Saturday, February 28, 2015

Family Fun - Darryl's Birthday

Darryl's birthday was this past weekend and we had a little fun celebrating this yearly milestone.

His celebration started on Thursday since we had no kids :-)  They went to stay with my parents for a few days so we enjoyed a dinner favorite of Dill Shrimp Pasta and relaxing in a quiet house.  Friday did not go as planned as we woke up at 3:00 am (When Darryl gets up for work) to find that we had frozen pipes.  Well, most specifically one pipe - all of about 12 inches of it -  but it was the pipe coming from the well which meant that we had zero water.  We spent Friday trying to get that taken care of and were thankful when the plumber showed up at about 3:00 pm and fixed it in about 10 minutes.  So then, we went to dinner at the Chinese Buffet and enjoyed a tasty, relaxing meal.  I had Saturday planned out for some fun.  We started by heading out to our new favorite Mexican Restaurant for a fabulous lunch before heading to Birch Run for some outlet shopping.  We enjoyed wondering through some stores and picking up some good deals.  Once done there, we headed to the movies and saw McFarland - I highly recommend it!  Since our lunch was so filling, we opted for some diner food for dinner and headed to our favorite Coney Island to get some awesome food before arriving at my parents house.  It was a great day for sure!

Sunday was Darryl's actual birthday.  The boys were very excited about the big day. !

 We enjoyed a great Taco Bar at my parents house after church.  My sister-in-law and nephews and niece joined us.  After dinner came the Carrot Cake!

 The boys gave Darryl their gifts that they picked out for him - they were super cute as they explained each of their gifts. 

 The family!
The Hat was a true favorite and still is :-)  I will admit that Nate looks the cutest in it but Darryl isn't have bad :-)

Overall it was a great weekend :-)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekly Menu - It's March Already!

I had much better success last week with remembering everything at the store.  Finally!  I'm continuing to work on getting the grocery bill lower.  I can say that since November, I've shaved about $100.00 off each month which means since November, I'm down about $300.00 in a month.  Now, if only grocery prices would drop, I could save more money :-/

Here's the plan:
Saturday - I list this as "Darryl Cooks" :-)  It gives me the freedom to not cook or I plan pizza if I see in the week ahead that we have many eating out days.  At this moment, I'm planning for Darryl to bring home dinner.

Sunday - This is the first day of our missions emphasis month and, since I'm on the missions committee, we get to stay and eat lunch with the missionaries.  I'm supplying rolls.  I know, exciting HA!  Then we'll have leftover Chili from last week for dinner. 

Monday - BBQ Stuffing Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and biscuits.

Tuesday - Applebees :-)  This is a new "tradition".  Kids eat for $0.99 so it makes for cheap eating.

Wednesday - Pancakes and sausage.  I may try a new pancake recipe just for kicks.

Thursday - Cook's Choice!  Braised Short Ribs over Cheesy Grits.  I'll serve a nice salad and some rolls to go along with this new recipe!

Friday - Do I even need to say?  Tacos! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Goal Recap

Here's a little recap of my goals this past month.

1. The basement.  I started out strong with the basement, working about 20 minutes a day for a good week and a half.  It doesn't sound like a lot but that 20 minutes allowed me to get some things done.  I was on track to really knock it out this month until the record cold hit.  We've had below zero air temps which means our basement runs at about 40 degrees - my figures go numb doing the laundry HA! 
 One of my main projects was this shelving unit.  I picked it up back in January for a great deal at Menards and I love it.  It houses our games, homeschool stuff, out of season clothes for the boys, a "put away" box and a Good Will Box.  Now, in Menards, this shelf didn't look quite this tall so, in the spring, I plan to switch this shelf out for a 4 shelf unit in the garage. I cannot use the top shelf of this unit because of the vent  - see that heat vent?  That is the only vent for the entire basement so there is no way I can block that off :-)
The boys started working on organizing the basement playroom after I clean out some stuff for Good Will (yep, I did make one trip to Good Will!).  They organized the cushions and were working on sorting out all of the kitchen stuff when we got stopped by the cold. 

Ultimately, the laundry room is completely done and clean and the playroom is in process.  I'm happy with the progress!

2.  The Bedrooms - I was able to get the master bedroom deep cleaned and organized!
 We use tray tables as our side tables due to the tiny amount of space next to the bed.  I pulled out a couple of table clothes to softened them up slightly.  I used to keep table clothes on my table all of the time but with the table being our home school station as well, table clothes just aren't practicle.  I love that I have found a new use for something I really love.
I also organized all of my scrapbook stuff in the closet shelf and made it easy to grab stuff to work on by organizing current projects in a scrapbook bag in my closet. 

All of the corners are dusted, the fan is clean and I cleaned out under the bed which is always a challenge.

What did I not do?  I did not get to the boys room. I had plans to on a Friday they were gone but we dealt with a frozen pipe that cut off water to the entire house that day instead.  Plus, we will be getting them bunk beds in another few weeks so I kinda feel like I need to wait until we get those and then I can organize their stuff again.

3. School - I have my 2015-2016 curriculum list done, divided out by month of what I want to order, and have even picked up the first item we need through a Homeschool Facebook page for 1/2 the cost of new.  I also organized all of the paper and set up the filing drawer to house their special papers.

4. The boys birthday pictures are done and here is a sneak peak:

Once I've picked out all of my favorites I promise to share!  I can't wait to print my 16x20 black and whites of each boys and get the new photos on the wall.

5. Darryl's Birthday - We had a great weekend.  I'll share photos soon!

6. "Just One Thing".  This was something new this month and I really liked the idea.  I was able to accomplish some odd jobs that just seldom get done.

 Several years ago I started an alphabet wall.  I picked up letters, modge podged scrapbook paper on them and hung them up.  I could usually only pick up about 5 letters at a time and then, I never could make it into Hobby Lobby so my wall stopped at like "G".  I was tired of the half finished wall so I brought up a favorite picture from the basement and hung it up  instead.  Ultimately there is a project I want to do with our pet photos but that is a project for another day.
Here's a teaser :-)  I've been wanting to redo my kitchen wall.  I was so tired of the busy, filled up wall.  The boys and I had a chance to go to Hobby Lobby and I found the perfect decor for the wall.  It isn't done yet as I still have screws to remove, holes to fill and touch up paint to do but I figured I'd give you a "peek" :-)

Some other things on that list that got marked off:
1) Scrub the shower - every few months I have to work on getting rust off the shower even with a great water softener.  It really isn't work . . .I just have to clean with Iron Out cleaner and it does all of the work :-)
2) There was a scrap piece of granite that was sitting in my closet - that is now gone.
3.) All of my scrapbook stuff is organized in the bedroom.
4.) Nate's school work is all sorted for the rest of the school year.
5) I made the master Monthly menu!

Did I accomplish all of my "Just one Thing"? Nope but I did do alot of it! 

7. Those Misc Goals.  I have 4 misc goals that I'm keeping to myself :-)  I will tell you that in February, I was 50/50 on those goals.  I'm hoping for at least 75% next month :-)


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What We Are Eating - Enchiladas

adapted from Pioneer Woman

  Since Darryl and I got married, we've attempted to make enchiladas.  We did the "cheater" version where we just rolled up tacos and threw some canned sauce on top; I've tried all kinds of recipes and then, I gave up.  I then came across this recipe from Pioneer Woman and I feel like I have a winner!  It has great flavor and has the right amount of sauce.  This is on the monthly meal rotation which tells you something - we like it enough to eat it every month! I do use flour tortilla verses corn tortillas and it works out fine.  I think that is totally a flavor choice . . .I'm not a huge fan of corn tortillas! 


  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Enchilada Or Red Sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
  • _____
  • 1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • _____
  • 10 whole (to 14) Corn Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • _____
  • 3 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Black Olives
  • 1 cup Chopped Green Onions
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

Step #1 – The Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.
Step #2 – The Meat
Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.
Step #3 – Tortillas
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp – about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper—towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.
Step #4 – Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teaching Tuesdays.

So, last week I took time to break down all of Nate's work so I could see where it would put us for the end of the school year.  We will be done by the week of May 11th!!  I'm so excited to have that deadline in place. 

I've been a little lax at taking pictures and recording our moment to moment activities in school.  We are kind of in that boring state of school though.  We are wrapping up books, starting to review, and not doing anything real exciting.

So what's on my radar for the next month:

1.  Planning AND accomplishing some Friday Fun Activities with the boys
2. Ordering bits and pieces of our curriculum for next year.
3. Teaching the boys how to cook something new - they have Mac and Cheese and Spaghetti Conquered :-) 

Hopefully next week I'll have some pictures!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Make It Monday - A Book List

February is almost done and I haven't even made my new "Books I've Read -2015" Pinterest Board.  I'm so behind ;-)

I thought I would share what I'm pulling out as my book goal for March.  I know, I share goals at the beginning of March but this list is always a little different and more in depth.  I decided that I would look at what I have loaded on my kindle and pick 4 non-fiction books I'd like to read through by the end of March. 

This book was recommended by another blog that I read.  I'm hoping it is as good as she said it was!

I started this book awhile ago as part of a Bible Study but never finished it.  I'm going to pick it back up and get through it.
This is another book that I started as part of a group but never finished it (I see a pattern!). 

I also started this book awhile ago but got distracted with life and never finished it. 

I don't list my fiction books because those are so easy for me to read!  I do have a handful on my Kindle that I need to read before I buy more though! 

What are you reading?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Family Fun - Valentine's Day

It might not seem like it but we've actually had some fun over the last few weeks; I just haven't taken many photos.  :-/  We had plans on a Wednesday to take the kids to the Pirate Museum but, due to an ice storm that moved in, we ended up not going anywhere.  We were able to go out recently on a Friday though and have a little fun.  I took the boys into town and we started at Hobby Lobby.  While I looked for a piece of artwork for my kitchen, they had fun looking at the "pirate" stuff and trying to find something that wasn't too expensive to buy (which they did).  We then went to the pet store.  I realized as we walked in that we have never taken them into Petsmart before.  Well, they loved it.  We probably spent 45 minutes in the store and all I needed was a bag of dog food.  We watched through the window as the dogs were groomed (there was even a young "Willow" .  .. my parents dog); then we looked forever at all of the fish as they boys dreamed up their fish tank; and we watched the dogs playing in the doggy day care room and picked out our favorite. After running a few more boring errands, we stopped at Baker Book House, a local Christian Bookstore.  They have a little play area with a train table that the boys enjoy.  Plus, I told them they could pick out a book.  Nate loved that idea and picked out 5.  Thankfully they were all $2.00 books :-)  We ended our adventure with meeting Darryl for dinner at a place called Pizza Ranch.  It's a Buffet that serves mostly pizza but also has some really great Fried Chicken along with a great salad bar.  The boys loved it and said they could eat there every single night :-) 

What I did take a few pictures of is our Valentine's Day!

 The table set for dinner.  On holidays, I love to use our good China.  Plus a tablecloth and some Valentine's Decorations.  For dinner I made homemade pizza for Darryl and I (and the boys favorite frozen versions), some antipasto salad, and homemade Strawberry Shortcake. 
 The boys made Valentine Cards for Darryl and gave them to him when he walked in the door from work. 

 Just before dinner, the boys found their Valentine's Treat Bags on their chairs.  This year we got them a small Lego set, some new playdough, and a new playdough toy they each wanted.  I've started to steer away from tons of candy because, well, my kids don't eat it.  Don't get me wrong, they like candy but once they have enjoyed it for a bit the day they get it, they forget about it and it ends up getting thrown away.  I just got them each a box of skittles (and for the record, neither boy finished their bos of skittles and they got thrown away HA!)

 The boys had fun watching Darryl open his gift.  I got him some Raisenets because he loves them and . . .a 10 pound hand weight.  Romantic, huh? LOL  He has said a few times he would like  a weight that he could use just sitting in the chair to build up his arms again.  I happened to see it on sale (and considering it was less than $10.00) so I got it.  Josh loved it too and wants his own weight to use.  (And yes, he can lift the 10 pounder but wow, he will drop it on someone's toes, I have no dought!).

Darryl also got us gifts - he got each of the boys a box of sweet tarts which he left in front of the TV when he left for work so they loved getting that surprise when they got up.  And he got me a fun card and a bag of M and M's :-)  Yum! 

We really had a nice day and focused on just loving each other like we do every day :-)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekly Menu

So, I started off the week the same way I did last week - forgetting stuff HA!  Yep, I forgot the mozzarella for the pizza on Saturday and the swiss cheese for Sunday . . .I happened to have some Swiss cheese in the fridge from I don't know when but it wasn't growing green so I used it HA!  So, I am removing the "Quiche" option from Sunday night.  This past Sunday we had the Swiss Steak meal and then Quiche . .. talk about rich, heavy foods!  Not to mention that I spent about 4 hours in the kitchen on Sunday.  I think we'll just have sandwhiches instead :-)

So what is on the plan for this week?

Saturday - We are out for the Darryl to celebrate Darryl's birthday.

Sunday - We are celebrating Darryl's birthday with my family today with a Taco bar!

Monday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, Savory Rice, Green Beans, and Rolls.

Tuesday - Pan Fried Pork Chops, Mac and Cheese, and Salad

Wednesday - Waffles and Sausage

Thursday - Double crunch Orange Chicken (a new recipe), Buttered Noodles, Carrots, and Rolls

Friday - Tacos (like you even need to ask)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our Sunday Routine

I don't know about you but Sunday Mornings can be a bit hectic and yes, stressful.  Several years ago, I read a great book that I've pulled out once again to re-read.
One of the key thoughts that I remembered from this book was the importance of preparing for Sunday Morning on Saturday night. 

It's my "job" to make sure that the boys are ready to go and I am ready to go each Sunday morning.  Don't get me wrong, Darryl helps but, ultimately, I have keep things moving.  It helps us all if I get our clothes out.  I make sure the boys things are laid out on their chairs right down to shoes and socks.  I've also figured out that it helps if I get my stuff picked out too :-) 

I also have my "Sunday Bag".  It's the bag that I carry to church every single week.  I keep hand lotion, cough crops, a small bag of candy, and a couple pads of paper for the boys to use to draw on if needed.  I also put my Bible and Planner in it has well and add a bottle of water on Sunday morning.  Now that the boys know about giving offering in Sunday School, I also take time to put some change in a bag and throw it in too so that I always have money for the boys to give. 

So what does our Sunday morning look like?
7:30- I get up and get ready and get dinner in the oven
8:00 - I eat breakfast and make sure the boys are eating something too.  Darryl gets ready
8:30 - Get the boys ready - right down to shoes and socks
9:00 - we walk out the door. 

If I don't get up by 7:30 - our morning becomes stressful! 

On Saturday night I:
1 Pick out our clothes
2. Pack the bag
3. Make sure the truck has gas (for real - otherwise it adds stress to our morning on Sunday)
4. Prep for Sunday dinner - everything from making sure the meat is out of the freezer to setting out the pan for rolls so I don't forget to take them out of the freezer.  I'm also working on setting the table so I don't have to do it when we return from church :-)

So, why is this important?  I want Sundays to be a day of relaxation; a day where we can enjoy being doing as a family, enjoy attending our church, and enjoy a day off from normal routines.  If the morning starts with me constantly "riding" the boys to get ready, I'm the one who suffers and ends up unhappy.  I'm still working on all of this but felt like sharing - if you haven't read the book Parenting in the Pew and have littles (or even slightly "olders") take time to read it.  You might gain one truth that can help your Sundays go smoother.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What we are Eating Wednesday - Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls
adapted from Spend with Pennies

  A few weeks ago I tried my hand at some chinese food because we love it so much.  The main dish was quite awful but the egg rolls were great :-)  Darryl laughed at my attempt to roll them since they were all different shapes but they sure did taste good!  I made them again for our Superbowl party.  Both times I made them using ground pork but shrimp would also be good! 

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 1/2 cups packaged fresh coleslaw
12 (6 inch square) egg roll wrappers
2 tablespoons water
1 quart canola oil for frying

sweet and sour sauce

1. Cook pork, ginger, garlic, and onion powder until no pink remains.  Set aside.
2. Mix the coleslaw and the soy sauce and set aside. 
3. Preheat oil to 375 degrees F.
4. Combine the flour and water in a small bowl.
5. Lay out one egg roll wrapper with a corner pointed toward you.  Place 2 tabelspoons of the meat and 2 tablespoons of the coleslaw mixture in the center.  Use your finger to spread a little bit of the flour mixture along the ege.
6.  Fold two of the corners together to make a triangle, fold the sides in and then roll tightly.  (Seal the edges with the flour mixture)
7.  Fry egg rolls until lighlty browned and crispy turning occasionally.
8.  Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Teaching Tuesday - Valentines Week

This past week we worked on our regular school work but, more importantly, we worked on Valentines.  Personally, I love holidays.  Over the past 6 years I've tried to do some little things for holidays but quickly learned that the boys were not old enough nor were they interested in doing most of it :-)  Now, though, they are just barely getting old enough to want to do things and ask lots of questions about holidays.  For example, Josh asked what we do for Valentines Day.  I told him we kiss and eat chocolate - that every time he walks past me I get to smooch him.  He told me that Valentine's is not his favorite holiday HA!

I took the boys to the store and let them pick out their box of Valentines, made them a list of who to make them out to and we worked on them each day.  Now, in homeschool, you really don't have a bunch of classmates to send them to so instead we made them for all of the Aunts and Uncles and cousins plus Papa and Nana and Grandpa and Grandma.  I will say that we shortened a lot of names because their HUGE handwriting would not accomodate such names as Uncle Ken and Aunt Lynnette on that tiny card (So it was Ken  Lynn !!)

 The first day we did Valentine's, it took a lot of explaining of the concept.  But, by the second day, things got easier.  I watched as Josh took out the four Valentine's he needed.  He proceeded to attach the little notepad to all four, then right his name on all four and finally, wrote each individual name on each one.  Yep, he is the one that tends to be a little OCD :-)
Now, Nate, 1 1/2 hour later we would finish his four Valentine's each day. LOL  My little distractable Nate!

I love to see the boys being creative and one of the most creative things they love to do is to have parties.  On this particular day, they were having a party for Nate's Dad.  :-) (It should be noted that when they play, they have different parents . . I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried)
 The table with the cake (also known as "Break the Ice" and lots of (pretend) food.

They also got out my pots and pans and lots of cooking tools to make their meal.  It was great listening to their creativity.  I was doubly impressed that they cleaned it all up without being asked :-)

This week, I started counting pages in some of Josh's workbooks and I start to get a little excited because we are getting very close to being done with handwriting and are cruising through his math workbook.  I love it as I really have been working to be done by May so that the boys can enjoy the spring weather!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Menu - The new plan

*I forgot to post this on Friday so I figured I would post it now for Make it Monday! 

I put my new menu plan into place this past week and I'm really happy with it.  I went to the grocery store on Saturday was so happy with myself because I stayed in budget.  When I got out to the truck, I realized I forgot the mozzarella cheese for dinner so we ran back inside and picked up the cheese; when I got home, I figured out I forgot to buy chicken for Monday night dinner so I ended up going back to the store to get chicken; (wait there's more) while cooking some soup for Sunday evening dinner, I realized I forgot the cheese I needed (the worst part? I had put it in my cart and then took it back out because we weren't having tacos . .. HA!)  So I had to have Darryl stop and pick up cheese!! THEN, I went to make the Lasagna and I had no ground beef!  I had the ground sausage but not the beef.  I happened to have some frozen cooked ground pork that I could use but still!!  No WONDER I was on target for budget HA!

I still plan on sharing our weekly meal plan because there will be slight variations along the way.

Saturday - It's Valentine's Day!  It's also Pizza Night :-)  We are expecting some "record breaking" cold temperatures over the next few days so I am planning all meals "in" - if we happen to venture out, I can always save the meal for another time!  Tonight I decided to make BBQ Chicken Pizza.  We really liked it when I made it a few months ago :-)  I'll also add a good salad. 

Sunday - Again, those cold temps - it is possible we could have "air temps" of 35 below zero - we won't go anywhere if that is the case!  So, today it is Sunday Swiss Steak, Mashed Potatoes (Josh's ultimate favorite food!), Corn, and Biscuits.  Than later, for our simple dinner in the evening it's Amish Breakfast Casserole and Homemade Cheese Danish

Monday - Enchilada's!  Yum!  "Mexican" salad (Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, and Black olives to eat with the Enchiladas), and Rice.

Tuesday - Hamburger Strogenoff with Noodles, Green Beans and Rolls

Wednesday - Hot Dogs and Fries

Thursday - Today starts Darryl's Birthday celebration and one of his favorite meals is Dill Shrimp Pasta so that is what we'll have!  Along with some good garlic bread and maybe even roasted asparagus since he loves that so much too!

Friday - Normally this is taco night but, the kids are at Papa and Nana's so Darryl and I will get to eat out :-)  We might might go to Applebees or we may head to town and get something really good :-)

That's it :-)  I'm already loving my new menu plan because it makes it easy to . . well, plan.  I'm not digging through my recipes each week to find something to make instead it is already written out and ready to go!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Teaching Tuesdays - I've lost track of the week #.

We hit school full force this week.  We are making great progress but this time of year I feel like I'm dragging my feet a little.  I'm not thrilled with the Math Book Josh is going through but we are still pushing through it for the year and I've already picked out what I think will be a better fit for the boys next year.  Our Phoics/Reading curriculum I LOVE but I think I need to push Josh a little more on it so we get a little more done each day.  I'm beginning to realize that it may be more of a two year curriculum than just a K-5 curriculum - which is ok :-)

 Nate absolutely loves mazes. I just bought him a new book called My Book of Mazes: Animals - he was so excited to find it in his daily drawer on Monday. 
 This past week in Math, we worked on some basic measurements.  Josh used 1 cm blocks to both measure and also to estimate the size of various things in his book.  We also talked about Handspan, Paces, and using our feet to measure things.  One of the reaons I'm not thrilled with this book is because it is meant more for the classroom - there are only one or two problems on each page and there is tons and tons of discussion.  At home, hands on activities are much better - things that the student can lead themselves once they understand the concept.

We've been working on some supplimental worksheets related to Pirates this past week as I am planning to take the boys on a field trip to see a Pirate exhibit at our local museum.  I found this great Pirate pack over at Homeschool Creations

Nate and I have been reading lots of books lately.  One of our favorites and, quite honestly, one of the most fun kids books I've come across, is "Pout Pout Fish".
 And then another book we are enjoying is "Stream Train, Dream Train."  Nate loves to list all of the train cars and try to remember what order they come in throughout the book.

Finally, Nate is "reading" to us as well.  He can read, from memory, the entire book "If Everybody Did."  He reads it almost every night at bedtime. 

 This makes me smile.  Nate has decided that he likes to display ALL of his work.  So, when he remembers, he tapes every single item on the wall.  He loves seeing the display. 
This little gem is my new pencil sharpener.  It is not electric but works fabulous.  It came with great reviews from Amazon.  I will admit I do kinda need to watch a youtube video because I don't have it masters and almost every review said . . .watch the video :-)

This week we are working on Valentines and will get a field trip in as well :-)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Make It Monday - Menu's and Pizza

Recently I read a great, simple, to the point blog post that was posted at Money Saving Mom.  In the article, the author gave some real-to-life things that she learned about making a grocery budget and sticking to it.  It spoke to me because I understand every point she made!  I'm great at making the grocery budget but then I "forget" about the 2 (or 3, 4 or 5) extra trips to the store and how that impacts my spending.  Through the years I've tried all kinds of creative ways to save money from shopping for two weeks at a time - which never works because you ALWAYS have to go back to the store many more times to get milk, veggies, etc AND you tend to eat more food because, well, it's there - to trying to plan the menu for the month so I can shop ahead and more.  Well, I finally decided to do something I've wanted to try for a long time.  I created a set menu.

How did I come up with this?  It's pretty simple.  I went through my recipe book and picked out the recipes that we truly love and could actually eat every single month without question.  I was afraid I'd have way too many but I didn't!  Then, I added in those things that are consistent - We have Tacos every Friday night that we are home.  Saturday nights are one of two options - it's either Pizza night (ordered in, eaten out, or homemade) OR Darryl brings home dinner if he is working.  Wednesday night are simple kid friendly meals since Darryl normally has practice and it is just the boys and I - Pancakes and Waffles with Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy (My kids love the biscuits) and Hot Dogs round out the month.  Another new tradition we have added is that the first Tuesday of the month we go out to Applebees.  Why?  Kids eat for $0.99 so we can eat there for about $20.00 - they have really good burgers :-)  That left me 15 other nights.  I did leave 4 days as "Cook Choice" so I can pick the other recipes that we like or try new things.  So what made the list?
Sunday Dinner - Roasted Pork Shoulder, Stuffed Shells, Sunday Swiss Steak, and Roast.  Great meals to cook while we are at church.  I also planned our Sunday evening dinners - Sloppy Joes, Soup (I can pick various soups that we love) w/Simple Ham Sammies (Yeast Rolls and Ham Steak), Quiche or simple breakfast casserole, and Little Ceasers Pizza :-)

Week Night Meals:  Amish Baked Chicken, Enchiladas, Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, Lasagna, Beef Tips or Beef Strogenoff, Pan Fried Pork Chops or Chicken Fried Steaks.  Then I have a blank for Chinese Choice - I have several recipes we really love from Egg Drop Soup, Fried Rice and Egg Rolls to a Shrimp Stir-fry.  Then there is also a Slow Cooker Slot - again, I have lots of slow cooker recipes that we enjoy.  Techingally there are only 2 true cook's choice nights but I'm counting the Slow Cooker and Chinese Choice as my choice too because I can always do something else!

Winter vs. Summer - I can tell you that my set menu will change sometime in May and I'll switch out quite a few items for things that aren't so "hot" (i.e. I don't make Lasanga or cook roasts in the summer!)

So, with this in mind, I made a new pizza recipe this past Saturday and thought I'd share the recipe along with my attempt at Little Ceaser's Breadsticks.
 For a long time I've been wanting to try Garlic Bread Pizza and I finally did it!  They are so simple.  It's just frozen garlic bread slices.  Put a small amount of sauce on each slice, followed by mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings.  Cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. 
The breadsticks had the flavor of Little Ceasers but they were flat and slightly crunchy verses being big and soft.  It was just a tube of pizza dough cut into "sticks".  Once cooked (425 for about 10 minutes) brush with garlic butter (2 tablespoons of butter melted with 1/4 teaspoon of Garlic Salt) and sprinkle with Parmason cheese! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Things My Kids Say

* We struggle in this house with breakfast.  I've recently started fighting working with the boys on making breakfast choices such as cereal, waffles, or yes, even a poptart.  Josh, especially, struggles because he loves to eat Popscicles for breakfast.  Well, one day last week as we discussed choices, he opened the freezer and pulled out a small Ice Cream Drumstick (I buy the mini size).  He then informed me that he could eat it for breakfast because it was just a cracker (the cone) and some milk (ice cream).  THEN he told me that he learned that from Papa :-) LOL  Thanks Dad!

* I recently made a gourmet  dinner of Hot Dogs and Cheetos and was informed that it was the best meal I've ever cooked.  Seriously.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Family Fun - Superbowl, Snow, and Playdough

We enjoyed a great superbowl Sunday last week.  Not only was it the culmination of our favorite sport, we also had a fabulous snow storm and got dumped on!

 This is our Superbowl Spread!  Lots of fun snacks.  Someday, this will all get eaten . . . but for now, we ate it all week long HA!

 My "super" boys!  Yes, Josh is shirtless on a cold, snowy day.  Darryl cranked the heat and Josh got very hot HA! 
On Monday the boys finally got to play in some measurable snow!  Josh was "stuck" in the snow.

 This is a photo of Nate jumping into the snow.  We ended up getting a total of about 14 inches of snow so there was plenty to play in!
One of the things the boys - and especially Nate - have always enjoyed is playdough.  Nate gets it out almost every day and can play for hours.