Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Little Family Fun

So, a weekend ago we were supposed to go camping but we cancelled; for various reasons like sleeping on an air mattress in a tent with two young boys; the original forecast of rain (which changed after we cancelled); our water softener needing to be replaced so we thought we could save some of our planned money for camping to go towards getting a new one put in ASAP; and something we didn't know at the time but taking off work to attend a funeral of a long time family friend.  Despite cancelling we still wanted to have lots of fun on the weekend, which we did!  The simple truth is, the boys just like to do fun stuff and what they don't know doesn't hurt them.  Our general rule of thumb is that we don't tell them of any event until the morning of that event just in case plans change - it works well and keeps disappointment to a minimum (not to mention keeping me sane - if they don't know, they can't ask questions HA!)

On Saturday, we started the day with a "retro" breakfast - Cereal, bacon, Cinnamon Toast and Fruit.
 Yes, sitting on the table, shirtless with sun-glasses and eating fruit salad.  He is one cool kid.

  My husband called it "retro" because it is what he remembers eating as a kid:-)  Then we took off to our favorite park.

From there, after playing for over 2 hours, we went to our little Chinese Buffet restaurant for dinner where, yes, Nate still eats for free.  One of the reasons the boys love it is that they get to pick out their own food.  Josh has developed a taste for many types of food so he really gets a great selection.  Nate eats "chips" (Fried wonton strips), "Crunchies" (Croutons) and Chicken Nuggets (well, the sweet and sour chicken pieces!).  Then, they even get ice cream when we are done.  What could be better??

We ended our day by attending a Back to School party put on by a local church.  They had a little petting zoo, Pony Rides, Balloons, Bouncy houses and a raffle.  Guess what? we were one of the last people entering and the first name drawn for the raffle - guess they forgot to shake the box ;-)  We won some girl scout cookies which is always nice.

The boys really had a great day.  They ended up with cute little goodie bags and a new beanie baby from the party - all free.

I will admit that it was nice to come home to our house and sleep in our own, cool rooms verses sleeping in the tent.  Not to mention a nice clean bathroom :-)

On Sunday, we enjoyed a simple breakfast before heading out to . . . the beach!!  Finally!  We haven't been in about a month because of being busy and it has been cooler until this past week.

 The waves were pretty big today - probably 4 feet most of the day.  There is a huge sandbar, though, not far from shore, so we were able to still take the boys out.  We had bought them some animal rings to use as floaties but due to the wind and waves, left them in the truck for safe keeping.  Needless to say we held on to their little hands tightly while in the water :-)

We've already talked about camping for next year.  We are really working on saving for a camper - just a simple pop-up.  I've seen quite a few go up for sale already as the summer is ending for under $1000.00 Sure they may be old but they appear in fantastic shape.  So we are hoping that we can find a great deal in the spring and can buy one then so we can use it for not only weekend camping but to camp during our summer vacation.  But, I will be working on reserving camping cabins for next summer just in case.  I have found a place down near Shippshewana that has great cabins that will be our 2nd choice if we can't get local.  We WILL camp next year.  :-) 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Food Friday - Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken

Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken
adapted from Zagleft

A few weeks ago I tried a chicken recipe from The Recipe Crayon Box for "the perfect chicken" that was, quite honestly, very good.  When I made it I thought that it would be perfect for chicken salad or any other recipe that called for precooked chicken.  Then I tried THIS recipe and now have a new "perfect chicken".  This recipe actually makes me want to eat chicken.  every night.  It was perfectly tasty and, being grilled?  Well that makes it even better!  As a side note - I did NOT use Sriracha Sauce.  I didn't want to buy a bottle of something I may never use and, since the kids eat the chicken, I try to avoid anything "hot" - plus that is not a favorite flavor of my husbands either. 

  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat the grill and grill the chicken for 7-8 minutes per side or until no longer pink.
  4. Remove from the grill and serve.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Weekly Menu - the one where summer ends

Ok, last week was thrown on the window, at least the menu was.  With trying to save everything for that wonderful Water Softener, I barely went to the store; only to get what we absolutely needed and I shopped every few days to make sure we used what I bought.  I have no photos or interesting stories.  Oh wait, I do.
Do you know what that is?  It is the most disgusting thing I've made in a long time.  I decided to make a Hootenanny for breakfast on Saturday (aka as an oven pancake).  What a disaster.  It was saturated with butter, about 1/8 in thick, raw and gooey, and just plain gross.  I won't even give a link because I don't want to hurt the person who posted the recipe, but wow.  Nastiness.

On to a new menu!

Friday - Honey BBQ Chicken, Sweet Corn, Fried Zucchini and Rolls. 

Saturday -  My mom is cooking tonight ;-)

Sunday - My mom is cooking again - she is so nice to cook for us!

Monday - Labor Day - spending the day with family and letting them cook!

Tuesday - I have to cook again - BOO!  I also have a board meeting this afternoon so to keep things simple, we are having tacos.

Wednesday - It is just the boys and I so I'm going to try those Waffles using a muffin mix that I didn't make last week. 

Thursday  - Burgers on the grill and Tater Tots. 

That's it.  A pretty simple menu if you ask me especially since half of it, someone else is cooking :-) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Things My Kids say

Ok, I'm cleaning out my "drafts" folder and came across this post that apparently never posted.  It is from summer 2012.  I laughed out loud as I read some of these and was reminded of WHY I should be writing stuff done - I had already forgotten some of these awesome things. 

I thought I would share some of the fun things my kids are saying/doing - I know it makes me laugh to read posts like this on other blogs plus, you start to realize that YOUR life is normal :-)

Nathan - he likes to hand me stuff and say, "You please hold this for me mom" and walks away

Nathan - He loves to play catch . . He throws whatever he is holding (a cup, a matchbox car, a drumstick) and as it sails through the air at your head, he yells "CATCH" and then laughs when it hits your face.  He doesn't quite understand that you should yell catch before you throw!!

Joshua - The other day, we were all going to go in the pool.  Joshua informed me that he wanted to put on his own swim suit and underwear - he told me I had to go outside for him to do it.  I went out and sat in the pool and waited and waited.  Finally, Josh came walking out, buck naked, carrying is shorts and said "Mom, I can't do it - they keep getting all backward on me." LOLOLOL 

Nathan - I asked him what he was doing downstairs.  He said "Nothing mom" . . .scary words coming from someone who just spent 15 minutes in the basement. 

Nathan - When asked where a marble was he was playing with . . his response was "In my tummy" AHHHHH  (We think we found the marble on the floor so all is good)

Joshua - Joshua made me breakfast the other morning.  It consisted of 4 slices of plain white bread.  I hate plain white bread but he was so proud!  I managed to hide two pieces and then toasted the other two and made some eggs.  He also "made eggs" by putting water in a pan.  It was all good until he took one of my pieces of toast and dunked it in the water.  As it got all mushy and was falling apart, he shoved it in his mouth and said "Yum, this is good". I almost threw-up.

Joshua - when we drive over bridges, he looks out his window and yells "Hello down there" LOLOL

Both Boys - For Easter, we put a pair of flip flops in each of the boys Easter baskets thinking they would enjoy them in the hot summer.  Well, they did not want anything to do with until a week or so ago when they walked around carrying their "Cric Crocs" and asking me to put them on.  Yep, Cric Crocs . . .and their other summer shoes, can you guess?  Are just plain old crocs HA!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Too Cute Not To Toot

I recently set up a playroom in the basement for the boys (which they loved for like 10 minutes but have not been back down there since so I'm rethinking some things) so when I saw this idea from Fancy Frugal Life for some wall art, I couldn't resist sharing.
This idea is awesome from Juggling with Kids and will be a fun craft to do with the kids in October.  Messy, maybe, but the end product will be great.
I love these chairs from DIY Project Network and they would be easy to make. 
Honey Bear Lane gives a great tutorial for making this simple rug.  I'm not 100% sure where I would use it but I sure do like it.
One last Idea that I really want to do this fall since all of the solar lights are going on sale.  Check it out over at My Home Look Book .
Happy Crafty!

Monday, August 26, 2013

K-4 - Week 6

Welcome back to another account of what we do in school :-)  Lets keep it real.  We started out a little rough.  We did not have school Monday or Tuesday.  Monday I wasn't feeling it and on Tuesday, the boys really wanted to play outside so I let them.  We got back on track on Wednesday though.  I'm really not worried about it - we will get through everything we need to get through without a doubt.  Here are some photos from our week - both school and fun related.

 On Monday, Nate pulled out Lincoln Logs mid-morning and proudly stated that they were out to be played with by Daddy later.  After dinner, this cabin is what Darryl, Josh and Nate built and yes, all three worked on it.  I think it was a great lesson in teamwork. 
 Last week I mentioned that we have snack time now.  The boys jump for joy when I say, "It's snack time!"  I have a couple fun, plastic dishes that I like to use.  The one above came from Wal-mart for $1.00 and I have a round one that I also got for $1.00.  This was snack on Tuesday - Grapes, Strawberries, Trail Mix and Goldfish.  With three boys eating it - it goes fast.  On Wednesday, one of the items we had was Peanut Butter Sushi.  It's simple - just take one slice of bread, cut off the crust and use a rolling pin to roll it as thin as a pancake (removing the crust is a must to do this).  Spread a thin layer of Peanut Butter on the bread and roll it up tightly.  Cut it into small rolls.  My kids LOVED it and asked for more but we were out of bread!

 Love these boys!  For the record, it was pushing 90 degrees today and yes, Nate was wearing a sweat jacket WITH the hood on a.l.l. d.a.y.  It made me sweat!!!

We did actually do some work this week :-)
 Have I mentioned that I love these $1.00 sheet trays?  Well, I do :-)  They are perfect magnet, play dough, glue, cupcake decorating boards.  Josh is working on putting together a Number Puzzle from our curriculum.  When I printed the game, I laminated it and added small pieces of magnet to each piece so he could line them up on the board. 
 While we were doing school, Nate worked on putting some stickers in his dinosaur book.  He is counting the sleeps until he starts school too.

 A very proud student of his work.  He loves school.  Loves it.  Even on days I would drag me feet to do class, he bothers me reminds me that we need to do it.

 On Thursday, we worked with a geoboard for the first time.  The goal was to make the #1, and upper and lower case A's.  Josh mastered the number 1.  Then he and Nate worked on putting all of the rubber bands on the board which is great for fine motor skills.  I will be ordering two more boards so that each of the boys has one to use for class.

Week 6 ended for us on Friday. My plan is to take this coming week off from structured class and use the time to prep for the next 6 weeks for all three boys.  The problem is that, as I mentioned, Josh loves class.  I think what is going to happen is that we will still do our daily notebook and I'll have some review stuff to do as well as any worksheets we did not finish in the first 6 weeks.  In the future, if the boys keep this interest, I may do a unit study during our "off" week where all three boys can work together.  Maybe some lap books or something more self directed.  

This week we did not do any "extra" activities in the afternoon.  The temps/heat index climbed high enough to be uncomfortable so we tend to not do much.  At least one afternoon we ended up in the boys room while the Munchkin and Princess took naps where it was cool thanks to the A/C unit.  It is hard for me to want to do anything at 3:00 in the afternoon when it is hot and humid.  As the temps start to drop in September, we'll pick back up with the activities.  The boys really enjoyed them the previous week.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Things my Kids Say

Sometimes I wish I could have a video recording every single thing my kids say/do so that I wouldn't forget.  But I can't, so I really try to write things down that catch me as funny, cute, or just play "What"???

* Josh was sitting in the recliner playing with a new magnetic book he got for his birthday.  He told Nate to sit in the chair so he crawled up on the arm of Josh's chair.  Josh said, "No Nate, sit in your chair".  To which Nate replied, "No Josh, I need to watch you first".  It was just so cute :-)

Remember these posts?  This is one I actually started in November of 2012 and just found.  I need to do this again. 

* Nate has taken to calling my husband and I by our first names because the little boy I babysit for calls us Miss Jackie and Mr Darryl.  I have to giggle when I hear "Jaaaaccckkkiiieeee" being yelled through the house.
* The other day, Nate was sitting on the couch and I heard him say, "Ok mom".  So, of course, I said, "What"?  He replied, "No, I'm talking to my real mom, not you".  Seriously???  I'm not his mom?  HA!
* We picked up one of those Fisher Price Coupe Cars at a garage sale the other day for $2.00.  It has a funny wheel but the boys love it and refer to it as their "Sale Car".  It took me a few minutes to realize it was because we bought it at a garage sale.
* Recently Josh surprised me by making his own bed.  He called me to his room and said, "Look mom, I made it just like you".  For the record, he did a pretty good job.
*Nate cannot poop without me in the bathroom.  I hope this changes before he turns 18.  Geesh.  He grabs my hand and says, "Mom, lets go poop".  I need a chair in the bathroom.  And my book.
* I have boys.  They pee outside.  Now, if only I could keep them from going outside, naked, before bath time without me knowing it.  Uuugggg.

I'm sure I have more but I can't remember them at the moment.  I really will work on getting this weekly/bi-weekly post back up and running.  :-)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Things that May Surprise You

I bet you think I'm normal.  Well, I am ;-)  But I thought I'd share a few things you might not know about me.

We drink as much chocolate milk in a week as we do white milk.  I usually by 2 gallons of chocolate and two gallons of white . . .then sometime in the middle of the week we generally have to buy one more of each.  My kids can even distinguish the difference and ask for "Chocolate Taste" (chocolate milk) over "Milk Stirred". . .. they check the fridge when I make them Chocolate milk to make sure the real stuff is gone.  You might wonder why I do this?  Do you have something in your childhood that you love but didn't get to have it very often?  Mine is chocolate milk.  (My dad's is actually White Milk - he loves it and grew up not getting it often so he knew that as an adult, he would always have as much milk as he wanted in his house).  Don't get me wrong, my mom did buy it periodically and we used a lot of Nestle Quik in our house but back in the day, buying chocolate milk was not high on the list.  (Plus when we did get it, we had to mix it with white milk - I'm so thankful for 1% chocolate milk!!)  Anyway, I figure as long as I can fit it into the grocery budget, I'm buying chocolate milk.  :-)

My kids have been known to say, "Mom, our house is too cold" :-) in the winter. Yep, I keep that thermostat turned down low.  I had to laugh to myself last fall as I sat in a ladies meeting with ladies from church and someone was talking about a family who's furnace had gone out the day before and it would be 2 -3 days before it could be repaired.  They were really concerned about how cold they might get and wondered if people had some electric heaters they could use . .. the low those nights/days was going to be 60 . .I keep my thermostat set at 60 at night and often forget to turn it up during the day and as of that particular time, we hadn't even turned ours on yet HA!  I do turn it up to about 65 during the coldest days and my husband turns it up to 70 when he walks in the door.  Oh, and I do turn it up to 68 when company is coming over out of the goodness of my heart.  It isn't so much that I am cheap - it is more that I HATE to be hot.  I can always put on a sweatshirt or sit with a blanket but if I'm hot, I'm miserable :-)

Carbonation is my friend :-)  Several times I've tried to become a water drinker but I just stumbling over missing those bubbles in my drink.  Imagine my surprise when I tasted Sprite Zero (thanks to my dad) and discovered I loved this Carbonated, Lemon-lime infused . .water ;-)  It has zero anything so it really is just water (at least in my book) and becomes my best friend when I'm thirsty.  Don't you worry - I drink water too.  I've found if I buy the little 8 oz bottles of water, I can down those in one swig without thinking and that makes it easy to drink water.

We are heavy drinkers in this house hold ;-)  Before I've even made it down the third aisle in the store, my cart is full.  Juice Boxes (usually 2 boxes - they are great for lunch and also for taking on the road), 2 bottles of juice, 2 gallons of chocolate milk, 2 gallons of white milk, a 12 pack each of Pepsi and Sprite Zero and, right now, 3-4 gallons of water and a 24 pack of the small bottles of water.  (We actually have a Water Purifier . .. I need to get that fixed soon) And yes, we drink all of that in a 7 day period and then some. My grocery bill would be about 25 dollars less if we didn't drink anything. 

Salty and Sweet - yum.  I love Chocolate Covered Pretzel's, Peanuts in my ice cream, muffins with my dinner, and Mr. Goodbars.  Imagine my delight when I found Chicken and Waffle flavored chips :-)  I love them - the perfect combination of salty and sweet.  Now my husband - he is not a fan of that combination in any form.  (At least he doesn't steal my treats!!)

I will never jump on the "Juice" wagon.  You know what I mean - the whole "juice fast" thing.  Yeah. I prefer to chew my food.  Really, I just enjoy my food.  Instead we are slowly (very, very slowly) trying to change some of our eating habits.  We love food in this house. . . .good tasting food.  We are working on figuring out what we really love (such as really good dinners) and trying to cut back on other areas like, breakfast.

I wrote this post several months ago and am not sure why it did not get posted.  I figured I would share it now since it is still very accurate - I had fun re-reading it; it made me smile :-) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Food Friday - Philly Beef Sandwiches

Philly Beef Sandwiches
Adapted from Favorite Family Recipes
  So, I've been trying a ton of new recipes lately.  I've had some total failures and a few that were ok but nothing to write about until this sandwich.  First, it is beyond easy because you use sliced roast beef from the deli.  Second, the flavor is fantastic.  Third, my husband loved it :-)  Adding the cream cheese to the meat and veggies really adds a creamy texture.  There is one thing I would change next time and that is that I would use the "traditional" Cheese Whiz to spread on the bun instead of more cream cheese.  We did use the Au jus sauce that the meat warmed in as a dip and it was fantastic especially since it really is not greasy due to using the sliced beef.  

  • 2 c. beef broth
  • 1 pkg onion soup mix
  • 1 lb. Black Angus rare roast beef (regular roast beef works great too, just make sure it's from the deli and thinly sliced)
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • sliced provolone cheese (2 slices per sandwich)
  • 3-4 hoagie rolls
  • Bring beef broth and onion soup mix to a boil. Add roast beef, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, in a large skillet saute onion and green pepper.
  • When beef is done simmering, drain juices (you can keep the juice if you want to make an "au jus" dip.. I tried this a couple weeks ago when I made these at my sister's house and it was awesome). Add roast beef to skillet along with about 4 oz. of cream cheese.
  • Spread remaining cream cheese on each hoagie roll. When the cream cheese in the skillet is all melted, generously portion beef mixture onto each hoagie roll.
  • Top with provolone cheese and place sandwiches, open-faced on a large baking sheet.
  • Broil on high for about a minute or until cheese becomes bubbly and bread becomes slightly toasty. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Weekly Menu - The one where we have plans

We had originally planned to go camping this weekend but multiple things have made us change plans.  Things like the weather (rain is forecasted again), the thought of sleeping in a tent with a 3 and 4 year old, sleeping on an air mattress when my husbands back is still recovering from a bad spell a few weeks ago.  I think you get the idea.  So, we are still doing stuff this weekend but are taking advantage of a hotel instead.

Friday - My husband and I are ordering in tonight.  We haven't done this in awhile and I am so tired of washing dishes.  The kids will have mac and cheese.  Why?  Because, if they could, they would have it for lunch and dinner every single day.

Saturday -We'll have brunch before we take off for the day.  I just pinned a recipe for Hottenanny or Oven Pancake so I'm going to try that with bacon and sausage (more for the kids), and some fruit. The rest of the day we'll be gone :-)

Sunday - We'll be gone today. 

Monday - Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole.  We have gotten away from casseroles in this house but this one looked easy and good.  With some green beans and biscuits it is a comfort mean for sure :- )

Tuesday - Country Fried Steak, mashed potatoes w/parsley gravy, corn and rolls

Wednesday - Darryl has practice so I think I'll try a waffle recipe I saw on pinterest using muffin mix and add some sausage to "round" it out.

Thursday - Chick-Fil-Lay nuggets, tater tots and fried zucchini :-)

I'm not planning on baking anything this week - I'll just pick up some cookies at the store.  After getting back from camping, I'll really just want to get stuff put back together and not worry about baking!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Periodically I run out of things to talk about :-)  I know, hard to believe but it is true.  I had planned to get a lot of crafts made this month but so far, I've managed to have one in process and I'm also working on trying to get the boys vacation scrapbooks done.  I AM enjoying pre-season football very much but I'm not looking forward to a week of hot, humid weather that includes some 90 degree days.  I'm ready for fall - shoot last week we had fall like temps and I LOVED it.  What that in mind, I thought I'd share a photo of some place I'd love to be right now. 
Seriously, in a hut, that sits in the ocean . .. yes.  That would be perfect right now.  I could handle 90 degree days if I could  enjoy that view all day :-)

Enjoy your day! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Too Cute Not To Toot

This first idea featured on  Sugar and Dots is a perfect addition to my birthday plans for the kids.  I've mentioned a birthday board before and the concept of a week of birthday fun . .. I'm slowly (very slowly) gearing up to get it ready to start with Josh's birthday.  I think this idea will be added to one of the days.
Thinking along the lines of Birthday and Christmas (don't hate me HA) decor, I saw this fabric garland over at Lucky Star Lane and just adore it.  There is not a tutorial but it should be pretty easy to make using the appropriate themed fabric :-)

My goal right now is organization so when I saw this idea over at The Thompson Tales for corner shelves I wanted to share it and remember it!
I fell off my wreath band wagon after I made my spring wreath.  I didn't mean to but I just had a hard time getting supplies - it's no fun when you live 40 minutes from the nearest Hobby Lobby!  I'm ready to make a new one though so when I saw this cute pumpkin wreath from Watch Me Daddy it inspired me to start over.  For the record, I kinda need a wreath to get me through until I can put up a pumpkin wreath . .. .
Speaking of needing another wreath . . .I saw this one from The CSI Project and think it would work great especially if I use Sunflowers instead of "spring flowers".
Happy Crafting!