Friday, May 31, 2013

Food Friday - Cranberry Punch

Cranberry Punch
adapted from Cafe Zupas

Isn't that pretty?  Plus it is Oh, so good!  I love a good "punch" or mixed drink and am always on the look out for something simple yet tasty.  This fits that bill.  I mix up the juice portion and put it in a jug in the fridge, then, when I want a drink, fill a glass about 2/3 full of the juice and had about 1/3 of some Sprite Zero and it is perfect. I also really like a good punch that doesn't call for ice cream/sherbet.  Yes, I love both of those in a punch but sometimes a nice cool, crisp, non-creamy, drink sure is nice!

Cranberry Punch
32 oz. cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups ginger ale
Mix all ingredients and serve.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Weekly Menu

Time to recover from crazy shopping weeks :-)  This next week is going to be super simple meals as we recover from one holiday and look ahead to camping in another week or so. 

Friday - Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Saturday - I'm hoping to take the boys out for part of the day to the mall to play or something so we will meet Darryl for dinner in town as a treat.

Sunday - I might actually stay for the church potluck today.  We'll see.  I'm thinking a little tray of snack bites - like Chicken Poppyseed roll-ups and those cream cheese ham roll-ups.

Monday - Waffles and Sausage - super easy and so good.

Tuesday - Tacos.  I have left over chicken taco meat in the freezer.  Might need to add one more chicken breast to it to have enough but it will be good I think.  Of course, chips and "sauce" as that is Nate's favorite part of Taco Night.

Wednesday - The Big D has practice so I'm not even planning anything.  I always have Mac and Cheese on hand but a lot of times the boys and I like to get a treat :-)

Thursday  - I will be prepping for camping this weekend (I actually plan on going to the store on Wednesday evening to get the last of the stuff we need so I can prep all day today).  I think that some Easy Broccoli Soup and French bread will be good.  I know, soup in the summer is silly, but it sounds good, actually, and really is so easy to make. 

That's it for this week.  Hoping to keep the grocery bill way down so that camping doesn't blow the entire budget out of the water :-) 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

What a difference a year makes.  Last year, it was HOT and HUMID and just not comfortable around here.  We went to the beach on Memorial Day because it was so awful at home and it was a good 30 degrees cooler there - it was awesome.   This year - the weather is perfect.  Sunny, not humid, and in the 60's and 70's.  I love this weather.

We had a great three day weekend mixed with fun, family, work and relaxing.  Lets start with Saturday!

My parents came over for the day for two reasons.  1) It was my mom's birthday and 2) My dad is helping us build a new front porch.  We were all very excited to have Papa and Nana coming over.  Here's a fun story - the boys and I got up on Saturday (I let Darryl sleep in some - he deserves it!) and Josh told me that he needed to take a shower because his hair was standing up and he couldn't have stand up hair for Nana's birthday HA  So yes, he took a shower, got himself dressed (even picked out his own clothes), brushed his teeth and washed his hands - then said, "Now I'm ready for Nana's birthday" HA!  (He loves his Nana very much!!!) While my dad and Darryl got to work on the deck (which started with like 3 hours at Menards to get everything they needed - YIKES!) my mom decided to weed my flower garden and trust me, I was not going to argue with her on that one :-)  She does good work!!  We also had a lot of fun with the boys who made us laugh hysterically many times throughout the day.

 The birthday girl reading on the swing :-) 
 That is a whole lot of wood for our porch - wow. 
 A before shot with the old deck ripped out.  We need to power wash our house - that is next on the list.
 Papa and one of his helpers.  Josh was in his element today - helping all day long.
 Nana busy wedding my flower bed.  She does awesome work :-)
 Papa's other little helper.  He also liked helping Nana weed the garden too . .. or at least he liked to look for bugs!
 Looking at the plans for the porch and doing a whole lot of thinking and planning :-)

We ended the day with cake and ice cream and presents for Nana's birthday before 4 (very tired) people headed home.  Yep, my parents took the boys home with them - they boys have been asking for a few weeks when they can stay at Papa and Nana's again so this worked out perfectly for us for them.

 SUPER excited about the birthday party that is about to happen.
 Josh had to stop our Happy Birthday Song because he wanted to sing it all by himself HA!
 My dad is going to love this photo - I burst out laughing after I took it :-)
My mom had some awesome faces while opening presents . .. this is just one of them :-) hehehe

Sunday - Darryl and I have been so looking forward to these two days without any work and, quite honestly, without the boys.  We love our boys TO PIECES but, wow, I need some silence every once in awhile.  Our Sunday consisted of . ..sleeping in until almost 10:00, doing nothing until at least Noon, eating leftovers for lunch, and then doing whatever we felt like for awhile HA!  One thing was on my list for the day - I wanted to go get some mulch, annuals, veggie plants and a few grocery items for the week.  That's it.  Anything else is a bonus.  We did eat out for dinner, planted those flowers, laid some mulch and then got a treat later that night (Frappes and Fries, YUM!)

This area by the garage is not completely done but we had a rainy Monday so I did not get back outside to finish it.  I hope to get it all weeded this week, lay down the mulch and maybe pick up a couple of plants to go under our tree (which you can't see in this photo).

Monday -We did nothing :-)  We slept in and did not much of anything until about noon.  Then got ready and went out to lunch at Applebees.  We came back home and, guess what?  We did not much of anything again - it was cool and rainy so doing outside work was not going to happen.  Instead I did some research for our curriculum for the fall and Darryl worked on his music.  After making a simple dinner of Mac and Cheese we headed out to get our favorite Fruit "Smoothie" at a local Ice Cream shop.  That was a great way to end the weekend.

Here's a photo of our deck in process:
Like I said, it was rainy so I just took this photo out the front door.  I can't wait until it is done so we can stand on it :-)

Back to normal life on Tuesday except my boys don't come home until Tuesday evening.  Now we start gearing up for our first camping trip of the year.  Lots of things to get done in the next two weeks :-) 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Too Cute Not To Toot

Welcome back :-)  What a great way to return after a blogging break - with fun craft ideas. 

I love photos.  Love Them.  So when I saw this idea from over at The Winthrop Chronicles, I feel in love with the idea.  I'm getting ready to redo my family photo wall so I think this concept might make an appearance soon!
Quotes are one of my favorite things; for as long as I can remember I've hung to great quotes and now, thanks to vinyl word art, I can put lots of them on my walls!  Well, when I saw this idea from over at Cait Create, I knew I wanted to save it to put on my boys wall.  She sells this piece in her Etsy Shop so I may just pick it up there instead of trying to make it (Plus I like to frequent Etsy Shops that I feature on here out of craft respect!) .
This idea is simple enough AND cheap enough to give it a try to see if it works especially with three little boys in the midst of potty training and a litter box that resides in the bathroom.  This idea comes from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.
The Family Handyman shares a way to organize your garage but what caught my eye was this ball holder shown below.  We are saving to buy a decent storage shed to put in the back yard for the kids stuff.  Yes, you read that right.  A place for their bikes, balls, bats and more so that they don't have to go into the garage anymore.  This would be great in the storage shed (someday) to put all of the balls in to keep them from rolling around.

So, I first saw the photo I posted below and loved the idea of the "get movin' dice" but when I went to Hands on as we Grow, I found lots of other "get active" ideas for kids I want to check out to use this summer as well.
So, a crayon carrier is not a new idea and I'm even sure that over the course of the last few years I've posted at least one of these before but, instead of searching for the one I posted, I thought I'd share the tutorial from Prudent Baby because it looks so simple.  I need to start putting together the boys travel bags for our vacation at the end of June; these carriers AND a new coloring book would be a great addition.
Josh has been asking me when I am finishing the playroom downstairs so maybe this will be my motiviation and inspiration from For The Love to get moving on it.  (Really, I need to get the other side of the basement done so I have room to move some stuff out of the playroom . . .if only we would quit have minor water issues that cause minor floods . . .. maybe I could get it done!)
Ok, I think I'm done with ideas for this week ;-)  Lots of fun stuff to think about!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  Hard to believe it is the official start of Summer!  
Before I say anything else I need to say one thing:
Happy Birthday to my Mom!!
It is her birthday today and she is actually at my house "celebrating"!  
What are your plans? 
Today, my parents are here helping us replace a porch and enjoying some family time.
The kids are going home with them and my husband and I are enjoying a couple of days of doing whatever we want at home.  
My plans?  I have a few crafts on my radar to finish up; I want to do some very minor landscaping (mulch, some annuals to look pretty in my garden area and maybe a few veggie plants.); the basement.  Yes, you read that right.  I want to get the basement done - or at least a chunk of it.  No kids, no pressure, no hot and muggy days - this is the time to do it. 
We, as in my husband and I, want to get the covering on the play scape and clean out the garage. 
With that said, I'm taking a much needed blogging break and don't plan to have anything posted until Tuesday.  So enjoy your holiday and lets get ready for summer!!! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Food Friday - Ken's Fruit Salad

Ken's Fruit Salad
adapted from . . .the family

One of my brother's developed an allergy to certain type's of fruit several years ago (Apples, pears, melons, ect) which made us get creative with fruit salad at family gatherings.  This version has become a family favorite and I often take it to gatherings.  I will admit that it is a more pricey salad due to the fruit used but it is well worth it - especially when the fruit is in season :-) Right now, I almost always have a bowl of this in the fridge - my kids like to pick out their favorite fruits!


1 jar (or 2 cans) of Manderian oranges with juice
1 pint of blueberries
1 sm carton blackberries
1 sm carton raspberries
1 carton of straberries

Wash all of the fruit.  Slice the strawberries in half or quarters.  About 1 hour before serving, add the oranges with the juice and stir.  (the juice helps blend all of the flavors.)

The salad does last several days but for serving fresh the first time, the oranges should be added within an hour of serving (other wise some fruits like the raspberries and strawberries may start to get soft). 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekly Menu - Memorial Day Style

Whew - we've had a taste of summer weather - hot summer weather - and I don't like it Uuugg!  It is supposed to be nicer this weekend (as in - 60's!!) so that makes me happy!

This week we get to celebrate Memorial Day weekend . We are having company on Saturday and then the kids are going home with Papa and Nana for a few days.  For once, my husband and I have nothing planned.  We are looking forward to staying home, working on whatever we want to do and not going anywhere.

Friday - Darryl has the weekend off so he and I will order in tonight.  The boys will have Mac and Cheese!

Saturday - This is our big "Memorial Day" party.  My dad and Darryl will be working on replacing our front porch so instead of making them stop to grill, I'm working on a menu that is a little simpler.  That's as far as I've gotten.  Stilling trying to decide 100% what to have so you'll have to wait until I post about our weekend to find out!

Sunday and Monday   - No kids :-)  I have no idea what we are eating yet. 

Tuesday  - This is the last day of gymnastics so my parents are bringing the kids back and staying around to see the boys "perform".  Then we are headed out to Taco Bell to "Celebrate"

Wednesday - My plan is - left overs and Mac and Cheese for the boys.  Darryl will have practice.  If by chance there are no left overs, we'll just have to go get a burger ;-)

Thursday - Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef with potatoes and corn.  Yum!

Should be a fun week with good food and I will admit - it is very possible that Darryl and I will eat out one of those meals on the weekend (or more) - I think it will just depend on what we are hungry for and how much I feel like cooking!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Marking things off that List

I've been able to cross a few things off of my Craft/Pinterest/Goal list finally and thought I would share!

First up, I finally ordered this awesome toothbrush holder from Perfect Darlings Etsy shop.

The packaging was super cute and showed the care the shop owner takes in her product and the actual product is flawless.  I look forward to using them as we camp and travel this summer.

Second,  I also finally order this wall decal from VG Wall Decals.  The turn around time was so fast (I had it two days after I ordered) and the quality was some of the best I have ordered - it went up so easy.  I already have quite a few other sayings saved in my favorites to order.  Also, the price was great too - very affordable compared to other places I've checked out.

Third, guess what finally got hung last week?  Yep!  My coat rack.  I've had it since March and finally remembered to have Darryl hang it up for me last Thursday.
Fourth, I finally emptied my store bought soap bottle and use this post from The Frugal Girls to make foaming baby soap. 
This soap is fantastic.  It works perfectly and I love that my kids won't have "tears" anymore when they get it in their eyes or lick it off their fingers.  I would like to get a prettier bottle though!

Finally, I finished up my birthday reminder board that I shared on a Pinterest goal list from Eighteen 25.  This was a pretty simple project since I had everything on hand to make it.

Very simply, I printed the pages from Eighteen 25 on white cardstock, trimmed some scrapbook paper and used adhesive to attach it to the bottom of each page.  The clipboard I had on hand and spray painted it green and then added ribbon to the clip (left over from my last wreath).  I really love it and it hangs next to my calender so I can see quickly who has a birthday coming up.

One last thing - I've added more letters to my ABC wall - here is an updated photo!  The plan is to get letters H-L and complete them over Memorial Day weekend :-)

I do have a few other crafts I'm hoping to get done over the weekend - my new wreath with flip flops, some boo boo bunnies, and the first page in the boys quiet books. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oops . . .Too Cute . . .

So, I'm running a little behind on writing posts and kinda forgot to look for new Too Cute Ideas!  :-/  So this normal, weekly post will return next week. 

I do have a post almost ready to go up tomorrow that will actually show some of the things I've completed off my "Too Cute" and "Pinterest" list!  So that is my excuse - I've been too busy DOING things to find NEW things.  Oh, and it is way hot right now so I don't do much anyway!

Enjoy your day.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Preschool Fun and Ideas

Welcome to my first "installment" of Summer Preschool.  This week I thought I would share two of the boys current favorite games.

First up is Wedgets which are stacking blocks.  I have the 30 piece Starter Set and just recently picked up some beginning building cards.  The boys love to try and make the towers that are on the cards (and keep telling me we need more pieces!). I actually bought this over a year ago and they have just now started to play with it so I do plan on buying a few more/different sets to add to our collection.

 Second is a great game that my sister-in-law just passed on to us and it is called Zingo.  It is a Bingo/Matching game and is perfect for my 3 and 4 year old. 

Another game that the boys play at the library that is the next on my list to purchase (and I will buy two of this game because BOTH boys love it) is Rush Hour. It is a matching/building game. 

This week the boys played outside quite a bit despite the infestation of Mosquitios in the area.  We are thinking of buying stock in bug spray :-/.  We have sprayed our yard, which has helped, and the neighbors are going to be spraying theirs as well so hopefully it won't be too bad.  

I've been working on my prep work for June and July and hope to have that done this coming week.  

Are you writing a Summer Bucket list?  That is one of my goals.  To write ours out to make sure that we get to the beach as many times as possible, go on hikes, get ice cream, and more!!  I hope to be able to share our list next week :-) 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Family Photos

A week ago, we had our annual family photos done and, as always, we were not disappointed.  Our photographer at Signature Photography always captures the perfect shots.

 This is actually my second favorite family pose but this gives you a good idea of what we look like :-)  When I get the actual disc with photos, I'll share our favorite!
 This is by far my all time favorite photo of the the whole shoot.  I'd like this one blown up into a poster and put on the wall!

Such fun memories !

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A guest post - Father's Day Ideas

I am pleased to welcome the very first guest post to this little blog by Brittany from Razorback Britt.  She is here today to share some great ideas for Father's day.  So, welcome Brittany! 

Father’s day is quickly approaching. I am now a grown woman, but I still struggle with what to get my dad. I don’t have kids yet, but man, it will be tough to figure out gifts for my dad and my husband.  Today, Darryl is letting me share this space to give you some ADORABLE Father’s day ideas that I’ve found online.
My dad is definitely the family handy man.  If the dad in your life is the hammer-wielding type, he would probably love this nuts and bolts frame from Kaboose.  Super easy to make (you could even use a frame you already had!).

Another frame idea (because every dad wants more pictures of his adorable kids!) is to use Scrabble tiles!  I found a Scrabble game for cheap at a thrift shop, and I’ve been using the tiles for projects for a while now.  You could put any words on the Scrabble frame.  The sample from All Free Kids Crafts shows “My Hero”, but you could do anything, including something like “Dada” or whatever your kiddo calls him.

If the father in your life loves to snack, why not give him a man bouquet full of treats?  I saw this one on Pinterest, it is just snacks glued to sticks and placed in a mug.  I love the mustache and bowtie finishing touches! 

Or if dad loves soda (several dads that I work with regularly bring 12 packs to work to drink), why not show him he is tops with some printable soda labels? Oopsey Daisy gives you adorable printable that you can attach to dad’s favorite drink.

I hope you found some inspiration for your Father’s Day gifts!

Brittney is a blogger, Zumba instructor, wanna-be crafter, and moving specialist at U-Pack. She specializes in social media, decorating, fitness and holidays.