Sunday, March 30, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* So I have a routine right now that after all the kids are here/up and have their breakfast, I lay down on my bed for some "quiet time" before the rush of the day.  The kids know I do it; I can hear them; they can come and get me and ask me for anything they need so it is not a big deal.  Well, Darryl was home one day last week and asked Josh were I was.  Josh replied, "She is sleeping.  She sleeps in the morning and in the afternoon while we just play.".  For real?  I lay on my bed for one hour and don't sleep - I just read, read my Bible passage for the day and even pray sometimes. As far as the afternoon, during nap time when the other kids are napping, I usually will sick on my (wonderful new) sofa from about 2-3 pm and relax.  Usually I read, sometimes, yes, I kick back and close my eyes for a few.  BUT Josh's perception made me laugh out.

* Josh had the flu this week.  He was most excited to learn that four of his cousins ALSO were sick at ALMOST the exact time as him. He found it very interesting that so many kids could puke with minutes of each other yet not be in the same house HA!

* Nate loves to "Rhine" words.  (Rhyme). 

* Josh came out of his room one night to tell me a joke which was, "I Puked on my bed - Just joking".  Now, why is that funny?  Because he DID puke in his bed.  Twice. Recently. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Ten Things I'd like to do on my Saturday:

1) Sleep in . . .. if only my kids would sleep past 7:00!  It is a little better now that they are slightly older because, once they have their "Chocolate Milk and Pop tart" for breakfast and the cartoons are on, they are pretty content and only wake me up again "just" as I've drifted back off to sleep. .. every single time for the next hour.  Then I give up and get out of bed HA!

2) Get McDonald's Breakfast . . .. the boys and I would do this last summer but now we have one car again and Darryl's working so I'll settle for breakfast at home and am thankful for my Kerig.

3) Stay in Pajama's.  Ok, who am I kidding, I do this every Saturday right now HA!  Summer is coming though and then, I will NOT want to stay in my PJ's but rather, my most comfy shorts and t-shirt.

4) NOT clean.  For Real.  But for some reason I always end up cleaning like crazy.  I think it is because I don't have the extra kids which means it is much easier to get things done. Plus I always have some cleaning project that needs to get done.

5) Scrapbook.  Well, if I didn't clean, I COULD scrapbook!

6) Watch a Movie.  Do Cartoons count?  Because my kids don't like movies.  Uuuggg!  I'm looking forward to when we have a DVD player set up in the playroom for the boys with a TV so they can watch stuff in there and THEN maybe I can watch Anne of Green Gables on a cool, rainy Saturday!

7) NOT cook.  Ok, I don't.  :-)  If Darryl is working, as he has been most Saturdays, the boys and I usually have frozen pizza for lunch and then Darryl and I  order in for dinner.  That all counts as NOT cooking!

8) Take a Nap.  HA!  I will admit, kicking back on our fabulous new sofa and closing my eyes for just a little bit, listening to my favorite Pandora Station with some headphones is a wonderful treat. 

9)  Plan a few games with the kids.  The boys love to play games and, even though really, it is not my ultimate favorite thing, I do have fun with them and hearing them chatter on and on.  So I don't mind playing a few rounds of trouble with them.  And sometimes I even win ;-)

10) Prepare for Church.  This might seem odd but I find getting everything ready for Sunday is actually refreshing.  Having clothes picked out, the bag packed with our Bibles and whatever else we need means that Sunday morning generally runs much smoother.

How do you spend your Saturday?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Food Friday - Perfect Spinach Salad

Perfect Spinach Salad
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

I found my new favorite salad and  yes, it is this one.  Really, it is just the concept but I have found some ingredients that I really love together and that is what matters, right?  Now, if you want The Pioneer Woman's full recipe, click above on the link.  I'll be super honest on this one, I did not care for the dressing.  It had not a lot of favor and was really just. .. kinda greasy.  My "version" is below. 

Basic Ingredients:
Spinach (or your favorite salad mix - this week I bought spinach and than mixed greens to use all together)
Hard Boiled Eggs
Bacon (cooked and crumbled)
French Fried Onions (yes, from the can . . .like you use in Green Bean Casserole)
Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing
(Some cheese would be good on this - I'm thinking crumbled blue cheese!)
(Of course, you can add any veggies you have in your fridge too!)

Combine everything in a big bowl and enjoy.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weekly Menu - The One with a Potluck

Yes, we had our turkey last week!  We won't have another one until Thanksgiving, most likely.  It was good - I made it Puerto Rican style and it was just about perfect!

This Sunday, we have a potluck at Church for the end of the missions conference.  Lets keep this real, pot luck dinners freak me out.  I cannot figure out  what to take most of the time.  I over think, over plan, over everything and then have a panic attack HA!  Well, this time I have to bring a main dish and either a side dish or dessert.  It's our "first" pot luck so I'm not really sure how this church does stuff so I want to bring stuff that doesn't need to be kept warm.  (Can you see my "freakishness" yet?)

Here's the plan for this week:
Friday - I'm going to a home party tonight so I kept it simple.  Spaghetti 4 ways.  See, we all eat it differently right now.  Nate eats his plain, Josh wants just some jar sauce on it, I eat it with my homemade sauce and Darryl eats his without sauce but with some mixed veggies, diced ham and a little butter.

Saturday - Mac and Cheese for the Kids; Ordering in for the Adults.

Sunday -  The "Dreaded" Potluck.  (hehehehe).  So, my main dish will be Ham Salad Sandwiches.  I just picked up some Hawaiian Rolls and deli Ham Salad and made some awesome sandwiches that were simple.  I debated between dessert and a side dish for quite awhile.  I finally decided on a dessert and made Boston Cream Cupcakes.  They look nice and actually look like they took extra effort to make but they are so easy.

Monday - We ended up not having Turkey Noodle Soup last week so I have put it on the menu for tonight.  Along with the boys favorite yeast rolls

Tuesday - I have a concert to go to tonight so Darryl and I will be passing ships.  I've hotdogs and chips to feed to the natives on the island of "Home" and I plan on doing a drivethru run as I head out of town.

Wednesday - I think it is time for breakfast for dinner.  So eggs, ham slices (for something different), hash browns, and toast.

Thursday - Chicken wings (since I have them to use up), mac and cheese (a potato for Darryl), and some sort of veggie from the pantry.

I'm really trying to use some of the last of the "winter" foods in the pantry/freezer.  By that I mean 1) Things that heat up the kitchen big time so therefore I won't cook them as it starts to warm up and 2)Things that are, well, at the end of their shelf life.  I also really should do some baking and put some stuff in the freezer.  My kitchen is so hot in the summer, it is hard to ever bake  . ..  .. we'll see if I actually do that though!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Song of Encouragment

One of my favorite artists right now is Laura Story.  She has some great songs out and I thought I would "share" one with you.  Hopefully it encourages you!

Monday, March 24, 2014

In a Slump . . ..

Sorry blogger friends.  I've been in a slump the last few weeks without many ideas of what to write about.  This is the first time this has really happened since I started writing several years ago.  We haven't been doing much and that is, I'm sure, part of the problem since I have no crafts or fun kid ideas to share.  My cooking has taken an nose dive so even coming up with new recipes and fun cooking ideas have been a little trying.  Hang with me, though, and I'm sure I'll get back into it soon!.

Homeschool Corner - Dinasaurs galore!

This past Sunday we planned a family fun day.  Without Football to watch (yes, we really are die hard fans of Sunday Football), we've found that planning fun activities on Sunday are the way to go.  We are already out for church and it's nice to have something to do.  Plus, this frees up Saturday for us to hang out at home and/or work on some projects.

On Sunday, the 16th, we headed to Church and Sunday School first and had a great morning at church.  From there we headed out to dinner and decided to try out IHOP since it would be easy with the boys.  Well, once is enough for us. HA!  We were both craving a place called Mega which is near my parents house and hoped this might be a half way decent substitute but it was not . . . .  oh well.  Next time we will eat somewhere else that is for sure.  Then we headed to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see the Dinosaur Exhibit.

We arrived at the museum and got THE perfect parking spot which is beyond amazing when you consider we had to wait 45 minutes in line to get inside.  Geesh!  It was worth it though.  Here's my confession - I haven't taken the boys to this museum because I find it kinda of, well, boring.  I've been many times and figured they wouldn't like it.  Boy was I wrong.  They loved it and now, I need to take them back where they can just explore the place.

 Nate was totally 100% intrigued by the dinosaurs from the moment we walked in.  They are, after all, his favorite animals!
 Josh, on the other hand, was intrigued by the windows and seeing how far up we actually were (it is very high due to the river that runs right by!)

 The exhibit was fantastic.  The dinosaurs move and make lots of noise.  Nate wanted to know the name of every one of them and also wanted to know what facts were listed on the display boards.
 On the other hand, Josh wanted to play.  His favorite areas were the hands-on areas.  Often times Josh and I stayed in those areas while Darryl and Nate walked through the dinosaur areas.

 Once we finished with the dinosaurs, we wandered through part of the museum.  The boys loved the old train car.
 Josh dared to get on the huge bike.
 The boys and I in "Old Town" Grand Rapids.
Darryl and the boys.  Yes, Josh always makes funny faces. 

We also rode the carousal.  The boys loved it and had huge smiles on their faces.  There was no way I could get a photo though.  I was just trying not to get sick from going in circles over and over and over . . HA!

I'm looking forward to taking the boys back.  I think going on a weekend day during the hot days of summer will be on our bucket list!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Things my Kids Say

* Nate was talking to Darryl one evening and Darryl asked him when he got so smart.  Nate replied, "Dad, that is just how God Made me!" and then he proceeded to show him how fast God made him too by racing around the house.

* I've mentioned before that Josh loves to be in charge.  Well, he was in his element recently.  On this past Monday, I went to choir practice.  Darryl called me at about 9:30  (I was then at the grocery store) and told me that Nate had gotten sick so both boys were still up while he was trying to get everything cleaned up.  I quickly finished the shopping and came home.  I pulled in the driveway and as I got out of the truck I heard Josh yelling from the house, "Mom, Nate is VERY sick.  I put my hand on his head and my hand is ON FIRE!  I mean, he is SICK so you need to get in here."  I came inside and he proceeded to tell me, "Mom, Nate cannot have any milk or anything to eat because he is so sick.  He can only have juice and water.  AND He cannot breath on any of us or we will get sick.  I mean, mom, he is SICK and his head is on fire.  I told him to go to sleep so he did.".  Josh was in his glory, let me tell you!!!  Twice during the night he came to tell me that Nate was coughing or he thought he had gotten sick and then, when Nate did get sick again, he came out to tell us and was beyond thrilled that he also got to stay up to see Darryl off to work HA!  I don't think that kid slept more than a few hours because he was "His brother's Keeper!"  On Tuesday morning it became Josh's job to pick out new clothes for Nate every time he puked.

* The boys often will exclaim the following, "Nate Alervis Nate Alerves" or "Princess Alervis, Princess Alervis"  What does it mean???  Well, it is a combination of an alert and an emergency!  So when Nate was puking I would here Josh yelling that or when the princess is getting into something she shouldn't, the boys will start yelling.  I have no idea where that word came from but they say it with authority so I just refuse to correct it!

* Another night this past week, Nate said that he wasn't feeling well again.  After several trips up and down out of bed, he went to sleep.  A few moments later, Josh came out and said, "Mom, I will be your helper.  I will get you if we need anything" HA!  He's such a helper (and boss . . .)

* We were packing to go to Papa and Nana's - I told the boys they didn't need to take pillows or stuffed animals because Nana had that stuff for them.  Nate looked at me with great concern and said, "But, Mom, my baby is too young to stay home, he needs me so I must take him."  How can I argue with that logic?   By the way, his "baby" is a Ernie toy that I have had for years and he claimed as his own.  Some days he remembers his baby and some days, Ernie is stuffed under the bed . .. for weeks HA! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

One of my March goals was to plan some fun things for St. Patrick's Day.  I almost totally failed but in the end I think I pulled out a few fun things and it was just enough for the boys.

 I picked up the shirts for the boys about a month ago.  They say, "I make my own good luck".  I think holiday shirts are the best!! 

Our morning started out with breakfast.  Lucky Charms, of course!  Now, Nate does not like the Marshmallows (say it isn't so!) but he loved picking out all of the cereal shapes.  He gave his marshmallows to Josh who loves them.  Lucky Charms were a huge hit!

For  lunch we had all things orange (since we are Protestant, after all!) so it was Mac and Cheese and Goldfish crackers for lunch.  I also put some "gold coins" (aka as Rolo's) on the table and told them the Leprechaun had visited and left them.  Well, let the stories begin HA  The boys wanted to know if I saw him and where he went and if he would leave more (which he did - they found them all over the house all afternoon). 

For dinner, we had our annual "feast" of Stuffed cabbage, Crash Potatoes, and Rainbow Jello. 

St. Patrick's Day (or as the boys say, Patrick's Day) ended with a bang, though.  Nate decided to toss his cookies at about 9:00 Monday night and keep me on my toys with a bucket near by most of the day Tuesday.  Hopefully that is one gift that does not keep on giving! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Food Friday - Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from Boy Meets Bowl
  I never knew I liked Coconut Cream Pie until Christmas when my mom had one for dessert (or was it Thanksgiving . . . .) I came across this recipe and figured I might as well try.  All in all, this is a great recipe - very easy to follow and it comes together quickly.  My only "complaint" is that it needs more coconut flavor.  In the defense of this recipe, I felt that way with the first one I tried.  I think I might try this again but maybe use some coconut extract in it???  

 Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

makes 1 9-inch pie


  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake it, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla extract. Reserve the remaining coconut to top the pie.
  4. Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until firm, about 4 hours.
  5. Top with whipped topping and with the reserved coconut.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Weekly Menu

So, I forgot to take the turkey out last week.  Oops!  That's ok though because we actually had enough stuff in the freezer/fridge that I was able to just change some stuff out and not have to do any major shopping.  The turkey will get used next week!!

This coming week we are heading to my parents for a few days but otherwise it is a pretty typical week!

Friday - At my parents

Saturday - Dinner with family that are in town for the weekend.

Sunday - Enjoying my mom's cooking (i.e. going out to eat HA!  . . .unless she actually cooks!)

Monday - Turkey and the fixin's.  I took the turkey out on Friday and left it in the fridge all weekend to unthaw while we were gone so it is ready to cook!

Tuesday - Turkey and Dumplings

Wednesday - Darryl will be at practice so I tend to do something simple - the boys and I will probably have frozen pizza since we love it and it isn't something Darryl can eat right now.

Thursday - Turnkey Noodle soup!

That actually looks like an easy cooking week to me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Phase one of the LIving Room Re-Do

I mentioned in my recent post about our Closet Switch that we had more fun coming and guess what, it's here!  After three years of planning, saving, needing that savings for unexpected things and saving again . .. . we bought new living room furniture.  I think I sat on about 400 couches over the course of one week not to mention chairs and rockers/recliners but we finally found the perfect furniture and it was delivered a week ago Thursday. 

We bought a couch with recliners, a chair that is also a recliner and a rocker with . . .yes a recliner.  I love to be able to put my feet up.  A couch just to sit on is not that comfortable :-)  We went to the Laz-Boy store after being mauled at Art Van by the sales people and found it so refreshing.  The sales clerk greeted us, told us to find her if we had questions and she walked away.  The boys played in the play area, the clerk never bothered us but was there the instant we had a question and the other sales clerk gave each of the boys a toy because they were so well-behaved.  It was cute because Nate saw a chair that looked like one that used to be "his" and said, "Look mom, that looks just like the chair I puked in!" (yes, he did, and yes, that chair was ruined.)  At that point the sales clerk told us about the fabric protection we could buy that WOULD cover puke HA!  (The best part of that is this particular store will refund the money if you never have to use the policy - how cool is that!).

Anyway, here are some photos - yes the kids were on it quickly :-)  I'm loving it.  I finally have a place to sit.
 I almost always forget to take "before shots" so this is a shot of the living room after we had cleared out most of the old stuff :-)
 The truck is here!!!! 
The couch :-)  It reclines on both ends and is so comfy!
 The sun kinda makes this photo difficult to see but there is a chair that matches the couch that has a footrest that kids out and beyond that is a rocker/recliner. 

Everyone loves it :-)  We all kinda claim spots but we've told the boys that the furniture belongs to everyone and anyone can sit anywhere they want!

This is only phase one.  We will be replacing our huge TV stand that we purchased about 5 years ago to house an "old" TV.  We need something much smaller now.  Also, there is paint in our future, new window treatments and new artwork.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Things my Kids Say

* Nate was scratching his bare hiney while I was getting him dressed one morning.  I told him that his hands were going to stink if he kept doing that.  He sniffed his hands and said, "They smell like fresh fruit.  They don't smell butty!!!!"  I did not smell them - I took his word for it and then made him go wash his hands.

*Nate can speak baby talk and dog talk (as well as chicken, cat, rooster, pig, and sheep).  If he wants China to move, he will "speak" to her.  He has told me she listens and does what he says.  Then, the other day he wanted the Princess to move away from his fort so he got down on the floor and proceeded to "talk" to her in baby talk.  She then crawled away and he exclaimed, "Look mom, she understood me!". 

* We were practicing this weeks memory verse before bed which is "Pray for one another".  Josh repeated it and said,Pray for Another Lover.  Hahahaha. I was laughing so hard and he was like, what mom, what's funny?  I hope he corrects that before,Sunday!

* Nate told me finally that he knows the people snide him are not real.  He the proceeded to pull them off of his body and said, "I'll just carry them in my pocket instead."

* We recently got new furniture and had been going over the new "rules" with Josh and Nate for a few weeks.  On the morning it was arriving, I started explaining the rules to the munchkin when Josh said, "Don't worry mom, I already reminded the boys of the rules, you don't need to."  Yep, he thinks he is in charge.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Food Friday - Fails.

So, this past week I tried a Crock Pot Pork Chop recipe that I planned to share here.  But, it was a fail.  First, I had to cook everything prior to putting it in the crock pot which, to me, is not a crock pot meal.  The purpose of a crock pot to me is to NOT have to cook!.  There was supposed to be gravy in the end (which you cooked and thickened first and poured into the crock over the pork) and it was just a watering pork liquid instead.  Therefore, I do not have a recipe to share this week but I WILL next week :-)

Enjoy cooking!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weekly Menu

The best laid plans . . .. . Last weekend did not go as planned.  Darryl got hit with a bad toothache on Thursday that really messed with his weekend.  Friday night I don't even remember what he/the kids ate but once the kids were in bed, I ordered a pizza.  (LONG day!!).  On Saturday evening, we ordered in, as planned, and Darryl ended up getting so sick.  He got a sub sandwich that he has eaten before (recently) but this time it set off his stomach issues with a v.e.n.g.e.n.c.e.  It was so bad, he was up all night (for real); didn't go to church and, needless to say, we did not go on our family outing Sunday either.  I picked up McDonald's/Taco Bell on the way home from church and then I ran a few errands after the kids went to bed and picked up a subway sub on the way home.  So, I've shifted some meals around while also cooking some super mild dinners for the big D so he can get is stomach back under control. 

Here's the plan for this week:

Friday - Honey Chicken and Fries (A carry over from last week)

Saturday - Our normal - the kids get Mac and Cheese and we'll order in (or at least I will - Darryl may eat a PB and J HA!)

Sunday - We'll try this again - a family day so we'll eat in town after church before doing something fun.  Spaghetti will be on the plan for dinner.

Monday - Happy St. Patrick's Day!  We have a tradition in this house.  We did try Corned Beef and Cabbage several years ago and it still makes my skin crawl when I think about it so, instead our tradition is Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (My favorite crock pot version!), with Crash Potatoes and Rainbow Jello.  I also make Green Pudding with gold coins at the bottom :-)

Tuesday - I have a turkey in my freezer that I want to use before it actually gets to warm to have the oeven on for 3-4 hours during the day.  So, we'll have turkey, Stuffing, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans and Rolls

Wednesday - I'm starting to do "last time" meals (or almost last time!).  Those are meals that are winter meals . .. so today we'll have Turkey and Dumplings.  YUM!  Unless we get another cold spell (which we could, it is only March) this will probably be the last time we have this until next fall!

Thursday - What comes after the above meal?  Turkey Noodle Soup of course! 

I'm hoping that since most of what I need for the above meals I already have on hand that I can cut way back on the grocery bill this week!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Goals

Well, it is March.  The days are longer and we are actually seeing some sunshine.  I will admit, again I think, that we hibernated this winter.  Besides it being cold and snowy, which I love, only having one car kinda limits what one can do!  Even on the days Darryl was home, he was home because of snow storm OR he had a day off and we got a snow storm!  Well, we are still one car-ed but at least the weather is cooperating a little more so that hopefully we can get out of the house more.  With all of that said, I made great plans for the February goals.  I even made an awesome (if I say so myself) calendar with goals written for each day.  That lasted for about five days HA!  As March is now here. . . . Well, almost half over as I just realized . . . . I do have some plans.

1.  The living room.  We are making big changed to,our living room.  I'll share the palan a little later . . . But phase one happens this week!
2.  Scrapbooking.  A few weeks ago Darryl asked me what I really wanted in order to make the house. Ore comfortable for me since I'm here pretty much 24/7.  Yes, I have a short, realistic list but one of those things is a place to scrapbook.  So, this month I'm creating that space.  More to come later!
3.  Scrapbooking part two.  I need to organize my projects and write everything down with plans to accomplish those items.  I have lost focus due to losing "my company" for all of my supplies.  
4. Date.  First, Darryl and I need our day out.  Second, I need my day out.  I gave it up more than willingly last month so we could go to the lake but, I'm hoping to make it happen this month!
5 Finances.  Do you ever feel nickel and dimed to death? And then you discover that you are the one guilty of spending all of those nickles and dimes!!!!!  I need to budget, budget, budget and rein in the money wagon to keep it parked in the "garage". 
6. Summer Planning. Last summer, I tried to do one activity a day (or so) with the boys just for fun.  That worked until it became hotter than hades but I'd still like to work on those plans now.  One of the keys is to have stuff on hand and ready to go otherwise, it doesn't happen.
7. Holiday Planning:  St Patrick's Day and Easter - need to plan a few fun things.  The boys keep asking about finding Eggs on the 17th (St. Patrick's Day) . . .they are so confused HA!
8. Cleaning/Organizing.  I've started going through the kitchen cabinets one at a time and cleaning them, rearranging the shelving (now there's an idea!) and cleaning out stuff.  I'd like to finish that this month.  Also, I have some work in the basement to do.  I usually do it in January to clean up after Christmas but, our basement was pretty much freezing (seriously - we put a thermometer down there and it stayed around 32 degrees all winter. )  If I can get that done this month, that would be good.  (If not, I'll do it in April HA!)

I think that's enough to focus on for this month.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The "Big" Closet Move

Ever since we moved the boys into what used to be our room (thus what was considered the "master") I've wanted to switch the closet organizers.  To be honest, I thought it was a 3 day project and even considered buying another closet system for the boys room so that we wouldn't be without a closet for . . .a week or two.  Yes, I am an over thinker.  Yes, we tend to not tackle projects because we think they will take too long.  Generally we are surprised and this time, we were, once again surprised.  In a matter of, well, an hour (for real!) we had our closet system out, the boys closet system out, and then the boys closet system installed in our closet.  The next evening Darryl hung the organizer in the boys room from ours.  That's it.  Crazy. 

So, here is the "before" of the boys closet:

Ok, my "dirty" little secret:
When we redid the boys room awhile ago, I painted around the closet organizer.  Needless to say, when we took it down, I had to run to Menards and get some paint mixed up to match the wall.  The boys enjoyed it though because they got to help paint this little section with me. 

Finally, the "after":
Yes, that is my child playing a video game that he can play better than anyone in the house, including his dad.  So, by doing this switch, I was able to shift the dresser into the closet which opened some more floor space in their room.  It also makes their clothes more easily accessible.  Before, Nate had to literally climb behind book cases to get to his stuff.  Now, they each have a half a rod on the same level and it works perfectly. 

The before of our closet:

The after:
Ahhhh, my baby is back home (hahahaha).  See, about 8 years ago, after living with an awful closet for a few years, I bought this system with some birthday money so that we could have a nice closet.  Yes, that is all the closet space we have but, amazingly enough, it holds most of our clothes.  Darryl's out of season and his dress clothes hang downstairs in the laundry room but considering the fact that they are, well, one - out of season and, two - he only wears dress clothes once a week, it's ok.  I love having a place for our shoes again and also some more storage shelves. 

After Darryl finished hanging up the boys closet system on Friday evening, I spent all day Saturday organizing clothes, moving stuff around and cleaning up the playroom.  Now we are ready for some more pick changes coming later this week!  We can't wait!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Homeschool Corner

Our "homeschooling" right now is very liberal.  We look for opportunities to teach and help the boys learn. 

A Few things we are doing:

1) Math - one of the bests times we have with the boys throughout the day for hands on learning is from 7:30-8:00 aka bedtime.  After reading a book they each pick out, we usually have time to chat so we've started doing math problems.  Just simple stuff like 2 + 2 or 5+2 . . things we can use our fingers for as a visual.  The boys enjoy that and can now answer some problems without "fingers".  Like I've mentioned before, we also count to every night.  When their clocks turn to 7:59, we start counting until they turn to 8:00.  That is the time that Darryl and I leave their room so it is good practice of big counting. 

2) Reading - As mentioned above, the boys pick out a book each (often the same book for many nights in a row - right now it is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom which we ALL know by heart!  and "How to Babysit a Grandpa" which the boys can tell most of that one as well.
We find, as every one knows, that reading to the boys at night increasing their language and also helps them to sound out words.  Not to mention the memory skills

3)  Games - I've mentioned before that the boys love games.  Generally they get games of some sort out at least once a day.  On a side note, it makes me wonder how people sell games at garage sales that have all of their pieces, in their original boxes.  I swear, we lose a piece every day and then find random pieces weeks later.  Games are HUGE learning experiences especially when I play and explain the rules to which Nate replies, "Well, mom, that is not how Josh teaches us to play." hahahaha 
I've shared some photos of my boys playing with their Letter Construction kit that they got for Christmas.  Even just yesterday, Nate had it out and was playing with Darryl.  He showed Darryl how to build them and then would sound the letter out and  name words that started with that letter.  So then Darryl would help him build small words like "Gum" and "Cat". 
Chutes and Ladders is a new favorite.  I love it because it teaches counting to 100.  Getting the boys to go the right direction and follow the "Chutes and Ladders" has been a little tricky but we are getting there ;-)

4) Time - The boys love time.  They always ask me what time on the clock they can do something and are pretty good with telling the "hour" time. 

Now that our snow is starting to melt and, eventually, we won't have a lake in the yard, and I'm beginning to un-hibernate, I want to plan some activities to keep us busy over the coming months.  Some typical learning things with time, money, and writing letters and numbers and some fun stuff too.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Things my kids say

* Nate hit his hand on the table and tried to pretend it didn't hurt because it wasn't bleeding.  Then he said, "But mom, it really does hurt and when you hit your hand and it hurts, it makes the bone bleed so my bone is bleeding but you just can't see and when my stomach hurts it doesn't bleed because there are no bones in my stomach but my hand hurts because my bone is still bleeding.".  . . .WHAT??? LOL!

* So, as I've mentioned before, my boys like to talk about poop when they, well poop.  Nate is the most descriptive, naturally.  Well, he was getting into the bath, scratched his butt (cheek, actually), and looked at his hand.  Me, thinking I was being funny, said "That's gross . .. hahaha".  To which Nate replied, "What?  There was poop stuck in my poop slide, that's all".  A Poop Slide?  For real? That kid.

* While going through our normal bedtime routine, Josh asked to have a conversation with me and picked the topic of camping.  We chatted for a while when Darryl asked what we were doing to which Josh replied, "We are having a conservation!"  This made us all laugh as Josh continued to try to pronounce it correctly until he finally said, "this is just a ridunculess conservation!"  Needless to say, we laughed even harder!

* Josh was looking for his lost slipper the other night and stated that it had "whiskapeared"  . . . To which I added, it must have whiskapeared while he was whiskering (whispering). Hahahahaha

* Nate got out of the bath one night but was upset because,"there is still a hair bug in my hair because there wasn't enough water on my hair so how will I get it out and what about the my body bugs, mom, they crawled down my body and hid in my belly button! ". Then he used his towel to scrub them off.  Seriously, he comes up with this stuff all on his own!  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tomato Basil Chicken

Tomato Basil Chicken 
adapted from Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom

Every once in a while, I see a recipe that looks good but as I make it, I seriously doubt that it will have any flavor.  Then, we taste it and it is a little slice of goodness.  THAT is this recipe.  Seriously, the chicken is perfectly flavored and the "sauce" is just butter, basil, tomatoes and salt and pepper.    This is now a family favorite and will frequent our table often.  I told my husband that I would like to grow some basil and tomatoes this summer for the sole purpose of making this dish "fresh from the garden".  For the sake of my husband, I used vegan butter instead of real butter and did not add the cheese "garnish" to his plate. 

This Tomato Basil Chicken will have you grabbing your fork at the 30 minute mark, which is great news when you need to have a nice, hot meal on the table quickly. 
Ingredients: (4 servings)
  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish
Written Directions:
Season chicken breasts with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your skillet.  This may seem like quite a bit, but it will form the base for the sauce. 

While waiting for the oil to heat up, go ahead and get your water going for the pasta. When the oil is HOT, add the chicken breasts.  After about 4-5 minutes, the chicken breasts should be ready to turn.   You'll want to cook them on the second side another 4-5 minutes,or until the juices run clear when you pierce them with a small sharp knife.  If you pounded yours out thinner, they will cook faster than this.
After the second side has been cooking for about 4 minutes, go ahead and add in the fresh tomatoes that you have chopped up.  Next, add the fresh basil that you have chopped into ribbons, the cold butter, the minced garlic, and you will probably want to add some more kosher salt and black pepper to season the sauce.  Now give it all a good stir so all those flavors will marry together.

When your chicken is "done," turn the sauce down on the lowest setting to keep it all warm until the pasta is cooked, which should be any minute now.  At this point, if still waiting for the pasta, you can remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board, and after resting just a couple of minutes, cut the chicken into slices on the bias.   Divide the pasta among individual bowls, and top each with half of a chicken breast, sliced into pieces, and equal portions of the tomato basil sauce.  Top with more fresh basil and freshly grated Parmigiana reggiano cheese.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Weekly Menu

Last week was pretty uneventful other than one awesome dinner I made!!  Not that the others weren't good but one was fantastic :-)  I'll share the recipe tomorrow!!  Do you know what else I found?  Strawberries that were the size of a baseball.  Seriously.  AND they were a buck a container.  Needless to say we are enjoying some strawberries!! I look forward to fresh fruit as the seasons change - I miss all of the containers of fruit in our fridge!

Here's the plan for the coming week:

Friday - Tacos.  The boys love them (Nate only has cheese in his but he ate THREE tacos last week!).

Saturday - The kids get Mac and Cheese while Darryl and I enjoy dinner ordered in after they go to bed.

Sunday - We are planning to go out for lunch after church and then do some family fun stuff after that :-)  We've found that now that Football is done, it's fun to head to town after church and do some stuff !!  For dinner we'll have Spaghetti using some of my left over homemade sauce I froze a few weeks ago.

Monday - Honey Onion Chicken, Fries and Applesauce

Tuesday - Lemon BBQ Meat Loaves, Savory Rice, Corn and Rolls

Wednesday - Crock Pot Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Rolls

Thursday - Roasted Pork Loin, Baked Potatoes, Carrots, and Rolls

Do you know something kinda funny?  Remember I was doing Thursdays as left over days?  Well, that wasn't working because we had zero left overs several weeks in a row.  So last week, I didn't plan left overs yet when we got to Thursday we had . . .Taco Meat, a Chicken Breasts, Stew, and Hot Dogs all left over!  I cooked up some carrots, made some salads, and made some Mac and Cheese to round it all out.  I guess I need to NOT plan left overs to actually HAVE leftovers!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I've been lagging on my blogging.  No reason, just haven't typed anything up.  I stopped planning my posts for the month and then sit and stare at the computer at night or just forget to post all together!  Oops :-)

So here is some randomness for you:

1) I made a calendar in February to plan out accomplishing my goals.  I made it through February 4th before I got behind and once I got behind, I never looked at it again!!

2) We finally, after two years of planning and looking, bought new living room furniture.  We don't actually have it yet though because, well, they can't get it in!!!!  Our gate into our yard is frozen shut/snowed in!!  So this weekend we will be working on breaking up the ice and digging out the snow so it will open.  We are ready for that big delivery.

3) I haven't planned March goals yet but we will be working on redoing the rest of the living room. 

4) I made one of the best dinners ever on Tuesday night . . yes, the recipe will be coming up on Friday!

5) I made two not so great recipes this weekend. . . one was a knock-off of a Starbucks drink.  It wasn't so awful . . just not my taste . . too flowery.  The lemon pudding cake almost made me throw up though.  For real.

6)  I let my kids play their favorite video game during the day just so I can have a place to sit in the living room.  (Since they play in their bedroom)

7.)  That's all :-)

Here's what you can look forward to:
The weekly menu
A recap of Darryl's birthday (a little behind on that one!)
Things my kids say (You may want to skip this one . . .I have two boys and they like gross things)