Saturday, January 31, 2015

Family Fun - New Years

Here it is almost February and I'm just getting the New Years photos :-) 

This year, we had made plans to go to a friends house for New Years Eve.  It's the first time in years we've made plans on New Years Eve and . . . we were still too sick to go :-( We were very disappointed but had a great time at home just being together.

As per our tradition, we had soup and rolls for dinner!  This year I made Egg Drop Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup.  (The Egg Drop was the biggest hit by far!)  

 Yes, this is how we spent a good amount of the evening - playing on Ipads :-)  What can I say, we love playing games! 
 And, we built lots and lots of legos :-)  Lego's are a huge hit in this house :-)
 Later in the evening, we had a party.  We ate snacks, put on party hats, blew noise makers, and set off confetti shooters.  Not to mention that we did a mock countdown with the boys too.
 I found these awesome glow stick glasses and the boys loved them.  (Joshua)
 Hahaha - this photo was too funny not to post. 

 The confetti shooters were a HUGE hit.  We only had four.  .. the boys could have handled a good 10 more HA! 

Yes, the boys got to stay up a little later - until about 9:30.  Once they went to bed, Darryl and I had a few more snacks and watched the New Years stuff on TV. 

On New Years Day - we just hung out at home.  We watched the parade and some football and, of course, built more Legos!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekly Menu - It's Superbowl Time!

It's one of our favorite times - it is time for the Superbowl!  As you probably know, we love football so this game on Sunday is the culmination and the end of another year of football.  We love watching the game, the commercials and eating good food!  I work to keep the rest of the weekly menu simple so we can splurge a little on some fun snack food.

Saturday - Darryl will be working today so he will probably bring something home.  :-)

Sunday - We'll have a normal Sunday dinner - I decided on Sloppy Joes and Chips  because it goes well with the Superbowl and we all love it.  Darryl has requested Egg Rolls and Chili Cheese Dip.  We have some really good cheese in the fridge from the Cheese Factory so I will add that with some crackers and good salami.  I also have a package of Little Smokies in the freezer so I will make "pigs in a blanket" with those since we all love those little treats.  Finally, I like to throw in some veggies and fruit so I'll have veggies and dip (which I use for my lunch all week too) and some fruit and dip - I think this time of year I'll go with Apples and dip. 

Monday - Chicken (ok Turkey) and Dumplings - it's the last of the cooked turkey that I have in the freezer.  The boys are not fans of this so I'll do something simple like chicken and fries or spaghetti for them.

Tuesday -Chicken Noodle Soup and Rolls

Wednesday - Nate's been asking for Pancakes so tonight we'll have pancakes and Sausage links. 

Thursday - I figured that since the Turkey in the freezer is now gone, I should cook another one so I can stock the freezer again :-)  So, I'll cook a turkey, a green bean casserole and mashed potatoes w/gravy along with some biscuits. 

Friday - Tacos! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recap of January 2015

I realize that there are still a few days left in the month but I wanted to post about what I accomplished in January (or, maybe more accurately, what I did NOT accomplish HA!  )  If you would like to read the full hashed out version of the January goals, you can click HERE otherwise just read on to discover the full excitement (total sarcasm!) of my January.

First up I ended up with some unexpected free days.  One of those was the day that I did not babysit and I took the boys out for the day, which was so much fun, allowed me to accomplish a few tasks (return something and get new pillows - both items on my not written down to do list!) and gave me time with just the boys.  The other three days were day without kids - Sunday-Tuesday.  Sunday, Darryl and I had a great date day.  We enjoyed good food, had set aside a tiny amount of money to each be able to pick up a couple of shirts on clearance, and just be able to enjoy a day out.  Monday, we hung around home . .. it was quiet and we just got to sit around and do not much of anything!  Then Tuesday, it was just me at home - a rare occurance which I loved.  I still had to do a little grocery shopping and some general pick up but, for the most part, I just used the day to do some serious planning for the next few months including making sure that I had dates written in on my calender for things like scrapbooking and church events and concerts for both Darryl and I.  (I even found one double booking - oops).  Free days to me - especially unexpected free days - are always just a wonderful thing.  A much needed break from being needed all of the time :-)

Next up, January goal recap.

1) The basement.  I had great plans to get the basement done.  Seriously.  Especially on those free days but, no, I didn't touch it on those days!  In my head I know that once I get started, the basic clean up won't take more than an hour (not the deep down declutting/re-organizing - that will take longer) but actually doing it - not on my list of fun things HA!  I did find the floor tiles I want to use on the play room side and even picked up a pack to make sure they would really work and I picked up a simple shelving unit since it was on a great sale at Menards (you can't beat $15.00)  I actually really do plan to work on it this coming Saturday which is technically still January.  I'd like to get the good will stuff out of play room and make the room usable for the boys again since they have been asking to play down there.  So, the basement will still be on the list in February  . . .and really, the complete organization/clean out will probable take several months :-)

2) I feel like a did a lot in the kitchen yet when I read through my actual goal list - I didn't mark much off.  I did some reorganizing in the cupboards but not every one; I did some deep cleaning but yet the windows still need to be clean; I know what I want to hang on the wall in the stairwell but I haven't really looked at getting it done.  Same with the dining room . . .it's clean and organized but then I looked up and saw dust bunnies on the fan HA!  Oh well, what doesn't get done this month will get tackled the next time I deep clean those rooms in a couple of months.

3) School - I made a master list of various curriculum ideas for 1st grade for Josh and even some different ideas for Nate for K-5 next year.  I'm already working through the ideas and picking out what I feel will be best for the boys.  I'm fully planning on attending the INCH homeschool conference in May that is local to me and want to be able to actually see some of that curriculum and, who knows, be able to buy some at a good price too.  Looking at curriculum gets me all excited about what is to come in the next year . . .yet I still have half a year to still get through - yep, it is the nerdy teacher in me!!  Another area I was supposed to conquer was the paper clutter involved with homeschool!  I have an idea to work with but I have yet to empty the drawer and clean stuff out!  As far as planning stuff for January - our Fridays were already busy so I didn't plan anything extra.  I'm ok with that too.

4) Daily Routines - I used January to get an idea of what I do daily and what I should do daily.  My morning routine is pretty simple - get up, have my devotions, breakfast, get laundry going; The afternoon routine - clean up after lunch, prep for dinner, and do the swish and swipe in the bathroom (I discovered the bathroom is the messiest right after lunch - everyone has brushed teeth, washed hands and all that fun stuff so the bathroom needs a quick wipe down).  Daily Routines are things like specific laundry tasks each day (I do laundry every day M-F but I need to do double loads on Monday to make up for the weekend, wash rugs on Tuesday, Sheets on Wednesday, quilts/bedding on Thursday, and towels on Friday.), changing sheets, emptying all of the trash cans, cleaning out the fridge, ect.

5) Family - Can I just say that I love my little family?  Cause, well, I do. We did some fun things this month - like going to Catch Air.  We also had a friend over one day, made a trip to the ER (ok, that was just excitement more than fun!)  built train circles and learned to read.  Not to mention a trip to Papa and Nana's house for sledding and a trip to the Children's Museum and even getting to spend a birthday with their favorite person in the whole world. Kate.  When I looked at my list of goals for January . . .wow, the only thing we kinda did was play games.  Several afternoons, the boys pulled out games and we played.  I like that they are getting old enough to understand the rules and even, sometimes, play by the REAL rules.  :-)  Oh, and I also crossed off a very old, outdated item off of my to do list . . .I finally opened Nate's savings account.  I actually remembered to take all of the paperwork with me to the bank one day and opened it up.  I have a goal this year to add a little bit each month to each of their savings account.  Honestly, these accounts are their college fund accounts.  My goal is to have enough in them to help cover the first year of college for each of them. .. .nope, not aiming high at all ;-) 

6) Holidays - I thought about the things on the list but did nothing :-)

7) Misc - 1. Quiet Time/Prayer Time - I've enjoyed a great month in the word - I've done my Bible Study most days (yep, I missed a few and that is ok), started a prayer journal and already have recorded some answers to those specific prayer requests.  Scripture memory is still my weakness.  I put the verses on the wall but forget to look at them ;-)
2) Finances - I did write January's budget and stuck to it pretty closely; Our taxes are almost done - just waiting for a couple of papers to arrive in the mail so I can finish them up.
3) Music - I have practice piano more this month than I have in a very long time.  I have to play offetory this coming Sunday so I need to focus on one song :-)  I also have to sing in a couple of weeks - we had planned for Darryl to play for me but then realized he has a concert that same morning so I had to switch songs. 
 4) Scrapbooking - I did nothing.  I was supposed to go scrapbooking for an entire day BUT it can rescheduled due to some nasty weather and I couldn't go on the next date. 
5) Misc - Specifically I have four "private" goals.  I can tell you that 2 of the four I am on perfect track with but the other two, well February is a new month :-) 

So that is January :-)  Next week I'll post my February goals . . .I know, you can't wait, can you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teaching Tuesdays - Week 19

We had a really fun week during our 19th week of school last week.  I will say that for the first time since school started, one of my kids "fought" with me every day about doing school but we got through each day and accomplished our tasks.  It wasn't always pretty and a few days I told him he was on his own since he was not listening to me but ultimately he learned what he needed to learn and did all of his work.  The boys are currently at my parents and I was informed on Friday that this particular child did NOT want to take any school work with him to Papa and Nana's, unlike last time.  This was fine since I hadn't planned to send work anyway :-) 

On Monday of last week, I did not have the munchkin and princess as they were out of town so I decided that it was high time that we had a field trip.  The boys and I headed to town to have some fun.  We started by going to Kohl's to returned those ill fitting slippers they got for Christmas and pick up some new pillows plus the boys each picked out a $5.00 stuffed animal :-)  They had a blast each pushing their cart through the store.  Then, we went out to lunch at Red Robin before heading to Catch Air! 

 Josh - very hot and tired!  He had been running around forever!
The boys one the big blow up teeter toter.  The boys played for almost three hours while I enjoyed my Kindle and watching them :-)  I finally convinced them to leave so that we could go to the mall for a bit since I promised they could play on the giant plastic food (and I wanted to go to Bath and Body Works to take advantage of a really good deal on hand soap AND get a coffee!)  So, we ended our day with a good 45 minutes playing on the food - they made a new friend, which they normally do anytime they play anywhere.  I think our first Field Trip was a huge success and I look forward to taking more in the future.

 This is how we roll in the winter on cold days - nice warm (slightly too small) flannel PJ's HA!  They love sitting together on the couch watching Sponge Bob and playing Hay Day.
 School is still fun, though.  Nate is working on a cutting book - lots of cutting and gluing practice which is very important in preschool! 
Josh is working on writing out sentences.  This, quite honestly, is not his thing and what we battled about several times.  He was very glad to get these pages done and move on to another skill.

 On Thursday, Darryl was home so he ended up helping Josh more (which is what Josh wanted - Josh and I were not seeing eye to eye on this date either!). I love that Josh can read all of these words on the page though and that he has no problem sounding out new words.  :-) 
Nate worked on figuring out what number was bigger and than using a cut out of Alligators to point to the biggest number.  He had fun with this activity which I love seeing since at the beginning of the year, he cried so many days because of the work (I'm so glad we went "back" to preschool with him; best decision ever!)

This is such a great photo HA!  Love those faces :-)  On Friday we took another "field trip".  I took all four kids and we went to get haircuts for Josh and Nate.  They were in desperate need of one!  They were supposed to get haircuts just before Christmas but due to the awful sickness, we had to post pone.  I finally got them in this past Friday and they look like new kids!  Then, after the haircuts, we went to get the oil changed on the truck which was a whole new learning experience :-)  Lots  and and Lots of questions!

All in all we had a really great week even with the little battles along the way - that's just part of school, right?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Family Fun - Christmas

So, our Christmas morning started late.  With sick kids and a later night than planned plus I was up most of the night unable to stop coughing, we all ended up by the tree, ready for stockings at about 9:30.  We did not even do our traditional Christmas breakfast - just started stockings. 

 Santa left a very nice note for the boys.  It was funny because I left Santa left little nibbles from his cookies and the carrots so for the next week or so, Nate would always bring me the last corner of his Pop Tart and tell me he was just like Santa HA!
 Stockings!  I always end up buying more than what will fit.  I even cut back this year!

 The boys :-)  Still not feeling good at all but trying so hard to have a fun Christmas!
 Nate - we laughed at this photo because 5 years ago, we brought him home on Christmas Eve and, on Christmas Eve, we took photos of him inside this stocking . . .now only his foot fits!
 Joshua trying on his stocking too :-)

 Nate's gifts - lots and lots of Legos!
Josh's gifts - even more legos :-)

We really did have a great Christmas Day.  Darryl and I were surprised with some gifts - my mom always gets us Bath and Body works (she is so good at shopping the yearly clearance sales!).  My dad got us each our favorite coffee pods for the Kurieg.  Not to mention some of my favorite candles too! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekly Menu - The one without Kids

So, we have no kids this coming week (well for most of it) so you know what that means?  NO COOKING!!  Yes!  We aren't even having Tacos tonight because, when I made the menu last week, I forgot the boys and I were leaving for my parents house on Friday!  Instead we grabbed dinner on the go and Darryl grabbed something to eat at home.  (He has to work tomorrow so he stayed home)

Here's my wonderful cooking plan for the coming week:

Saturday - I'll be returning from my parents so we'll eat once I get home.  Depending on the time, Darryl will pick up Popeye's Chicken or we'll grab Taco Bell.

Sunday - After Church, Darryl and I are going to have a date day.  We are going to enjoy brunch at Anna's House, a great breakfast place we enjoyed with my niece-in-law this summer for the first time.  Then we plan to do everything from test out mattresses, to look at Bunk Beds, to even maybe checking out the end of the season deals on some clothes.  We may have to hit Grand Traverse Pie Company for sandwiches and pie before heading home :-)

Monday - I've done something I have never done for no reason before - I took the day off.  Yes I did.  I asked my friend that I babysit for if she would mind if I took a selfish day off since my kids would be gone.  It worked with their schedule so, yeah!  I plan on doing stuff at the house but then plan to meet Darryl for dinner somewhere once he is done with work.

Tuesday - This is the last "no kid" night.   Darryl and I are going to drive over to the next town and eat at a great Mexican Restaurant we found recently. 

Wednesday - Ok, back to reality!  The boys come home today so it is back to cooking.  Ok, not really.  It's Wednesday, Darryl may or may not have practice tonight and we have AWANA so I keep it simple.  Right now I'm thinking Waffles, Sausage and Fruit.

Thursday - Last week I cooked a whole pork tenderloin so I'm going to use the leftovers tonight for Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches.  I'll make some baked beans and Mac and Cheese to go with it too.

Friday - Yep, it's taco night!  This is such a great tradition.  I don't mind cooking it because it is so easy to prep which keeps us from eating out on Friday nights (since I'm tired from the week by the time dinner time comes around!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fifteen Years

As the year turned to 2015, one of my friends on facebook pointed out that there are as many years to 2030 as there have been from the year 2000.  Now, that is a simple statement but it stuck with me as I realized that the next 15 years will bring so many changes.  It's kind of overwhelming really.  I mean, 15 years ago, I wasn't married - we were just starting to date - but not married yet.  When I think back to that year, 2000, I thought about all of the great things to come and how fun and exciting life would be.  But now, when I look ahead at the next 15 years, reality is a little more difficult. 

1) In 15 years, my kids will be 20 and 21 years old.  They will either be working or in college and most likely will be spending more time away than at home.  

2) In 15 years, most of my siblings and their spouses and my husband will be in the 60's.  

3) Over the course of the next 15 years, it is most likely that I will lose all of my aunts and uncles and Darryl and I realize that we could face some other difficult loses as well.  I'd like to believe that people live forever but the don't and that is a hard reality to face, isn't it? 

4) In 15 years, I will be at the tail end of the 50's - what is up with that?  I still feel like I'm in my 20's . . .ok I don't FEEL like it but in my head I still am HA! 

When you start to look at how life marches on, it would be easy to get beat up and discouraged but, ultimately, I am so thankful for life in Jesus Christ because I know that whatever comes our way, God is in control.

I can rest in the fact that God is in control. Which means I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control. Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What We Are Eating - Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup
adapted from I wash You Dry

We love Chinese food - love it.  So I've set out on a mission to find some really good recipes for some of the things we love and one of those is Egg Drop Soup.  I used to think that Egg Drop Soup had raw egg in it but it doesn't, you stream egg into the soup while constantly stirring it and the heat of the broth cooks the egg.  Now, my streaming process is not perfected and I do end up with huge chucks of egg white that I fish out before serving it :-)  I also add stuff to our soup like our favorite resturant does - especially baby shrimp :-)  Also, the fried wonton strips?  So totally worth the extra effort to make - I didn't make enough of them!

  • 4 cups + 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 green onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup blend of frozen corn, peas and carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Garnish (optional):
  • 5 wonton wrappers, stacked and cut into 1/2 inch strips + oil for frying
  • diced green onions
  1. Combine 4 cups of broth, ginger, garlic, salt and green onion pieces in a pot and bring to a boil for a few minutes to flavor the broth. Remove the green onions with a slotted spoon and discard.
  2. Add the frozen corn, peas and carrots; return to a boil.
  3. In a separate small bowl combine the remaining 1/2 cup broth with the corn starch and stir till no more clumps. Slowly dissolve into the soup. Let cook for a few minutes until it starts to thicken.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a measuring cup then slowly stream them into the soup while slowly stirring the soup in a clockwise rotation. Season with black pepper.
  5. For the wonton strips:
  6. Heat a small amount of oil (about 1 inch deep in a small pot) to medium high. Once hot add a few wonton strips and fry until golden brown, about 30-45 seconds. Remove from oil with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  7. Serve the soup with wonton strips and diced green onions. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Teaching Tuesdays - We are back in session

I don't have any great photos to share this week or any links to pages - I know, I know I'm a slacker but I can tell you what we did.

1) The most important thing of the week is  that Josh learned to read.  After spending the first half of the year focused on letter sounds, vowels sounds and blending all kinds of sounds, we pulled out the first book in our curriculum and Josh read the whole first story.  We then talked about plural words and how you add an "s" to show more than one (Hat vs. Hats).  His smile was HUGE.  Now, Nate keeps bringing him books and asking him to read to him.  Josh just shakes his head and and says, "Not yet Nate, I can't read ALL those words" HA!

2) On Monday, we did school at the grocery store.  Timing didn't allow me to get to the store for full shopping until Monday.  I decided to take the boys and the princess after the munchkin got on the bus.  We started out in the store doing all kinds of school stuff - Counting Fish, using the fish tanks to make math problems, finding letters/numbers on things (Such as, find a V and an 8 on a juice bottle or look for juice thiat says it is 100% !  Well, that lasted through about 5 aisles and then I said, we are done, I need to finish shopping and get out of here :-) 

3)  We did School in the morning on Wednesday.  Darryl was home and I knew the boys wanted him to play in the afternoon so we got all of our work done before lunch.  Then, after lunch, the best thing ever happened.  For the first time in almost 14 months, Darryl was able to get on the floor with the boys and build train circles (Play with their wooden track).  Yes, there were THREE happy boys (one big one and two little ones) as they worked together to build the perfect track. 

So yes, our homeschool start up after Christmas was a full success.  Now we will cruise through to the end of the year that will end sometime early May!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Make It Monday - A Bible Study Idea

I've been focusing more lately on my Quiet Time with God.  So when I came across this Bible Study idea that revolves around the concept of what I can give that blessed Babe in the manger, I really loved it.  I also love it because it's a great focus study for after Christmas because, lets face it, before Christmas life is busy - I'm more focused on teaching my Kids about the true meaning of Christmas than taking time for my own study.  I found the idea over at Brightlystreet and it is so simple to put together. 

You are able to print out everything you need from the above mentioned sight for free.  I had this little bucket on my desk so I taped the tag on the front, cut about the Character Traits, folded them and placed them in the bucket.  Now, I can pull one out, do some research and find a story about Jesus that teaches that trait, read it, and write about it in my journal. 

Now, to keep it real.  This is sitting on my end table ready to be used but I haven't pulled one out yet.  I started my accountability group Bible Study this past week and have found that I don't have the extra time for this study as well.  I'm thinking that I might try to do one of these each weekend instead. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Things My Kids Say

* The boys were playing "Rock Band" this past week.  Josh was beating away on their homemade drums (chairs, tables, kitchen utensils ect) while Nate and the munchkin sat nearby watching.  The munchkin made a comment about them being Rock Stars to which Nate replied, "No, Josh is the Star, we are just the Rocks.  Some day we'll be good enough to be the stars."

*Driving to AWANA last week the boys could see stars as the clouds were finally parting in the sky.  Josh told Nate to wish on the stars and tell him what he wished for.  Nate replied that he wished we lived right next door to Papa and Nana's so they could go there anytime they wanted.  He said that we would live in the house that connects to their fence and Papa could put a gate in so they could go through the gate.  Then Josh added that if no one else wanted to go to Nana's house, that would be ok, since he could go through the gate, he could walk there all by himself anytime he wanted.  I think it is safe to say that the boys love their Papa and Nana very much.

* Nate likes to ask me, "Mom, do you know what I'm thinking?"  I will say, "What"? and he'll reply, "I'm thinking about YOU because I love you so much!"

*Nate had on a shirt recently that had a pocket.  He found a pen, put it in that pocket and said.  "This is what Papa Does.  Now I'm a man with a pen in my pocket"  Seriously?  LOL

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Family Fun - Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was a little crazy.  When we went to bed the night before we were still up in the air about going to my parents house due to fevers and sickness.  When the boys got up Christmas Eve, everyone seemed to be ok . . .so I made a decision that we go.  The boys were excited about going, I was excited about going so, I put it in overdrive.  I had food to make, bags to pack, the truck to pack, the dog to load up not to mention we still had to stop at the store and pick up the gifts we had planned to shop for on Monday but couldn't due to illness and pick up a few other things.  My goal was to leave the house by about 12:30 and we got out pretty close to that time and spent a good hour in the store.  By the time we were in checkout Nate was in tears due to saying his ears hurt and Josh was feeling very warm but, at this point we were "all in" so we hit the road.  Both boys were sound asleep by the time we hit the expressway which gave me a very quiet, relaxing ride which was very nice :-)  When we arrived at my parents, both boys walked in the house and curled up in chairs - so unlike them.  Nate fell asleep on the couch and didn't move for hours.  Darryl arrived a little later and I went to (attempt) to attend the Christmas Eve Service at my parents church but an intense round of coughing sent me to the foyer and I ended up returning to their house instead.  When I got there, Nate was lethargic and was running a fever of over 103 so we made a call to the doctor to see if we needed to take him to the ER - at that point, the Doc felt that if we could get his fever down, we could wait a few days to get him in to see his regular doctor.  So, here are a few pictures from our crazy night once Nate's fever was done.

 The boys opened their Christmas Eve gifts with little fan fair and not a single photo.  They got their new Christmas PJ's, slippers (which have to be returned since they don't fit) and an awesome spiderman motorcycle.  You can see in Nate's face how he doesn't feel good even though he is trying to hard to have fun!

 At this moment, Josh seemed to be doing ok but this was just the beginning of the downward spiral.  Our tradition on Christmas Eve is to eat snacks after attending church.  Yum!
 Nate (this was after opening his Birthday gifts so he was happy!) with Papa - one of his all time favorite people ever. 
 Josh took over Nana's chair and said he was freezing . . . .notice his face?  Yep, his fever was creeping up fast.
 The Christmas tree!!
 Cookies, Carrots, and Chocolate Milk for Santa and his reindeer.  The boys asked me to get this ready for them since they couldn't do it. 
 My poor sick boys - this is the only photo I got of them together this Christmas Eve.
Nate was willing to stand in front of the tree for our annual picture but Josh just wasn't up to it so I also didn't get our traditional "facing the tree photo" either.  Oh well - some times, you just have to let go and be thankful for little things like we did NOT spend Christmas Eve in the ER, right? :-)