Friday, August 31, 2012

Food Friday - Stuffed Cabbage and Crash Potatoes

Can you believe it?  It is another "Two Fer"!  I figured since the photo was blurry (oops!) I wouldn't subject you to seeing it twice!

Crock Pot Stuffed Cabbage
adapted from . .. I don't know! 

Sorry again for the slightly blurry photo - I could have sworn it was clear when I took it :-/  I came across this recipe over a year ago and it has become a favorite in out house (I know, my mom is saying WHAT??)  First of all, my husband loves cabbage as a side dish; I learned that only a few years ago but I guess it is something he grew up on and never understand why I didn't cook it.  I though, ummm, cabbage was for cole slaw ;-) LOL  Needless to say when I saw this recipe I decided to try and and I figured I could just eat the filling but, after cooking in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours the cabbage just melts.  Even the kids will eat the filling on this (and a little cabbage that I can hide while cutting it up HA!)  This time I served it with Crash Potatoes (recipe to follow) and green beans.

Ingredients:
1 head of cabbage
1 egg
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup uncooked rice (I use white, the recipe says brown . . .I'm afraid brown won't actually cook up)
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 pound ground beef (use something lean like ground round, sirloin, or even turkey - per the recipe)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2-3 cups of regular V8 juice

Core the cabbage.  Very carefully peel off large cabbage leaves (8-12; personally I usually fill about 8 and run out of filling) and wash them.  Then steam them in the microwave for about 30 seconds (I just lay them on a paper towel) to make them soft enough to use.  In a mixing bowl, combine everything except the V-8 juice and mix well - it will be like a very gloppy meatloaf.   Place about 1/3 cup of mixture into each cabbage leave and roll or fold it; place it in the crock, seam side down.  It's okay to stack the rolls on top of each other in the crock.  Top with 2-3 cups of V-8 Juice.  I try to fill my crock until the juice comes about 1/2 way up roll cabbage but you can add more.  The last time I made it, there was no liquid left after 7 hours so the leaner the meat the more juice you will want to use. 

Crash Potatoes
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

I came across this recipe on Pinterest and, because I'm always looking for new side dish ideas, I thought I would try these.  I was not convinced that we would love them, nor was I convinced that we wouldn't need to drag some dry potato pieces in ketchup but, I was proven wrong.  Once these cook in the oven, they become slightly crunchy and the seasoning/olive oil had so much flavor it is unbelievable.  Even my husband, who is not a huge potato fan, loved them.

Ingredients:
12 whole New Potatoes (or other small Round Potato)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Other seasonings to taste (Rosemary or other herbs of choice)

Directions:
Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until fork tender*.  On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil.  Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.  With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it is slightly mashed; rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again.  Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.  Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper and seasonings of your chose (I just used Nature's Seasoning - a favorite of ours).  Baked in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

*Make sure that they really are "Fork Tender" - I took mine out a little early and ended up with potato all over my counter when the masher slipped on the too hard potato!! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blog Schedule - why I do this I have no idea!

**Due the large amount of spam comments I've been recieving lately, I've had to re-instate the word verfication feature on comments.  When you type in a comment, you will now be shown a box with a word and/or number in it.  Just type that in the space provided and the comment will post.  Sorry - I know it is a pain but the spam is a bigger pain :-(  **

Every once in awhile, I like to tell you what my blog schedule is - then, just the time I do it, it changes or I get bored BUT with the start of the new school year I figured it was a good time to do this again :-)

So, this is what you can expect! 

Sunday - This is my "free day" - I tend to post "Things my Kids Say" or a photo montage of the week or . .. I skip just to take a break :-)

Monday:  I will be posting about our homeschool activities from the week before so that I can also link up to some other blogs with weekly school posts.

Tuesday: Too Cute Not To Cute will still be around!

Wednesday:  Devotional Posts or Book Reviews

Thursday: Crafts, Pinterest Success (or Failures), Home or Organizational posts (I.e. - whatever I feel like posting HA!)

Friday: Food Friday - a recipe post

Saturday:  Menu - I like posting my weekly menu because I like reading other posts of the same nature.  It's also a way for me to share a few tidbits from our week.

We'll see how long this lasts :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hello Mornings - a great group!

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you'll remember me talking about Good Morning Girls (GMG) which is a great way to set up accountability for daily devotions.  I've been part of a group off and on for about 2 years but the group that I joined up with that many years ago has kind of dissolved.  I was planning to sign up and look for another group but I happened upon another group that fit me better and, honestly, seems a little more structured which is right up my alley.

HelloMornings
Inspired to Action hosts a series/group called "Hello Mornings".  The concept is accountability in three areas 1)Devotions 2)Getting up in the morning earlier 3)Exercise.  I'll be honest, right now, I'm only focusing on numbers one and two!! 
 
Just like with GMG, they provide a devotional study that you can choose to do but it isn't required.  This session we are studying First Peter.  It actually started on August 20th but I'll be honest, I was on "vacation" that week (I didn't have the munchkin) so I enjoyed sleeping in until the boys got up and just taking it easy.  I jumped in with both feet this past Monday.
 
As far as getting up earlier - the goal is to get up before your kids and have time to have your devotions and exercise.  Well, here's the truth of it.  For a totally non-morning person as myself it is hard enough to get up early enough to have my quiet time.  Then, for someone who hates exercise on top of not being a morning person - getting up even earlier, well that's not happening right now.  Previously, I got up at 7:00 with just enough time to be presentable before the munchkin arrived.  Now, I'm getting up at 6:00.  I take a shower, have my devotions, and actually get ready for the day all by 7:00.  It's great - some days my kids sleep until 8:30 but some days they are up by 7:00 - it's nice being ready for the day before they get up. 
 
The group I'm in is fabulous - our leader is wonderful and, small world, we actually know some of the same people even though I randomly picked her from a list of people.  Also, I'm already enjoying the other 14 ladies in the group. 
 
Who knows, maybe by mid-session, I'll be ready to get up at 5:30 to work out  . .. but really, I need to find a way to work out during the day, around the kids!! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Too Cute . . .fail, kinda :-)

Sorry, no Too Cute post today!  Last night I had try outs for an upcoming Follie's concert with the group I'm in so my focus all day was practicing my song and then by the time I got home and ate dinner it was 10:00 . . and I'm trying to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier!!

With that said, enjoy the posts the rest of the week :- )

Hopefully I can round up some good ideas next week.  The big holiday season is starting to peek around the corner (I.e. Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!!) so I'm sure there will be lots of ideas to share

Have a great day!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Homeschool Happenings - Week 1

As been my norm all summer, I have been posting our "Summer Fun" on Mondays.  I had some big plans for this past week but we ended up doing the big room switch this past week plus throw in a really low month at my husband's job and, well, we stuck close to home and just worked on getting stuff set up.  The boys and I went on a couple of walks, we emptied the pool (which is actually a lot of fun!) but for some reason did not get it re-filled, and played with some of our new school games.  The boys love sharing a room and they love the classroom - Nate loves it because he can now color without asking - there are always markets and paper on the table for him and Josh loves it because he can turn on the stereo all by himself and loves to listen to music.  Throw in games, "cutters", and tape - life is perfect HA!

With that said, I decided to switch to homeschool posts on Monday.  Yes, we are starting homeschool - just preschool, but it is a start.  This week I wanted to share what we are using for curriculum.

1. Bible - My First Hands on Bible and We Choose Virtues - The Bible book we are using is great.  It shares a Bible story, in order of a regular Bible, and then gives activities - simple activities.  In the first lesson, we are supposed to go outside and look at the clouds for one of our activities.  It is my heart to have my boys grow up not just knowing the Bible but loving the truths that are in it and for it to be part of their life so we are starting strong!.  I love the concept of the Virtues lessons.  I just picked up the sets of activity cards - we'll be focusing on one each week, doing the activities and talking about it a lot.  Once we've gone through them all, guess what?  We will start again!!  (Both Josh and Nate will be part of the Bible Lesson)

2. Reading - All About Reading - Pre-Reading level.  This is something that just Josh will be focusing on this year as I prepare him to read.  I'm very impressed with this curriculum and can't wait to dive into it with him.  I plan on also doing these fun alphabet creatures that were shared on Totally Tots

3. Rising Rock Stars Preschool (RRSP)  - This is a program that I found over at 1+1+1=1 and I really loved the set up.  It's a Christian based Preschool program that focuses on learning the basic letters and sight words.  The membership is minimal and is a one time fee which includes a fantastic power point.  I love the simplicity of it and the fact that there is a lot of repetition.  We get our memory verse, sight word, number and color of the week from this program.  It also presents some basic skills like cutting with scissors, tracing, and coloring. 

4. Piano - Piano for Preschoolers Yes, we are starting piano lessons.  Josh is very interested in music and the piano - he has already gotten his book out and has been sitting at the piano.  I did quite a bit of research and really liked this beginning book and think it will be a great starting point for him.  I know that in a matter of weeks, he'll be playing the songs. 

5. Nate - Yes, Nate gets his own category.  1+1+1=1 has a toddler section as well.  I've printed worksheets for Nate to work on that coordinate with the letter of the week that Josh is working on.  Nate's items are just put in a binder to use when he wants to join us - I don't plan on really teaching him this year.  Because of when our boys birthdays are, we have late starters so I don't want Nate to jump way ahead and then graduate at like . . .12 ;-) 

6. Life Skills - Life skills include multiple things.  First of all, we are going to start working on skills they need.  For example, one of the first life skills we are going to work on is cleaning up their toys when they are done.  We'll talk about it, practice it, and then they will get rewarded for it (with stickers and then coins for their piggy banks - they LOVE pennies!!). It will then become a chore then need to do daily.  Then we will progress on to the next item.  Life skills also includes other items. I plan on cooking with them once a week - whether it be baking something, making something to go with dinner, or making a fun snack, they need to know how to work in the kitchen.  We also will include "P.E." in life skills.  The goal is to do something specific two times a week - maybe just a walk or maybe working on tee ball skills.  We just want to move :-) 

On Fridays, we will be attending "Friday School" with our local Homeschool group.  This will give the boys a chance to be with other kids and have structure that is different that at home.  I'm also strongly considering attending a MOPS group with a friend of mine which would give the boys another chance to hang out with other kids 2 times a month. 

So what is my plan??  My goal is to get through our Bible Lesson and then either a reading lesson or a RRSP lesson each day.  Piano will only be once a week and Life Skills vary depending on the day.  No pressure :-)  I also have some theme units (Like Apples for September) that I would like to intermingle with our lessons but that will depend on time and desire!

We aren't actually starting "school" until after Labor Day (On Tuesday of that week) so next week I'll share our current classroom set up.

 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekly Menu

This week didn't go completly as planned but that's ok. Instead of not using recipes, I ended up having to make due a few times I thought we'd be out.  We had some great meals though so in the end, it all worked out!

This is the plan for the coming week.

Saturday - It's supposed to be hot again and, I fell off my "Hamburgers every week" wagon so we are going to have Burgers on the grill. We'll just have some chips with it to keep it cool and maybe some deli potato Salad.

Sunday - My husband has a concert and there is a pot luck with the group afterwards.  I'm going to make Southwestsern Tossed Salad (it's actually a dip) and chips.  For dinner - I'm planning on picking up a Pizza.  Depending on the weather, we may go to the beach after lunch so I really don't want to have cook when we get home.

Monday - We are going to have the Corn Dog Muffins that I actually didn't cook last Sunday evening because we were so busy moving rooms - we just got a Pizza. I think we'll just have chips with it and maybe some fruit. (This is a simple meal because I have to leave early to get to practice - no time to be wrapped up in the kitchen!)

Tuesday - Stuffed Shells with Cheese, Roasted Cabbage Wedges, Garlic Bread

Wednesday - Lemon Chicken, Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Thursday - Coconut Chicken, Baked Beans, Green Beans, biscuits

Friday - Breaded Chicken Thighs, Parsley Potatoes, Corn, Garlic Bread

Yes, a lot of chicken!!!  That is what is in my freezer that needs to be used up :-)

The desserts this week are a Brownie Tart and Lazy Cake Cookies.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food Friday - A "Two Fer"

This week I have two recipes to share because, well, they were on one plate! 

Chicken Pasta Salad
adapted from  . . well I've had it forever!

I first had this Chicken Pasta salad (show on the top of the plate) probably 25 years ago at a church pot-luck and it has been a favorite every since.  I've made it for showers, banquets, quests and just to eat for lunch :-) It's easy to make and you can stretch it by adding more pasta than the recipe calls for (I always do!)

Ingredients
1 cup shell macaroni – cooked
1 ½ cups cooked and cubed chicken
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cups sliced celery
¾ cups green grapes – halved
¼ cups slivered almonds
½ cup miracle whip salad dressing
1 cup cool whip
½ cup mandarin oranges, drained

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except cool whip and chill.  Add cool whip just before serving and stir well.
 
The second recipe comes from Pinterest!
 
Poolside Dip
adapted from Pinterest
 
This was a good dip recipe - especially to have in the fridge for a snack.  I had it both with crackers as shown in the photo and also with some celery - both were good.
 
Ingredients and Directions:
Pool-side dip: 1 red pepper, 2 jalapenos (unseeded), 1 can of corn, 16 oz cream cheese (softened), and 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dip seasoning mix. Serve with crackers. Delicious!!
 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Changes!

It seems that the last few weeks, Thursdays are not my day for a blog post :-)  I seem to remember that I had something I wanted to post about but I'm going to save that for next week.  This has been a busy week because . .. we changed rooms!!!  We decided that since we can't paint or put the floors in right this "minute" that we would go ahead and move rooms and then paint as soon as we can around the stuff in the room and hopefully put the floors in by the end of September. 

On Sunday we moved all of our stuff into what was Josh's room and we love it.  It's not quite done - I need to move a curtain, take down some vinyl, and order some new vinyl when I can (I have it picked out, just need to save for it!). We then just kinda threw Josh's stuff into what was our room thinking that the boys would want to keep sleeping in Nate's room.  Wrong.  We had to drag the toddler mattress into the new room and both boys slept there.  So, on Wednesday, I moved all of the rest of the stuff into their new room and they just love it.  They played in there most of the day.  Nate is very ready for his big boy bed so I don't think we'll be waiting for his birthday for that gift ;-)  Considering the fact that he can now climb in and out of his crib . . .what's the point, right?  I have some art to make for the walls still but I know what I'm making and hope to have it done by Labor Day Weekend. 

Also on Wednesday, I cleaned Nate's room, moved two banquet tables in that will be our desks for the time being and moved in two book cases from elsewhere in the house to use for storage of everything from scrapbooking to school supplies.  Right now, as I write this post on Wednesday night, the classroom looks like a storage room but my goal is that by Thursday evening, it will be all put together  The last of the school books/supplies are expected in this week so I want to have the room ready to finish  up my planning.  I want to pick up a few posters at the teachers store still and have one piece of vinyl I want to order for the door.  I should say that the new classroom will also house a space for my husband to record his music.  It should give him more opportunity to do so instead of having to move everything to the basement every time he wants to record. 

My living room is looking less like a toy closet and more like, well, a living room.  I still have a card table to clear off and move out (that I've been using for planning and scrapbooking the last few weeks) once I have cleaned up the classroom and made room for everything.  Even my dining room looks roomier since one of the afore mentioned bookcases used to stand in the dining room and just looked cluttered. 

Nope, no pictures yet.  I did attempt to get some before photos (my husband always seemed to be a few steps ahead of me so I never got the "true" room) and look forward to some after photos soon!

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Give Them Grace - a Book Study

In July, I posted about my most recent book goal and . .. this book was not in it.  I came across this book just a few weeks ago and it really struck me as something I was looking for concerning my kids.  I want my kids to grow and know the love of God but struggle daily with how to make this a lifestyle for them and not just words.  The author does not mince words at all when it comes to how we share Jesus with our kids.  One of the first quotes that kind of hit me square in the face was this, "Lets face it, most of our children believe that God is happy if they're 'good for goodness sake'. . . . We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith. "   I read this not long after I said to one of my kids, "I need you to stop disobeying and be good" I mean, what is "good" anyway? 

Chapter 1 - From Sinai to Calvary
One of the first truths this book brings out is the fact that too often we use the Bible as a rule book instead of a book of "Good News".  We are quick to list the do's and don'ts in the Bible but what about actually teaching the truths of the stories given and learning to understand why God thought each of those events was important enough to share.  I was reminded that in order to really use the gospel in my parenting, I have to know the gospel and love it myself.  Ok, I'll raise my hand now and say I'm guilty.  I don't put the Bible first in my day, in my week or sometimes even in my month!  How can I teach my kids the in's and out's if I don't know it myself?  I'm working on that both through starting personal Bible Study (again) as well as through Daily Bible lessons in our preschool which will start soon. The author shared 4 areas of obedience to help the reader understand where this idea of "grace" comes into the picture.  First, Initial Obedience is basically teaching your child to heed your voice (you know, when you say "no" you mean it or, when you call them, they come - in order to keep them safe!)  Second, Social Obedience which is learning basic manners.  We all want our children have good manners :-)  Third, Civic Obedience which is basically teaching them to obey the law.  Forth, Religious Obedience which is ". . .what we teach our children to do as part of a life of faith before them come to faith." An example would be praying before dinner or standing up in church to sing songs - these are just exercises in faith, not a saving faith. "Religious obedience is probably the most difficult and dangerous form of obedience simply because it is so easily confused with conformity to God's Law."  For me, what I gleaned from this chapter was to figure out how to instruct my children in such a way that they don't just learn the "law" - obey because God said so; but rather learn the Gospel - to understand that Jesus gave up all he had - all of his "goodness" and came to earth to live among sinners to teach them.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice for each of us.  In my heart, I want my children to learn to live the Bible, not just know the right answers.  I want the Bible to the reason they do what they do; not have it become a burden.  I know that this concept alone will impact how I teach Bible to my children. 

There are, already, two things that I've soured this book to me just slightly.  One, the author writes in an over top fashion - using, sometimes, difficult explanations and wording to get a point across.  It is written as a counselor would write (which is what she is) but not written as the average parent would read.  Two, she seems to be slamming one particular religion, which I won't state, but twice she has said negative things about parents who are in that group as a whole.  I was really taken aback by it - I firmly believe that Bible is God's one true word but you don't influence others by attacking what they believe either.  As with any book, when you reading it, take it one chapter at a time and look for the truth

If you've followed my "way" of reading, you know that I often read multiple books at once and plan to share what I learn, if it is worth sharing.  With that said, not all of my "Book Study" posts will pertain to the same book.  :-) 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot

I'm in total homeschool prep mode so when I saw this idea from Burton Avenue, well, I loved it.  I don't plan on getting this up this fall but I do love it for the future.  One of these days when I get to Ikea there are a few things on my list - I'll have to check on their whiteboards :-)

I don't know if I will ever actually make these but they were too cute to not share.  The idea comes from One Dog Woof.

Sorry, short list this week.  I buried up to my eye balls with rearranging rooms and preschool lessons.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer Fun - Week 11

To catch up on past weeks, just click HERE
As I mentioned last week, I wasn't really sure how much "fun" we'd have this week . . . It's been a little bit of a crazy week with me trying to get way too much done  . . with prepping for homeschool preschool, cleaning on this wonderful cool days, and trying to knock things off my to do list.  So this week I'll share some photos of fun that the kids accomplished!

Monday - Mondays are always busy here - I have laundry to do, things to clean, recovering from the weekend and making sure the details of the week are planned.  The boys decided to go to a "hotel" today . . I heard them "packing" but was in the kitchen getting meatballs made, cooked and in the crock pot for dinner so I didn't pay attention (yep, you read that right HA).  Then I walked into the living room and thought, "Wow, it's really clean in here" . .. until I turned the corner to Nate's room. 

See all of that?  That is every single toy, pillow, blanket, from the living room and the boys rooms and yes, there is even a mattress in there.  They took brushes, toothbrushes, and my contact case from the bathroom all in order to go to a hotel.  Josh would come up to me and say, "Bye mom, I need a Kwiss (i.e Kiss) and then proceed to grab ahold of my cheeks with his hands and kiss me good bye!  He would then proceed to tell me that he was "going to a hotel and would ride the elevator, watch TV, go to the pool, take a bath, brush his teeth, and go to sleep" while there.  I think he really loves going to a hotel.  Now, cleaning up from their imaginary trip was quite the ordeal :-/  They also helped me mop the bathroom floor - this week I clean the floor with a scrub brush . . .before I even knew what was happening, they both had rags, and we had a small flood on the floor HA!  I thanked them for their wonderful help but then told them that I would finish it up :-) 

Tuesday: Our fun today was unexpected. At lunch time, Nate was not happy with me because I served leftovers for lunch.  He was bound and determined to have Mac and Cheese so he started getting pans out while the rest of us ate lunch (Yes, I was mean and told him lunch was on the table or he could go hungry - it was his choice HA!).  Then he said, "Mom, I need a towel to clean up the water".  Well, at first I figured there was just water left in a pan from the dishwasher until I walked in the kitchen and noticed that almost every pot had inches of water in it . .. yes, the sink was leaking :-(   We cleaned up the water, put a big pan under the drip until Darryl got home.  Then he and his "good jobbers" fixed the leak :-)
 Josh was a great helper - he was holding the sink drain so it wouldn't turn while Darryl was tightening it.
 Checking things out below to make sure that Darryl was doing ok :-)
 Then he got distracted and started playing with our Guest Cat Tommy !!
 Well, and Tommy had to put in his two cents worth so he crawled into the cupboard too.
 Darryl with his two helpers - this photo makes me laugh!!
The boys have flashlights and are checking for anymore "drip drips".  (We also have a leak in our roof somewhere that we are trying to find and fix - so every time it rains Josh walks around the house, shining his flashlight at the ceiling in every room looking for drip-drips - he actually found a new spot in the dining room the other day!!)

Wednesday: I just thought I would share a few fun photos :-)
 So, I walked into the dining room and found Nate taking all of my music out of my binder.  I did what any good parent would do and said "NATE what are you doing?". Then I saw his crestfallen face and changed my ways.  I think said, "oh wow, Nate, you look busy, what are you doing?" He smiled a big smile and said, "I'm working, Mom" :-)  He was so intent on working on that binder - what could I do except take a photo!
While Nate was  busy working, Josh got up to the piano and "played".  He also requested that Nate sign with him, which he did.  It was quite interesting to say the least.  And yes, we are starting piano lessons in a few weeks ;-)

Thursday: My boys love matchbox cars.  The cars go everywhere and do anything.  They also have certain cars that belong to certain people.  By that I mean, there are a couple of cars that look like our blazer so they will say they are playing with mommy's car.  There is a truck that looks like the Munchkin's vehicle so, again, they associate it with him. Well, Nate has 4 cars that are Papa and Nana's and they make me laugh:
So the water truck and that hot rod red car?  Those are Papa's cars, according to Nate.  And that little yellow car and the HUGE green one - well Nana apparently drives those.  Every single night he searches for those 4 special vehicles.  I didn't realize my parents drove such vehicles, they must only bring them out when the kids are visiting HA!

Friday: We did something today YEAH!  I took the boys (all three of them) and we went to the grocery store.  My boys love to go - they love to help put things in the cart and remind me of important things that we are out of (i.e. chocolate chips, fruit loops, juice, etc HA!).  The store is a great learning experience for them and it totally teaches me patience :-)  Today they did fantastic which always makes me happy!!  The best part?  We actually went as a family back to the store to run a few errands before dinner, when we were leaving Nate said to me, "Mom, today was a fun day.  I had fun at the store with you".  THAT makes it worth it.  Now, the boys love their sunglasses and today, apparently it was bright in the store because they wore them the entire time HA.  Nate REALLY enjoys them . . .
Yes, his sunglasses are pushed up on his forehead and Josh's are upside down (Nate's favorite way to wear glasses) just above his eyes all while he is enjoying a special treat - a cookie.  I should also mention that while in the store with Darryl, both boys walked in carrying their bags (Nate had a Train bag and Josh actually was carrying a small barn).  Well, inside Josh's barn was a hair clip of mine that looks like a big claw . ..  .well he stopped and put it in his hair and continued to walk through the store.  Darryl and I just rolled our eyes and laughed.  He was so proud of his "hat"!!

That was our week :-)  Nothing big - just some fun photos more than anything.  This next week, the munchkin is on vacation so I've planned some special things to do with the boys. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Things My Kids Say . ..

The kids have been "quiet" this week (ok, not really - they have been screaming, running, and playing non-stop . . just not full of quirky things!)  Plus, if I don't write them down right away, I forget!

Here's a few for you:

On Thursday, we were expecting some storms; the boys asked to go outside and I told them they could until it started raining (we were expecting some lightning so I didn't want them outside in the rain).  Nate put on his sunglasses and said "I need my glasses so my eyes don't get wet" HAHA  That made me laugh - who knew?  Sunglasses DO have a purpose other keeping the sun out of your eyes!

I mentioned this last week but Nate is against meat.  If he sees a speck of meat on his plate he says "I don't like Meat" and walks away.  Now though, he looks at his plate and says "I don't like THAT" and walks away.  My once "eat almost anything kid" has now turned ultra picky and it is not fun. 

One night I had to run to the store  - the boys are always sad when I leave but on this night, Josh stood on the porch as I walked to the truck and said, "Mom, please come back, ok?"  How sweet is that?  Then he said, "Oh, and don't forget the chocolate chips, we need more" HA! 


And I thought I would include one thing my husband said this week.  We noticed that our neighbor was digging something. . .. I told my husband it looked like he was going to bury someone.  His response?  "I don't care if we live next to a murderer as long as he likes us" HA!  (Now, just so you know, the neighbor was repairing his sump pump lines)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekly Menu

I am really enjoying this "cooler" weather; we have had days below 70 degrees and more are forecasted for this next week.  I so enjoy being able to actually cook again instead of trying to plan meals that don't take much work and do not require the stove.  As I mentioned last week, I planned quite a few new recipes and just about all of them were a success so look for the upcoming Food Friday posts (one went up yesterday!)  This week I have a mix of new and old which should be fun!  I'm also trying to use my crock-pot more for no other reason than it really is so nice to fix-it-and-forget it.  To be honest, I never liked using it that much when I worked full time - I found most recipes were over cooked after 9 hours . .. but now that I'm home, it becomes my best friend for both main dishes and side dishes :-)

Saturday:  I have a concert and Darryl can actually attend!  The kids will have mac and cheese before the babysitter comes for the evening; Darryl and I plan to go out to dinner after the concert so we'll each have a snack on our own before leaving (I have to leave several hours before he does!)

Sunday: As is normal, I plan two meals for Sunday (verses just a regular lunch and then dinner).  After church we are going to try Orange Chicken in the Crock pot (I've been looking for recipes with shorter cooking times so they work for Sundays) with Rice and Baked Wontons.  In the evening, we'll have Corn Dog Muffins and Pool Side Dip and Chips

Monday: Chicken Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes with gravy and corn.  This is a new recipe that I wanted to try all summer but the thought of frying something in the heat was not worth it . . .this is one of those "comfort foods" that we all love!

Tuesday: Honey Garlic Pork Chops, Summer Veggie Tian, and Garlic Bread

Wednesday:  I am planning to take the boys either bowling or to a movie and then we are going to meet Darryl for Dinner.  Should be a fun day!

Thursday: Cabbage Rolls in the Crock Pot (it doesn't look like I've shared this one before - I will have to do that soon!), squashed potatoes, green beens and corn bread

Friday: Crispy Orange Beef, Broccoli and Rice

I plan on baking a Chocolate Cola Cake and trying out Lemon Puppy Chow.  Oh, and I plan on making my favorite Chicken Pasta Salad for my lunch this week.  YUM!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Food Friday - Crock-Pot Stuffed Green Peppers

I made a comment on Facebook yesterday that I was making Stuffed Green Peppers for dinner and had many people ask for the recipe.  Since it seemed like a popular recipe, I thought I would share it this week even though I have quite a few older recipes to share too!

Crock-Pot Stuffed Green Peppers
adapted from The Hunters Wife

We really like Stuffed Peppers but I have never found a recipe that either works or tastes good.  I had actually totally given up on ever making them.  I know, it sounds silly, but I've had recipes where I cook the meal for an extra 30-45 minutes and the meat is still not cooked or the rice is crunchy or . . you get the idea.  My cousin told me about this recipe and swore it turned it out every time AND would taste good.  Guess what? She was right.  The peppers were soft, the meat was cooked, the rice was perfect.  When I made it I thought, "Well, you couldn't make this for a crowd since it only uses 4 peppers" . .. well, that 4 peppers would feed 8.  Seriously.  After I took them out of the crock-pot, I sliced them in half - there was a lot of meat stuffed in that pepper!  I served them with some rice and biscuits but next time I will actually serve a side of spaghetti (since I serve extra sauce to go with the peppers anyway), green beans, and corn bread (ummm I planned corn bread for this meal but when I opened up the corn meal it had black dots in it and that just grosses me out!) If serving this for company, I would probably also add  a big salad :-)

On another note, as much as I love using a crock pot, I find that a lot of recipes take a lot of work and, at least to me, the point of a crock pot is to make cooking dinner easy.  This recipe is PERFECT.  There is no pre-cooking - just mix it and put it in the pot! 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 - 2 pounds of Ground Round (or chuck)
1/2 medium size onion
4 green peppers
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cups of rice
1 egg
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Salt, Pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Directions:

Chop up the onion into small pieces

Slice the tops of the green peppers and clean the insides.  Chop the tops up (minus the stems) to add to the filling. 

In a large mixing bowl, add the beef and all other ingredients except the spaghetti sauce.

Mix with your hands and then lay it out on a cutting board - forming a circle.  Cut the circle into fourths and fill each pepper with 1/4th of the mix.  Place the peppers in the crockpot and cover with the sauce.  Season to taste.

Cover, turn on low and cook for about 8 hours.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nothing to Say . ..

I know it is super hard to believe but I have nothing to say :-)  I have several posts in the works but nothing really ready to post today.  I think my brain is tired from getting ready for preschool to start at home and scrapbooking :-)

So, for today - have fun!


I will have a  recipe posted tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turn Up The Music



Several months ago, as I was driving home from a Scrapbooking crop, I heard this song by Point of Grace.  It's actually a song I've heard before but had never really listened to the words.  This time though, the song really hit my heart.  The problem was that the next day I could not remember one single thing about the song to actually find it again!  I hadn't forgotten why it impacted me but I really wanted to hear the song and be able to share it.  I happened to hear it again on Friday night - I was so excited!!

There is a line in the song that says " And go see your folks more than just on the holidays"  . . it made me realize that I don't honor my parents well because I don't take time to go see them.  My husband and I talked about this when I explained to him about this song and he agrees with me totally.  Before we got busy with life and then had kids, we used to go to my parents a lot - sometimes 2-3 weekends a month.  We really enjoyed our time there and actually miss those visits.  Now, it seems, the times we see them is on holidays or when I ask them to come over to babysit for me - so my husband and I aren't really even here.  I think, when you have parents who are as wonderful and supportive as mine are, that it becomes very easy to take advantage of them instead of enjoying them.  I've reach the realization recently that my parents will not live forever - they are still young but not as young as they used to be :-)  With all of this said, we are making some changes.  We knew we had to get through the month of August because, well, my parents are taking a much deserved vacation, but starting in September we plan to take time out of our schedule and spend time visiting my parents at their home.  (My parents read this blog and you can bet they are jumping for joy!!)  Sometimes it may just be the boys and I heading over on a Friday afternoon and returning on Saturday evening; other times it will be all of us leaving on either a Friday or Saturday afternoon, depending on Darryl's schedule, to stay the rest of the weekend.  I have a time frame in mind but I won't actually state that because some months, well, weekends are just busy, but we plan to do it as frequently as we are able to. 

Why do I feel this is important?  When I think about how much my parents have done for not only myself but also my brothers and their families, I realized that instead of honoring my parents and taking time the time to spend with them, I tend to take advantage of their willingness to do so much for me.  Don't get me wrong, I know that my parents enjoy the things they are able to do but they would also enjoy just some family time too.  I think that as adults, with busy lives and families, it is easy to push our parents aside - yet they are the reason, so often, that we are who we are and they deserve to be honored and respected.  I have the privilege of only living about an hour and half from them so there is no reason that we shouldn't be able to all see each other once every 4-6 weeks.  A Hundred years from now when they are gone (;-) ) I don't want to have a regret that I should have spent more time with them when I could have easily done so.

What about you?  Did you listen to that song and realize that you need to change How you Live?  Do you need to "Turn up the Music" and make some memories?  Whether it be with your parents, your siblings or your own children - don't let life pass you by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot

I'm going to start right off with another idea for my future living room - I love this sign idea from Burton Avenue and it goes right along with my beach/cottage theme :-)  I think this would also be cute if you make it weather proof and hung it outside on your patio :-)

Check out this great idea from The Crafted Sparrow for making "stainless steel" magnetic alphabet letters.  Such a simple but cute idea!
Don't these look yummy?  Check out Practically functional for her take on the recipe and she also links back to the original source as well.

This idea from Our Pinteresting family is too creative not to share - I love the bottle opener idea.  Now, in our house, the only bottles we ever drink would be Pepsi or Cream Soda :-)  I might have to make one of these for my brother - his family drinks mostly bottled soda's and I recently saw him opening one with a screwdriver :-/

Personally, I really love this idea for a birthday calendar from de jong Dream home.  I love the whole concept and want make my own version.

Another idea from that Same Blog are these bath crayons.  My boys actually enjoy bath time - I think these would be fun for when they take a bath in the middle of the day, just for fun :-)

Have fun Crafting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Fun Week 10

To catch up on all of our summer fun, just click HERE.

So to start out week 10, I had made all of my plans and even did the prep work I needed for this week.  It still didn't go as planned though - it was more directed by my boys which is actually a good thing.

Monday - Our Summer Fun activity today was a trip to the doctor ;-) We had to drive into town to the big hospital to see an Orthopedic Doctor for Nate and then run a few errands.  It's actually a fun thing for the boys to be out, ride elevators, and play in a different spaces then they normally see.  Having never been to the Children's hospital I didn't know what to expect so I packed toys. Guess what?  It's a Children's Hospital so everything there is for . . .children.  It was perfect.  Basically, Nate has something that is called in-toeing because the ball that fits into the hip socket doesn't quite fit right.  It is something we first noticed back when he started walking and, at that point his walk was impacted pretty badly but it has improved a lot over the past year and a half.  The doctor did x-rays to make sure that it was doing what is supposed to do . . and it is .. so he doesn't need braces or even therapy.  This normally corrects itself by the time the child reaches ten . . .and then . .she told me that often kids that have this are faster runners HA!  We go back in a year for an appointment unless it has improved to the point we feel he doesn't need it. 

Tuesday - Today's fun . .. Nate went to the dentist!!  Again, it is just fun for the boys to get out of the house.  Nate did fantastic at the dentist but we did learn a couple of interesting things.  One, you may recall me sharing photos and talking about Nate taking a hit to the front teeth and then his tooth turning gray.  The x-rays show that there are dead spots in both front teeth - one worse than the other.  Basically, it might never do anything more then it has now and he'll lose his teeth eventually OR they could continue to die and become abscessed - then they will have to be pulled.  We are praying that doesn't happen :-)  In the process of looking at the x-rays, the dentist showed me his adult teeth that are sitting up there in his gums . .. and most of them are turned sideways.  Nice.  The dentist laughed and said I had better start saving my pennies now for braces.  She also mentioned that in some cases as severe as his, they start the process when they are as young as six.  The plan is to continue to watch them through the x-rays and she'll make a decision once he reaches that age on what to do.  Who knows, maybe they will straighten out ;-/ 

I did get some fun photos of the boys outside in the afternoon though.



Wednesday - I had my supplies all ready to go but, the boys wanted to do puzzles all morning so that is what we did - lots and lots of puzzles :-)  Plus, I got these brought to me:
My boys love to pick me flowers  - aren't they beautiful??

Thursday - So today was kind of rainy - the nice rain that the boys love to play in, so I let them do just that.  I had originally planned to get out a game that we hadn't played yet but when I got it out and started looking at it, I realized it was kind of . .. dumb so the rain was better anyway.  They played for a good hour outside in the rain with their matchbox cars :-)  Once they came in, we had a special treat!!



Friday - I don't even know why I ever plan anything on Friday HA!  It was a cold, dreary, rainy day so we did a lot of reading today. 

I have plans for this week but I also am working on trying to get our preschool lessons ready to go in a few weeks and get the room switch done so . . I'm not sure how much I'll get done this week as "special" things :-)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Things My Kids Say

It's been nice to have the kids back home; to hear their little voices and laugh at the things they think of!! 

Joshua - On Sunday, Josh had a rough time in between Sunday School and Junior Church because he wanted his brother's candy that he picked out of the prize box.  Josh then sits with us for the song portion of the service and was grumpy.  Well, someone got up to talk about VBS and Josh leaned his head against his dad and, quietly, started to fake snore.  It was all Darryl and I could do not to burst out laughing HA! 

Nathan - On Monday, when we got home from the Doctor, the boys were, well, C.r.a.n.k.y.  The munchkin kept trying to play with toys but Nate kept putting everything away.  Then he said ""Munchkin" just needs to go home right now".  Now, yes I did laugh on the inside but he was reminded about being kind to others ;-) 

The boys - As I've mentioned before, Josh has taken over the job of cleaning up the yard after the dog and he takes it Very seriously.  On Monday afternoon, I saw Nate and him out in the yard deep in conversation - Josh standing there proudly with the pooper scooper.  Nate comes running inside and grabs the big stepping stool from the bathroom and heads back outside where he sets the stool up next to the dumpster.  I stood and watched as Josh got on the stool and realized that it wasn't high enough to throw out what he needed to throw out . . his solution was to send Nate in for another stool (umm not safe HA) So instead I lifted him up so he could finish his job - we'll be getting him a small trash can soon, trust me!

Joshua - On Saturday evening when the boys got home, we told Josh he was sleeping in Nate's room (because that is where the extra AC unit is) because his room was TOOOO hot.  So now, every night, Josh says, "Josh's room is too hot, I will sleep in Nate's room" :-)  Since the plan is to move them into a room together here in the next few weeks, we are not fighting the decision.  They love being in the same room.  As a matter of fact, they tend to stay in that room for an hour after they wake up just chatting away and laughing until Josh stacks all of the "aminals" in front of Nate's crib and helps Nate climb out.  Yes, they are both very proud of this feat too !!

Joshua - We picked up a new learning puzzle for the boys and they were very excited to work on it.  They had all of the pieces out and were mixing them up on the table waiting for Darryl to finish dinner so he would play with them.  I said, "Do not put the pieces on the floor or I will put it away right now "(There are a LOT of pieces and I didn't want them getting lost) Well, Darryl finished eating, and then proceeded to dump all of the pieces off of the little table onto the floor.  Josh's head whipped around and looked at me with is mouth open before he said, "Mom, I didn't do it, Dad did.  He did not Obey" HA!  So I guess even though the boys don't always open, they at least are understanding what it means!!

Both Boys - The other day, as the boys were outside and I heard them start to yell, "Papa's here, Papa's here!" So I looked outside and saw two very dejected boys as "Papa" drove by . . and I heard, "Papa didn't come to see us.".  Now, before you think poorly of Papa, it was not him, just a black Envoy that drove by  . .. and that is what Papa drives.  They love their Papa!!

Nate - I'm not sure what my parents did to him (hehe) but last Saturday evening we had Taco's for dinner and, based on past experiences, the boys love tacos.  We sat down to eat, Nate picked his up and said, "I do not like meat, I will not eat this." Seriously . Every night this week he takes any meat off of his plate and says "I don't like meat, mom".  Even when we had Spaghetti for lunch one day, he found one tiny piece of ground chuck in his sauce, spit it out and said, "No thank you, I don't like meat".  What is up with that? HA!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekly Menu plus a little recap

Welcome back :-)  Did you see the recipe post on Friday for the Chili Dogs?  Talk about a total success - I love those meals!  With that said, have you ever noticed that kitchen appliances seem to die quietly while they sit in teh cupboard so when you go to use them, they don't work?  I had planned Daddy Fries (homemade fries cut just like dad made them).  I heated up my deep fryer to 350 degrees, cut the potatoes, dropped the first batch in and they were dark brown in 30 seconds.  Ummmm . . apparently 350 degrees just got a million degrees hotter.  In an effort to save the rest, I turned it down to 250 degrees but the potatoes just soaked up the grease and were dark brown on the outside . . with lots of grease on the inside.  Needless to say, the Fry Daddy is now in the garbage and I'm going to be adding that to my wish list.  I would say Christmas List but I know I want one before that point so I need to do a little research and shop around.  One last thing - on Thursday of last week we ended up with a cool rainy day - you have no idea how thrilled I was to make pork chops and scallopped potatoes . . .something that cooks in the oven for 1 1/2 hours and it did not make my house hot!!  I think this summer I've probably cooked dinner in my oven a total of 8 times so I am so anxious for fall to start making some of those true family favorites from meatloaf to lasagna to soups!

This is the plan for this week.  Honestly, I've had some new recipes burning a hole in my . . . .recipe book . . .but who has wanted to cook in the scorcher summer we've had?  I've decide to try a lot of them this coming week so we'll see how that goes ;-)

Saturday: BBQ Chicken Pizza with Chips

Sunday:  Crock Pot Chicken Legs, Southwestern Dip/w chips and a simple fruit salad.  (Again, trying to keep Sunday prep work, clean-up to a minimum).  That will be our main meal and for a lighter "Lunch" in the evening we'll have Monte Cristo Sandwiches and left overs salads from lunch.

Monday: Meatball Stroganoff in the crockpot with noodles and salad.  (Now I'll be honest, I have a stroganoff recipe that we love but I thought this might be fun with meatballs - it will have to be a home run for me to keep it!)

Tuesday:  Mama's Supper Club Tilapia Parmesan, Squashed Potatoes, Broccoli and rolls.

Wednesday:  Darryl has a concert so I'm just planning to use up some Frozen pizza dough and make that for dinner

Thursday: Stuffed green peppers in the crock pot, green beans, savory rice and corn bread

Friday:  Man Pleasing Chicken, Bob Evans Mashed potoates, corn and biscuits.  (I've actually made this before and my husband loved it)

That's all - If any of the new recipes are hits, you will see them posted in the upcoming weeks on Friday! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Food Friday - Chili Dogs

Chili Dogs
adapted from 5 Dinners 1 Hour

A friend of mine starting talking about the website "5 Dinners 1 Hour" and how fabulous it was so I decided to check it out.  What I found was this great recipe for Chili or Coney Dogs.  You cook them in the oven.  Seriously.  I already had Chili Dogs on the menu so I figured why not try this and guess what?  It was a home run.  My husband said this is the only way he wants chili dogs from now on - that they are unlike anything he has ever had and he loves them.  Well, I totally agree!!  I know it is surprising but these do not get 1 bit soggy - the buns have that "crusty" outside and yet hot and soft inside.  It makes it possible to actually pick them up and eat them.  When it came to serving, I found it easier to lift the dogs out with the tinfoil and lay that on a plate, then I could just pick them up and place them on plates.


Ingredients:

8-12 hot dogs
8-12 buns
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup relish (sweet or dill)
1-2 cans chili (I used Hormel Chili without beans)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with foil. (The 9x13 pan will fit 8 dogs; I only used 4 dogs and they fit perfectly into an 8x8 pan). 

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on one side of each bun.  Top with dob and place in the baking dish.

Top each with relish, chili, onion and cheese.  Cover with foil

Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Enjoy!!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pinterest - Again

I'm gearing back up to tackling some of my hundreds of Pinterest ideas I've pinned onto various boards.  Recently I started going through all of my boards and cleaning them out.  One of four things happened:
1) The item was deleted if I've tried it and was not impressed with it or did not like it.
2) The item was moved to the board I have for "Things I've Successfully made" if it was a success. 
3) The item was deleted if I decided it was dumb.
4) The item remained on the board OR was moved to the right board.  I even managed to delete a few boards because they didn't really mean anything anymore.

As I was working on that project, I found ideas I want to try again so here goes! 

The first idea is from my For the Home board and is a new way to soften clothes.  I am not one to hang clothes outside on the line to dry OR to leave out the fabric softening sheet because I hate "crunchy" clothes.  Have you noticed how expensive good dryer sheets are now?  It's just crazy.  When I saw this idea from Mattern Family Adventures, I decided to take a chance.
This is wonderful.  I picked up a $0.98 hand towel at Wal-mart and soaked it in the liquid softener - really that just means pouring enough softener on the towel in a bowl to get it good and saturated.  Then squeeze out as much of the extra as you can and hang it where ever - I hung it over my banister in the kitchen and the whole house smelled fantastic.  My husband even asked me where I got the new air freshener because it was awesome.  Mine was completely 100% dry within about a day and half (but my kitchen is really hot so I'm sure that helped!) I washed two loads with it already and the clothes are soft and smell sooooo good!  I'm really impressed with this idea and plan to pick up a second towel - and then the plan is to "make" a new towel softener at the end of the month to replace it by the first of the month.  Considering the fact that I go through a box of softener sheets a month at close to $5.00 and I spent $5.00 on the bottle of liquid which will probably make, I don't know, maybe 10 or so towels . . well, that's a lot of savings!!

This second idea is also from my For the Home board and just seemed way too easy.  I have no were to really store the boxes of aluminum foil, cling-warp etc so it just gets thrown under my kitchen sink.  Then I saw this idea from Chica and Jo and it was just too simple not to try.
It just so happened I was cleaning out stuff in the basement and had one of these holders.  I already love it.  It's easy to grab from the cupboard and sometimes, honestly, it sits in the corner on the counter and takes up hardly any room but keeps all of that stuff so handy!  I love this idea :-)

The last idea I'm working on right now is an idea from my Craft Board and is for the boys.  The idea comes from I heart Organizing and has been on the back burner for awhile but now that we are getting ready to start preschool, I want this file organization system in place so I have a place to store all of those special projects.

I'm still searching for the perfect file box - I plan on picking up the file folders/hanging folders this weekend and well prepare that much.  I may just get the inexpensive $4.00 file bin from Walmart for now and get something more sturdy later when I find exactly what I want.  Once I start using it, I'll try to remember to post a photo :-)

I feel good about these new ideas I've tried and had success with . . not to go through some more boards and find more ideas!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Keeping the Sabbath

Have no fear, this is not some super conservative post but rather, just something that has been on my mind and that my husband and I have conducted some great conversations concerning.

Depending on how old you are, you may remember a day when everything was closed on Sundays.  It was considered a day of rest - for everyone.  There are still areas - generally small towns - where they are basically shut down on Sunday but if you have a big box store or any major restaurants, you know that they are open pretty much 365 days a year. 

I can't remember what recent holiday occurred where I began thinking about people who work on those holidays.  I realized that if no one shopped on those days, the stores would not have a reason to be open.  Since that time, I have tried to avoid shopping on holidays that the rest of us enjoy as an "off" day.  That was step one of my plan. 

A few months later, my husband and I were talking about never seeming to have a day to do nothing which brought our conversation to what I did as a kid growing up in a pastor's home.  As I explained that we didn't do "anything" - it wasn't a work day - I was also able to explain how church was not a burden when you didn't feel that you also had another 3-4 hours of work to do when you got home.  Light bulbs started going off above both of our heads.  We made a verbal and mental decision to finish all of our work by Saturday - everything from grocery shopping to mowing the grass - so that on Sunday, we could enjoy church, come home, relax, and do what we "felt" like doing (I.e. watching TV, reading, working on a hobby, going for a walk as a family etc).  It feels so good to have a day of "rest"; a day of no pressure.  We realized that this goes a step further because, once again, if people took a Sunday as a day of rest, all of those places that are open, wouldn't have any business and those workers would also not have to work on Sunday. 

Now, please understand, I know that I am one person - but this is something I am working on personally.  Even this past weekend, my original plan was to go to the store on Sunday after getting home from being out of town.  As Darryl and I talked about it, he made a good point . . he said "I guess it all comes down to how important it is to you to not do those things on a Sunday as to whether we go to the store tonight (Sat) or tomorrow".  Instantly, I knew, I did NOT want to go on Sunday - so we made a quick run to the store after we got home.  I plan to continue to stick by this guideline I'm creating for myself and to teach my children the importance of taking a day to relax.

Trust me, I'm sure there will be days that we run to the store, get gas, or grab something to eat on a Sunday - but it will be something that we truly think through and say "do I really need to do this today". 

Do you have something that challenges you to make a change? Feel free to share!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot!

With summer (maybe) starting to lead towards fall and cooler weather, I'm hoping to get the boys to the zoo at least once (we have three good zoo's within driving distance of us . .. ) so when I saw this scavenger hunt from Blue Skies Ahead, I wanted to share it with all of you.

Again, once the weather cools off, I prefer to make our pizza for lunch on Fridays instead of buying frozen every week.  I had a pizza crust recipe I used last year but I wasn't totally happy with it so when I saw this recipe from Chocolate, Chocolate and More I wanted to make sure and save it here.  She also includes a link for a homemade pizza sauce which I'm also looking to find as well (well, to find a GOOD one - I've tried a few and they were not our style)

I know this is an odd thing to put here but I came across a blog called Sand and Sisal and among her posts are many ideas for incorporating the "sea" into your home.  I've mentioned before that down the road, when I can redo my living room, I want it to reflect our love of the beach so I'm saving this blog to check out all of her ideas!


 
 I ran out of time this week to seach for more ideas :-)
 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Fun -Week 9

So this week is  a totally different post.  Yes, I still had some summer fun and so did my kids - we were just not in the same city! The kids enjoyed lots of fun with Papa and Nana the entire week while my husband and I enjoyed some time without kids.  Here's how our week went down.

Sunday - We went to church :-)  For lunch we enjoyed some snacks and then did nothing.  We watched the Olympics, played on our computers and may or may not have taken a nap HA.  We also enjoyed a cool living room!  My mother-in-law has loaned us a second window A/C  unit and we are putting it to good use.  It feels so nice to NOT be hot!

Before I continue with the rest of the week, let me share this tidbit.  Normally when my kids go away for a few days, I schedule myself to the minute trying to get tons and tons of work done.  Well, the last two times I did this, I would get to the end of the "kidless" days and think, "Next time, I am going to plan some things I WANT to do - not just work".  As you read through my "summer fun", that is what I tried to do.  I did have goals in several areas such as cleaning, room switch project, scrapbooking and homeschooling so I try to break that stuff up and do some each day so I could actually enjoy my time without kids :-)

Monday -  Today I worked on cleaning out some toys and then cleaning the living room.  I also spent some time in the afternoon learning how to use my Cricut.  (A friend of mine is selling it to me but, because she doesn't use it - she has let me keep it at my house and eventually I'll pay her ;-) ).  For dinner, we had Burgers and corn on the cob and it was all HOT!! :-)

Tuesday - I finished up the living room and Nate's room today.  I would like to say I scrapbooked but I didn't, instead I just enjoyed doing nothing in the afternoon!!  For dinner, we tried out a new BBQ place in town and it was so good!

Wednesday - Today, I cleaned up the dining room and Josh's room then I cleaned my desk and worked on just making everything nice and neat . . .. and finally I relaxed :-)  Tonight we made homemade pizza. 

Thursday - Well, today I didn't do much :-)  I took my husband to work at 3:30 AM so we would only have one car in town later in the day.  For that reason, I laid back down after the munchkin arrived and slept for awhile.  Once I got up, I just didn't do a lot until the munchkin left early (at 2:00) and then I headed to town to meet my husband because we went out to dinner for our anniversary.  I had picked up a Groupon a few weeks ago for an upscale Italian place called Noto's.  We have always wanted to go but, I'm not going to lie, it is very pricey.  This groupon made it more in line with what we are ok with spending :-)  Dinner was fabulous!!! 

Friday - I took the munchkin and we went grocery shopping then I just tried to stay cool the rest of the day :-(  Wow.  it was hot (so thankful again for a cool living room!).  My husband brought home Taco's from a favorite Mexican place before we headed to our pastor's house for an evening of fellowship and dessert. 

That's it :-)  I do have August activities planned and am looking forward to . . wait for it . .wait for it . .. temps in the 70's this week YES!! :-)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Just a Few Blog Posts (and Blogs) you may enjoy

Normally, I like to post "The things my kids say" on Sunday because it is light and fun plus it allows me to remember all of those fun things so I can put them in the scrapbook.  Well, they've been gone all week, as you know, so I have just missed those little voices instead!  The good news is that throughout this week, I've run across some blogs and/or blog posts that I really want to share with you so the timing is perfect.

One of the tasks that I accomplished this week was cleaning out and organizing the toys.  You may find this hard to believe but my kids really don't have that many toys.  We live in a small house so I think sometimes it looks that way but neither of their toys boxes are full and I have one 9 cube storage unit that holds all the rest of their books and cars/trucks/matchbox cars.  Other then a few big items like a kitchen and a tool bench well, that's it.  So for now, this blog post isn't something I would use but I love the concept as my kids get older.  It's a great way to get them to keep what they love instead of forcing them to give away toys.  The article comes from a blog called A Slob Comes Clean


The next blog is called 5 Dinners in 1 Hour.  A Friend of mine tried it and loved it (she actually then managed to win a 6 month subscription!)  I love the concept, printed the sample menus and am  considering buying the 3 month program in order to "learn" it and in the process make our family favorites fit this style of prep/cooking.

Just click on the "button" and it should take you to the site.

I'll be sharing more about this later but for now, it is just this blog post that shares some Bible Study books to use with your kids.  The post comes from Inspired to Action.

Finally, if you have boys, check out The MOB Society (Mothers of Boys) .  I've read through a few articles recently - it really is a great blog. 

Enjoy your new reading material :- )

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekly Menu!

First up!!  Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband :-)  Today is THE day and it has been a fabulous 11 years !! WHOO WHOO!!! 

What a great week :-)  After surviving the hottest July in a million years (or close to it) we actually were given a second window a/c unit to use for August :-)  It's in, the blanket is up to close off part of the house and we are loving our cool living room.  In May, I told my husband I didn't want to put any A/C units in this summer to save on our energy bill.  We held out until the third week of June when it hit 90+ and the humidity kicked in - I gave in and said we could put one in our bedroom so we could sleep better.  I can honestly say that had I had this A/C until before - it would have gone in the window several weeks ago.  Why?  When I made that statement back in May, I did not expect a record hot summer; I expected it to be "normal" and figured we could survive.  Now, next week, I need to suck it up a little and only run the air all day when it is going to be either upper 80's and humid OR 90+ otherwise we'll be paying dearly :-) 

This week my husband and I enjoyed some great meals - both made at home and the opportunity to go out to dinner which was great.  Dinner time with two toddlers is a bit hectic most days so being able to just enjoy our food is something that we don't take for granted.  Now, the kids are back, and it's time to use up some things in the freezer that keep getting pushed to the bottom (the joys of a chest freezer!).  Here's our plan for this coming week:

Saturday: The kids return so we are going to have Tacos and Rice because I know they both love this meal.

Sunday: Marinated Pork Chops, Mac and Cheese, a fresh veggie (I'll wait until I get to the store and check sales/displays for best choice);  Then for our evening "snack" we'll have crescent wrapped little sausages and fresh fruit with dip.

Monday: Spaghetti, garlic bread and salad

Tuesday: Chili Dogs, homemade french fries

Wednesday: Mac and Cheese and left over chili dogs (it's just the boys and I tonight)

Thursday: Bacon Ranch Quich, muffins, Fried Potatoes

Friday: I'm going scrapbooking for the evening and actually plan to pick up either Culvers or Rally's for dinner; I'll let my husband decide what he wants to "cook" once it gets closer :-)