for my self for 2019 and I have accomplished it! I make 99% of the bread products we eat now. And I love Baking bread! I have found it to be therapeutic, a creative outlet, and just plain delicious.

3. Homeschool. I have always struggled to say I enjoy homeschooling. My confidence in being able to teach and my doubts about if it’s really the best choice for us have been stumbling blocks for me. But I am leaving 2019 knowing that it’s what works for us!!! And in fact, I have found a way to enjoy it, would even miss it, if we were to stop!!! That’s a huge realization for me.
Now, this doesn’ t mean it’s easy… and there are still lots of tuff days trying to work well together but it’s a calling I feel willing to claim and will carry it proudly into 2020. And I also hope to share more of that journey here on loveandscribbles.

4. Instant pot classes. I’m so glad I started hosting Instant Pot classes. It’s a wonderful time. Just talking about my favorite appliance, demonstrating some of my recipes, and helping people! I’m looking forward to scheduling more in 2020. Let me know if you have a ministry or group that would love to have a class in our area!

5. Relationships! I am glad for every relationship I’ve invested in this past year. Not once do I regret a time of connecting with someone. The thing about friendship and general kindness is this: The more you try to bless someone else,(with that being your honest intention) the more of a blessing you end up getting yourself in return. It’s a win-win really. I go into 2020 with hope for connections and community, for our whole family!  

** 1 Bonus thing I’d like to add to this list.

6. I love having this space here on loveandscribbles. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to share things like recipes and tips. Instant pot, essential oils, home life, boymom life… and I’m praying for how the Lord will use it in the coming year. I am confident that He has more planned then I’ve even embraced yet. And I hope to be braver, true, honest and helpful in the New Year. But for sure, No matter what’s ahead, this blog is coming with me into 2020. And I’m excited about that!

Also, praying for how things like Instagram fit into this whole purpose. so, if you’d like to come along, please join me and Deannalove_and_scribbles.

So that’s 5 things that don’t need to change in 2020 and I’m bringing with me into the New Year! And now to find my journal and write some new goals to bring with me too!! yay!!!

What would you put on your list of things that you are already doing right?

Happy Happy New Year,

Deanna Grace

1 Samual 12:24 ” Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

Have you ever wondered how you can support a blog you enjoy?

There are some pretty simple things you can do that are hugely important for bloggers like me.

  • sharing on social media. Like a recipe or post we share? pin it on Pinterest so others can see it too. Or share it on Facebook or Instagram.
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Thank you all so very much!

instant pot Meatloaf

Instant Pot Meatloaf and Potatoes

Instant Pot Meatloaf and Potatoes!

We have 3 growing boys in our house and growing appetites! Meat Loaf and potatoes have become a staple for us. And our 7 year old even calls it his ” Favorite Dinner ever”.

This Instant Pot meatloaf and potatoes are of course easy (our favorite thing about the Instant pot), cooked in one pot and done without heating up the house with a hot oven on for an hour! (we only turn on the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the top at the end. But, more on that later!)

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The boys love to help mix this all together. We have begun to have more enjoyable times working in the kitchen together recently, I can actually give them simple jobs to do without freaking out! 🙂 (yay! Mom win)

We have these kids’ kitchen tools for them to use!!


Instant Pot Meatloaf and potatoes

Is there anything more comfort food than that?

Here’s how we make our Instant Pot Meatloaf and potatoes

skip to the bottom for a printable version of the recipe

Start by peeling and chopping your potatoes. We love this automatic peeler!!

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water to the instant pot, and place the trivet down too ( this prevents any potatoes sticking to the bottom and causing the burn notice.)

pour the potatoes into the pot.

Next, mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together..

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Instant Pot Sun-dried tomatoes and creamy basil chicken

My family enjoys this Instant Pot Sun-dried tomatoes and creamy basil chicken dinner over noodles, But it’s also yummy over rice (which you could do in the same pot as the chicken!!)

sun-dried tomatoes, basil, cream cheese, chicken breast? Does it get any better? oh wait, all made in the Instant Pot, in just a few minutes!!!!!

Are you looking for easy, family friendly recipes, you can just throw together in a few minutes on those busy nights? This is sure to please!

Make this for your family and I’m sure they will agree with mine that this Instant Pot Sun-dried tomatoes and creamy chicken is just plain delicious.

Instant Pot Sun-dried Tomatoes and Creamy Basil Chicken

 Want to try more of our Instant Pot Recipes? check out our list here at

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Instant Pot Sun-dried tomatoes and creamy chicken
creamy chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and basil, served over buttered noodles or rice! yum!
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Keyword instant pot
Keyword instant pot
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  1. Place frozen chicken in Instant pot, pour all ingredients except cream cheese over chicken. place lid on pot and set valve to seal. * If you want to make rice with this, now is the time to prepare it and stick it on top of the rice, see instructions below.
  2. set Instant pot to manual 18 minutes. let Naturally Release to 5-10 minutes. meanwhile, make noodles. .
  3. release remaining pressure and mix in the cream cheese. breaking up the chicken a bit. Serve over noodles or rice.
  4. (if making brown rice with this meal, increase time to 23 minutes)
Recipe Notes

To make brown rice with this meal,  you just need an oven safe bowl that fits inside your pot.  mix in 1 & 1/2 cups of brown rice, 3 & 1/3 cups water or broth, 1 TB butter. stir, and  place a trivet on top of chicken in Instant Pot, bowl on top of trivet, then cook, increasing time to 23 minutes. NPR for 5 -10 minutes before opening the lid. 


 If you want to try any of our other Instant Pot Recipes check out our list here at

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Instant pot creamy beef stroganoff

Instant Pot Creamy Beef Stroganoff

Instant POt Creamy Beef Stroganoff

We love this Instant Pot Creamy Beef Stroganoff! To me there really isn’t a better combination then beef and mushrooms and when you serve it over butter noodles, oh man!!

And this one will be done in about 40 minutes (that’s prep and all). So, if you are looking for family-friendly, easy, quick recipes! Give this one a try tonight!

Looking for more Instant Pot Recipes? Here’s our recipe page!

Need an Instant Pot or some fun accessories? check out our Amazon shopping List here!

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Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
Instant pot creamy beef stroganoff
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Instant pot creamy beef stroganoff
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Rating: 0
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  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute, pour in oil and brown the meat for a few minutes. Be sure to scrape up any stuck parts off the bottom of the pot.
  2. Remove meat and throw in mushrooms and onions. Saute for a few minutes. Return meat to the pot and add remaining ingredients except for sour cream and cream cheese.
  3. Place lid on the pot and set to high pressure for 20 minutes. NPR 5-10 minutes (NPR means Natural Preasure Release) simply let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure by moving the toggle to vent. Add in the cream cheese (this mixes easily if already softened) Add sour cream.
  4. Serve over noodles!
Recipe Notes

Our family loves this Instant Pot Creamy Beef Stroganoff and we hope yours will too! 


Find more Instant Pot recipes at

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Homeschool ready

back to homeschool

It’s almost here, very soon we will be heading back to homeschool.

I have to admit I have loved summer this year. Summer looks a little different as a homeschool family (everything is different really) It’s funny to hear friends, who normally have kids in school, say things about their kids being home with them ALL summer long. and I’m over here like… umm my kids never leave! haha

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But, It has been nice to have the extra time each day, to do all the to-do list, play outside, work on projects, etc. When I think of adding those hours of school back in to or day, I freak out just a little bit!!!

Here on Loveandscribbles, I want to try to write more about our homeschool journey, it’s interesting, because I’m kind of just winging it, so I don’t feel like I have much to offer on the subject. But, maybe some of you mamas out there need to hear that most of us are just making it work however we can. Figuring it out as we go along! Trying lots of things, some that work and some that just don’t!

We’ve got this, maybe…

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summertime homeschool

Another Homeschool year begins soon!

This Summer is just flying by.. and another homeschool year begins soon!

I can’t believe it. Here we are almost at the end of July!

Are you ready? Where my homeschool moms at? I just realized my kids need things! haha I suppose I should choose what books or curriculum we will be using this year.

We’ve liked bookshark a lot. but this is the first year that I will officially have two students. So I’m a little anxious about how that will all work out. We love that it is literature based. And uses lots of great books by Usborne. and I love that it comes with everything! The teachers manuel is one large book that tells me what to do in each subject, each day. And there are math options and handwriting options to make it fit your student! 

We have been using some of these Brainquest and literature work books for summer reminder/school prep. and the boys are liking them a lot!



For my own preperations, I am re-reading Teaching From Rest. by Sarah Mackenzie and I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t read her other book, Read a-loud Family, grab it!

I also love to attend a homeschool conference during the summer break. We have one not far from us. ( I leave today!!!) I’ll be staying with a few fellow mamas and soaking in the workshops. Most of the time, I get more out of it personally than for my little students. It’s a great way to fill up my heart to be prepared to shape these little learners. There is always awesome practical help too. Topics like ” What to do with littles when you are teaching the bigs” or ideas on organizing the school supplies etc. You can check out curriculum in person, talk to representatives from different book companies, etc.
I encourage anyone who is homeschooling, whether it’s your first year or twentieth. to find something like convection or conference. Even if it’s just to remind you, that you are not alone in this adventure!

And then in 2 weeks, we will be fitting in one last little summer getaway with the boys. I’m looking forward to some exploring and fun at the lake for a couple of days, before we dive into another school year!

So, How do you prepare for the school year? Are you also in disbelief that another homeschool year begins soon? Do you squeeze in one more trip to the beach? Are you a packrat like me, so you have to go through all your piles of supplies to even know what you have?

Follow me on Instagram, to see some of the Valley Home Educators Conference this weekend!

I’ll leave you with our list of indoor summer activities for when it’s just too hot outside. It may help fill these last days before the school year.

Summer Inside activites

5 favorite Indoor Summer Activities

For those days that are just to hot to be outside, we need Indoor Summer Activities!

My boys love to be outside and we usually spend a little time every day  in the sunshine, but some days we need to be inside by 10 am, usually just for Mommy’s sanity! And the heat can be intense where we live! 



So here are 5 favorite indoor summer activities:

indoor sand boxes.

summer indoor activities

The boys love these! My Mom gave William one years ago. These box lids latch and keep everything together. The boys spend a lot of time, building moutains, digging, driving their tractors through the sand, and using cookie cutters to make shapes in the sand.

If you’ve been around here a little bit, you probably know I don’t like messy play, as in, My boys will tell you, play dough is illegal in our house haha But, this sand is manageable for me.

It is a mess I can handle

Pretty easy to clean up! Just usually wipe the sand back into the boxes. And sweep what landed on the floor. It’s soooo much easier to clean up them playdough smooshed into everything!!! And don’t even mention slime!!! Lord bless you if you are a fun Mom that can enjoy all that!

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creative building with simple supplies is another favorite inside summer activity

indoor summer activities

With just a pile of popsicle sticks and clothespins, this activity is so inexpensive. yet it keeps my boys busy for a long time (and pretty quiet too!)

summer indoor activities

I feel like it is pretty healthy for our kids to have to look at simple supplies and come up with fun on their own. They should have a chance to be creative in their own way. It’s amazing what they come up with!

Workbook practice

We also do a very little bit of “school work”. Not enough to make it burdensome but just a little to help us not forget all we learned last year. And prep our in coming Kindergartner! I’m loving the Brain Quest books, the boys think they are fun! And I’m using summer time to introduce the boys to some of my favorite classic books!

Jumping around and balancing

These “rocks” are a big hit when we need to get our bodies moving! The boys can play with them indoors or out!

Nearly forgot to talk about our favorite activity around here.. winter or summer doesn’t matter. Legos will always be a top choice for my guys.

lego Block Building

William and I are working on this bigger project together but they also love the smaller sets, that they can build on their own.

And for the little ones just getting started with lego building, there are Junior sets that are a bit easier to put together!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of 5 favorite indoor summer activities! What are some of your favorite activities?

Need some recipe inspiration for these busy summer days? check out our recipes page!

I hope you are all enjoying the season,

Deanna Grace

Prepare for busy VBS mornings

Prepare For Busy VBS Mornings!

It’s summertime which means we will need to prepare for busy VBS mornings! Vacation Bible School (VBS) is one of our favorite ministries to be involved in. They are like summer day camps, usually held at churches for the local area kids! You usually don’t have to be a member of the church to join in the fun! I encourage you to look for a church offering one near you! It’s a blast! But if your family is like ours, you aren’t used to getting everyone ready and out the door so early every morning. 

In just a couple of weeks, our two “big” boys will get to attend VBS at a church nearby (where we also participate in Awana club through the school year.) Then a month later we will all be going to VBS every day at our church where I will also be volunteering.

I know lots of families are used to running out of the house in the morning, during school days but for us homeschoolers, it’s a new challenge, for sure!
So, there are a few things we do, to help us

Prepare for Busy VBS Mornings

1. Prep Clothes

I lay out all of the boy’s clothes for the whole week! It may seem a little bit overboard BUT, there really isn’t much worse than not having enough clean clothes or someone not being able to find clean underwear, in the middle of a rushed morning! 

Prepare for busy VBS mornings
This is everything the boys will need.. socks and undies included.
tips for getting out of the house
I usually stack them up like this.. A pile for each day. And leave it here in our room, so I can easily grab what everyone needs each morning!

2. Prepare Lunches

Usually, VBS let’s out just in time for lunch. Especially for the week that I volunteer, getting everyone lunch is pretty ruff. So I prep lunches ahead of time for the boys and for me, so we can eat before we leave the church. This really helps keep the crankies at bay 🙂 and sometimes they even fall asleep in the car on the way home!!! One tip I’ve discovered is that if you put peanut butter on both pieces of bread then the jelly, it will help the bread to not get soggy! 🙂

3. Easy Dinners For Tired Days

I LOVE using my once a Month Freezer Meals for these days that everyone is just plain worn out! and rushing around for drop off and pick up means, I don’t have to stress about “What’s for dinner?” Here’s a link to how I use Once A Month Meals

Freezer Cooking Made Simple

4. Early Bedtimes for All

Everyone gets an early bedtime during VBS week. Even Mom!! Nothing is more hindering in efficiency, organization, temperaments, and everyone having a good time, like sleep deprivation! So, get everyone to be early and make sure you shut off the lights at a decent time too!

5. Pray Pray Pray

Pray it up, Mamas! The Lord Sees what we are striving to do with our kiddos. He cares about all of our troubles. Even the “small” things like getting our family out the door in one piece. And of course, Pray that all this preparation and effort provides for wonderful memories and lessons about Jesus for our kid’s hearts!

Freezer cooking in the summer -

Freezer Cooking for the Summer

It’s almost summer and around here that means we’ll be out at the BBQ a lot more often! But you better believe we will still be Freezer Cooking for the Summer!

Once A Month Meals is amazing! It’s easy to use and implement no matter your eating or cooking style! I normally use mostly Instant Pot recipes from my Once A Month Meals Membership (and we love them) But there are all kinds of recipes available. Stove, Oven, No Cook, Easy assembly, crockpot, griddle, and grill!!

For the Grill!! I cannot tell you how many times we have been sitting around and think, oh man, the weather will be perfect for bbqing tomorrow.. but we don’t have anything in the freezer or fridge to grill!

Freezer Cooking for the Summer to the rescue!

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