Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Teaching Tuesdays - Week 5

This past week was officially week five of homeschooling but it went just a little differently.

Yep, those are my two crazy boys but they weren't at home!  They went to Papa and Nana's for an unplanned few days.  My parents were at my house a week ago Saturday to help do a few things and, more importantly, bring me a piano and a chair and ottoman.  As the day went on, Josh kept asking if they could go home with Papa and Nana.  I finally told him to talk to Nana and, of course she agreed ;-)

There were some great things . .. learning experiences . . .that happened:

1) It was raining all the way home so the boys helped Papa drive.  They told him when to turn on his windshield wipers, when to turn them off and even told him he should pull off the road (which he didn't).  I think my dad LOVED it HA!

2) They got to travel to their Uncle Kel's house to pick up their cousin.  I think unexpected extra family time is fabulous.  The boys love their Uncle Kel so seeing him is always a big bonus!

3) The boys planted some Crocus bulbs in our "crop circle".  I took down the pool while they were gone so now we have a perfectly round circle of dirt in the yard.  They wanted to plant seeds (and they did . . sunflower and . . well, peanut . .seeds.  What?  all I had was peanuts in the house HA!) so I bought them some blubs that will come up early in the spring before we put the pool up again.

My original plan was to do some school on Thursday and Friday but, honestly, on Thursday the boys played and played and PLAYED so I let them, play.  Then we normally don't have school on Friday anyway.  I looked at where we were in my year plan and we are more than on schedule plus I had planned for this next week to be a "free week" and now we'll have class! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some Simple Fall Decorations to make

I've been trying to figure out recently why I don't get nearly the same amount of things done that I used to get done.  I finally figured  it out.  My kids don't take naps.  There was a fairly short period of time where both boys went down for a two hour nap (at LEAST that long) at the exact same time which meant I had two hours to work on crafts, scrapbook, work in the yard or, well, just sit outside and read (and get a tan!).  Now that just doesn't happen.  They boys are almost to a stage now where I can work on crafts and they don't try to take over . .. almost but not quite.  :-) 

So, for this first installment of "Make it Monday" I thought I would share two very simple Fall Crafts I made several years ago.  They are still two of my favorite decorations to put out at this time of they year so even though they are simple, I still love them!

 The mason jar Jack-o-Lantern's are so adorable and so easy to make!  All you need is a few canning jars of varying sizes, some spray paint, Ribbon or Raffia, and Glad "Stick and Seal".
Very simply, cut out the shapes you need from the press and seal and stick them onto the mason jars.  Use spray paint to paint the entire outside of the jar.  Once dry, remove the press and seal pieces.  Tie ribbon or raffia around the neck of the jar.  Feel free to add tealights or electric candles inside the jar for added effect. 
The wood block pumpkins are beyond easy.  Just cut some 2x4 (or any wood in the scrap pile that is thick enough to stand up on its own).  Spray paint the wood orange, cut off some small tree limbs and hot glue to the top of the wood and add some raffia for something extra.  Super cute and so very easy!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Things my kids say

* Recently, when the boys were at my parents, Josh told Nana that he and Nate were now married.  She asked him what that meant and he said that it just meant that they can live together now.  Where do they get this stuff?

* Again, my mom was talking to the boys and told them that Darryl was going back to work.  Josh was all excited because "Now that Dad is going back to work we can buy stuff again."  Out of the mouth of babes . . .I've been going through shopping withdrawal!. 

* The other day I heard a drawer full of legos hit the bedroom floor followed by, "I didn't expect that happen!" (said by Nate)  The good news is that the boys then played for hours with all of the Legos!

* If you know the tune to Jesus Loves Me, sing it to these words. "Jesus Loves me and I know, God still sees us all the time, Nation wide is on your side and the cat is running fast.  Give me a zinger in this game so I can beat dad once again and God does good things even when I still ask why."  LOLOL  Those are just random things Josh has been signing to that tune ALL DAY LONG!!! (At one point he asked me if I liked his singing and of course, I said yes!)

* One of the things Josh told me when they came home this week was that he told Papa and Nana that he would always obey and would stop asking me "WHY" when I told him to do something.  Well, on Thursday of this past week I asked him to do something and said, "Why?".  Nate (also known as the Holy Spirit a times to all of us . . .. hehehehe) pipes up with, "Josh you told Pap and Nana you would not ask mom Why anymore."  Do you know what Josh did?  He got a piece of paper and made a "No Why" sign - he wrote the word "Why" on the paper and then put a circle with a line through it over top of the word.  He said he would carry it with him so he wouldn't forget :-)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Family Fun - It's Soccer Season

We signed the boys up for Fall Soccer since they enjoyed it last season.  Josh enjoys soccer and is very competitive but he is extremely excited about playing T-Ball in the spring.  Nate enjoys the "idea" of soccer but it isn't his favorite thing in the world.

 Our first week of soccer was interrupted by a Thunderstorm.  We were all sent to our vehicles for 20 minutes until it passed.

 Did someone say football? 

 Nate is playing much better this time around - he actually ran after the ball instead of picking flowers :-)

They both got to throw the ball in at some point.

The second week was COLD!  My parents were able to attend the game which thrilled the boys.  Nana was their biggest cheerleader that's for sure!

The past two weeks have been beautiful.  The perfect weather for soccer - not too hot and not too cold!  We still have two more weeks left and so far (even though they don't keep score . . .) the Earthquakes have won every game :-)  (The parents keep score HA!)

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Change Up

My blog has lacked a little bit over the past several months.  The easy thing to say, and it is true, is that "life got in the way."  We have been very boring people for the past year which just means we haven't done much.  We are hopeful now that Darryl is slowly getting back to work we can start planning things like fun little day trips and activities, crafting plans for me and other fun things along the way.  I've been re-hashing ideas for my blog and this is what I'm hoping to start posting:

Monday - "Make it Monday".  Since I accomplish most of my crafting or creativity on the weekends I decided to make Monday the day I post about it.  It might be a holiday craft, an organization idea or some cleaning tip I picked off of Pinterest and tried.

Tuesday - "Teaching Tuesdays".  I'll share our homeschool adventure from the week before. Picture of just our general day but also any fun stuff we do like crafts, experiments or field trips.  This might also include my simple reviews of our curriculum or ideas for organizing homeschool chaos in a tiny space.

Wednesday - "What we're eating" I don't always have new recipes to share but when I do they will show up on Wednesdays.  I may also just share fun snack ideas, my favorite kitchen tools and total failures that I try :-)

Thursday - "Thoughtful Thursdays"  This is the place I'll share everything from a book review to what I'm reading to what I'm learning in a Bible Study to some other truth I want to share.  This is also where my goals for the month will show up and also the recap :-)

Friday - "Food Friday".  But in this case it will be our weekly menu.  I hope to clean up my "recipe" section on the blog (I got lazy with that!) so I can provide links for the recipes I'm using again (and again).

Saturday and Sunday - These days are reserved for posts about the family.  The best snap shots of the week, some adventure we went on, "Things my Kids say", holiday posts ect.

I plan on putting this new plan into place starting Saturday with lots of fun pictures!  If I miss a day here or there it's ok - I may not have anything to share or sometimes, life gets busy.  With homeschool, babysitting, AWANA, soccer going on, Choir Practice and more . . .days are sometimes short!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Weekly Menu

Last weeks plan went nothing like, well, planned.  It was all for good though.  My parents came over this past Saturday to bring me some furniture (my piano!!).  As they were getting ready to leave Josh asked (for about the 10th time) if they could go home with Papa and Nana.  I told him it was up to Nana and only if she didn't have plans otherwise he would have to wait.  Well, of course Nana said yes HA!  If you have followed this blog for any length of time you know that when my kids go away, I don't cook!  We are still being super conservative with money so we knew that we had to keep it on the down and cheap :-)  Sunday afternoon, after church, we went to the Chinese Buffet.  It's always nice when just the two of us get to go because it is easy . . and cheap :-)  We can eat there for less then it costs to eat at a Fast Food Joint :-)  Then, we decided our one "date night" dinner we would go to Outback.  We have eaten there twice in the last 4 months and really liked it.  Monday night, it was not that great.  My steak was terrible.  Because of that, though, my meal was comped so our dinner, which included two salads and two meals came to under $20.00!!!  Finally, Tuesday was Darryl's first day back to work; he has been craving Jet's Pizza and we have been waiting for him to go back to work so we could get one (since he has to get it before heading home) so yes, we had pizza!  Anyway, that means that this weeks menu will look very familiar!

Saturday - We will have some family time today.  We have options - an event called Art Prize begins this week so maybe we will head into see some art or we will head out to some fun park or even some little fair.  What we eat will be determined by what we do :-)

Sunday - Roast, Carrots, Noodles and Rolls YUM!

Monday - I have a hair appointment so we'll just have Hot Dogs and Chips.  That way Darryl can feed the boys and I can eat when I get home.

Tuesday - BBQ Chicken on the grill, Baked Potatoes, Corn and Rolls

Wednesday -  Meatball Soup and Bread

Thursday - Soccer :-)  (We are coming to the end!) We'll get fast food - this is something the boys really enjoy being able to do - go out to eat after they play

Friday - Tacos!!!!! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Homeschool Happenings Weeks 3 and 4

So last week came and went before I even realized it was done.  Some weeks go SOOO slow and some go so fast I don't even get time to sit down and blog.  We had more busy nights than normal which gave me less time in the evenings to do anything!  Here's a snapshot of what has gone on in our homeschool world the last two weeks.

We started week 3 a little rough.  Nate woke up Monday morning not feeling well.  I peeked in on him at one point and found him sound asleep in the chair.  We post poned school for that day.  He ended up at the doctor on Wednesday because we thought he had strep but he had caught a mild case of the Hand, Foot, Mouth disease from the little one I babysit.

 Nate's coloring skills have already greatly improved. 
The boys both love to go other places to work on their individual work.  We gather at the table for the stuff we do together and then, once everything is explained, they both gather up their stuff and pick a place to work.  I've found they both do better being allowed to do that and get their stuff done at a better pace.

We started using "God's Big World" magazine the past two weeks and the boys enjoy it.  I did ask them what that was a picture off on the front cover and Nate piped up with a "Porcupine" . . .he was close, it is a Hedge Hog.  We laughed a lot over that though for some odd reasons!

 We started AWANA on the 10th of September so we take time each day to review the boys weekly verses.  We also talk about what they mean as well to make sure they are understanding what they are learning.
 My little Sparkie!!  He is so super cute!  (Nate's "uniform" hasn't come in yet . . ..)  

We also had "gym" the last two weeks.  Between Soccer and AWANA game time, they are getting a good two hours of structured "PE" time not to mention riding bikes, taking walks, and running around like little crazy people!  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Food Friday - A Favorite and a Not Favorite

We had this for dinner recently.  Two of the three items are family favorites.  First up, the meat.  That was leftover from camping that we did not cook.  We always love steak kabobs cooked over for the fire but we found that with kids, it just didn't work.  Instead, I threw them in a skillet and cooked them up - they were fantastic!  They had marinated in Sweet Baby Ray's Steahouse Marinade YUM!.  Second, the zucchini (from our garden!) is cooked just the way we like it - in a little butter with nature's seasoning sauted until soft and tasty.

The other item - that Orzo salad?  Yuck.  HA!  That was a recipe I planned to share but it just wasn't good. I like aspargus when it is roasted but just blanched?  Not great flavor.  The tomatoes ended up being bitter/sour - they were a gift from someone's garden so I don't know what happened to them.  I won't make that again though!

Nothing super exciting as far as cooking here lately!  Seems like we have been eating a little more simple OR the recipes are not note worthy!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weekly Menu

Wow, it is Thursday. I got up Monday morning and realized I had not prepped any blog posts for the week and figured I could get them done on Monday.  Well, that didn't happen.  Oh well.  :-) 

We stayed pretty true to the plan this week.  We did end up grabbing fast food after soccer.  Making Philly Steak and Cheese sandwiches just didn't make it on the "I really want this for dinner" menu this week after all. 

So, I have searched high and low for the perfect ranch dressing.  I've purchased every brand and almost every flavor and nothing tasted like THE Ranch I was looking for!  Well, this past weekend we were at my Mother-in-Laws and she had her "homemade" ranch dressing.  It was PERFECT!  Do you know what it was?  Hidden Valley Dry Dressing Mix that you just add mayo and milk too to make the ranch dressing.  Wow.  Why didn't I think of that?? :-) 

Here's what is on the plan for this week:

Saturday - My parents are coming for the day; my husband is leaving for the day; and I think I actually might get a few hours to go into town and do some shopping.  I have two different things in mind to make for dinner but haven't decided what to make for sure yet!

Sunday - It's time for a roast in the oven!  I'll add some carrots and cook up some fabulous noodles.  Yum! 

Monday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken, a family favorite, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Beans, and Rolls

Tuesday - Meatball Soup and homemade bread

Wednesday - Slow Cooker Honey Ginger Pork, Baked Brown Rice, Corn, and Rolls

Thursday - Another night of soccer so we'll grab dinner after the game. 

Friday - Tacos :-) 

Saturday, September 13, 2014


This past spring the boys planted sunflower seeds and it's been fun to watch them grow especially the ones they did NOT plant this year!  Yes, we had some HUGE sunflowers that grew from seeds that fell out of the plants that grew last year.  A few weeks ago I decided to snap some photos of the flowers at their prime and I'm so glad I did because just two day later the biggest of the biggest flowers all fell over. 

Between my black-eyed Susans and the Sunflowers - my back yard is just fabulous!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Menu - a day late

I missed a week.  I tend to do that every once in awhile so when I planned the menu last week I had appointments in the wrong week and forgot about other things so we did not follow the planned menu well at all!  I'm back on track this week so I think we'll be a little better off!

Saturday - We are going to my in-laws for the day and she has instructed us to not bring anything :-)  I'm sure it will be a great day and I always like it when I don't have to cook!

Sunday - This is our first real football Sunday so I've planned some football food.  I wanted things that we could eat after church and then snack on throughout the day.  I'm going to cook a big pot of Chili (which is nice for leftovers and then to freeze for another meal in a few weeks).  The snacks on my mind as of this writing are:  Strawberries/Pineapple with our favorite fruit dip, Holiday Bacon Appetizers (this are great because I can freeze the left overs and take them out in a few weeks to enjoy during a game), Cheesy Bacon Bites (a family favorite that I will cook up later in the day), Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip (this is still on my "maybe" list), Little Smokies (yum, yum YUM!), and maybe I'll make two cheeseballs (but cut the recipes in half for each of them) Now, don't freak out by the list.  Ultimately, I'll probably only end up putting 1-3 of these items on the list but I haven't narrowed it down yet.

Monday - Today is my husband's x-ray AND MRI (not last week!) so we will go into town as a family, maybe do some free fun (Like the big bacon and egg play land at the mall) and get some dinner before his appointment.

Tuesday - Tonight is Pan Fried Pork Chops, Salad, Savory Rice, and Rolls

Wednesday - Philly Cheesesteaks, Broccoli Salad, Coleslaw and Jell-O Salad.

Thursday - My plan is to make a big pot of Sloppy Joes.  The boy's soccer game is later this session so I think we'll try to eat before hand.  The sloppy joes freeze great too so we can use them in the future.  We'll also have left over salads from Wednesday.

Friday - Tacos!  I'm hungry for Fish Tacos again so that is the direction we'll go.  Plus, we should have some left over coleslaw from Wednesday to use as the topping !

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th

A simple photo such as things can bring back so many gut wrenching memories from that day.  I remember where I was when I heard, who told me, and the shock as I finally got out of work and started hearing and seeing the stories.

Today is a day to remember all that was lost on that one day.  To keep it in the forefront and never forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What I'm reading (or Not)

So, here's the deal.  I started out the year with a great list of books to read.  I even started out reading them!  Something happened and it is called "Darryl's Surgery".  Seriously!  You would think that spending 5 days in a hospital I would have spent hours and hours reading but I haven't cracked open a book since June 25th.  That is just crazy coming from me because I LOVE to read!  I was trying to figure it out and there are a couple of key things.  1) Darryl is home.  I do most of my reading while eating lunch (by the time I get the kids settled down and eating and my lunch on the table . . .they kids are done so I get to read for a bit!).  I don't read when Darryl is eating with us because we all talk and eat together.  2)  I always read for 30-45 minutes in the afternoon for my "down time".  Now, we have school during that time so I really don't get that chance to read like I did before.  3) I stay up later because Darryl is staying up since he isn't working.  Before, he went to bed at 8:30 so by about 10:00, I would be ready to lay down and I would read for an hour.  Now I just stay up until 11:00 watching TV or playing a computer game.

Now that September is here, I'm ready to get back into some books. 

Well, my brother wrote a book!!!  So, of course, this is on the very TOP of my reading list!  I'm really excited to read it and then promote it for all of my readers. 

I have two other "must reads" on my list this month and you've seen them before:

I'm adding these to my "September Goals" list - to read the above three books by the end of September.  I also want to read for fun.  I've been saving a lot of books to my wish list for my Kindle and need to find a really good one to download and read! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Camping - Fun Fun Fun!

I've shared all of the planning and activities and food from our camping trip so now it's time to share the fun we had over the weekend.  We learned a lot, made short lists of things we want to do differently, and remember things we used to enjoy doing while camping.  But, most importantly, we had fun.

 All of us worked together to get the fire started - the boys and I went searching for some sticks and dried bark around the campsite (Ok, the boys rode bikes HA).  Darryl had me set up the wood and he got the fire going.
 Nate did finally start to help me some to search for some small sticks.

 Josh was SOOO tired (haha) that he needed to rest for a bit while the fire started to burn.
 Our "new to us" camper.  Two of the canopy poles would not open up so our canopy was very tilty.  It worked though and that's all that mattered (And we can easily replace the poles before next summer!)
 Nate set up a camp light and enjoyed playing in the sand in the dark.
 Darryl and Josh.  We took Josh camping when he was about 9 months old - Darryl sat and held him by the fire just like this photo.  (Except he was MUCH smaller!)
Our lights!  Over the coming years we plan on making our camper notably ours but for now, these little lights worked.  I have some other lights picked out and want to get a flag to put outside and we want to "name" our camper too!

 Saturday the boys LOVED riding their bikes around.  We happened to be near a turn around on the road which gave the boys lots of space to ride while still being in our site.  They loved the freedom of just being able to ride their bikes all over.

One of the things that Darryl and I always loved was taking a short walk out to the pier and walk along the water.  We introduced that tradition to the boys.  They loved the short walk but were not quite as enthralled with the pier and channel as we always are but at least there were some HUGE sailboats that came by to entertain them!

 (My all time favorite photo - I didn't even know I got this photo until I downloaded photos after we got home.  That boy can jump!)
 Once we ate lunch and went to the store, we came back to the campsite and got ready to go to the beach.  The boys and I headed down to the water while Darryl stayed up in the pavilian at the park.  I went in the water with the boys and we had so much fun.  At one point, I turned around and there was a HUGE wave coming.  I grabbed Nate's hand and told Josh to run to the shore.  Had I not been holding Nate, it would have gone over his head and knocked the poor kid down!  The waves went all the way up on shore and got our stuff wet!  The waves kept coming for a few minutes and we had a blast!  The boys even made a couple of trips running in the sand up to tell Darryl things - I'm not sure how they had the energy to do that!
More bike riding fun after the beach!

 Who is this kid?  Every once in awhile we get a glimpse of what the boys will look like at 16 and this is one of those times.
 Yep, more bikes!  This time we let them ride their bikes out to the pier.

 I wanted to get a great shot of the boys . . .. well, this is the best they would give me.

While Darryl and I started packing up, the boys had fun in the sand.  I turned around and saw Josh on the bike, throwing sand back at Nate who was holding the umbrella.  It was so cute!

That was our adventure.  It was a ton of fun and we are still holding out to get to go one more time this season!