Saturday, May 31, 2014

I've Made a List . . ..

So, we are one month away from major back surgery on this guy, my husband.  Yes, he just went through hernia surgery - something that totally caught us off guard but it is done, he's healing, and everything else is on track.   With this is mind, I recently sat down and made a list that is, ironically, called "My List to do before Surgery" :-)  I'm trying to get some things done and checked off my list so that the time frame around the surgery can be less stressful AND I can have time to do  things I actually want to do (not cleaning HA)   My list currently contains 38 things.  I've already crossed one thing off - Our garage door opener is fixed.  The dad of the kids I babysit reset it for me today thanks to his wife who asked her dad how to fix it!  How great is that???  It's been months since the opener worked and just like that, it's done. Another item in the process of being crossed out is learning the fate of my piano.  The tech came out this past Wednesday and I learned that the mother board is damaged due to the small little (weird named) battery that corroded and leaked.  He took the board back to his shop and, if he can find some hairline trail of stuff on it and fix it, my piano will work again . . .if he can't, well then I have to start looking for a new piano! 

What else is on the list?  Things like cleaning out some cabinets, lots of planning from scrapbooking to homeschool things, prepping some freezer meals to use after surgery so we don't eat out every night, planning the budget for the next few months and more.  This list will hopefully get close to finished by the end of June because I know that July will be busy with recovering and taking care of the kids :-)

I guess this is my "June Goal" post!  Lots of misc things to get done!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Food Friday - Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry

Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry
adapted from Skinny

I was looking for something new and simple to make for dinner one night and came across this recipe.  It really was just that, simple, and my husband loved it.  It came together fairly easy but I did end up with a lot of dirty dishes with this one for some odd reason!  


  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium shoyu or soy sauce (or Tamari for GF)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • fresh black pepper, to taste


Lightly season the chicken with salt. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth and soy sauce. In a second small bowl combine the cornstarch and water and mix well to combine.

Heat a large non-stick wok over medium-high heat, when hot add 1 teaspoon of the oil, then add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Increase the heat to high, then add 1 teaspoon of oil and half of the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Set aside.

Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil and cook about 1-1/2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cornstarch mixture and stir well, when it simmers return the chicken and asparagus to the wok and mix well, remove from heat and serve.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Weekly Menu

It's June, well almost but it is close enough to say it is and this weeks menu crosses over into June.  That is just crazy.  Not much to add this week so I'll get right to the menu.  Now that my husbands stomach is doing better, I went through my recipe binders, cleaned them out and put everything back where it belongs.  As I was doing that I had an idea of creating a "Summer Cooking" binder which will hold the recipes we just use in the summer (or maybe I should say would not hold any recipes we DON'T use!)  It is something I could create this summer as I cook and then have on hand for next summer and years forward.  Just an idea in my head.  I also need to get working on those freezer meals - Freezer Jams count as freezer meals, right? :-) hahaha 

Friday - Tacos.  Plain, old fashioned tacos with all of the fixin's!

Saturday - Beef Drip Sandwiches, Chips and Mac and Cheese

Sunday - Now that the weather is warming up, I don't like leaving dinner in the oven during church - my kitchen gets so hot!  Grilling after church doesn't really work either since it takes so long to get food on the table.  So, what to do, what to do?  I'm leaning towards going to get burgers somewhere like Smashburger, or Red Robin.

Monday -BBQ Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Potato Salad and Rolls

Tuesday - Brats, Beans, Potato Salad YUM! 

Wednesday - Breakfast!  I think I'll pull the Waffle Maker out and make homemade waffles with bacon and hashbrowns.

Thursday - Soccer is still happening so grabbing dinner after the game is our little "tradition".

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Summer Beverage

Recently I mentioned to my husband that, in this household, no one will ever, ever, EVER go thirsty.  It is possible we could run out of food but we will never lack for a beverage HA!  I think I spend 1/3 of my make believe grocery budget on things we drink.  Whether it be milk or water or Kool-aid "supplies" . . .we enjoy not being thirsty! 

With that said, I thought I would share a refreshing "mixed" drink that quenches my thirst after working up a sweat working outside.  If you have followed this blog for long, every summer I talk about refreshing drinks but so often they require more ingredients than I keep on hand and I like simple!

Just two simple ingredients!  Pick out the class of your choice and add some Ice (because everything is better when it is ICE cold!)  Fill your cup about 1/2 full with lemonade and then add Sprite Zero!  That's it!  To keep this drink as light as possible, I've found that the Minute Maid Light 15 is good plus it isn't quite as sour as with true lemonade which I have also used.    Another twist on this is to get Simply Limeade and mix it with Faygo Cream Soda - yummy! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Precious Moments

I think I've mentioned a few times that my boys love Papa and Nana.  The night before Darryl's hernia surgery, my parents came over to stay the night.  First of all, I did not tell the boys they were coming so when my parents quietly walked into the house and my mom stood at the door of their room  . . . .and Josh saw her . . .well, to say there were shrieks of joy would be an understatement!  Once everyone settled down, we ate dinner, and let the boys stay up a little later they wanted Papa to read them bedtime stories.  I couldn't resist the photo opportunity!  It is just priceless, isn't it?  Once Story time was done, Darryl and I were kindly told that we could stay out in the living room - Papa and Nana would lay down and sing songs with them. 

I am beyond thankful that my boys have fabulous grandparents who love and adore them and, in return, those boys love and adore their grandparents!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Birthday to my Mom

Happy Birthday to my fabulous mom who turns 70 years old today.  I figured, if you reach 70, you deserve to have it shouted from the mountain blog-tops!!  

My mom is one of those hands on moms.  She was at home with my brothers and I making sure we all made it on the bus . .. AFTER we made our beds HA!  We used to tease her because she would clean the house before we went on vacation (and I mean CLEAN) or before a big storm was coming because she didn't want burglars or tornadoes to hit if the house was dirty!  One of our favorite things to STILL do is to rearrange little things and see how long it takes for her to notice - one time, Darryl and I turned furniture backwards and hung pictures upside down just for fun!  Really, all of this shows what an extremely hard worker my mom is - she doesn't quit until the job gets done even if it almost kills her! 

My mom loves her grand-kids.  I've watched her through the years with all of them, especially when they were little, and she spoiled them as much as she was able (and trust me, I let her spoil my boys TONS).  She is a kind, caring, loving Nana.  Just recently we were driving away from Papa and Nana and Josh said it best when he yelled out the window, "Nana, I love you SOOOOOOO Much!" 

My mom WAS a great cook ;-) LOL  This is now a family joke because my mom doesn't (hardly) cook anymore.  For real.  You know how I joke and say I don't cook when the kids are gone - she says she doesn't cook when the kids are gone either (and it's true - she doesn't HA!)  Growing up though, she always had dinner cooking when we got home from school and made sure to make our favorites even if my dad was not a fan (which he never confessed until years later).  She does have a few great meals like BBQ ribs, Steak on the Grill, Burgers . . .oh wait, my dad cooks those :-) hehehehe  She really is a good cook but, again, at 70, I think you are allowed to quit cooking :-)

So, happy birthday Mom - we are glad we get to spend the day with you!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Family Fun

You might be wondering (or maybe not) how our week finished out without kids.  We ended up having a really great week.  Darryl was off work most of the week so even though I still babysit, we ended up with a lot of time together.

Monday - I just caught up on house stuff and made a run to the store.  I also planned out my flower bed/garden a little more after checking out the garden center.  After the extra kids left, Darryl was ready to for a ride so we took off and went a back way into town for dinner.  We enjoyed some wonderful Chinese food.  Funny story of the night - Darryl's hernia surgeon was sitting on a table near us at the Chinese Restaurant and no, we did not go up to him and ask if he remember us HA!

Tuesday - I was able to go to the garden center and pick out flowers, veggies, mulch and sand to do yard work.  This year I've seen black mulch showing up in yards and I love it!  I figured it would be pricey but it was just 20 cents more a bag for the black stuff!  Darryl and I took after again on another road trip and this time we headed to Cracker Barrel.  Now, I will admit, we aren't usually big fans but Darryl was hungry for breakfast so we figured we would give it a try.  Guess what, it was so tasty!

Wednesday - Today, I planted all of my stuff and laid mulch.  Of course, I had to pick the most humid day of the week UUUGGG!!  But, I got it all in and the ground was super soft after a rain storm through the night.  I then made another run to the store (it's nice having Darryl home - I get to run errands!!) I picked up a deck planter for some strawberry plants, a A/C unit and a swimming pool.  WHEW!  It has been so warm that I decided to get the A/C unit put into our bedroom too.  THEN, through a serious of events, we decided to pick the kids up at the train station so we took a road trip . .. ate dinner at our favorite Coney Island place by my parents house, "broke into" my parents house (hahaha) to pick up the kids stuff and met them at the Railroad Station. . ..kinda.  We got there and the only way in was completely flooded!  It was so crazy!  We parked elsewhere and let my dad drive out through the water covered road :-) OH, and I hooked up my new printer today too!

Thursday - The kids slept in (we didn't get home until almost midnight).  It was nice having them home and hearing about their trip!  I did the grocery shopping (thrilling, I know!).  AND put the A/C until in the boys room too!  Their bedroom gets so stuffy at night so this should help them sleep better.  We ended the night with a perfect evening for soccer and here are some photos to make this post actually worth reading!

 They spent time at practicing kicking goals.  Josh was very determined and kicked it in every time.

 Nate enjoys the idea of soccer but . . .his attention span is pretty short.  He actually picked a lot of grass at practice :-)

 My two favorite soccer players :-)

 Josh played full force at the game . He was always after the ball and was bound and determine to get his own goal.  To keep it real: One of the kids on his team is a bully.  Yes, a true all out bully. (We even witnessed him hitting his mom and pushing his sibling to the ground after the game)  He was come up and scream in Josh's face, push him down and steal the ball from him but, to  Josh's credit, he never got made or reacted - he just kept going after the ball.
 Josh finally got his own goal and was beyond excited!

 Nate did actually play but he also sat out a lot today - he said he was too tired.  :-(

It was a perfect night for soccer and it's always fun to watch the boys play :-)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Food Friday - Amish Breakfast Casserole

Amish Breakfast Casserole
adapted from All Recipes.Com

I can't remember if I have shared this recipe before but it isn't on my outdated recipe list and I just love this simple recipe.  It's got great flavors and is a very easy recipe to cut in half OR double for a big gathering.  

1 pound sliced bacon, diced (note: when I cut this recipe in half - I still use a pound of bacon because I like the casserole to be "meaty")
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed (Note: I never thaw mine . . .just had an extra 10 minutes or so to the cook time)
9 eggs, lightly beaten (Note: when I cut it in half, I use 5 eggs . .. )
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Heat a large skillet and cook the bacon and onion until bacon is evenly browned.  Drain.  Transfer bacon and onion to a large bowl.  Stir in potatoes, eggs, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, and swiss cheese.  Pour  mixture into the baking dish.

Bake until eggs are set and cheese is melted, 45-50 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekly Menu

When will I learn that I absolutely, 100% do not want to cook dinner when the boys are gone?  Every single time I say I will cook a few meals and then, dinner rolls around and that is the last thing I want to do!  Oh well, at least I have most of what I need for this coming week!

I also had the realization that I need to do some prep for when Darryl has back surgery.  We'll have two weeks without the kids between VBS at my parents, days in the hospital and then the first week home after surgery.  There is no way we (I) can eat out every night HA!  So, I want some crock pot meals that are all inclusive or just need some pasta cooked to add to it.  So, now I need to start thinking that way and get some stuff in the freezer.

On to the coming week.

Friday - BBQ Pork Chops, Corn, Rice and Rolls

Saturday - Chick-Fil-Lay Nuggets and Fries

Sunday - Today is my mom's birthday so we are heading to my parents.  There is actually a big Memorial Day Cook-out at a friends house so we are all hanging out there for part of the day.  I'm going to take some sort of salad for my dish to pass - not 100% sure what kind I'm going to take yet . . .maybe a simple marinated veggie salad with broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese :-)

Monday - We'll be grilling.  Either at my parents if we stay over or at home :-)  I'm REALLY hungry for a super good burger!!

Tuesday - Swiss Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Rolls.  This is one of the dishes I had planned for last week that we never cooked ;-)

Wednesday - Grilled Pork Chops, some sort of potato and some sort of veggie with some bread.

Thursday - It's Soccer :-)  Grabbing something after the game is such an easy thing to do :-) 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Simplify - Become "unbusy"

You've heard me say it before, but I'm really striving to simplify.  This photo above is from our vacation last summer.  There is nothing better to me than sitting on the beach by Lake Michigan and I will do anything to get "unbusy" enough that we can go as often as we can each summer. 

I recently came across an aritlce that was very well written called A Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy.    I just realized as I was writing this that I'm reading a book by this blog author called "Clutterfree with Kids".  He's got great ideas and really hits on the basics to living a more simple and "unbusy" life. 

Monday, May 19, 2014


Last week I posted about some things I wanted to get done while the kids were away.  I thought I would share some bullet points of where we are at in the process.

* My husband had hernia surgery this past Thursday.  It was a long day.  We left home at 9:00 am and got home around 7:00 pm.  Really, sitting around the hospital for hours should not be tiring, but it is for some odd reason.  I got to enjoy a quiet lunch in the Hospital Cafe, which was surprisingly good and so inexpensive - we should just "eat out" there more often HA!  I also was able to get a fabulous foo-foo coffee from Starbucks while waiting.  I tried hard not to laugh at my husband when I was finally able to see him after surgery but he is quite funny when he is drugged up :-)  He did have a fabulous nurse AND it was a very slow day in the post-op so we got to stay longer than normal which was actually a good thing.

* I know I had thought about painting and setting up a new entertainment center but, on Friday, I was exhausted.  Since a week ago Thursday I haven't slept well thanks to some unexpected hot and humid days (our room is very stuffy and hot even with a window open!) and then sleeping on the couch one night followed by the day mentioned above . . .I didn't feel like doing much.  I did manage a quick trip to the store to get some groceries but otherwise, we hung out at home all day and, yes, I did nothing.  It felt good.

* Saturday I considered going to the garden center but . . .I didn't.  I even thought about going to town and wandering the mall but ultimately, I was tired.  Darryl was still in a lot of pain so really, we just hung out.  I watched a lot of HGTV and Food Network while he napped

* Sunday . . well, repeat of the above HA!  We did sit out on the back porch in the sun for a bit in the afternoon but otherwise, we were 100% lazy.  Darryl was still in quite a bit of pain so we just . . ..enjoyed hanging out together. 

Do you see how much I've gotten done? LOL  Oh well, Today a little reality comes back with babysitting so I'm going to actually work on some things like scrapbooking and homeschooling.  My printer took a lightening his last week so am waiting for my new one to arrive on Tuesday which means . . no printing :-)  That really cramps my style  .. . .since I am a huge list maker and love to print stuff!

We are missing these two little boys this week.  The older they get, the more fun they are so when they are gone, well, we miss them :-)  Don't get me wrong, the break is also great but they are just so darn cute!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Things my Kids Say

Nate comes up with some awesome sayings:
* "Mom, it is hotter than a jacket out here!"
* "Mom, it is hotter than a hot chair!"

Josh came out of his room one night and said, "Just one more thing mom, I love you and . . .make sure and get enough sleep!"  This was done 1 1/2 hours AFTER he went to bed so I think HE is the one that needs to get enough sleep!

We had storms recently during the day and it was fun to watch Josh, who is scared of storms at night, say things like, "It's ok, it's just the sun fighting with the clouds to shine."  Or to Nate who was scared of the thunder, "Don't worry Nate, you don't have to be scared, I'm right here with you."  Now, if only he would do that at night when it storms instead of crawling in bed with me HA!

Another peek into Nate's imagination - he likes to smell things and tell me what he smells.  The other day he told me that I smelled like shirts, Josh smelled like pants, Darryl smelled like hair and he smelled like noses.  Or he has told me that China smells like the number 6.  The kid comes up with stuff that just makes me go, "WHAT???" LOL

Nate was putting some puzzles together and brought me some pieces.  He informed me that white cats are called Cats and all other colored cats are kittens.  I love how he thinks ;-)

The boys have not had great weather for soccer.  This past Thursday it was cold and damp.  Josh informed the coach that "This was not soccer weather and he was allergic to the cold".  Then he told my mom that "it was so cold he couldn't breath" :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bike Helment Fun

Last weekend was a beautiful, sunny, way too hot warm weekend so we spent some time outside on Saturday working on bikes.  I was able to pick up a fantastic bike for the boys from a friend for, well, a steal to be quite honest.  It was a little bigger than I thought it was so our plan of putting training wheels on it did not go as planned.

We went through three sets of training wheels trying to get them on the new bike only one pair worked and they barely worked.  I made multiple trips to the store to buy and return training wheels before we just gave up!  They have to learn to ride without training wheels before they can ride the new bike.

 Waiting patiently to ride his new bike.
 We thought the training wheels were all set and then Nate starting riding it . .. oops!
 Trying once again to fix the bike. 
 On one of the trips to the store, the boys came with me and discovered some awesome bake helmets.  They were not on the purchase list but they were just too cute to not buy.  Josh even wore his while playing Pac Man . . just to be safe!

 Amazingly, we convinced the child totally against change, Josh, to start riding a bike without training wheels.  I'm still not sure how that happened but it did.  We took the training wheels off the tiny bike and Josh actually managed to almost pedal and keep his feet off the ground.

 This picture made me bust out laughing when I downloaded it from the camera.  Who is that kid in the background? LOLOL  What a goofball!

 And a glimpse of spring :-)  My flowers are slowly starting to open . . .making me realize how sad my little flower garden areas are and that they need some work!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Food Friday - Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes
adapted from  The Pioneer Woman

A few weeks ago I was looking for something to make as a side dish and remembered seeing an episode of The Pioneer Woman where she made some awesome scalloped potatoes.  Now, I grew up on the Betty Crocker version and that, for real, is the only version I've ever made.   I've never been totally happy with that version but hey, it's potatoes and ham so who's complaining?  Well, let me tell you, this recipe is THE best  Scalloped Potato recipe I have ever had and I didn't even include ham in it since I didn't have any!  The potatoes came out perfectly cooked and (drum roll please) there was no watery liquid in the baking dish!  Instead the sauce was think and cheese and oh so good!  I'm kinda sad that I won't make this again until the fall it was so good!  



  • 3 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes, Washed Thoroughly
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 3 cups Diced Ham
  • 1-1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Chopped Parsley (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish.
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add onions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they start to turn translucent. Add ham and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine half-and-half and cream in a microwave-safe container and nuke for a minute or so, until no longer cold. Whisk in flour and black pepper until totally combined. Set aside. (You may add salt, but cheese and ham are salty, so add sparingly.)
Combine the two grated cheeses. Set aside.
Using a mandoline or slicer, slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (very thin.) Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the ham/onion mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese, then pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture.
Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese and a pouring on of the rest of the cream mixture. Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot.
Cut into squares and serve. Sprinkle on chopped parsley if you'd like!
(Note: To speed along the process a bit, you may boil sliced potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes before assembling the casserole. Just drain and slightly cool before assembling.)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weekly Menu

So last week, when I went shopping, I amazed myself.  Between coupons, special deals and a small gift card, I saved $100.00 on the groceries.  There were a lot of Buy One/Get one offers that just happened to be on stuff I buy weekly so I was able to stock up a little.  I also changed my menu planning concept slightly - I started by picking out the best meat deals for 4 meals that I needed and then went from there.  I ended up getting some nice steaks to marinade and grill, pork chops and chicken! 

This next week we will be Kidless - you know what that means!  I don't cook much :-)

Friday - Darryl will be recovering from minor surgery on Thursday.  I don't plan on cooking - we'll get Subway or something simple. 

Saturday - Thursday - Here are the general ideas for what we'll be eating this week :-)
 - We do plan on eating out  I would say four nights which includes Thursday night after Soccer.  :-) 
- Steaks on the grill with veggies, potato and garlic bread
- Swiss Steak, Mashed potatoes, and veggie
-Some other meat that I can get at a good deal, a veggie, bread and maybe corn or something

So, that's it :-)  Simple, Simple, Simple!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Daily Blog Topics

My husband has a blog.  He likes to tell me the "stats" of his blog.  I, on the other hand, just write because I feel like it.  I started writing my blog about 3 years ago or so and almost always wrote a post every day unless I planned to take a day or two off.  Until this year.  I know that it has been a number of things that has caused this lull in blogging - A long, cold winter where we didn't go anywhere or do anything exciting to blog about on a daily basis; no crafting or creating going on for me to blog about or show off; no schooling topics, crafts, activities since we stopped doing regular lessons since my kids are so smart (hahaha); I've had no bright ideas for topics lately. So, you've been stuck with weekly menus, a recipe here and there, and some random posts.  I'm hopeful that the blog bug will get back under my skin and I'll get creative one again :-) 

I've some plans for the upcoming week so I thought I would share . My husband is having surgery on Thursday, just some minor, unexpected surgery (his back surgery is in June!).  Along with that, my kids are heading to Papa and Nana's house for a few days.  Ironically, it has been planned for months for the kids to go this weekend because I was going to attend a Homeschool conference but now, am going to hang out at home and maybe, maybe, get some things done. 

Here's what is on my radar for the next 5-6 days:

1. Paint the living room - it is still on the radar . .. not even 50% sure it will get done but if I get up on Friday morning and feel like going to buy paint, I will!

2.  Clean, organize, and move a chair into the playroom.  Awhile ago we purchased a small TV for the playroom and it has been a fabulous addition.  Now, I just need to move a few things around and make the room more usable.

3. Pick out, put together and set up a new entertainment center for the Living Room.  Again, this is a 50% item - if I can locate what I want, at the price I want, then we'll get the huge beast out of our living room and put something smaller and cleaner in the space.

4. Finish some final little things in the basement including putting up a photo album on facebook of items I have to sell.

5.  Update the homeschool learning wall and learning stuff.  As well as start to work on lesson plans and a final order of what I need to get before the end of June (I plan on using Back surgery time to get our year planned out so I want all of our books!)

6. Some yardwork.  I'm thinking a trip to the Garden Center and some new plants are in the works.  I also need to get some mulch and get that spread out and plant our tiny little garden.  I might try to enlarge our garden area so I can actually plant enough stuff to make a salad and even can some pickles or something simple but since I have to do it all by hand, well, we will see!

7.  Scrapbook - to be honest, I have already planned to go scrapbook crazy in June during the back surgery time when I have no kids here for over a week.  I can leave it all out on the table and just work on that and Home School planning.  BUT I do have some organizing to do and just putting some albums together.  I would like to get that done this next week.  If I do it with the boys around, they want to look at every album, which is fine, but I don't tend to get much done!

Well, that's my plan.  I will also confess that I'm looking forward to a few days without any kids.  The munchkins that I babysit will be back next week after a three day weekend but a few days with no kids is always a nice break :-)  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Things my kids say

* Yesterday, while reading a book about camping, we learned that Jason and Nate go camping quite frequently and really enjoy it.  No, I have no idea who Jason is but he is a very good (imaginary) friend of Nate's!

* We had some spring thunderstorms during the night recently so I ended up with Josh (who is very scared of storms) and China, the dog (who is even more scared of storms) in the room with me.  Once we were up in the morning - Josh needed to process his thoughts.  First, he asked me if I was scared of storms when I was little, which I was.  So then he said, "So when the storms came you would go sleep with dad?  And then Nate and I would too?  Because Dad is super brave and he was really old - he was 25." hahahaha I find it so humorous how to kids, we have always been together even when we were kids :-)

* My dad gave a perfect description to Josh and Nate recently. Nate lives outside the box; Josh lives inside the box . .. unless Nate pulls him out and makes him play with him HA!  It is so true!  Josh is my realist and Nate, well, his imagination is far greater than anything I've ever seen!

* We've been talking to Josh about obedience a lot lately - mostly because when we tell him to do something (or not do something) he has to do it one more time just to try and prove he is in charge.  Well, recently he stopped as he was heading outside and said, "Mom, I'm almost big enough to obey all the time.  Really, I'm old enough today so I will obey from now on and never ever disobey".  While I appreciate his sincerity I highly doubt I have a life full of obedience in front of me with that kid :-) 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Weekly Menu

Hello!  So last week, before I shopped, I scoured the stores online coupon system, the weekly ad and my own coupons and really went to work on keeping the grocery bill below, well $150.00 for the week.  I did it - by $10.00.  I won't lie.  I got a little giddy as the cashier kept swiping coupons.  I will also not lie and say that I had $20.00 in coupons . . .between rewards, and in-store credits but still, all of that brought that bill down!  I even bought a few things I don't buy on a regular basis (like a Roasted Chicken so my husband could have something different for meals then his standard PB and J!).

I had to change the original plan slightly because I did not buy Pork Chops but just extra Ground Chuck.  Sometimes you just have to buy what's on sale . .. and red tagged!

Here's the plan for the coming week.

Friday - Tacos.  We haven't had them in awhile and the kids love them.

Saturday - Chick-Fil-Lay Nuggets and Fries.  This is something we all enjoy and it really is pretty easy to make.

Sunday - After church I plan on us going out to eat at the Chinese Buffet.  Based on Easter Sunday, I don't think it will be too busy even though it is Mother's Day.  I don't want to cook today :-)

Monday -So, Darryl has finally started to have relief from his stomach issues so we've slowly been adding some things back into the rotation.  Tonight, we'll have just some baked chicken (or grilled, depending on the weather) and then Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole and Rolls.

Tuesday -Wednesday - The truth?? I have no idea what we are having for dinner.  I'm going to see what meat is the least expensive and go from there.  At the writing of this, we are anticipating some surgery for my husband within the next week or so . . .so who knows - I might be eating hospital food HA!

Thursday - Soccer, my parents are coming . . .we'll eat out after the game!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May Goals

It's the beginning of May and time to start on some new goals.  My main goal in April was deep cleaning and I'm pretty proud of myself.  No, I didn't finish every room but I did complete the kitchen, which included cleaning out some stuff that was old, seldom used or I had something else that would serve the purpose (for example - I had a small rice cooker; yes it was convenient for making some quick rice but we've found that we like baked brown rice better than white sticky rice so I got rid of that cooker! ); the bedrooms - moving the winter clothes out of the way for the summer stuff; the dining room got a good cleaning and organization; and the basement is pretty fabulous.   First I went through and put everything away and then I've been working on going through every single area and cleaning out the junk that has been laying around.  It looks pretty nice :-)  I still need to do the bathroom and the living room. 

So, what is on the radar for May?  Here's a short list!

1) Paint the living room.  This is a big, huge, gigantic goal but my kids are going away for a few days so I'm planning to paint that week.  We'll going to tackle one wall a day (or maybe two on the weekend!) and get it done.  The plan is to get the huge entertainment center out as well and move in a smaller one that I found. 

2) Deep clean the bathroom.  I have a huge storage cupboard that is not being used wisely right now so I plan on cleaning that out along with just general cleaning.

3) Planting - by the end of May, I want to get some flowers in and our little mini garden planted.  Nate has asked for lettuce, carrots and tomatoes this year.  Not that he eats any of it but he sees it in "Peter Rabbit" and wants to see it grow.  Not to mention sunflowers!!! 

4) Homeschooling - Even though we aren't doing classes right now, I'm trying to get some ideas going and ready for the fall.  Plus I'm hoping to attend the homeschool conference in a couple of weeks and (hopefully) pick up our curriculum books! 

5) Scrapbook - I want to get more done ;-)  I will be honest and say my plan for the time my husband has surgery in June while we have no kids in the house - I plan on scrapbooking a lot.  I have huge goals for that week and half time frame but I'd also like to get some things done now too.  Again, my kids will be gone for a week in May and, during the day while our extra friends are here, I'd like to scrapbook (leaving the painting for after they leave so it can dry by the next morning!

6) Decorating the living room.  We still have extra furniture in the Living Room until Darryl has his surgery but I'd like to start working on picking out photos for the walls and all that fun stuff.

7) Get my piano fixed.  I called on it last week but haven't heard back yet so I need to call again and see when the guy can get out here. 

8)  Fix the cushion on my swing outside - several of the ties have seen better days due to the wear and tear things take with boys.  Just some good solid ribbon sewed on will work wonders!

That should keep me busy ;-) 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


So, I had planned - even written on my To Do list for Monday - to write some blog posts and have this weeks posts ready to, well, post.  Then Life happened . . .. a migraine that kinda knocked me out on the couch for the afternoon so I didn't do much of anything. 

I did play legos for a bit because a little four year old cutie pie who goes by Nater Potater said in his sweet voice, "Mom, will you play with me now?".  Kids don't really understand migraines or what they do to a person. 

Beyond that, though, I was pretty much just the popscicle opener for the afternoon.  Yes, my kids eat popscicles like they are going to melt if left in the freezer for longer than 24 hours HA! 

Here's hoping this nasty headache will be gone by the time THIS blog actually posts itself on Tuesday. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* Did you know you have two sets of shoulders?  Where are the second set, you ask?  Your elbows of course!  Nate will hold his elbows and tell me, "Mom, look these are also shoulders!" HA

* My kids are funny.  That is all there is to it.  I wish I could capture expressions, little sayings, and more but I can't.  Josh makes me laugh out loud daily.  Nate always has some creative idea that comes from his imagination.

* The boys had to go to the vet with us when we took Misty in so they had a few questions about why she didn't come home with us.  We told them that she was too sick so we had to leave her at the vet.  About half way through the week, Nate said, "I heard a cat meow on TV.  It sounds like Misty.  I wonder how she's doing."  He's just so sweet.

* The neighbor has a cat who looks surprisingly like a cat we had when we first got married named Franny.  The boys have looked through photo albums and have seen that cat.  Well, one day, the boys crossed our little street with me to get the mail and the cat starting rubbing all over their legs.  Nate exclaimed, "Mom, this used to be our cat back when we were all kids!!" hahaha  They have no concept of time!

*Nate wiped out on the sidewalk one day this past week.  Wiped. Out.  An elbow and a knee were shredded and he was so mad.  Eventually I heard him yelling to me from his room where he was in bed asking for a drink because, well, he couldn't walk HA!  He even had Josh getting him popscicles  - Josh informed me that "he was takin' care of Nate because he wouldn't be able to walk until tomorrow." hahaha  Even in the shower, I was informed by Josh that Nate needed a stool to sit on so the water wouldn't hurt his knee and I found him in there on the stool with a washcloth covering his knee when it was time to get him out.  Poor kid.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Food Friday - Pancake Muffins

Pancake Muffins
adapted from Pinterest

This week, over at Kelly's Korner for "Show us your life" She is featuring what to feed your kids - especially lunches!  Well, I have tweaked and changed and tried to create so many lunch ideas that I figured I would share.  In the house, I've gone from a list of about 25 different lunch ideas down to about 8 HA!  I've figured out what the kids love and just rotate those items while trying to put something new in once in a while.  What do we eat . . .well, here's a short list:  Peanut Butter and Jelly, Quesadillas, Chicken Noodle Soup, Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese, Waffles and Sausage, Pizza, Spaghetti, grilled cheese, and pancakes . . .. I think that's all!  Well, I decided to try something new since my kids DO like pancakes so I took this idea from Pinterest and made Pancake muffins.  I added blueberries to a few of them and those were a hit with the two boys that love fruit!! 

The recipe is pretty straight forward (and technically doesn't count a as a recipe!

Mix up your favorite pancake batter.  Fill mini-muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full.  Add whatever you want on top of the muffins and then bake for about 12-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

These muffins would be great for a brunch since you don't have to stand at a griddle flipping pancakes! 


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weekly Menu

Last week did not go quite as planned but sometimes life does that - throws curve balls, gives you lemons . . and any other analogy you can think of for a week gone wrong!  I feel like the during the month of April our grocery budget was out of control and we were continually running to the store.  I sometimes wish I had a second fridge so I could buy all of the milk/juice/etc for the entire week  . .. it is too easy to spend more money when you just run in for milk!  No, I don't have room for a full size fridge but I do have an idea from another blog that I might do eventually - especially for water/soda/juice boxes etc.

On to this weeks menu plan! 

Friday - I'm heading to a ladies conference and will eat dinner there which leaves the boys at home to eat together.  They will have a choice of Mac and Cheese, Hot Dots, or Spaghetti! 

Saturday - I will be attending the ladies conference most of the day but will make it home for supper.  The boys will get one of the above and Darryl and I will order in dinner! 

Sunday - Wow, I'm off and running again.  I have a concert with the choir I sing with this afternoon so I will be dropping the the males off at home to fend for themselves while I drive to the concert.  Again, they will get a choice of one of the above and I'll grab something on the go!

Monday -  Country Fried Stead, Mashed Potatoes, Corn and Rolls

Tuesday - Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Baked Brown Rice, Green Beans and Rolls

Wednesday - Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans and Rolls

Thursday - Tonight is soccer night so we will grab something after the game.