Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Just some Updates

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As is always the case, days are busy right now but I thought I would take a few minutes to update.

Last week I shared what we wanted to get done so that we could have some extra time off for Christmas.
We accomplished everything. 

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By Wednesday we had completed every single lesson, Josh had finished his Journals, and we had attended the last of the Live Lessons. 
It's a great feeling to get a break. 
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We also were able to enjoy a great field trip on Friday. (Pictures to come later)

Birthday Fun

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We've had some fun celebrating Nate this past week. 
I'll share some photos of our fun in the coming weeks but, today is his actual birthday!
The boys and I are doing a few things that are our traditions as we celebrate this very special 6 year old. 

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This year, I took a break from doing too much.  It's been nice to sit back and listen instead of always participating in everything.  
I let the boys  decorate the house and the trees this year and have "let it go" even though I have Christmas decorations in weird places and trees with lots of bare spots.  
The gifts are almost all wrapped. 
I haven't done any baking as of yet but do plan to do a little on Wednesday . .. very little.  

So, in the coming weeks, I have lots of photos to share and events to write about.  
I might start trying out some new recipes again ;-) 
It's time to write about Theme Words and Goals. 
And I'm ready to work on becoming more of a minimalist - or at least figure out how to live with less stuff and more joy!

Christmas Break

First of all,  I must wish Nathan a very happy 6th birthday!!!  It's hard to believe this special little boy is 6 already . . .he's been saying he is 6 for weeks HA!  I'll share more about his birthday a little later! 

Last week I posted my Plan:

Here's my plan:
Monday - We will do all Math lessons for both boys and all Social Studies lessons.  Josh also has journals to finish so we will write 3 journal entries.  - Done and then some.  We actually finished almost all of Nate's lessons today
Tuesday - The boys have dentist appointments in the morning and the munchkin has a half day so we will be wrapping up some Christmas art projects on Tuesday.  - The Munchkin was sick so it was just Josh and Nate.  We went to the dentist and were also able to go to the Library like normal since we didn't have to be back for the bus.
Wednesday - We will do all Language arts lessons. All the Live Lessons were cancelled today so we had extra time and were able to get all of the lessons done today!  WHOO WHOO!  Josh finished the last of his journals and we did a happy dance.  Two and a half weeks for Christmas break is my kind of break!
Thursday - We will do all Science lessons and finish up any random assignments that didn't get done earlier in the week.  Today we get to enjoy break.  We are celebrating Nate's birthday with the Munchkin and Princess so Nate and I will bake a cake and get it decorated, I have gifts to wrap, and stuff to get ready for our field trip tomorrow (Making sure we have coats, hats, mittens etc.)
We are at the end of most units so we can just review and finish up tests.  

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So, with that said, we are planing to enjoy the next two weeks off. 
The boys love saying, "I don't have to do school until 2016!" 
Personally, I have some planning to do so we are ready to get back into our regular school routine in January, get the boys learning more sight words (I've let this lag a little over the last 6 weeks) and plan how to get some more fun stuff in place too.  

So, Merry Christmas!! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Weekly Menu - It's Christmas

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And just like that, it's Christmas. 

I feel like it was just yesterday I was thinking about Christmas 2014 and here it is 2015.  We have a fun week ahead of us as we head into some fabulous family time with my family.  I'm excited to see my brother Ken and his family and I know the boys are thrilled to see their cousins.  

So, here's the plan for the coming week. 

Saturday - Today we are celebrating Nate.  His birthday is this coming week and, unlike past years where his "day" got pushed into January due to busy schedules and/or illness I made his birthday a priority this year and put it first.  So, we are doing his choice of things today which includes lunch at McDonald's and dinner at Red Robin.  

Sunday - Pork Roast, Sweet Potatoes, Mac and Cheese, and Applesauce. 

Monday - Spaghetti and Garlic Bread  

Tuesday - Today is a super cute little boys 6th birthday so we are eating what he wants.  Mac and Cheese.  HA!  He told me that I could fix other stuff as long as he has lots of Mac and Cheese.   I'm thinking I'll just cook up some good pork chops and green beans.  Then we'll have Nate's store bought cake for dessert. 

Wednesday - Homemade Pizza . . if we are home :-) 

Thursday and Friday - Christmas and Christmas Eve - We'll be with family so meals are planned by someone else :-) 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

School - It's Christmas Break . .almost

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We are pushing hard this week. 
Technically our last day of school is December 22nd. 
We want to be done December 17th.
We are going on a field trip on the 18th so we won't be doing school.
We just don't want to do school on the 21st. 
Nate's birthday is the 22nd and we don't do school on birthdays. 

we are pushing hard this week and will get all of our lessons done. 
Here's my plan:
Monday - We will do all Math lessons for both boys and all Social Studies lessons.  Josh also has journals to finish so we will write 3 journal entries. 
Tuesday - The boys have dentist appointments in the morning and the munchkin has a half day so we will be wrapping up some Christmas art projects on Tuesday.  
Wednesday - We will do all Language arts lessons. 
Thursday - We will do all Science lessons and finish up any random assignments that didn't get done earlier in the week.  
We are at the end of most units so we can just review and finish up tests.  

I'm ready for a break as much as the boys.  I'll be honest, I've kinda shut down and need to refocus over the break so we can get on top of things like site words and reading - Josh needs to do more independent reading and we want to start reading chapter books to the boys. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Enjoying Christmas with the Guilt

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I made a very specific mental decision a few months ago that I was not going to overload myself or the family with Christmas stress.  We have certain things that we absolutely want to do as a family but beyond that, I wasn't adding anything extra.  One reason behind this was the simple fact that the last three years either the boys or I have been extremely sick.  Shoot, of those three years, there are two Christmas weeks that I don't even remember.  I didn't volunteer to sing in anything extra or sign up to do extra things for the holidays.  But, desipte all of that, I find myself thinking often that I'm not doing enough.  This is the first year, due to the online schooling program, that I have not based our December curriculum on Advent activities, Crafts, Christmas Books and holiday movies and I do miss that a lot.  (The boys have said they miss it too).  As I was starting to fall into that feeling of "I'm failing" I came across a  blog article that spoke to my heart so I thought I would share it.  I was reminded that what I'm doing right now is really ok.  The Lego Countdown boxes, the Grinch Countdown calendar, the simple crafts that are also gifts, letting the boys do all of the Christmas decorating and buying our Christmas cookies this year is all ok because it is allowing us to enjoy family. 

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Check out this great reminder at Simply Homeschool entitled This Christmas its ok . . .. .

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Weekly Menu

After an extremely busy week, I think things will start to slow down after this coming weekend.  Which is nice.  I'm ready for that - more family focus and less running around!  I must also say that we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather . This weekend is supposed to be in the 60's and rainy.  I'm about ready to pull the grill out and start grilling again HA!

Saturday - We are going to my Father-in-laws today and will be helping him set up his tree and decorate it.  Plus, we'll be having Christmas dinner! My husbands sister and her family are coming too.  I'm making Ham, a turkey breast, Cheesy Potatoes, Stuffing, Gravy, green beans, Rolls, Cranberry sauce and a pickle/olive tray.  Plus a pumpkin pie for dessert.   It should be good!

Sunday - Today is my last concert of the season.  Meatball Soup (made on Saturday so it is ready to eat!) and rolls.  For dinner, just some quasidillas :-)

Monday - The plan tonight is to take the 2nd boy shopping tonight after dinner so we'll keep it simple with breakfast again.  Amish Breakfast Casserole, Applesauce, and roasted veggies.

Tuesday - Steaks, potatoes, Mac and Cheese and garlic rolls

Wednesday - Tacos :-)

Thursday - My mom brought me a roast (yum!) So, roast, carrots, and noodles.  So yummy!

Friday - We have a field trip today so I'm going to make dinner on Thursday to have on Friday - Sloppy Joes, Baked beans and mac and Cheese.   

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weekly Menu

Here comes our busy month!  I'm trying to keep meal planning super simple this month both to save money (since December always has extra things to spend money on) and to save my time - more time to do other stuff than to cook!

Saturday - Today we are getting our tree, decorating it and going to see the live nativity at another local church.  Plus the boys have Christmas program practice and a pizza party in the morning.  A busy day. We will be driving right by our favorite Mexican place so I think we'll be stopping in for some good Mexican food before heading home to decorate! 

Sunday - Another busy day with needing to be at church early for the boys to practice for special music with the Christmas Program kids, then grandparents coming over and the program at night.  Lunch - Sandwiches and Soup - Grilled cheese, lunch meat, or Peanut butter - everyone gets to choose.  Then, I'll have sloppy joes in the crock pot for everyone to eat before the program.

Monday - Tonight is my last Choir practice of the season.  I need to get their early to grab my favorite spot on the risers (top row, far corner so I'm not surrounded on all sides by . .. people! uuugg! ;-) )  Breakfast it is!  Pancakes, Eggs, Hashbrowns, and Sausage.  Easy, peasy and simple clean up for the boys in the house.

Tuesday - Can you say busy?  Tonight we are heading to see Santa.  The next town over from us has a Michigan Santa House where Mr. and Mrs. Claus are available for pictures and it is all free.  It's awesome.  Dinner needs to be quick and easy again so we can eat and go get in line :-)  (The line isn't usually long so it is ok!) Tacos :-)  I can prep everything earlier in the day so it's ready to eat as soon as Darryl gets home.

Wednesday - Auuuggg!  Tonight is AWANA.  Spaghetti.  Garlic Bread.  Salad.  That's all.

Thursday - Part of my planning includes talking the boys to complete their Christmas shopping earlier this year.  So, since tonight is free - one of the boys and I will be going shopping after dinner.  So, dinner.  Broccoli Cheese Soup, Ham Sammies, and fruit.

Friday - I know it is hard to believe but we have nothing tonight.  I will be doing some food prep for going to my Father in Laws on Saturday (we are having Christmas dinner with him) So, dinner.  Honestly, since I have to do food prep today . . .someone else will cook. Either Darryl will bring something home or we will grab something.  Pizza Hut is not our favorite but the boys have Book-It coupons for free pizza so maybe we will go there . ..who knows :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2015


It's December.  I love this time of year, I really do.  It's such a time of reflection and joy.  There really is one true reason for all of that and that is the reminder of Jesus' birth and what that means to me as a Christian.  I'm so thankful that I can trust in my savoir through everything!

As the end of the year approaches, it' time to lay down those final goals and plans and also plan for next year. 

Goals for December:
1) Send out our annual Christmas letter.  This is a tradition that I love - both sending and receiving.
2) Finish all Christmas Shopping by December 15th :-) 
3) Stay healthy :-)  I know that this is mostly out of my control but the last three years the boys and I have gotten extremely sick about mid-December and, two of those three years, I don't even remember Christmas because I was so ill.  This year, we want to stay healthy!
4) Wrap all Gifts by December 16th.  Actually, I want everything that is currently purchased wrapped by this weekend; everything else will get wrapped as it comes in.  It's easy to keep gifts hidden in a small house if they are wrapped!
5) Celebrate Nate's birthday in style :-)  The plans are already in place so all is good.
6) Enjoy our annual traditions of Christmas tree decorating, seeing Christmas lights, and more.  We are also helping my Father-in-law decorate this year as a new tradition. 
7) Put into writing my 2016 Theme word/goals.
8) Lay out a plan to get current in my scrapbooking in 2016. 

As you can see, most of the things on the list relate to the holidays.  Really, in December, I like to just focus on the season.  We have crafts to make, gifts to make, activities to do, and school to still get done too.  So lets make memories!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Make it Monday - November Goals

I don't think I posted anything about my November goals (and if I did, I don't remember!) but, a friend of mine set up a group on Facebook called "Nine in November".  We were supposed to pick nine goals we wanted to accomplish in November, post a photo of those goals hanging up somewhere (in our home, at work), and then update the group throughout the month.  I thought I would share those here with the final update.

Here's my nine:
1. Attack and corral the Lego Monster that has grown in the boys room. The boys will be gone at grandparents homes for about 5 days total this month so I will be able to attack it without any "help" DONE! I spent about 5 hours working on this which included moving a bookcase and doing rearranging in multiple rooms to make homes for their Legos.  I let go of my perfectionism in trying to sort and organize and instead just used how they played with them to sort them.  
2. Take down the Halloween outside decor (done) and put up the Christmas decor (don't worry, I won't turn the lights on until after Thanksgiving HA!) The Halloween decor was down the week after Halloween AND put away.  My original plan was to put up the Christmas decor early, while it was still warm, but I just didn't feel like it.  So, it's waiting a few more days because the boys want to help decorate and they are visiting Papa and Nana as I write this.  The decor WILL be up by the end of the week though!

3. Get the camper cleaned out and moved to its winter location (just to the other driveway DONE. 

4. Work in the basement including selling/getting rid of a train table, two toy boxes and a kids desk and finishing up an organization project that I started this summer. This project.  For real.  I hate dislike my basement.  Uuuggg!!!!  It makes me insane because no matter what we do it is never ever organized for more than a week.  A big part of it is that it isn't a "pretty" basement - just an old damp place.  I have goals though, I really do, they just always take a back seat to things that are more fun HA!  
5. Clean off and re-set up my scrapbook area/desk (Done). Make a list of projects to do and start working on them weekly (daily . . but that won't happen!) So, at the beginning of the month I clean my desk.  Now it is the end of the month and it is a pit once again.  Like the basement, my desk is a drop zone.  Everything lands on it and it just piles.  So, I plan on cleaning it off . . again. . .today (for real).  Once it is cleaned off, I need to get back to the photos. 
6. Write and stick to our November budget like glue so that December will be less stressful (hopefully) -DONE  I wrote it and we stuck to it the best we could.  I track most of our spending so I'm happy with that.  Decembers budget will be written by tonight and the same goal starts over for December. 
7. Finish outside work - putting away kid toys, my swing, ect and get they yard ready for snow! DONE. 

8. Have the boys try on their snow gear and replace whatever is needed. DONE. 

9. Do the closet/clothes switch for my husband and I - move winter clothes upstairs and summer clothes downstairs.DONE

I feel pretty good about what I accomplished  Now, I also wrote another list of goals as well - extra ones.  Ironically, I didn't really get much done on that list.  I might make those more of my December goals ;-)  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Family Fun - A Snow Storm

On Saturday, the 21st, we got our first snow storm of the season.  I had plans on Saturday that had to be cancelled but it ended up being a wonderful family day instead.

We hung out at home, the boys played outside in the snow, and we watched football.  Plus, we introduced something new to the boys.  Almost two years ago, someone gave us a Wii.  After checking it out while the boys were gone one weekend, we decided that they were not old enough to handle the Wii yet plus they were content with the Game Cube.  Well, Darryl pulled it out on Saturday and got it set up and now, we have two boys who are loving it!  Bowling, Golf, Baseball and more.  Shoot, we only introduced them to one game HA! 

I didn't take many photos but here are two photos of the snow - it really was beautiful!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Weekly Menu - The one wehre I don't cook a whole lot

Welcome back from your food induced coma brought to you by Thanksgiving.  Now we enter the season of food Christmas.  Our weekends get busy and our schedule gets full but I really love this time of year.  The busyness of this time of year makes being snowed in during January and February enjoyable :-)

Saturday - Darryl and I get a date day :-)  The kids are at Papa and Nana's - the yearly tradition - and we are going to do a few things we've been wanting to do.  There is a brand new Trader Joes in Grand Rapids so we want to go see what all of the fuss is about.  We usually like to head to a fun coffee shop and get coffee and a treat not to mention getting to eat out somewhere that doesn't specialize in chicken nuggets HA!

Sunday - Darryl's working. I'm sure we'll grab something :-)

Monday - We'll do the same thing we did a few weeks ago - off to Applebee's to enjoy cheap burgers that are really good!

Tuesday - Darryl's bringing home dinner

Wednesday - The kids are back so it is back to cooking HA! I have a recipe for Stromboli that I'm going to try tonight.  I love pizza . . .a lot. 

Thursday - Pork Chops, Mac and Cheese, Veggies, and Applesauce.

Friday - Tacos :-)  We are planning to attend a Nativity at a local church tonight so we'll eat and head out.  I love starting the Christmas Season focusing on the TRUE reason we celebrate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What We're Eating - Crock Pot Acorn Squash

So, this is not a difficult recipe . . .I didn't even take a photo because, well, I was hungry :-)

We enjoy Acorn Squash.  I know that not everyone does but, we'll, we do.  For the past 15 years, I've made Acorn Squash in the microwave.  It's easy and they are always cooked perfectly.  Thank you Betty Crocker :-) 

Now, over the past 6 months I've worked to make my crock pot an often used appliance so that there is a reason it sits on my counter.  I've succeeded by using it 2-3 times a week for something.  I came across a simple recipe for Acorn Squash and tried it just last night. 

Take one Acorn Squash and cut it in half; remove the seeds.  If desired, slice a small piece off of the bottom of each half so that it sits nicely in the crock. 

Put 1 tablespoon of butter in each half and sprinkle with brown sugar, if desired.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7.  They will be soft and buttery when done!  Yum!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Teaching Tuesday - A Break

As I'm writing this, it is Thanksgiving week.  The boys ended last week with two full days of school to make up for their time at Grandpa and Grandma's.  This week, I decided to do things slightly differently so we can be done with school ASAP and get as many days off for Thanksgiving break as possible.  Yesterday, Josh and I spent a few hours moving quickly through his lessons.  We had a story to write, math lessons to do, Science, Social Studies, reading - including recording two stories that Josh had to read.  WHEW  But, he finished and is done until the middle of next week.

Nate's day is today.  He only has a handful of lessons to do plus a painting project for Art. 

Then, it's time to enjoy the holiday and some time at Papa and Nana's :-)