Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot!!

Ok, when I saw this idea from Classy Clutter for a see saw, well, I had to share it.  I have a short list of things I want to do for the back yard next summer and this is going on the list. 

Easy recipes are they best, aren't they? This recipe that was shared at Women Living Well and fits the bill.  I am sure that this fall we will be making some homemade donuts!

Most people love chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake is always a hit . . but what if you put both of them together?  That is exactly what Back For Seconds did with this great recipe.
Can you tell that I'm working on this post while I'm hungry?  This next recipe idea comes from Too Much Time on my Hands and makes me want to cook pancakes right now :-)
I'm always looking for ways to make sure my house smells nice so when is saw this idea from Krafty Kat I wanted to share it.  It's something easy to do and would be great to do in the winter :-)

I love this idea from Miss Information - I hope to add this to my August Summer Fun calendar - the boys would love finding these in the sandbox.

I know, I know, this is another food item but I've been looking for a good homemade Pizza sauce recipe for awhile so I want to save this one from Chocolate Chocolate and More.

Enjoy your week!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Fun - Week 8

View the first seven weeks of our summer fun by clicking HERE.

I knew before this week even started that we wouldn't do a whole lot.  We were recovering from camping and getting ready for another weekend away. Here's an overview of our week.

Monday - It was heating up and, well, the pool was turning green.  I emptied the pool with the plan to fill it up in the afternoon but Josh specifically asked me to fill it up again so I did just that.  He loved using the hose to fill the pool, wash the sidewalk, water the flowers, and drink from it. 

Tuesday and Wednesday - Ummm, I don't even remember.  How sad is that?  It was hot and steamy and we just kinda hung out.  I'll be honest, I had plans for Wednesday.  I had planned to take the boys to do some grocery shopping and out to dinner but their behavior on Wednesday afternoon changed my mind.  I just think they were tired and tired of the heat -  just like me. 

Thursday - This was a very busy day.  We took China to the kennel, we went to the grocery store and they were, seriously, perfectly behaved.  They helped me gather stuff for packing, played in the bathtub and then enjoyed loading up and heading out. 

Friday - We were in Ohio.  I plan on posting about our trip later this week so that's it for this one :-)

I plan on working on August plans this week and really want to end strong - assuming the weather cooperates :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Things My Kids Say

Nate - He saw a package of Chips Ahoy Cookies on the counter and said "Look Mom, Cookie Monster!" (the blue package . .. ) and then" Yum, I want a cookie!!!"  Ironically, we don't watch Sesame Street . . .yet he knows who Cookie Monster is from a play dough toy Josh got last year for his birthday. 

Josh - Josh picked a fresh black-eyed susan one morning, carried it inside, handed it to me and said "This is for my sweetheart".  How cute is that????

Nate - I was going downstairs to switch some laundry when I heard Nate yelling, "Mom, where are you going?  I'm going to come and get you!!" and the next thing I know, I had a 2 year old wrapped around my legs saying "I gotcha mom!"

Nate - One afternoon he came up to me and said "Mom, my cookie monster is hungry." and then pointed to his stomach.  Yep, it's our toy cookie monster that brings it out - they like to "feed" him so now when he is hungry, he wants to feed his own "Cookie Monster".

Josh - He is my "good jobber" and lately he has learned to ummm . . .use the pooper scooper.  I find it so funny because he says "I've got the Scooper Scooper" and then proceeds to scour the yard for the tiniest little  . . .. well you can figure it out. 

Nate - He was on the changing table recently and started pointing to the ceiling saying "look mom, a bird", or "Look, mom, a lion".  That's when I figured out that he was seeing shapes in the textured ceilings.  The kid has such an imagination!

Josh - Josh will run around and around in circles, stop and say, "Wow, I'm getting Bizzy" HA.  It's so cute - some day he will figure out that "B" should be a "D" but for now, I just think it is cute!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekly Menu

Whew! Where did the week go?  I spent it putting the house back together after camping . .. then repacking for a mini family reunion.  That's it.

This next week will be different because we don't have kids!  My parents took the kids home with them from the reunion and my mom asked to keep them through Saturday.  As much as I miss them, I love that they love going to Papa and Nana's as much as their Papa and Nana love them!  Great memories for everyone. 

Here's our plan -
Saturday - We'll be returning home so after traveling all day, I think we'll grab something on the way in for dinner

Sunday - Frozen Lasagna and Garlic Bread (I know, how exciting but I'm going shopping on this day - I don't want to have to cook!)

Monday - Burgers and French Fries

Tuesday - The plan is to go to a place called Noto's.  It is an upscale Italian place we've wanted to go to for as long as we've been married.  There was recently a Groupon deal for the restaurant so I secretly picked it up and plan to surprise my husband with dinner for our anniversary :-)  The best part?  With the groupon - it won't hardly cost us anything the night we go - it's already paid for ,yeah!

Wednesday - My husband does dinner - he'll be bringing something home :-)

Thursday - Crockpot Stuffed peppers - My cousin gave me this recipe and promised me that it WILL work and it tastes awesome.  We'll see how that goes!

Friday - Anniversary dinner # 2 :-)  There is a new BBQ place in town we have been wanting to try so we are going out tonight!!

I have no plans for baking or snacks - we'll just go with the flow this week!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Food Friday - Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning
adapted from 5 Dollar Dinners

We love tacos in this house but, honestly, we haven't had them in awhile because we got so tired of the pre-made mix pouches.  They were either really salty or had a lot of chili powder in the mix.  I switched to the Chicken Taco concept instead but went on a search for a good Taco Seasoning recipe.  I've tried a few along the way and have found that this particular one was perfect.  My husband told me to stop looking and just use this recipe.  I'm going to post the recipe and then, after the recipe, I'll share exactly what I did and how much I used :-)


  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part ground cumin
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 part crushed red pepper


  1. Mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container. I store mine in the freezer!
  2. Use sparingly. Or liberally!
My Thoughts:
In the original recipe, the "1 part" referred to a whole jar of each spice.  Do you have any idea how much seasoning that would make?  I did not want to do that and have something I didn't like OR have it get all clumpy.  I did 1 Tablespoon of each item (but I left out the red pepper).  Then, I used 2 pounds of ground beef and added 2 Teaspoons of seasoning  per pound.  For us, that was about perfect - some of you would like less and some would like more.  I just kept tasting it after every teaspoon full.  I still have enough left for several more rounds of Tacos.  :-)


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Josh loves to take pictures.  I often will let Josh use my "old" point and shoot to snap photos in the house.  Well, the other day, I uploaded photos he had taken into my computer to look at them and look at what I found:

Nate is so busted!!!  Do you see what he has?  It is MY camera!!!  Now, I know two things when I look at these photos.  1) Josh is pretty darn good at taking photos and 2) I must have been nearby because I don't leave my camera out unless I'm taking photos and, notice the lens cap is off?  That is one of those things I always put right back on.  Sheesh! 

For the record, if Josh continues with this interest with photography, I do plan on making sure he has classes and is taught from an early age about photography.  I think that it is a great skill to have - even as a "side" job taking photos for family and friends. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We Went Camping!

Yes we did - we went camping last weekend and had a blast!  Here's our trip in a nutshell :-)

Food: Bernie O's Pizza and Popcorn!
Fun: Arrival and the Drive-in
The Plan: We planned to leave home around 1:00, which we did, but we had several stops to make to so we didn't arrive to the campground until 3:45. 
1) When I started putting things in our cooler I discovered that our small "drink" cooler had bit the dust.  We stopped on the way out and bought a new cooler with a gift card we got from the dentist last week. 
2)  While waiting in line to check in, we had a "show" The ice truck was delivery . .. ice . . .and the poor delivery guy lost an entire pallet of ice off the back of his truck.  Yes, I giggled. 
3) It took Darryl three trips to the office to get into our cabin.  First, they did not give us the code; Second the code did not work; Third, they gave him a key.
4) Nate fell out of bed.  I expected this to happen, though, so I had actually built a pallet on the floor just below his bed so when he did fall out, he landed on lots of blankets and I just covered him back up :-)
The Story:
Once we got our key, we unloaded and set up camp.  By the time we finished, we were tired so, instead of roasting hot dogs, we switched plans and headed to Bernie O's for pizza (Our favorite place, ever!)  It was a nice break and allowed us to refresh and cool off before heading back to our site.  After getting the boys in their PJ's, we loaded up in the truck and headed to the Drive-in to see Ice Age 4.  This was the boys first time at the Drive-in and they loved it.  They managed to stay up through half the movie and literally went from wide-eyed, to out cold in 3 seconds flat.  They were so out of it that they never woke up when we moved them into their car seats nor when we moved them into their beds.
Something Special:
The week before we left, I found these two cute canteens at Wal-Mart.  This is Nates (Josh's was in the fridge!) They were the special "treat" when we went to the movies. 

Breakfast:  Bacon and Eggs (cooked in the electric skillet), Donuts, and Chocolate Milk
Lunch: Left Over Pizza, Chips, and Grapes (we had planned to go to BernieO's for lunch so the left over pizza was perfect!)
Dinner: The boys had Hot Dogs while Darryl cooked Marinated Sirloin Steak Kabobs over the open fire and we had fried zucchini too (Electric Skillet - my best camping tool!)
Fun: The beach and going to Ruth Anne's for Ice Cream!
The Plan: Hang out at the campground in the morning; go to the beach in the afternoon; enjoy an treat of ice cream before dinner.
1) The boys loved running up and down the little leaf covered hill on our camp site; they also loved pushing each out in the wagon up the hill and then letting it go to see where it landed
2) We couldn't have asked for better weather - it even got cloudy when we went to the beach which made it so much more fun to play.
3) The boys took their first real "showers" (instead of baths) at the campground.  They almost liked them.
4) The Collection of Acorns began.
5) You know your kids are tired when they ask to go to bed :-)
6) The boys enjoyed their first camp fire - and were slightly impressed but more afraid of it.
7) Sleeping - oh boy.  The boys went to bed well but Josh woke up in the middle of the night and ended up in bed with me in the twin bed.  I didn't sleep much that night (We actually put a mattress on the floor for Nate - but both boys slept on it . . well, until I ended up with a three year old electric blanket with me ;-) )
The Story:
What an awesome day.  We played at the campsite, went to the store to pick up a few odds and ends, played on the beach, enjoyed dinner, walked to the ice cream shop, and then Darryl and I enjoyed the campfire after the boys headed to bed.  It was a fabulous day. 
Something Special:
Yes.  Flashlights.  I picked up new flashlights at Wal-Mart for a dollar each.  We gave these to the boys and watched them shine lights on the ceiling of the cabin on Saturday evening.  They played for a good hour and then were sound asleep.

Breakfast: Cereal and Pastries (we picked up at the store on Saturday so they were fresh)
Lunch: Culvers - on the way home
Fun: A scavenger hunt and Packing up (if you consider that fun)
The Plan: Just get up and have breakfast before slowly packing up.
1) Both boys told us that they loved camping and did not want to go home (but they both loaded themselves in the truck as soon as the doors were open and we started packing!)
2) The boys ditched the scavenger hunt and just went on a search for acorns.
The Story:
After not really sleeping, I got up at about 7:00 and left to use the restroom, unintentionally locking myself out of the cabin.  I enjoyed a very quiet hour sitting outside . . I actually took a snooze in the camping chairs.  We enjoyed playing for a bit before starting to pack up.  It was HOT on Sunday morning.  We finished up and hit the road at about noon and took the back way home with a stop for lunch at Culvers at about 1:00 (It tasted soooo good!!).  Once home, we unloaded and crashed - wow was it hot.  (Did I say that already)
Something Special:
We had planned to help the boys on this Scavenger Hunt from The Creative Homemaker. 
But instead the boys did this  . . . .
Yep.  Gathered acorns.  I'm sure there are some squirrels who will starve this winter or have to move else where due to my boys gathering up all of their winter supply :-) 
I know you'll find this hard to believe but I did not take any photos on this last day.  In all honestly, I wish I could have gotten MORE photos and better photos.  There is a lot to keep track of though, when you camp with two very busy boys.

Did we love camping? YES!  Darryl and I used to camp alot before kids.  We have a great tent and really enjoyed just being away, sitting by a campfire and exploring the little towns we would drive through as we took road trips.  We took Josh camping when he was still a baby but once we had two kids, we took a break.  First because trying to take a toddler and a baby camping was more than we wanted to do and Second, because two toddlers and a campfire was not on our list of things to accomplish HA  This year, though, we knew the boys were old enough to understand some boundaries when it came to the campsite and the fire so we scheduled just one weekend to try it out.  Next year, we are planning to go at least twice, if not three times.  We plan to rent the little cabin BUT ultimately, we are hoping to find a pop-up or trailer for an amazing price (by amazing, I mean the kind of deal you talk about for years!!)  Personally I'd like a camper so I can leave it set up all summer - so much less work - but a pop-up would work too!  (But it MUST have Air!!) We figured that once this camping season is done, we can keep our eyes open and we might find something we just didn't expect :-)  And who knows, I have a little idea in the back of my head to steal the family away for a weekend in September when the campgrounds aren't busy just for one more camping trip this year!
Happy Go Lucky

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot!

I've noticed that my original idea of "Too Cute Not to Toot" has turned into a place to share some ideas.  You may wonder if I ever go back and look at the ideas I post and, guess what, I do!  I also have learned to print the ideas I love the best and save them in a binder so I can find them easily when I want them but I also will go back through all of the Too Cute Posts to get inspiration.

One of the things my husband and I would like to start doing is planning a little get away with the boys about once every 6 weeks.  Now that we've found Priceline, it's actually doable to play an overnight stay at a hotel with a pool.  So when I saw this post from Cheerios and Lattes for swimming things, I had to share.  Really, what better place to work on teaching your kids to swim then in a small, "shallow" pool without a current or lots of waves.  :-)
How about some cupcakes???  Check out this recipe from Life, Etc.  Don't tell my family but I think I might take these as my dessert to the family reunion . .. I could frost them once I got there :-)
This idea from Blue Skies Ahead is something I think I'll add to my August Summer Fun plan.  The boys are really into things like worms and bugs right now.  (Me . . .ummm not so much HA)
This next idea is actually a whole group of ideas all dealing with activities that help keep the kids cool.  The post is from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and includes link-ups.  I plan on printing many of the ideas to use in August but also to have for future years in our summer fun binder.

I'm going to end this week with a book idea from I Heart Crafty Things.  I love finding new books to add to our library and I love the looks of this one - plus she gives a great craft idea too. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Fun - Week 7

To catch up on the first 6 weeks of summer, click HERE

Holy Hotness Batman, summer can end anytime; I'm ready for fall and even for a blizzard or two.  Sheesh.

So this week started out . . well . . hot.  Another 100 degree down in the record books and I'm really tired of breaking records.  Actually, if I HAD records, I think they would have melted.  As much as I'd like to say that we did great things this week, we didn't . .. we sat in front of fans a lot and watched a lot of cartoons. 

Monday - Our summer fun was a trip to the dentist :-)  Josh had his first dentist appointment and it went well once he got in the chair.  The hygienist was fabulous and he did everything he was asked.  His teeth are fantastic and healthy :-)  PLUS the office had great A/C :-) LOL  After we left there we drove around for a bit and then got McDonalds for lunch as a treat for being so good at the dentist (well, they just knew it was for lunch - I'm trying NOT to teach my kids that they get rewards like that but they will figure it out eventually HA!) In the afternoon, the boys wanted to color - I got out paper and markers for them - they never color on anything except paper . . .until today.  I was sitting just a few feet from them at my desk when I turned and saw Nate coloring all over himself HA!  Josh spent a long time tracing his hand - by the time he was done doing it over and over, his hand was covered in marker.  Don't worry - it was all washable - it came off of them AND their clothes :-)

Tuesday - We melted.  Seriously.  I looked at a few options for the day but they all included loading three toddlers into the truck, loading up the stroller, driving 45 minutes away, unloading same three boys and stroller before even getting somewhere semi-cool where it would take this chicka a good hour to stop sweating.  If I'm going to sweat, I might as well be at home in front of fan.  The heat doesn't seem to impact the littles as much - we just didn't go outside; not even to the kiddie pool.  By the time it is full of "cool" water . . well, the water is hot from the heat!  So, this was what we did to stay cool.  The boys have discovered my water bottle - between the three of us, we drank about 4 of those.  Fans are our best friends :-)

Wednesday - It was horrid hot.  Nothing was done on this day.  Nothing. 

Thursday:  Talk about unexpected fun!!!  Our neighbors had to have two trees cut down - instant entertainment for two little boys.

It was really awesome to watch.  The boys even brought their stepping stools out so they could see better over the fence.  The boys watched this intently for about 30 minutes - it took the tree cutters about 8 hours to get both trees down.   By wait, we had more unexpected fun - it rained.  A fabulous summer rain - no blowing, no storms, just rain.  The boys LOVED playing outside - they were outside for well over an hour.

Friday-Sunday - We went camping!!!  I'm going to write a post later this week sharing all of our fun, food, and family time but I thought I'd leave you with this one photo.

We have a busy week coming up - I'm giving myself a break from planning anything specific because I still need to finish putting everything back together after camping, we are getting a guest cat one day this week, and then we have a mini-family reunion to get ready for at the end of the week.  I do have a special treat already in the freezer to eat this week, I need to clean out the pool so that we can use it this week as well, and if I get to it, I do have one fun craft to do - but again, no pressure.