Monday, June 26, 2017

Something Yummy - Strawberry Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crunch

Strawberry Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crunch
Barefeet in the Kitchen

(Sorry for the blurry photo - I took this is with my phone . . .and after we ate 1/2 of it!) 

This time of year, strawberries are everywhere so when this recipe for something with strawberries and rhubarb popped up - it was took good to not make.  I love that the crunch is on the bottom and the top because the best part is the crunch, really.  The next time I make it, I would probably add a little more brown sugar to the crunch because it isn't super sweet.  


Fruit Filling:
2 cups shopped strawberries
2 cups thinly sliced and chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup orange juice

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the fruit in a mixing bowl.  Add the white sugar, cinnamon, salt and cornstarch.  Stir to coat and add the orange juice.  Stir again and set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and then add the melted butter. Stir to combine.  Press half of this mixture into a buttered 9 x13 pan.  Pour the fruit over the bottom crust and then sprinkle the rest of the dry mixture on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust turns golden brown.  Serve warm from the oven or let cool completely and slice into servings.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Our week in photos (with a few words thrown in)

This is what we've been up to this past week

Father's Day!  I didn't take a single photo but we did celebrate Darryl with "whatever you want to do" day HA!  We went out to his favorite restaurant, then got ice cream and ended our day with a bike ride.


- We went to swimming lessons, followed by a trip to a local park in the afternoon before going grocery shopping.  The day ended with the last baseball game of the season.  Two major accomplishments today:  Nate learned how to swing on his own AND Josh hit the ball AND scored a run!


- More swimming lessons!  (Sorry for blurry phone photos but I didn't have my big camera!) When swimming lessons started Josh said "I will never jump off the diving board.  Ever".  Well, today he did!  I think it helped that Nate jumped first and he couldn't let his younger brother "win"!  The rest of Tuesday - we all crashed.  For real.  You know you've been running like crazy when both kids sleep past nine, again, and after lunch, everyone "retires" to a comfortable place and plays quietly on ipads, watches TV, or reads.  I had originally planned a trip to another park but between just needing to stay home and be lazy and some pretty heavy cloud cover, we just were . . .well, lazy!


 - More swimming today with more diving board fun today too!

 - We attended a Library Event - Stormy the Magician entertained the kids today and yes, the boys are sure they figured out most of his tricks HA!

- The highlight of our day was getting to see our very special nephew/cousin, Braedon.  We haven't seen him in about a year and a half and we have missed his dry sense of humor and sarcasm :-)  The boys have a slight hero worship of him and they had fun doing all kinds of exercise competitions with him after dinner.  

No photos today but we did some fun stuff: 
- Another day of swimming lessons
- Fun at Nana's pool - it hit 91 degrees today which was so odd since we've had beautifully cool weather for a week! 
- A family drive around town after dinner with Josh giving directions


- We went to the library to get the beads the kids had earned for reading this week.  They are making necklaces with beads - each bead equals reading time.  They are hoping to fill up those chains over the coming weeks! 
- We also spend time in the children's area of the library reading books, doing puzzles and playing with toys. 
- Nana's back in town so we enjoyed a nice dinner with her and just hung out at the house for awhile! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Weekly Menu - the week of normalcy

After such a busy month, it feels kind of odd to be planning a week of meals where there is really nothing going on.  I think my kids are tired of choices such as, "Do you want a Peanut Butter Sandwich or a Hot Dog before the game (or the pool, or running somewhere else)."  Granted my kids have a limited amount of foods they will eat anyway so I guess it doesn't realy matter to them HA!

I'm also out of my meal planning groove - anytime that happens I go back to a site that is my "go to site" for meal planning  - Pocket Change Gourmet.  Each month (and then weekly) they put out a great menu.  I love it because it is simple and often times, it includes meal ideas for recipes we already use like sloppy joes or pulled pork so I'm not trying a bunch of new recipes but rather just letting someone else plan for me :-)

So, here's the plan for the coming week!

Friday - Sloppy Joes and Baked Beans

Saturday - Pizza Casserole (this is something new but we love pizza so hopefully we will love this!) and Salad

Sunday - Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob, and Seven Layered Salad

Monday - Hot Dog Bar, Surpreme Pizza Dip and Chips  (The dip is new - we love appetizers when it comes to game days and special holidays but I hate trying new ones on those special days so I figured this was a good day to try it out!)

Tuesday - Hamburgers on the grill (after all, my husband is the grill master!), and French Fries!

Wednesday - Speaking of Appetizers - whats better than a meal full of appetizers?  Chinese Meatballs, Fried (Baked) Ravioli with sauce, and then salad - either leftover Seven layered salad or just a simple tossed salad is good.

Thursday - I recently purchased a new cookbook based on a friends recommendation - it is a "Healthy" cookbook.  I'm going to attempt to make Thursdays the night to try a new recipe and slowly (maybe) change out some of the heavier recipes we love (Chicken Fried Steak) for some of these healthier, "whole-30" kind of meals.  So first up is Pork Medallions with Blackberry compote and Cauliflower puree.  I'll add aspargus as a side of green and hope for the best!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Planning our Summer -- Or Not

Have you seen this floating around the Internet?  At first glace, it seems like a great idea but then, reality hits.  Who has to enforce this?  ME!  Huh!  

At first I was feeling bad about not having every moment of our day planned until my friend (and cousin) pointed out that when her boys were growing up she didn't plan anything - they either swam in the pool, on the trampoline, or riding bikes.  I figured out really quickly that it's ok to not have a schedule. 

Remember I posted how crazy the last few weeks have been?  So, my first plan is to take a few weeks off of anything specific.  We all need a break.  My second part of the plan is simple
1) We have some school review.  Very simply - handwriting and math review are on the list.  That's it.  Just one worksheet of each, each day.  A total of like 10-15 minutes. 
2) Reading - we are all participating in reading programs through the library/bookstore so we will read.  The goal is 15 minutes of individual reading a day and then I am reading a group book to all the kids for 15 minutes a day. 
3)  Activities - I'm planning more things to do this summer.  Simple trips to different parks, splash pads, and the pool.  Library activities, free movies, VBS, and whatever other inexpensive, fun things I can find.  
4) I hope to do some crafts and science experiments.  I'm not over planning these.  If I find something I love, I'll get the stuff I need and we will do it.  That's all. 

Will we have days of nothing? YES!  Will we have days where the boys are using electronics all day long? YES!  And guess what? That's ok!!  

Do you have a plan for your summer? 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Choosing Joy

I "found" this post in my drafts - I wrote it back in January but due to lacking "Joy", I didn't feel like posting it at the time.  As I reread it earlier this week, I realized that it's good.  I've come further in my "Joy" journey since January but I think it is also good to reflect on where we have been to see how far we've come. 

This past year brought events that stole my joy.  I believe that when you go through a life changing event you have to re-learn how to live a life you had prior to that event.  There is always a "before" and an "after"; a clear line in the sand.  As I came to the end of 2016, one of the conscience decisions I made was to work on choosing Joy throughout 2017.
In my "book" Joy and Happiness are two seperate things.  I have learned to laugh again and to find humor in things I hear and see.  I've slowly been able to sing again (granted some of those long praise songs - they wear me out about half way through and I'm done!).  The joy in my heart, though, is not there.  There is still sorrow and grief that fill that corners.  I know that my dad would say to me - find Joy.  So, that's what I am endeavoring to do.  You all know that when you decide to do something good, life will throw you a curve ball.  Boy did it ever!

January 2nd:
1) The boys and I went to Meijer and Josh dropped a glass ornament on the floor, which shattered and sent glass everywhere and caused him to go into a sobbing mess in the middle of the store.
2) Nate stepped in  . .. something . . that someone left in the aisle.
3) The boys wanted snails for their fish tanks and were told they were all dead.
4) Darryl had the worst day at work financially that he has ever had.  Not only did he make no money, he owed money for his cab rental.
5) The boys were mad because I told them they could no longer watch a show they were watching because I acutally sat down and watched a few episodes.
6) And just when I thought it was over, I took out my contacts and one of them disappeared.  I can always find them when they fall but this time, no suck luck.  Talk about a downer to end a day!

I will admit that when I awoke on January 3rd I had no joy.  We were all still fighting coughs and colds and now, my vision with glasses was less than par.  All four kids were here and they were arguing.  HA!  I read :-)  All day and reading does bring me joy.

So, here I am two weeks later and I'm still working on choosing joy.  For example, I went to the eye doctor and ordered new contacts.  Since it was going to be 7-10 days before the contacts arrived, he gave me a pair of soft contacts to use for free.  It was fabulous.  Sunday-Tuesday I got lots done because I could see again!  And then I got up Wednesday morning and one contact was missing.  For real.  I haven't lost one in over 20 years and now I've lost two in less than a week!  Uggg!  (Joyfully it was free, right?)  Now, I'm waiting and hoping the contacts come in sooner (like Monday) and not later (like Thursday!)

Living life with joy is a choice.  Despite circumstances or events that come along.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Reality of Life Running at Fast Speed

Here it is the middle of June and I'm trying to figure out where the first half of the month went.  I kind of feel like I've been spinning my wheels and was contemplating why I feel like I haven't gotten anything done.  So, I pulled out my calender and took a look.  Here's the reality of June:

Last Week of May/First week of June - We still had our special session of homeschool co-op, baseball, Field Day, and a busy weekend of concerts with Darryl.
1st full week of June - We had to wrap up loose ends with school, choir practice, baseball, a choir concert and a weekend with family
2nd week of June - Vacation Bible School, Baseball, Swimming fun, a Field Trip, an activity at the library and camping!! 

No wonder I feel like it's been crazy!  I was thinking just yesterday that our last "commitment" is wrapping up because the boys last baseball game was Monday night.  . . .but then I remembered swim lessons started Monday morning HA!  So, 2 weeks of  swim lessons, four mornings a week and THEN I think it slows down.  

This week I'm focusing on regrouping, planning, and starting some of those June goals I posted about last week.  The kids need to get some reading time in to earn Library/Bookstore rewards and I need to put together their summer review "binders" to start in July.  

On a side note, you know it's been a busy season when your 7 year old sleeps in until 8;15 and your 8 year old sleeps until 9:00.