Sunday, November 30, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* The boys were playing with one of their kid chairs that turns around and around . .. Nate was sitting in it while Josh was turning him around in circles.  Nate wanted him to go faster but Josh told him he was too big.  Nate replied, 'But Josh, you are SIX and I am still only FOUR!  I KNOW you can do it!"

* A recent dinner conversation:  The boys had seen a police scene on the news and starting talking about how the police capture bad people.
 Josh pipes up with, "Well, we aren't bad people, we are more stay at home people."
Nate, "Nope, we aren't bandits so we won't go to jail." 
Josh: "We told Papa and Nana that he had better slow down or the police would take him away.  It's a good thing he listened and I hope Nana listened too."
Nate:  "Well, I hope Nana didn't listen, I want to visit her in jail."
Sorry Nana . . .. hahahaha

* While Josh was doing his schoolwork, he told me he had to write a letter twice and he didn't feel like erasing because, after all, he really " isn't an erasing guy, he is much more of a drawing guy"

Friday, November 28, 2014

Weekly Menu

The menu that I posted last week - well, that was thrown out the window.  I kinda forgot to up date it after I changed it last Thursday.  I wanted to use up some things we had here in the house so I changed out the meals than, added to that I ended up with both ham and turkey leftover from the Thanksgiving dinner at church plus a ton of baked potatoes.  I'm going to use those leftovers for meals during the coming weeks! Here's our plan!

Saturday - My husband is bringing home dinner tonight - most likely Popeye Chicken.  There is only one location in town and it is, well, in the ghetto but the food is great so we like to get it sometimes when the kids are gone (Popeye's is Cajun so it is a little spicier than our kids will eat!)

Sunday - With the kids not here, I know I won't want to cook so we'll probably grab something - even just Taco Bell to enjoy while watching football without interruption!

Monday - Our last evening without kids so no cooking!  I'll see what Darryl wants to bring home - most likely either Jet's Pizza or Mexican from the Adobe. 

Tuesday - The kids come home today!  We'll be ships passing though because I have to leave for a Missions committee meeting as soon as Darryl gets home so on these nights I usually do Hot Dogs. 

Wednesday - Tonight is Awana night!  I'm going to use that leftover Turkey to make Turkey and Dumplings.  I'll make Mac and Cheese for the boys :-)

Thursday - Chicken Noodle Soup and Yeast Rolls!!!  I love this meal!

Friday - What else but . . .Tacos!  :-) 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are enjoying a wonderful day with Family

I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving day with your family, friends and, well, all of the food!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What we are Eating - Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
adapted from Cooking Classy
I love a good Snickerdoodle but this pumpkin version is even better.  The cook is soft and the pumpkin flavor is subtle but adds a whole new dimension to the flavor. Yes, I have officially started my holiday baking.  I try to back one or two cookies a week over the next few weeks.  I keep about a dozen out for eating that week and than freeze the rest - one set goes into a bin for Darryl to take to work closer to Christmas, one goes in a bin for Christmas with the family, and then I freeze any "extra" to take out during the coming weeks so we also have a variety of yummy treats without needing to bake endlessly every week. 

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For rolling
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar (not until pale and fluffy, just to combined. Occasionally scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process if not using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl while mixing). Mix in egg yolk, then mix in pumpkin and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients then mix until combined. Divide dough in half and place each half in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes to 1 hour (dough should be slightly sticky so the cinnamon sugar will stick when rolling but they should be manageable to roll in the palms of your hands). Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of refrigeration.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Scoop dough out 2 even tablespoons at a time (run the measuring spoon against side and edge of bowl so it will slightly deflate the dough while also giving an equal tbsp, twice per ball) and shape into a ball, roll dough ball in cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat then transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 - 14 minutes (they should look just slightly under-baked as they'll cook slightly once removed from oven). Cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teaching Tuesdays - Week 13

It's hard to believe we are 13 weeks into school - technically half way through our year of 26 weeks.  Now, truth be told, we'll probably go a little longer than 26 weeks in a few subjects but, for the most part we are about 1/2 way through most of Josh's workbooks. 

Josh is really doing amazing with the basics of phonics.  Here, in this photo, he is practicing his "Ferris Wheel" song.  He absolutly loves the song and sings it every single day (even when I don't feel like it).  Not only can he sing it with the music making all of the correct short vowel blends, he likes to then sing it by himself.  I've seen huge improvements with his sounds and with forming words with those sounds.  He also loves to "read" more.  One day, he got out his "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" book and was sounding out the words and then writing out each page. 

Nate loves his preschool work.  Loves it.  Well, most days.  Using the snow as leverage last week, the boys quickly got to work after lunch on their school work and kept saying, "We will not whine mom!" just so they could finish and get back outside!

 On Friday we focused on Thanksgiving again and worked on this little book from Teachers Pay Teachers.  The boys had to make the word "Here" on each of the pages in their book.  I did cut out the letters before hand only because I knew the cutting would be the death of me if I had them do it HA!  It was cute to watch because by the third page, they had figured out how to "read" the sentences based on the picture on the page.
We also read through this cute counting book.  It gave me the opportunity to talk about the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  The boys enjoyed the story and asked lots of questions!

Monday, November 24, 2014

What I'm Making Monday - Meatball Sliders

Recently I've been trying out some simple recipes that could technically be used as appetizers/snack type things when we have our fun little snack nights especially around the holidays.  Sometimes I'm "guilty" of pulling out a bunch of new appetizer recipes on those nights only to have the flop.  I'm glad I've tried some out as dinner/side dishes because some have been success' and some have not!  This Meatball Slider Recipe was mediocore to say the least.

It is a super simple recipe and the idea is good but I would make changes.  The actual meat ball recipe is awesome - I'm going to use that to make meatballs from now on.  Why is it great?  Because it is plain - so often meatball recipes are heavy in spice but if you want them for BBQ or Sweet and Sour plain meatballs are the best.  For our tastes, there was way too much oregano in the sauce - it over powered the whole meal.  Really, I would just use our favorite spaghetti sauce to simmer the meat balls in - it would give a more balanced flavored. 

You can check out the inspiration recipe HERE.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Things my Kids Say

* We were talking about having a a nerf gun fight when Josh got upset because, well, he didn't want to be "shooted" :-) LOL 

* Josh, as I've said before, loves to be in charge.  After an especially trying morning with all three boys, I finally said to Josh, "You are not the adult, you are not in charge.  You are the kid and you cannot tell the other boys what to do - that is my job.  Some day, when you are an adult, you can be the boss."  He went crying into his room where I heard, "It will take so long to be an adult!"

* We have a rule that in order to play the piano, hands must be washed first.  Well, I got home from the store the other night and the boys "tattled".  They told me that Daddy played the piano without washing his hands.  Josh then told me that he told Darryl that he was wrong and he must wash his hands or I would send him to time out when I got home.  It gets better . .. I then asked if Darryl listened to him and Josh said he had to because when I'm gone, he (Josh) is the boss. hahahahahaha  The boy - he will be a leader someday!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Family Fun - Let It Snow!

This past week, we got snow!  The first flakes began falling on Thursday, November 13th and the boys were beyond excited.  As a matter of fact, we were about 10 minutes from finishing up school work when it started so, needed to say, school stopped and the boys headed outside.

 Even in the snow, the boys love to ride bikes. 
 Can you see the snowflakes in the picture??? They also had the John Deere out with hopes of filling it with snow.
 My sweet six year old - I just love that adorable face!
 Mr. Innocent almost 5 year old!  Super super cute!
 A very small snow ball!

For some reason, the treehouse gets a lot more use in the fall and winter than it gets the entire summer.  They absolutely love playing it and sliding down the slippery slide!

The snow didn't stop though and we had more fun!

Sunday brought more snow - so the boys felt they needed to "mow" the grass one more time. 

THEN the big storm hit.  We ended up with about 12 inches of snow by the end of the day Thursday.  My boys were beyond thrilled and spent hours outside.  On Wednesday, I believe, Josh went outside at 1:30 and did not come in until 4:30.  He loves the cold and snow so much! 

 Josh started right out shoveling  - something he usually tries to help with every year.
 This photo speaks volumes - we are in the "Harvest" season - getting ready for Thanksgiving - yet we were in the middle of a snow storm! 
 Nate is also a great helper.
 Those boys moved a lot of snow!!!

After spending hours outside, they both snuggled into chairs with blankets and pillows and watched HGTV with me for a bit.

Thursday was really the snowiest day - we had white out conditions - it was beautiful (from inside!)  The boys got to play in the front yard for a bit because they wanted to knock down the huge icicles.  Funny thing, I heard a huge bang on the house so I looked outside; Josh saw me and said, "Nate we can throw the shovels to get the ice but don't throw it by the window" haha  Smart move Josh!  They also shoveled off the front porch for me and then used their shovels to make mazes in the snow.  They did try to make an igloo but my perfectionist (Josh) had a total breakdown because "I can't build anything!!" Poor kid!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Menu - The one with Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving?  Already?  Wow!  This year we are heading to my parents house for Thanksgiving which is nice.  As much as I like hosting it, which I do, it's nice to not have to plan it too!

Here's the plan:

Saturday - We are staying home :-)  We've had a few busy weekends and now, it's time to stay home.  The boys really love to help decorate outside for Christmas so, if the weather is half way decent, I thought we'd get out the outdoor decorations and get the lights up!  Pizza is good on Saturdays and the boys have free pizza certificates from Soccer so I think we'll use those and go to Pizza Hut!

Sunday - Today is different.  Our Church Thanksgiving Dinner is at 5:00 so, when we come home from church, we have Mac and Cheese and little ham sammies.  Super simple but something we all love.  I have to cook a ham for the dinner (the benefits of my husband being a deacon, I guess HA) so my oven will be put to good use and then I'm going to make a raspberry cobbler for a dessert and a fruit salad for a side dish. 

** On a side note - our grocery store has had cartons of raspberries on sale for 2/$1.00 for two weeks.  This week I bought 24 cartons.  My receipt showed the regular price - I almost lost my teeth - the regular price is $95.00.  I paid $12.00.  So yes, I made sure I had enough for a couple of cobbler's for Thanksgiving ***

Monday - Beef w/ Broccoli - a freezer meal to try :-)  As much as I'm really not a freezer meal person, I do like having a few go to meals in the freezer to pull out for something quick.  I saw this recipe and thought I would try it and, if we like it, I could make up a few for the freezer :-)  I'll add some brown baked rice and yeast rolls for a great dinner.

Tuesday - Crock pot Smothered Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn and Biscuits.  Nothing like a good comfort meal on a Tuesday night :-)

Wednesday - We'll grab some dinner on the run as we start our Holiday fun!

Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday - No Kids :-)  I'm going scrapbooking for the afternoon/early evening.  I will eat at the crop and leave something for the big D for dinner!  


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giving Thanks

Usually I participate in the annual Facebook Days of Thanksgiving - where you post each day one thing (or more) for which you are thankful.  This year I purposefully did not do it.  It isn't that I'm not thankful, but rather that I wanted to ". . . Give thanks to HIM and praise HIS name" just like the verse states above.  God has given me so much yet I tend to overlook those things and I forget to thank him for all of the blessings, even the ones that come in the raindrops, because, after all, not all blessings come in the sunshine!

I was going through some photos recently and came across this one from earlier this year and, with the recent lost of my Aunt, my dad's youngest sibling, it make me even more thankful for my siblings:
My brothers and me . . .. it is a rarity anymore that all four of us are together so this is a pretty important photo.  I love that they were trying to be serious but you might notice that Ken, the one on the left, has a very hard time being serious ever.  Here's more proof:
Total photobomb!  This photo includes my lovely sisters-in-law.  Again, more thankfulness in this photo!

I'm thankful for the simple fact that we had a family gathering at the beginning of the summer and throughout the day were all together at some point.

What am I most thankful for right now though?  Very simply, that I know that God loves me.  He will take care of me and never forsake me.  Knowing that, I can walk each day giving my praise to him and seeing all of the things around me to be thankful for . .. Including the recent snow storm :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What we are eating - Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll 
adapted from Libby's

  I think I can say that a really good pumpkin roll is one of our favorite desserts.  With that said, this is only the second time ever that I've made one.  Really, it is an easy dessert to make but I think it is intimidating to think about rolling a cake in a towel :-)  I did buy a new, white, plain, cotton towel to use for the pumpkin roll and it will be reserved for that purpose only.  Otherwise, this is a pretty straight forward recipe to make.  It was super yummy and I will be making another one soon for Thanksgiving dinner! 


  • CAKE:
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)


oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

COOKING TIP:Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaching Tuesday - Week 12

One of the things I really want my kids to enjoy is reading.  Why?  Because I love to read.  Recently, we were at the Christian Bookstore and both boys gravitated towards the books.
They each picked out a "First Reader" and yes, we read them many times.  In the store, at the Pie Company where we went for dessert and throughout the week.  It makes me want to take them to the bookstore much more often!

Phonics is alive and well in this house during our school week.  We are learning our short vowel sounds and how to blend them with the other letters.  Both boys love to sing our Ferris Wheel song and make all kinds of interesting sounds :-) 

A few years ago, I picked up a couple of workbooks at Michaels to use with preschool.  We never used them but, I pulled out this one last week
and have started to using it with Nate and it is a huge success.  I use it along with our regular preschool curriculum and it is a great supplement.  It gives Nate easy practice on his numbers and letters and lets him do something he loves - color. 

On Friday, we did more Thanksgiving activities including reading this fun book:
It's just a simple book about blessings but it makes it so easy for the kids to understand the concept of being Thankful.  I asked the boys what they are were thankful for and Nate piped up with, "I'm most thankful for you mom!"  How priceless is that! 

To go along with this book we did a few things that revolved around 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  The boys had to trace the words of the verse, color a picture and they did a Cornucopia Craft.  All items can be found over at Christian Preschool Printables.

 Josh was my huge helper on this day.  He set up all of the papers, scissors, glue and crayons and than called the boys to the table for school. 

This week was another huge success.  The boys are learning lots of Bible Verse for Awana as well and learning all of their basics.  We are going to push strong until Thanksgiving in order to maybe get a little ahead so we can do more fun Christmas activities. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Make It Monday - Making Plans

With Christmas coming, I decided to back through some previously posted ideas and share some of my favorites . . .I may or may not make them but they sure look fun!

I have a few people who work with my kids that I want to make small gifts for and I love this idea from Evermine.

I've been meaning to do this idea from SuperChikk for a few years - I really need to do it this year because the boys love photos!

Last year, we lacked scarves in this house.  The boys always got snow down their necks but I was at  a loss for scarves.  Apparently they are a safety hazard in playgrounds so they are hard to find.  I like this simple idea from Polka Dot Chair - it's a blanket but the concept would make a simple scarf too . ..maybe some stocking stuffers!
Again, this is a great idea for a gift from Sew 4 Home.  Beautiful homemade kitchen towels.  I love giving gifts that are Christmas related - that way they don't take up room throughout the year but can be enjoyed during the holidays.
One last idea for this inspirational post - the ornaments from Confessions of a Homeschooler are a simple idea - the kids could make them or make them as gifts for friends!
I look forward to getting crafty :-)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* I was printed a bunch of papers when Nate exclaimed, "Holy Mackeral Cow".

* Nate tends to be a little . . .bossy.  He was "demanding" that I do a few things one evening so I said, "You are awfully demanding for a four year old."  To which he replied, "Well, that's cause I'm five."  I reminded him that he was still only four.  He looked at me and then said, "But I FEEL like five so I am!  I feel bigger!"

* Things I hear from the back seat:  Nate: "Josh, YOU ARE A GENIOUS!  Seriously, Josh, I'm serious.".

* A recent backseat conversation concerning the puke bucket (Nate gets carsick):
Josh:  I'll hold the puke bucket Nate.  If you feel sick, let me know
Nate:  I feel sick
Josh: What?  What did you say?
Nate:   I think I'm feeling sick.
Josh:  No, I said IF you feel sick, I'll hand it to you but I don't think you are sick
Nate:  Josh, I don't feel good.
Josh, No Nate, you feel fine.  I'll just hold the bucket for you

 Hahaha - Thankfully, Nate was just fine this time around.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Family Fun - A Bus Ride and Children's Museum

We have been enjoying doing some things as a family recently - things that we really haven't been able to do for over a year.  This past weekend was no exception! 

Our adventures began with a bus ride.
 There is a new bus line in town and it is supposed to be faster than the normal bus.  It's called the Silver Line and, I will admit, it ended up being kinda cool.  We drove into town and parked at the first bus stop.  The boys were very excited to sit outside in the cold and wait!  For two boys who love all sorts of transportation AND their Dad who is all about things that move, well, this was a "dream" come true HA! 
 Two of my very excited three "boys" :-)  I have never, ever seen Josh make that face and I have no idea where it came from . . .weird. LOL
My little buddy, Nate.  He is such a thinker and had all kinds of ideas about the bus, the stops and all the buildings we saw along the way. 

The bus dropped us off fairly close to the Children's Museum - the boys also loved being able to walk "downtown" - all things little boys dream off, for sure!  Our local library offers a free pass to the library once a year so we took advantage of that as well.  (I love free!)

 I told Darryl that, for the first time at this museum, I actually enjoyed myself.  Why?  Because the boys could just "go" and we just kept them in our sights.  Unlike when they were Toddlers were I need to stay right with them, this time around they got to explore.  Nate was like a ping pong ball; trying to keep him in my sights was a challenge :-)  He treated the museum like it was his home away from home and tried everything.  Josh hung out with Darryl and tended to stick with one thing for a long time before moving on to something new.

 The grocery store is always a huge hit at the museum.  Nate, wow, he emptied the shelves and then had to load it all in his "trunk".  Josh was more about the check out process especially considering who the Cashier was . .. ..
 The boys favorite cashier HA!  Darryl had fun too!

 The huge bubble maker is always a hit. 
 I loved seeing this little fireman all dressed up.  Josh ended up at this play area later but I was there to get photos!  I did hear that Josh ended up laying on the doctor's table while some other kid "listened" to his heart. 

 A big theme right now is "balance" so there were balance boards and a rock wall.  Both boys loved the wall and I can see them enjoying walls like this in the future. 

After several hours, we ended out to catch the bus and promised the boys we would return.  We are considering purchasing a year long pass so that we can go once a month and I would have the option to take the kids during the week too. 

Naturally, we had to get dinner ;-)  My kids love buffets because they can chose their own food.  Our timing was off a little so we ended up hitting prime dinner time and were starving - the last thing we wanted was to wait in line for 30 minutes (or more) for dinner so, we went to Old Country Buffet.  Now, Darryl and Josh loved it.  Nate liked it and I . .well, it was ok but I hate paying for foot I can make at home . . . AND have to serve myself HA!  I did enjoy one slice of Prime Rib -the second slice was still mooing so I didn't eat that AND of all things, the ice cream machine was out for repair!  Oh well :-)

We really had an awesome day and had some tired kids by Saturday night (and tired adults too!)