Friday, January 31, 2014

Food Friday - Applesauce Glazed Pork Chops

Applesauce Glazed Pork Chops
Adapted from Show Me Nan

  I've been on the search for some new recipes that we like and that don't require me to make changes and eliminate dairy for Darryl.  This were so easy and tasted so good!  I did cook the pork chops for 45 minutes . . .20-25 just didn't seem long enough to get the meat cooked through. 


4 bone-in pork loin chops (7 ounces each)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Place pork chops in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over chops. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 4 servings.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Weekly Menu - The one with the Superbowl

Yes, we love Football so therefore we love the Super Bowl!  Past years, we've had all kinds of awesome snacks and dips and enjoy them all day long.  Well, the hubs and his "dairy issues" have put a nix on a lot of our favorite snacks and I've discovered that it is so easy to come up with "main dish" snacks but so hard to come up with snacky snacks!  And wait, can you believe that it is going to be February?

Here's the plan for this week:

Friday - I'm trying to get back into "Taco Night" but I came across a recipe for Baked Chicken Chimichangas that looked super good so I figured that kinda fit.  I'm going to make homemade salsa and guacamole to go along them and, of course, chips.

Saturday - Mac and Cheese for the Kids and we are going to order in.  I love getting a pizza and Darryl loves getting a Subway sub so we both are happy :-)

Sunday - So, today is Superbowl Sunday.  I have to main goals - 1)To have good food and 2)To have very little prep work or extensive cooking.  I picked stuff that could be prepped on Saturday for the most part or that went into a crock pot/large soup pot to cook all day!  We really have to eat lunch, then snack all afternoon, and have "dinner" so here's the plan.  After church, we are going to have Fajitas.  Simple Chicken Fajitas along with homemade salsa and quac.  Then for the rest of the day - Baked Teriyaki Chicken (More for when the game starts), Maple Meatballs (in the crock pot to nibble on all day), Bruschetta (to snack on all day), Fruit Salad (again, to snack on throughout the day), Southwestern Salad Dip (to snack on), Pineapple Cheese ball (for me) and crackers, Hummus (for Darryl) and crackers.  I also plan to make Molasses Cookies and Tie Die Cupcakes (for the kids!)

Monday - So, today I wanted something simple so we will have Goulash and bread.

Tuesday - Santa Fe Chicken, Green Beans and Corn Chips

Wednesday - Lemon Chicken, Asian Coleslaw, Carrots

Thursday - Chicken Fried Steak, Quick Cherry Marinated salad, Corn and Gravy

*As a disclaimer, we tend to have rolls with almost every meal because my kids eat them HA!

That's a lot of food but it sure does sound good!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I'm reading

So this week I finished up the book "7" by Jen Hatmaker.  She dealt with 7 challenges over the course of 7 months in order to increase her awareness of certain areas.  The 7 areas were Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending and Stress.  Over all, the concept of the book was great - it put the concept of "fasting" into a modern day feel.  For example, during month one she only hate 7 foods.  She "fasted" from everything else and learned to appreciate tastes, flavors and her own health.  It also brought her closer to God as she cried out for strength to get through the day.  When I started the book I think I mentioned I had a different concept of what the book would be like and was a little turned off but I kept reading and changed my thinking.  Instead of thinking what she was doing was dumb crazy, I started thinking of things that I could do in my own life. No, I'm not only going to eat 7 foods or wear 7 pieces of clothing but I can limit myself on something I love and make sure our closets are housing only clothes we wear. Over all, the reason I picked this book to start off the year is because I wanted to focus on my theme, "Simplify" and this book made me do just that.  I do plan on working on my own "7" project and will post my goals for that project soon.  Would I recommend this book?  Yes, to someone who was looking to challenge and/or simplify their life.

Women Living Well
I'm continuing on with the Study of the book "Women Living Well".  This week the study started on the chapters about Marriage.  Chapter 6, entitled, "The Time-Warp Wife" talks about the simple fact that the husband is the leader of the home and the wife needs to be  helper, respecter, and allow our husband to lead.  Courtney really focused how figuring out how to help our husbands - even little things like getting him something to drink after a long day at work.  We can do this by knowing our husbands, not comparing our husbands to others, and don't wait for him to be deserving of that help.  Chapter 7 dealt with Marriage in the age of Media.  Obviously we all have much more media in our homes then we did even 10 years ago.  TV's, DVR's, Computers, Laptops, Phones, Ipads - you name it and there are distractions.  It's easy to both sit and type away at the computer but it is important to make time for each other.  I know that Darryl and I try to have conversation every night HA!  

Power of a Positive Mom
 I set a goal last week to get a few chapters read in this book this week and I am happy to say I accomplished it :-) In one of the chapters I read, the author focused on the power of Encouragement.  How often do we only say negative things to our kids like, "Pick up your toys", "Stop hitting the chair", "Don't jump on the bed".  Sure, we need to correct and lead them in right directions but what about stopping to give them accolades.  After reading that chapter I have challenged myself to watch for those things.  Just yesterday Nate was walking on his "Monster Feet" so I took the time to tell him how great he was at balancing and how when he first got them he couldn't walk at all and now he takes at least 5 steps.  His smile was huge and then he said, "Mom, count my steps!".  He was so excited that I noticed.  The next chapter I read dealt with expectations.  It was really a chapter on setting goals for your kids.  Not that we should dictate what are kids chose to become but, rather, to watch their interests and what they are good at to direct them towards things so they can achieve good things.  For example, Josh loves to take photos and he does a pretty good job.  I'm watching that talent and, in another year or so plan to get him some help.  What a great tool to have in his "tool belt".  Nate can't wait for soccer . .. and swimming.  Little things to help them go in a direction to succeed.  It is so important to know your kids - their personalities and what makes them tick!

The List
I just started this book yesterday and haven't gotten far but the concept is breaking free from those lists we tend to make about our perfect lives.  I'm not 100% sold on this book yet for where I am at in life but I'll give it a couple of chapters and see if my mind changes.

Organize Now!  Think and Live Clutter Free
This is a book I picked up back in November and slowly started it.  It is a "week-by-week action plan for a happier, healthier life".  The concept is that there is a small section to read each week with an assignment to accomplish.  I had decided to start slow and then really pick it up in January so I could finish it by year end but, well, we already know I ran about three weeks behind in January!  Anyway, Weeks 1-17 are all about organizing your mind beginning with Organizing your Priorities.  This I did back in December - I made a list of the 10 most important priorities in my life and went from there.  Then came organizing a vision board.  This is where I'm at right now.  It's supposed to be something to keep in front of you to keep focused on what you want and yes, it is something that changes.  For example, one of the visions I have is to be able to camp often with the family and to accomplish that we need a camper.  I have a vision of what I want, we have some money put away for it and now we are waiting.  Once we get that camper, I can take that item down.  I finally moved a bulletin board to my desk area and want to print off some quotes and photos to put on my vision board for where I'm at right now.  My goal is to finish up my first "vision board" this week so I can move on to the next area :-)  (If I really get moving on the concept of this book, I will probably move this to its own blog post!)

Hands Free Mama
I just started this book as well.  I saw it in the bookstore last week and it hits on one of my goals which is to "unplug" more this year.  (As I sit at the table writing this post and my boys are watching cartoons HA).  I did not realize that it is also a book written as a year long project with the idea that you read a chapter a month and then focus on that item for the whole month.  I understand that building habits are so important so we'll see how it goes.  I think, depending on the chapter and my level of  . . conviction . . I may or may not read more that one chapter a month.

Wow, I've done some reading this past week!  I have been trying to take 30 minutes out first thing in the morning, after the kids are fed and happily watching cartoons to find a quiet place (a hard thing to do with 4 kids in the house) and read.  This allows me to get several chapters read from the above books.  Plus, in the afternoon, when two kids are napping, I enjoy getting to read as well.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

February Goals

Lets be honest, I started out 2014 running about 3 weeks behind.  Wow.  I felt like I had a constant barrage of thoughts running through my brain as far as what needed to be done.  Then, I got a break.  My kids visited Papa and Nana, I got to take a day out for me and do some shopping.  January was a tough month in some ways - a good friend of mine almost died due to a massive infection after surgery (Like, the doctors took her organs out of her body to clean them off it was so bad), a Pastor friend of ours died from a massive stroke . . and he is "our" age, a friend went into labor 6 weeks early and delivered a surprisingly healthy little boy who weighed in at just over 3 pounds . .. while her husband was on a missions trip in Haiti trying desperately to get back home. On the flip side . . well, three friends had babies!  The one mentioned above, along with two others who delivered right on time :-)  Crazy month!

So, as January started winding down, I started thinking about February.  My goals in February come from two main places . . .my Goal Listed I posted earlier in January and the book "7" that I finished up last week.  AND, as I've learned over and over, I MUST print this list or it doesn't get done.  I also have to try and write the things into my planner so that they actually get into the calendar.

1. Piano Songs - this next month I want to practice and learn the following three songs: Beautiful, Moment by Moment and Fur Ellise.
2. Books.  You can see the updated list HERE.  I do have some goals for this month: 1) To Finish "Power of a Positive Mom", 2) To read "The List" and "Good and Angry" 3) To continue on with the "Women Living Well" study 4) To start "Hands Free Mama" which is a year long study and continue with another year long study on Organization.   
3. Plan Darryl's birthday weekend
4. Finish up our taxes
5. Do school lessons at least two days a week
6. Plan some fun things for Valentine's Day
7. Create and keep up financial paperwork
8. Scrap booking - I worked last month to try and organize my stuff to make it more user friendly.  This month I really want to start conquering projects.  I'm going to work on three areas starting this month and continuing on throughout the year.  One, finally going back through all of my albums and making sure everything is 100% complete.  I wold like to get through albums 2000-2003 which includes our wedding and honeymoon albums.  Two, I want to work on some special projects  and get those current, in albums.  This month I want to be current on the boys Christmas ornament albums and birthday question albums.  Three, working on photos.  The goal this month is to finish June and July 2013.  In order to accomplish this I really have to plan some scrap booking time!
9. Bible Study - To continue on with the two Bible Studies.  So far I've kept up with them even if I haven't spent as much time doing "study" as I would like.
10.  Scripture Memory - Lets keep it real, I memorized one verse last month.  I didn't catch that there were weekly verses with the "Living Intentionally" Bible Study until week 2 so I'm going to work on memorizing those verses each week during February.
11. Still need to order that "Word a Day Calendar"
12.  Living Room - Never did get that "Vision Board" done so I'm going to work on that again this month.
13. The Date with the hubs this month will be his Birthday Weekend.  I'm working on some plans that I can hopefully pull off  . ..
14. The whole Teeth thing - My plan is to do the Crest Challenge for the entire month of February.  The commercial says you'll notice a change after two weeks so a month should be even better!  The kids have done better at brushing their teeth twice a day but we need to work on it more.
15. Simplify - I'm still working on going through the kitchen cupboards but I'm also adding the Bathroom to this list for February.  I want to make the storage in that room more useful AND clean out the stuff we never use.  I've redecorated some in there and want to finish up the mini-room makeover in February.
16 - Me Time - Need to pick my day once I figure out our schedule for February.

18. Working on Caring for others - I am working on something that I just want to do before I say anything about it.  :-)
19.  Get my cleaning schedule back into motion including those once a month projects to keep everything running nicely.
20. Learn to Use my Cricut
21. Take the boys to see the Dinosaurs at the Museum AND attempt to get to the lake shore to see the HUGE amounts of ice on Lake Michigan (this is something Josh has asked to do so we'll see if we can get there!)
22. (Don't Laugh) Watch as much of the Winter Olympics as possible.  I just love this event - especially learning all of the stories behind the athletes and seeing the underdogs come to the top!

That seems like enough to keep me busy this month :-)  

If you are interested, here is a recap of January's goals and accomplishments.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What to Blog About . . .

I usually do some sort of odd Homeschooling post today but . . .we haven't been doing much.  We are in the middle of "The Long Winter" and I don't mean the Little House Books either ;-)  I, personally, am enjoying a true Michigan winter.  The snow brings a softness and quietness to the world.  Even yesterday as we drove to church, the snow was falling, the drifts were piled high, and the trees were covered - true beauty.  Last winter I felt discouraged by the end because it was so . .. brown . . .and wet . . but this year is fabulous.  With that said, it is also the coldest it has been in decades.  On Tuesday, the high is supposed to be 5 degrees with a windchill of between (wait for it . .. ) -30 and -40 below.  Reminds me of my days at college :-)  With it that cold, the kids are not going outside at all.  One one hand, it sure is nice not to spend 30 minutes getting them dressed for outside to only play outside for 15 minutes but, they would enjoy playing in the snow.  For the record, yes, my Christmas stuff is still up.  I like having 10 fingers and don't want to lose them to frostbite just to get Christmas decor down!  We at least unplugged them :-)

So that's all for now - stay warm and maybe, since we are stuck inside, we'll do some class work this week.  Maybe. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail

Normally on Sundays I like to post the funny things my kids have said/done but they have been gone most of the past week so I don't have much to share.  Instead I thought I would share a blog post I read recently on the topic of Goals.  If you know me at all, you know I love goals and planning so this was a great read for me!

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Arms that Hold the Universe

Yesterday, we attended a funeral for a friend and former pastor of ours who died this past Sunday from a massive stroke that occurred early Sunday morning. On Monday morning, as I was driving to town, this song came on the radio and it just "fit".

Friday, January 24, 2014

Food Friday - Quesadillas

adapted from  The Other Side of Fifty
I think I have mentioned before that Darryl got me a Panini Press for Christmas and I have used it alot.  One thing that I love using it for is to make quesadillas.  I have had this recipe on my pinterest board for a long time so I decided to try it out. It just so happened that Darryl was home this day so he got to test them out too.  I did leave out the beans - I don't care for the texture of beans inside something like this.  I also left out the banana peppers because I couldn't find any!  Next time, honestly, I would leave the spinach out . .. it got really stringy and mushy after the first day.  I think that you could throw in some thick salsa and it would replace some of the veggies.  (Or add other veggies!) One of the great things about this recipe is that you don't need the cheese because the mixture is thick and kind of creamy.  (Granted, I used cheese in mine!)

Chicken, Spinach And Cannellini Bean Quesadillas

1 1/2 -2 cups seasoned, cooked and diced chicken breast meat
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 banana pepper, diced
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (heaping) TBSP all purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Cooking spray
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar or a combination of the two works well here)
Avocados, diced
Fat free sour cream

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper and banana peppers. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Saute until veggies have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir to combine. Cook while stirring for several minutes so that the flour loses its raw taste. Whisk in the chicken broth and stir until bubbly and smooth. Add the baby spinach and continue cooking for another minute or two or until spinach has wilted. Stir in the cooked chicken and cannellini beans and remove from heat.

Spray a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Place one tortilla on griddle and spread cheese over tortilla. Spread chicken, bean and spinach mixture over one half of the tortilla. Check underside of tortilla and when browned a bit, flip the half with just cheese over the half with the chicken. Remove from heat and cut into slices. Top with diced avocado and sour cream, if desired.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weekly Menu

Last week was awesome.  I didn't cook for 4 days in a row.  Not a stitch.  That is my ideal break from life!  Then we ate Paninis a couple of nights in a row.  THEN I'm cooking a turkey today so my house will smell so good!

Here's what is on the plan for this coming week.

Friday - We have a funeral to attend this afternoon so I'm not sure what we'll do for dinner.  We may just pick up McDonald's just for the sake of "easy".

Saturday - Time to use up some turkey!  I think that "Chicken" and Dumplings along with a salad sounds good to me!

Sunday  - And, as you know, I always turn the left overs into Chicken Noodle Soup and add some rolls to make it a yummy dinner.  We'll have this after church.  For dinner that night, well, I don't like to cook so probably left overs/Mac and Cheese for the boys.

Monday - Crispy Orange Chicken, Rice and Egg Rolls - a carry over from a week or so ago.

Tuesday - Rainbow Chicken - I saw this recipe on Pinterest and, unlike I usually do, actually read the recipe to see if I thought we would really like it.  I think it is a pretty straight forward dish with some good seasonings and we love roasted veggies.  Some simple fried rice will go well with this along with some biscuits.

Wednesday - Applesauce Glazed Pork Chops, Pasta w/mixed veggies and Biscuits.

Thursday - It is time to have a winter favorite - Beef Tips and Noodles!  Yum!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I'm Reading

Women Living Well
This week I read chapters 4 and 5.  Ironically chapter four dealt with media and how it now takes up so much of our time; the same topic I read in "7" also.  I think that the main point Courtney was trying to get across is to not allow media to identify you and your life but, rather, allow God,to define everything about your life.  Chapter five talked about Bible Studies and Mentor Groups.  I have to be 100% honest and say that this chapter felt slightly like a sales pitch for Good Morning Girls.  Now, please understand that I think GMG's is a wonderful source of accountability and Bible study and I think that the success of the program is fantastic.  this specific chapter just didn't speak to me a whole lot.

The chapters I read through this week included one on giving up all media for one month.  No TV, texting, e-mail, facebook, smart phones ect.  EEEEKKK!!  One of my own personal goals this year is to unplug a little more but I am not into giving it all up.  I need my sanity!  I moved on to the chapter on waste. I don't mean trips to the bathroom either ;-)  This chapter touched on the whole idea of planting a garden, buying at thrift stores and more.  I have to admit that this is not my forte.  I am not about recycling or saving the earth so I'm having a hard time coming up with a way to apply this to my life but I'm still thinking!

As I'm reading this book I am thinking of what my own personal challenges will be for each of the topics she discusses.  My goal right now is to finish up this book by the end of the month and I plan to start my first challenge(s) in February.  

Power of a Positive Mom
Well, I didn't read a chapter in this book.  Oops!  So,instead I will say that my goal for next week is to have read Chapters 2-4 and do the book study questions..

I've actually picked up a couple of new books to add to my reading list for this year.  One is a book my mom picked up at the bookstore for me and the other is one that I saw at the bookstore.  Looking forward to sharing those soon!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What We've Been Doing

I thought I would share the fun we've been having without the kids here :-)

I don't have a ton of photos but Darryl and I have had a lot of fun!  On Friday, once parents left with the boys and the parents of the extra kids pick them up, Darryl and I headed for town.  We had reservations at PF Changs - a resturant we had never eaten at but had heard so much about that we finally decided to try.  First I'll say, it was good food . . kind of unique but good.  We got egg rolls which were not the best I've had but weren't awful either.  I also ordered some Crab Rangoons which were actually the best part of my entire meal.  Dinner was good but not nearly as good as the hype.  How's that for a middle of the road review?  After dinner we went to see a movie - We saw Book Thief which was a really, really good movie.  Yes, we also enjoyed popcorn and lemonade :-) 

Saturday morning we slept in (such a rarity!) and hung at home.  I had to run to the grocery store and then we got ready for this . . ..

 We attended a wedding for a "kid" we've known for 12 years.  He and Darryl have been friends for all of those years and it was such a privilege to attend.  We got to hang out with all of the folks that Darryl used to work with and it was just plain fun.  I can chalk this up as one of the most enjoyable weddings we've attended in a long time.  And no, I did not take my camera.  I told myself that I wasn't going to take it to weddings anymore unless it was an immediate family member and guess what?  It was SOOO nice to not take photos!

Sunday was a totally 100% "veg" day.  Sleeping in; hanging out in PJ's all day; Watching football without interruption.  We did receive news part way through the day that a Pastor friend of ours had passed away from a massive stroke suffered just that morning.  He was 46 and leaves behind his wife and 6 kids.  Not what we were expecting at all.  It is still a little surreal.

Monday morning I took Darryl to work so I could have the truck.  After coming back home (he goes to work at 3:30 AM) I will admit that I got a Sausage Biscuit from McDonald's on the way in because my stomach was growling and I was so glad I did.  Why?  Because when I got home, I crawled into bed, snuggled under the covers and went to sleep without being hungry.  It was such a relaxing sleep . . .something I seldom get it seems!  I got up and got ready to head out for a day on my own!  My first stop was lunch at Grand Traverse Pie Company - my all time favorite lunch place.  From there I started shopping :-) 
 This lamp is my favorite purchase.  See, Nate's lamp broke months a year ago and I just have never found one that I liked to replace it.  I promised myself that I WOULD get him one this week while he is gone.  So, while at Target I found this awesome Dinosaur lamp.  It's my favorite item because I know he is going to be so excited when he sees it! (Mom, don't show this him please! ;-) LOL)
Some more of my treasures!  I had to much fun wondering through Target, Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath and Beyond and more. 
My new decor for the door thanks to Hobby Lobby.
And finally this.  My poor truck is stranded outside of the garage.  Why?  Well, my garage door is broken :-(  When I was leaving home today I noticed the door did not shut so I hit the button again and noticed the door was a little crooked.  Once we got home, Darryl checked it out and one of the giant springs broke.  We have had this happen once before years ago and it is fixable but this time it has also bend some of the metal pieces that hold it all together so I'm not sure what it will entail to fix it.  I'm just thankful it happened after I got out of the driveway . . .that spring is a lethal weapon AND I would have been unable to get out of the garage. 

For the record, my Christmas decor is still outside.  Maybe it will come down today ;-)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschool Corner

As I mentioned last week, we are having a lot of fun learning in different ways and we started out this past week with a "winner".   Are you ready?

 Yes, we learned about Static Electricity.  On Sunday morning while I was . . . .well, still resting in bed . . .they decided to unzip one of the bean bags to see what it looked like on the inside.  They discovered it looked like snow and decided to create a snow storm.  It was everywhere.  I really couldn't (and didn't) get mad especially when Nate looked at me and said, "Mom, you don't have to say it, I won't do this again."

 The good news is that my boys love to vacuum and begged and begged to vacuum so I let them.  Two hours later we were done.  Granted, little bean bag pieces of puke showed up the entire week in the oddest places like in the sink, on my desk, in our lunches . . ..

 We also learned that grape Popsicles turn months purple (except by the time we got the picture most of it was gone!)

And that if we put our hand closer to the camera, it is blurry.  (And that "white" Popscicles taste really good . . .kinda like Lemonade.)
And, finally, we learned how to turn a table upside down and use it to do gymnastics.  Josh did this too but I was unable to get a photo. 

I think it is time to get back to book learning .. oh wait, the kids are gone this week :-)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Things My Kids Say

*One morning, when the boys got up, they walked into the bathroom and Josh had something in his month - it was a cough drop.  He said he had a cough.  Then told me Nate never got coughs.  That is when Nate piped up and said, "The little people that live in Josh get sick and make HIM sick but the people that live inside of me, mom, never ever make me sick."  I wasn't sure whether to laugh or . . .maybe be more than a little worried that they think they have "people" living inside of them.

Apparently my kids weren't very creative this week because that is all I have!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Kids Are Gone, The Kids are Gone!

Ok, maybe I'm little too excited but the boys have gone on a sleepover (a multiple day sleepover) to Papa and Nana's house.  They haven't been gone for a few days since just before Thanksgiving so I'm ready for a break.  Don't get me wrong, the older they get the more I miss them when they are gone but, lets get real, a 4 and 5 year old are pretty demanding AND extremely active. 

As is normally the case, I like to plan some things while the kids are gone and this is no exception!

1) Friday -(by the time you read this - these things should be done!)  the kids leave on Friday afternoon.  I have one goal for the afternoon and that is to get the Christmas decor down outside.  I probably would have done it earlier but I didn't want helpers.  I know, I know, that is terrible ;-)  But, I can take it all down in about 15 minutes by myself but with helpers it takes about 2 hours PLUS they would want to play in the snow when we were done.    Once the extra kids leave, my husband and I are heading out for the evening on a date (my gift to him -a date a month!) We are going out to dinner and to see a movie (I think!).  We may go to the bookstore too depending on time.

2) Saturday (Today!) - Ready, I'm going to sleep in ;-)  Ahhhhhhh!!!!  Then I'm going to scrapbook.  That's right.  Scrapbook.  We have a wedding to go to late afternoon/evening but until it is time to get ready I can actually get some things accomplished.

3) Sunday - Ready?  I'm going to watch football and scrapbook :-)  I'm so excited to get to do some of my hobbies!

4) Monday - Unbeknownst to me when I planned this time without the kids, the extra kids won't be here today!  So, Darryl's gift to me is giving me one day out by myself each month.  Today is my day.  I'm going to take Darryl to work, come home and go back to bed for awhile before heading into town for the day to window shop, do some returns and then meet my husband for dinner before we head home. 

5) Tuesday - Ok, today I need to get something done.  That is really putting away the Christmas Decor.  When we undecorated, I threw everything into bins but not neatly and it is all piled downstairs.  I'm going to get everything in the right bin and pick up the basement.  It shouldn't take more than about an hour or so.

6) Wednesday and Thursday - Depends on when the boys come home.  Not anything major planned.  :-)

Lets see how much scrapbooking I can get done this weekend!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Food Friday - Tenderloin Sandwiches

Tenderloin Sandwiches
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Okey, this is the beef that was used for our Sandwiches - I guess I never got a photo of an actual Sandwich!  This was another one of our appetizers for Christmas Eve and they were so good.  I learned something . . .I went to the store and asked if they had any Beef Tenderloin (thinking it would look like a pork tenderloin) well, thankfully the meat guy was very nice and showed me where one was and then said, most people refer to it as a Filet or Filet Mignon.  OHHHHH So that is why it was $5000 for that roast (ok not quite but you get the idea HA).  I ended up picking a different cut of beef that was much less expensive; next time I would buy a sirloin, though, so it would be more tender.  I served the Hawaiian Rolls with these to use as buns and we had Honey DIjon Mustard, little corn cobs (like you see in Chinese food) and block olives as topping.  Next time I would make a good coleslaw to use as the topping instead.


2 whole beef tenderloins, trimmed (trimmed weight 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup crushed tri-colored peppercorns
Dinner rolls, for serving
Grainy brown mustard, for serving
Horseradish sauce, for serving


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Brush the tenderloins with the olive oil and then roll in the crushed peppercorns. Place the meat on a roasting pan and roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

Serve with dinner rolls, grainy mustard and horseradish sauce.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Weekly Menu

We ate good food last week.  Even though Darryl ate Sliced Turkey Breast on top of Spaghetti Noodles w/ Olive Oil and mixed vegetables about 4 times this week the rest of us ate good LOL  Oh well, they can't all be winners.  He didn't want to eat the Chili because  Chili powdered messes with his gut so that meant he didn't eat Taco's either.  Then he was supposed to go to his sisters on Saturday but due to a not great forecast, he came home . . .and he can't eat pizza which is what I was cooking.  That Turkey breast was a life saver for him!

So this week is a little different because the kids are going on a sleep over to papa and nana's house.  I tend to take it "easy" when the kids are gone - it's my break too so not cooking is HIGH on my list!  Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy cooking but I probably spend the equivalent of 3-4 hours in the kitchen every day between cooking meals, getting snacks and washing dishes.  When I can get a break from that I do!

Friday - The kids leave today.  This is our date night so we are heading into town to go out to dinner.  At the writing of this, we are going to PF Changs.  We have never been there but love Chinese food.  I'm so excited to just go out to dinner!!

Saturday - Today we have a wedding so we'll be eating at the reception.  I hope the food is good :-)

Sunday - I will probably go out and get something - we know what things Darryl can eat now (Like Subway) and will take advantage of that.  I think that some eggs, toast, and bacon sounds good for brunch.

Monday - I didn't realize that I wouldn't be babysitting today due to the kids parents not having to work.  Soooo . . .I'm heading to town for my day out!!!  Whoo Whoo!  I'll have to take Darryl to work but then I can come home, go back to bed, sleep in, get up and head into town to wonder Hobby Lobby, Wonder through the Mall, get lunch, do some returns, and pick up Darryl from work and go to dinner.

Tuesday-Thursday:  I'm not even planning these days right now.  My kids are coming home Wednesday or Thursday so we'll play it by ear.  I think I will pick up some good bread at Panara while I'm out on Monday and just have stuff for Panini's for dinner on Tuesday . .. and maybe Wednesday.  I'm thinking I might throw one of the Turkey's I have in the freezer in the oven on Thursday that way we'll have lots of meat to use for dishes next week!

That's it for this week :-) 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I'm Reading

The main reason I'm doing this post on Wednesdays is to coincide with the Book Study over at The Living Women Well Blog.  I plan on sharing what I learned through that book study over the past week but also give an update on any other books I'm reading off of the Book List.

Women Living Well - Chapter 1
This first chapter deals with the basic concept of getting back into the word.  I've always been a strong starter when it comes to daily devotions and prayer but then life gets in the way.  One of the questions asked in the study was what is your biggest obstacle to getting into the word and, mine, quite honestly, is laziness.  I hate getting out of bed in the morning so I don't get up 15 minutes earlier; then I say I will do my "quiet time" (is there really quite time in a house with kids?) while I eat breakfast . . .but I tend to want to play on the computer instead.  I'm working on that!  Two things I've committed to do this week is to 1)Display my weekly memory verse in the kitchen since I spend 3/4's of my life in there anyway and 2)Put my prayer list in the shower - I have 15 minutes every morning where I can pray. . .without interruption!  I'm looking forward to reading chapters 2 and 3 throughout the rest of this week.

This book is a little different then I expected just because it is actually a blog that was printed into a book.  The first chapter was on food.  The author took a challenge to eat only 7 foods for one month.  While I respect the fact that she only ate those 7 foods throughout the entire month (which meant no seasonings except Salt and Pepper and only water to drink) it is not something I feel  any need to do.  Maybe if I was single or if it was just Darryl and I . .. no, not even then ;-)  Instead, I did feel challenge to give up something for a certain time frame.  I'm going to give it more thought and decide if that is something I really feel like doing.

Chapter 2 focused on clothes.  The author picked out 7 items and wore them for an entire month.  Ok, I'm not doing that HA!  In reality, my little family doesn't have tons of clothes.  I personally have very few but what I'm still hanging on to is lots of shoes so I plan on cleaning those out and just keeping what I wear.

Chapter 3 is one I really like because it focuses on our THINGS!  This is where "simplify" comes into play.  She, at first, challenged herself to get rid of 7 things a day but after her clothing experiment in Chapter 2, she cleaned out her closet on the first day and cleaned out over 200 things.  So, instead she focused on what she could clean out each week.  This is really a Flylady technique - she does the 27 Fling Boogie at least once a week - where you have pick up 27 things and either trash them, donate them, or put them in their rightful home.

"The Power of a Positive Mom"
I've reread the first chapter (since I've read it before) but didn't get any further than that this week. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January Goals

Ok, I posted my over all goals on Saturday.  Now, it is time to do January goals!  In past years, I also separated goals into a few categories and, actually, had planned to do so this year but, instead, (to go along with simplifying things) I'm just going to list the things I want to accomplish in January.  It is so much less work!!!  I'm just going down through the list of goals I listed "HERE"

January Goals:
1. Piano - I have my songs picked out this month.  One is "Of Strange Lands and People " which is a classical piece I learned back in High School.  It is a short, quick piece and I would like to challenge myself to memorize it so I have something to play when someone says, "you, play?".  Then two offertory type songs that I've played before but need to get the "rust off" (as Nate would say) - "Wonderful Words of Life" and "Rock of Ages".  I've managed to dust these off and they are usable.  I did not memorize the classical piece but I might make that more of a year long goal. 

2. Reading - I'm currently reading three books off of my list.  1) "7" - I'm on chapter three.  2) "Women Living Well" which I started on Monday as part of a Book Study and 3) The Power of a Positive Mom.

3. Bible Study - One of my Bible Studies begins this week and one begins next week.  One is through Good Morning Girls and is on Living Intentionally and the other is on the book I mentioned above.  My Goal for this month is complete the lessons each week. Stayed current through the end of the month!

4. Scripture Memory - I have a book called "100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart" that I'm going to start with this month.  My goal is 4 verses this month

5. Order the Word a Day Calendar so Darryl and I can start working on it :-)

6.  My goal for the living room this room is to come up with a vision board with ideas I want to use in the new living room.

7. Scrapbook - 1) Go through one (years) album(s) and make sure there are no holes.  This includes making sure there are no missing photos, missing page protectors etc.  2)Figure out the most economical way to get all of my outstanding digital pages ordered 3)Get page protectors for the first pages of 2013 4) Scrapbook June 2013 I didn't really do these items - my goal became more of organizing my stuff which I did.  Next month I'll start working on actual albums.

8. This months Date with my husband is coming up this weekend - we have plans for Friday night such as dinner and maybe a movie or window shopping and then on Saturday we have a wedding to attend. This was a fun weekend!!! 

9.  Our Teeth :-)  So, I need to get my kids brushing their teeth more.  I want to give them each a drawer in our vanity (since we don't use them anyway) for their stuff - tooth brush, tooth paste, and even their own brush for their hair.  Then, make brushing their teeth an important part of their day.  I'm going to do the "Crest Health" challenge for two weeks. Not a total success but my kids are brushing their teeth more.

10.  My big "organization/simplify" project this month is the kitchen cupboards.  My dad is redoing the cupboards for me so I want to make sure the insides are useful and everything has a home.  I have some very quirky cupboard space that I need to use more creativity.

11. Take one day out for just me (already have this on the calender).Done and it was FUN!

12. Financial - Finish up our taxes; keep track of our spending/savings for the month

13.  Plan February's date night which will coincide with my husband's birthday.

14.  Plan some fun things to do with the kids for valentines - they are finally getting to the age where they like to do stuff for holidays.

15.  Finish organizing our DVD's  - Plan to finish this up this week

16. Finish up a Christmas Decor project that I was unable to finish prior to Christmas - Going to finish this up this week.

17. Go through my Christmas Pinterest board and move ideas to the right boards (that has been my "garbage board the last few weeks - I've just dumped everything into that board) - Want to do this during this last week as well

I'm sure there are a few other things I've forgotten BUT that is a great list to start with :-) 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Homeschool Corner

Ok, I fully intended to start "class" last week but, really, we did class in other ways.

 1) Geography - We played airplane.  Josh and Nate set up all of the chairs and tables as seats in the airplanes and make sure everyone had a seat.  Then, we flew from home to Mackinaw City. 
 2) Engineering - The boys designed this marble works tower; it was mostly Nate's design - something he had been thinking about for awhile.  They created more towers on a different day as well.
 3) Fine Motor Skills - the game of Perfection.  Lots and Lots of laughs with this one!  We also played other games throughout the week as well which is a huge skill my boys are working on right now.

 4.  Spelling and Writing - Making "stay out" signs for the door.
 5. Recess :-)  The boys finally got to go outside on Friday and play in the very, very wet snow! (And then the rain started!)

6. Science - The boys also built a machine out of cushions and chairs :-)

I really enjoyed watching the kids learn through play this week.  I heard my kids use 3-4 syllable words, listened as they told me how to "sneeze in your shoulder and cover your mouth", and watched as they wrote letters and words (No!) on paper by themselves.  I saw them figure out the days of the week on the calender and make the connection that the date goes with the day (Friday is the 10th) and understand that "tomorrow" means one sleep ;-)  I also watched them work together to solve problems and lend a hand to each other.  Sooo many puzzles were put together including the start of a 100 piece puzzle. I say all of that to say - I'm not concerned about preschool.  Yes, we have papers to work on and I plan on doing that to review and improve their skills but really, kids learn from doing.  You should hear Josh pray at night . . ."Jesus, I love you.  Please keep mom and dad and Papa and Nana all safe.  And Jesus I really love you, Amen".  Isn't that what it is all about??

Next week I plan on getting out worksheets more but I think we are going to work on class in the afternoon and see how that goes.

Anyway, that was our week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* Laying down for bed one night, Josh situated himself so the top of his head was equal with Darryl's.  Then he said, "Look Dad, I'm as tall as you, my legs just need to grow to be as long as yours." HA!

*Saying prayers one night before bed, I was praying for God to continue to help Josh and Nate to grow into kind, caring boys . . .when Josh's voice piped up, "Just like Kings!".  I almost busted a gut  . . .he always has a comment, yes he does.

*After the boys were in bed one evening, Josh came out carrying his clock (a digital one, mind you) and handed to me then said, "Mom, I need to leave this out here.  It is going "tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock in my brain and I can't sleep."  I tried not to laugh.  Then he came out 5 minutes later with Nate's clock and said, "This one is (insert snoring noise) and keeping me awake".  I think he was really just checking to see if we were eating a good snack.

*Being locked in the house for days on end due to the cold makes my boys a little rambunctious.  They piled all of the couch cushions (including two from the loveseat downstairs) in a tower on the couch upstairs and proceeded to jump off of it.  Nate would jump from the top, land hard on the floor, and then say, "Nope, no broken ankles.  My bones are strong so I can jump and not break anything."  Can you guess how many times I've said, "You are going to break your ankle if you keep doing that" hahaha

* I keep chapstick in a drawer in the kitchen for the kids to use, specifically Nate, because he loves chips and crackers and the salt makes his lips dry.  So, while eating chips and salsa one night he discovered the chap stick was gone so he asked to me to make sure and buy some "Chap Lips" for him at the store to put on his lips.  :-) hahaha Chapped lips. . . .

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 goals

So, I decided to take a little different turn with my goals for the year.  I'm going to follow my theme word . . .
Instead of creating this laundry list of things under individual topics, I did a brainstorming session and made a list of things I want to work on, accomplish or complete this year.  This is what I've come up with  (and I've offered some explanation along the way)  -
1) Master 12 piano songs - playing the piano has taken a back seat for a few years due to the kids.  BUT, they are finally old enough that I can get back to playing.  I have gone through some books I have and picked out 12 (plus more) songs I want to conquer this year.  To be honest, quite a few of them are songs I learned a long time ago when I took lessons and I want to refresh but there are some new ones as well.
2) Read 24 Books
3) Do Daily Bible study (following Good Morning Girls)
4) Do a Scripture Memory Plan - I need to find one.  .. I'd love to find one of those "daily bread" boxes to put in the kitchen window but haven't found one I love yet.
5) Use a "word a day calendar
6) Redo The Living Room - We've lived in this house for 10 years.  We did the living room when we moved in and I'm so tired of it.  I'm hoping to paint this year and get new furniture.  Plus change the decor.
7) Scrapbook - Finish all projects and be current
8) Create my Birthday Plan for the family and put it into action this year
9) A Date a Month with the Hubs
10) Learn to cook some new things - not sure what yet but I'm thinking I might like to try my hand at making some homemade pasta and get more into baking bread.
11) Have game nights with the kids
12) Have movie nights with the kids
13) Work on our Teeth (more to come on this - it will make you laugh)
14) The Kids Spiritual Well Being
15) Organize the Kitchen cupboards and make them more useful - my dad is redoing the cupboard doors for me so while the doors are off, I want to really work on making the insides useful.
16) Clean up the basement  (a once a year project)
17) Keep the kitchen neat and organized - working towards having counter tops free
18) Turn off the TV more and limit my own "screen" time
19) Learn to use my Cricut
20) Financial "order" - tracking, saving, making money ;-)
21) Landscape outside (my kind of landscaping which is super easy!)
22) Have dates with the kids once a month AND have one on one dates with individual kids too
23) Lose Weight (don't we say that every year??)
24) Me Time - One day out a month by myself; Find a new makeup source; budget for those days out to be able to shop for just a few things
25) Learn the soundtracks I have here to sing in church
26) Increase my photography skills - reading books, practicing and maybe doing some privet lessons
27) Plan a fun family vacation and a few good camping trips (that we will actually take this year!)
28) Homeschool - really focus on helping my kids learn; not just teaching worksheets
29) Establish a cleaning schedule that works including those once a month things that need to get done.
30) Working on caring about others - getting birthday cards out on time; looking for friends who have needs or are hurting and taking time to send them a card or even a small unexpected gift. (This is not a strong point of mine . . .I tend to get "busy" with life)

How's that for a brainstorm list?  I plan on taking this list and using it to make my monthly goals.  I've found, as I've talked about before, that setting goals monthly gives me a better idea of what I've accomplished.  I can take this brain storm list and turn it into some specific tasks each month.  With that in mind - I'll now be working on my January goals.  I usually like to have these already written by now but, quite honestly, I really enjoyed my December and set all of this stuff aside.  Now, I'm taking my time making these goals.  :-) 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Food Friday - Bacon Holiday Appetizers

Bacon Holiday Appetizers
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

I've seen these Bacon Holiday Appetizers on the Pioneer Woman Site for probably a year but just wasn't convinced that Bacon wrapped around a cracker could ever be good.  Well, when I was planning snacks for Christmas Eve I tried to think of a few things that we could also use on New Years Eve so, since these could be frozen, I decided to finally try them.  All I have to say is that I am now a huge fan.  Not only do these make your house smell amazing they almost melt in your mouth.  


  • 1 package Club Crackers
  • 1 pound Thin Sliced Bacon (or More Depending On Number Of Crackers)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Optional Alternative: Brown Sugar Instead Of Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Lay crackers (as many as you want) face up on a cookie sheet.
Scoop about 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese onto each cracker. Cut your package of bacon in half (or cut pieces individually) and carefully, so the cheese doesn’t fall off, wrap each cheese covered cracker in one half piece of bacon, completely covering the cracker. It should fit snugly around the cracker.
Place the bacon wrapped crackers onto a baking sheet that has a rack on it.
Place in a 250-degree oven for about 2 hours.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Weekly Menu

We are slowly getting back on track with meals, planning, and grocery shopping.  It always seems like the last few weeks of December/First few weeks of January are crazy.  We tend to be running to the store every single day to grab just one thing we need.  Well, I went to the store last Saturday (to beat the storm of the "century") and we have not been back.  I planned, figured, and bought what we needed.  I'm hoping to get back into that plan and, with the exception of bread and Milk, not make midweek runs to the store.  (If I had room for a second fridge . . and had one . . .we wouldn't go for those either!!)  We are still adjusting to the "no dairy for Darryl" but I'm slowly transitioning into a new mindset with cooking. I went through my two recipe binders and changed them from "Main Dish Meals" and "Treats and Drinks" to . .. "Things Darryl can Eat" and "Things I can still Eat" HA!  It has helped me with planning, to be honest.  I do plan on working on some of the "off-limit" recipes and turning our favorites into things that he can eat too.   Then, things like Lasagna, that I love but cannot remake, I will make and then divide into lunch size frozen dinners for me.  I did that in December and really enjoyed my single serve lasagna dishes :-)

With all of that said, here is the plan for this week:

Friday - Tacos!  Finally :-)  And chips and Salsa

Saturday - Darryl is going to his sisters after work to help her with some internet stuff so it will just be me and the boys for dinner.  The boys truly love Mac and Cheese and ask for it every day so I will make that for them.  I usually get a pizza on Saturday so either I'll have Darryl pick it up on his way home if he is late or I'll go out and get it after the kids go to bed. 

Sunday - Stuffing Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed veggies and Biscuits.  I highly dislike cooking on Sunday evenings so we'll probably do leftovers or sandwiches.

Monday - Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin in the Crock Pot, Baked Brown Rice, Green Beans, and biscuits

Tuesday Chicken Scaloppini, Spaghetti Noodles, and a Canned Veggie

Wednesday- Nate as an appointment at 4:30 and then I have a haircut at 6:15 so I think we will do something simple for dinner . . .Like Taco Bell. 

Thursday - Crispy Orange Beef with Broccoli, Rice, and Egg Rolls (Store bought!)

Treats: Finding Sweets that Darryl can eat has been a little bit of a challenge but I'm slowly finding good recipes.  So, this week I'm going to make Molasses Cookies (which use shortening, not butter). Tie Dye Cupcakes (more for the boys since they are cool looking).  A Chocolate Chip Cheeseball  . . .for me :-)  (I enjoy having a snack in the house . . .Darryl didn't like this cheeseball anyway so he really isn't missing anything!)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Book Goal for 2014

I love to read.  The problem is that I don't take time to read books to help me improve in so many ways.  I tend to read lots of "fluff" - those fun relaxing books - but not a lot of non-fiction.  I want to pick back up with my goal of reading books.  So, instead of picking books per quarter like I've done before, I'm going to pick 24 books I want to read this year.  That is just 2 books a month.  It's really not that big of a deal - it just means I NEED to set aside time to read.  So what is on my list?  First, I gathered books I had on hand from last year (or the year before YIKES) that I wanted to read.  Then I went to a long list of books that I've been keeping and pulled some from there as well.

1. The List by Marian Jordan
2. Totally Desperate mom by Wendy Hagen
3. Wild Things - The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas
4. It Starts At Home - A practical Guide to Nurturing Lifelong Faith by Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope
5. Conversation Peace by Mary A. Kassian
6. The Virtuous Woman - Shattering the Superwoman Myth by Vicki Courtney
7. The Vow by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter
8. Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
9. Anything by Jennie Allen
10.  The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
11. The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd - Currently Reading
12. 7 - an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess Complete 01/24/14
13. Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph - currently reading
14. Becoming your Spouse's better half by Rick Johnson
15. Sparkly Green Earrings - Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle
16. The Greatest Gift - Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
17. Unglued - Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotion by Lysa TerKeurst
18. Desperate - Sally Clarkson
19.The Mom Walk - Sally Clarkson
20. The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Campbell
21. Good and Angry - Exchanging Frustration for Character in you and your kids by Scott Turansky
22.   Everything - What you give and what you gain to become like Jesus by Mary DeMuth
23. Let it go - How to stop running the show and start walking by faith by Karen Ehmen
24. Cleaning House by Kay Wyma
25. Hands Free Mama (added later) - currently reading

Bonus Books
Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk
Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin
Honey for a Child's Heart Gladys Hunt
24/5 Matthew Sleeth

That's quite a list!  I do not have all of those books at this time.  I have a good handful of them and plan to pick the rest up over the next couple of months so I have them in hand or on my kindle - depending on the best price I can get :-)  One of my goals I'm working on is . . well, Me. . . and taking time to read books that will encourage, teach and help me is a big thing.  Looking forward to sharing what I learn in the weeks (and months) to come!

On a side note - Courtney Joseph is doing a book study at her blog, Women Living Well that coincides with her book by the same title (listed in the list above!) that I plan on doing which will make a great study AND make sure I get the book read!  It starts on January 13th so feel free to join up and read her book :-) I plan on linking up with her on Wednesdays where I'll share both what I'm learning through her study and progress on my other books as well . .. at least that's my goal :-)

* Disclaimer (haha) - I do reserve the "write" to remove or add a book(s) through the year if I find one is not interesting or come across something new and REALLY good!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Wonderland

I love winter.  No, I don't ski or snowboard or even really play out in the snow that much but I still love the crisp, clean look of the world after a snow.  What I love even more is a snow storm especially when we are all at home like we were this past weekend.  The midwest has gotten hit hard with snow and cold.  We had an great snow storm this past weekend and now are dealing with friged temperatures like -30 below wind chill.  We put a thermostat in our basement to make sure our pipes don't freeze . . .the basement is at 41 degrees right now.  No wonder the floors in the house are cold!  Any way, here are a few photos from our weekend.

 In total we ended up with about 12-15 inches of snow.  There was a lot of blowing so it was hard to get a really accurate total but based on what I saw build up on the rails of the deck two different times that is a close estimate. 
 Sunday was the only day that it was even remotely warm enough for the boys to go outside.  Last week we dealt with ice cold temps (below zero wind chills) and the temps dropped on Sunday throughout the day until we hit those arctic cold temps once again (and are supposed to stay there all week!)
 Josh asked me to take his photo laying down on the porch licking the snow . . .
 While Nate just licked  the snow off the porch railing. 

 This photo is of the boys and they are falling into the snow to make snow angels. 

 It was so deep (or as Josh said, "It is as deep as people!" that Nate crawled through the snow despite wearing his dinosaur Snow Shoes.

 Nate managed to get himself up into the treehouse which he loved.  He sat up there and ate ice to his hearts content.  Eventually he slid down the slide into the snow :-)
 Even China had fun in the snow.
 Josh was busy digging out snow but stopped to give me a photo!
 Or two!  He LOVES to be outside in the snow and one of these days we have to build a snowman because he is WAITING to do so!
 After coming down the slide . .. Nate was "stuck" in the snow.
Josh loved falling into the snow :-)

That is what is keeping us busy so far this week.  :-)