Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekly Menu

This past week was "fun with food" and by that I mean that we had good food to eat all week.  Some new recipes and some old favorites.  I'm actually enjoying cooking this summer because 1) it has been unseasonably cool this summer and 2) We have three a/c units set up that keep even the kitchen cool.  My parents were here last Sunday and my dad cook thee best steaks ever.  Yum!  It was just plain awesome

Guess what starts this coming week?  Football!  Saturday night brings the Hall of Fame fun and the Hall of Fame game will be played Sunday evening kicking off preseason games.  C.a.n.'t. w.a.i.t.!!

Here's the plan for the coming week:

Saturday - I think that we will use the Boy's "Free Pizza" coupons from Spring Soccer.  They each got a free personal pan pizza.  Now, this is how we roll - Josh loves pizza so he will get his, Nate does not so I will use his, we'll get breadsticks for the whole family which Nate will  eat many (haha) and Darryl can pick whatever he wants :-)   Fall soccer starts in a few weeks so I figured I had better use these up first!

Sunday -Marinated Flank Steak, Corn on the Cob, Mashed potatoes and Rolls

Monday -Tomato Basil Chicken, Rolls, Salad

Tuesday -  Chicken enchiladas, Savory Rice, Chips and Salsa

Wednesday - Ham and Cheese Quiche, Blueberry coffee cake, and Hashbrowns

Thursday -Stuffed Shells w/Cheese, Salad and garlic bread

Friday -  Tacos - I might try a recipe for "SoCal tacos" which are street tacos.  It's just a different way to cook the meat.  OR I might just do regular tacos.

I took the boys with me to the store one day last week and Josh picked up one of those little cookbooks that happens to be all kinds of cakes.  He has "read" that book from cover to cover with Nate and they have picked out all of the cakes they want "us" to make.  So I do plan on making one cake this weekend.  I promise to share my success (or total failure HA!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Homeschool Happenings - K-5

I spent the last week working on lesson plans.  After doing the first 6 weeks, I realized that I could fill in the basics for the entire year and figure out where each subject will end and also I discovered that to get through our Say, Sing Write and Read curriculum we will actually have to continue that about a month longer than our "school year".  Really, though, that's fine because the kids need a little review throughout the summer break next year anyway.  The other thing I have decided, after seeing the full extent of the SSWR curriculum is that we are not going to be doing Five in a Row. As I was writing the first 6 weeks of lesson plans I was not feeling FIAR - it seems a little, well, out dated.  I also feel that SSWR will give us plenty to do for reading and phonics and I will supplement with some books along the way.  Another reason is that I really want to have time to teach some basic US Geography and also use a couple of magazines for Social Studies and Science AND have time for some basic Bible including the review of the SS lessons and working on their AWANA stuff - we just don't have time to get everything in and FIAR seemed like overkill at this point.  Finally, FIAR is a lot of work on my part - with prep for the activities, discussion topics and needing to purchase so many books - it just was making me feel overwhelmed already. I updated my  calendar board, added the white board and just tried to refresh things.

 And I got a basket to house all of our books/workbooks to keep them nice and neat.

The lesson plans are a basic overview.  I plan on making time each weekend (maybe Friday afternoons . .. ) to review for the following week.  This will allow me to make a more detailed weekly plan IF needed, gather supplies for the week, set up their workboxes for each day and just make sure our week is ready to go so it DOES go smoothly!

I have a few goals over the next few weeks:
1.  Order the last supplies which include some workbooks (I only ordered one of each earlier this summer so I could plan but knew I needed to order a second one before school started) , two magazine subscriptions, and a few other little things.
2.  Do 4 weeks of solid lesson prep.  I have a file drawer empty in my 2 drawer filing cabinet so I can put file folders together for each week and be able to just grab stuff and go.  We are camping the weekend before school starts so I need to be 100% prepped and ready to go.
3. Take the kids school supply shopping.  I love school supplies.  :-)  I have already picked up some things to have on hand  but the boys will be able to pick out things too - new markers, crayons, pencils, a ruler, etc.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* Recently Nate said to me, "Are we having chicken and fries for lunch?" I said yes to which he replied, "I knew that because I got inside your mind and read it."  How scary is that???

* We took a drive on Saturday evening and, while driving, the boys noticed the farms.  Josh stated that he wanted to live on a farm.  I told him he could do that when he grew up to which he replied, "That's fine but the farm needs to be in the yard by our yellow house because I love that house."  He and Nate proceeded to talk about what animals they want, what we needed to build and how to make the fence work for the cows. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Food Friday - Chocolate Cobbler

Chocolate Cobbler
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  Several times over the last few months a good friend of mine would mention "Chocolate Cobbler" and how great it tastes.  Well, I finally searched a recipe and decided to make it.  It's a rich, chocolatey (obviously) gooey dessert that really MUST have ice cream :-)  It is fantastic served still hot with the liquedy center serving as a great topping for the ice cream.  Once it is cooled, it becomes like a really, really moist, rich brownie.  



  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 7 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder, Divided
  • 1-¼ cup Sugar, Divided
  • ½ cups Milk
  • ⅓ cups Melted Butter
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1-½ cup Hot Tap Water

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar.
Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. I prefer my small oval Corning Ware glass dish.
In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.
Pour the hot tap water over all. DO NOT STIR!
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set.
Let stand for a few minutes if you can hold yourself back. Serve with homemade ice cream using the gooey sauce to spoon over all.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weekly Menu

This past week was simple - just Darryl and I and then a few meals from church.  Now it's time to get back into reality and real life cooking all while trying to keep the grocery bill as very low as possible!  I don't have a food prep photo this week because other than chopping up lettuce for salad I didn't do much.  The ladies from church supplied us with tons of fruit with their meals so the fridge was overflowing with fruit meaning that I didn't have to buy any this week.  I keep thinking my garden will produce some stuff but so far I've only picked a few cherry tomatoes.  Both the cucumber and zucchini vines have TONS of flowers but no vegetables yet.

So the plan for this coming week:

Friday  - Brats and Hotdogs with fries and fruit

Saturday - Beefy Noodle Bake, Salad and Rolls - This is a recipe a friend made for us before Darryl's surgery and I loved it.  I'm hoping it is as good when I make it!!

Sunday - My parents are coming over for the day so I have lunch planned :-)  (I'm keeping my mom in suspense.)

Monday - Orange Ginger Pork Loin with Rice, Green Beans and Rolls

Tuesday - Tacos, Beans and Chips and Salsa

Wednesday - Breakfast!!!  Amish Breakfast Casserole, Muffins, and Fruit

Thursday - Chicken Alfredo Pizza (for the big people) and the kids favorite frozen pizzas (for the little people) with salad.

This weeks meals are freezer/pantry based with the exception of Thursday.  (Meaning, I don't have any of the stuff on hand to make that Pizza).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Visit

Recently, my brother Kel, sister-in-law Deb and niece Marisa visited us.  They came in on a Saturday and stayed the night, attended church with us and then stayed through lunch before heading home.  My boys love Kel because, well, Kel loves them, talks to them and plays with them too!

One of the funniest things of the whole visit was when one of the boys looked at him and said, "Where is all of your hair?" hahahaha

 The boys have LOVED having Darryl home as he is recovery (and I have too!!)  Nate enjoys "things" so doing puzzles with his dad is a favorite activity.
 Nate and Josh took over Darryl's couch (since he has to lay down alot still) and turned it into a fancy bed with all kinds of pillows and animals.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* It's the time of year where we get about 4 flies in the house no matter how many we kill on a daily basis.  It was super cute when Nate walked in the kitchen and asked for the "Flyswapper."  :-) hahaha

* The boys and I were heading to the grocery store so I fixed their hair.  Josh looked at himself in the mirror and said, "Wow, I look Fandsome"  I had to leave the room so I could laugh but no, I did not correct him.  I LOVE hearing kids say things wrong - eventually they will learn to pronounce everything correctly but for now, we just enjoy their creativity.

* The boys were out in the pool one day when I heard, "Abra Ca-Pocus"  I think they have their magic and witchcraft sayings mixed up HA! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Coming Home

The boys, after being gone for two weeks, finally came home on Monday, July 7th.  Wow, two weeks a long time but I was sure glad that they had so much fun at my parents with VBS, swimming in the neighbors pool, and taking rides on their big wheels.  I think they were a little excited to get home though and got right into playing with their stuff and, of course, swimming.  They also have enjoyed having their dad home every day all day. 

 Darryl has to spend quite a bit of time laying down so he and the boys love playing games on the Ipad.  They love passing different levels and yes, all get extremely excited about it!

The boys are also so helpful - they will get Darryl's back brace and walker for him, often without even being asked. 

 Darryl also is supposed to walk as much as possible so he and the boys take 3-4 walks a day.  The boys love it because they get to ride their bikes around the neighborhood (super fast!) which, considering they aren't allowed to leave the driveway normally, that is a huge deal. 

We took this walk one night after baths so they just looked too cute in their PJ's and Mohawk bike helmet zipping down the road.  For the record, I do tend to do at least one walk with them but, honestly, the other walks, I really enjoy the 10 minutes of solitude :-)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Food Friday - Gooey Raspberry Coffee Cake

Gooey Raspberry Coffee Cake
adapted from I wash . . . You dry

When the kids were gone I wanted to make something good for dessert.  I love raspberries and came across this recipe for a Raspberry coffee cake.   It was so good!  The white chocolate is a perfect combo paired with the Raspberries.  I will say that the fresh raspberries kinda disappeared into the cake as it cooked and I could have easily put in some more.  It is best eaten once it is completly cooled (I tried it while it was still too hot and, well, it was HOT)  My husband said it tasted more like the juice from maraschino cherries than raspberries but I didn't think so :-)  

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (just the mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Crust:
  3. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter with a sturdy wooden spoon until it becomes a soft dough. Use half of the dough for the crust, and press it into the bottom of the baking pan.
  4. Filling:
  5. Spread the raspberries and white chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Drizzle with the sweetened condensed milk.
  6. Use the remaining half of the crust to cover the raspberry filling, as best you can. (separate the dough into small disk shapes and lay on top of the raspberries)
  7. Topping:
  8. In a bowl combine the ingredients for the topping. Use your hands to squish the topping together, until it becomes a crumbly, coarse mixture. Sprinkle on top of the cake bars.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center is only slightly jiggly. Let cool completely before lifting the cake bars out of the pan. Cut into squares. The bars should still have a gooey texture to them. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Weekly Menu

Food Prep was a HUGE success this week.  It helped that we were expecting company on Sunday so I prepped for for a nice lunch on Sunday after shopping on Saturday.

The photo shows a pan of baked beans ready to go in the oven on Sunday morning, Watermelon, grapes, the makings of "Ken's Fruit Salad" and Asian Coleslaw.  Plus chopped lettuce for salad during the week and, not included in this photo is a pork loin simmering on the stove for Root Beer Pulled Pork for Sunday as well.

My kids are going to my in-laws for a short week so that means "the cooking gets easy around here." 

Friday - The kids leave during the afternoon for my mother-in-laws house.  Darryl has to go to the hospital and get x-rays of his back so we'll do that and then stop somewhere for dinner.

Saturday - I'm going to try my hand at fish tacos again.  I've tried them a few times and have yet to find a good recipe - it's a meal we love to get at a restaurant so I'd like to recreate it at home!

Sunday -This is up in the air as of right now.  We are planning to go to the church my brother will be speaking at on Sunday evening so I'm thinking hamburgers for lunch with corn on the cob.  But, it's possible he will be speaking in the morning and, if that happens, we'll grab something after church for lunch. 

Monday - Darryl has a late afternoon doctor appointment so we'll grab dinner out after that is done.

Tuesday - We are expecting dinner to be delivered from someone at church.

Wednesday - We are going to my in-laws to pick up the boys and will have dinner with them as well.

Thursday - This is our last meal from church.  We've really been blessed by the meals from the church and friends over the past few weeks that's for sure!

Based on that list above I hardly need to go grocery shopping. Ok, I still do because we still need bread, milk and Pepsi :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I'm trying to catch up on some events that took place over the past few months.  One of these days, I want to print my blog by the year so these posts are a great way to keep a timeline! 

As you all know, my husband had back surgery on June 25th so here are a few photos.

 This was the big "D" before surgery.  He was all wrapped in warm blankets while we waiting for the surgeon.  The day was long, that's for sure.  He was scheduled for surgery at 8:30 and they took him back at about 8:45.  We were told it would take about about 2 hours but, at about the 1 1/2 hour mark the nurse came out to tell me all was going well.  I waited and waited and then at the 3 1/2 hour mark, the nurse came out again and said it was taking a lot longer than expected but all was going fine.  Finally, about 45 minutes later they told me he was in recovery and it would be about an hour.  Well, two hours later, the nurse came out and said he was out cold thanks to pain meds so until he woke up I could "relax" in the waiting room.  Well, to keep an even longer story short, I did get back to see him and was told he would be sent to a room within the hour . . .ready, TWO hours later we were still waiting for a room!!!  He was finally taken to his room at about 6:30 that evening.  Considering the fact that we expected to be in a room by noon that day, well that was just crazy.  Once Darryl was settled in, I went to our favorite Mexican place and picked up some dinner so it made the long day a little better!

 We had a beautiful view out the window of his room - there were storms rolling in - it was pretty cool to watch.

We finally got him sitting up for a bit but he was pretty sick for a few days and in some severe pain which caused our hospital stay to be longer than planned - the doctor had hoped to get us out on Friday but we stayed until Sunday as it took that long to get his pain under control. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Family Gathering

My oldest brother and sister-in-law, Kel and Deb, and my nephew Micah came home from Brazil in mid-June and we finally got to see them the weekend before Darryl's surgery.   We all gathered at my niece's house for a cook out and lots of laughing.

 My brother, Kel, loves my boys and my boys love him!

 Big and Little kids alike love the hammocks my niece has hung between some awesome huge trees in her backyard.
The boys are in their glory because their favorite person in the whole world was at the gathering - my niece Kate.  They also love Uncle Kenny because he plays with them too.
 It was a beautiful day so we spent a lot of time outside just catching up with everyone.
 My nephew Kaleb is doing an internship in MA but was able to come to Michigan for a week to see his family. 

 Micah - my nephew.  He will be heading of to college this fall . .. he can't be that old, can he?
Kel - my oldest brother - I love him dearly!!!
 My parents.  They look pretty good if I say so myself.

 Ahhh, my sister-in-law Lynnette.  She is awesome
The boys getting beat up :-)
 The host and hostess - Alex and Alicia.
 Nana got into playing some games with the boys.

 My brother Jeff and sister-in-law Nora.  We don't see them often so having them at the gathering was a real treat.
My three brotheres trying to look mean.  Ken, on the left, finds that next to impossible :-)
 Brothers - Micah and Kaleb.

It really was an awesome day.  We laughed, ate, laughed some more and then just sat around and visited for awhile.  I will admit the drive home was long.  The boys had gone home with my parents so it was just Darryl and I - we did a lot of really loud singing with all of the windows open while driving down the expressway during the last hour of the drive but it was well worth the trip!