Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaching Tuesday - A Field Trip

We had a very simple, quiet week this past week as far as school work.  Nate is working on a lot of review and Josh is is at the very tail end of his handwriting and money books.  Plus both boys have finished their AWANA books so we are just doing review.  We ended up with a "unexpected" day this week where it was just the boys and I so I put together a very simple, fun "field trip". 

We started our field trip with lunch.  We drove to another town to have lunch at McDonald's but, more importantly, the McDonald's has a playland.  The boys love it - gives them a chance to run and climb and to make new friends.  I enjoy it because the boys are at an age where they just go and play so I get to "read and watch" while they play!

The second part of our field trip was something that Nate has been asking to do for months and, has been waiting to do since the first day of spring!  We went to the Skate Park.
 There is this fun little park about 10 minutes from our house that includes a skate park.  Nate has been so intrigued by it and was beyond thrilled to finally get to ride his back all over it.  I wanted to go during the week while other kids are in school so that I didn't have to worry about them running into anyone else (or being run into!)
 Josh loved it too - can you tell by his smile?

 Nate had to check out the ramps before he actually rode on them.

The boys rode bikes for well over an hour.  Two college age guys showed up to skateboard but they were extremely nice and Nate made "fast friends" with them. 

We ended our field trip with the grocery store.  The boys did awesome and it sure was nice to do grocery shopping during the day :-)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Make It Monday - A St Patrick's Day Craft

We did a fun (and easy) craft on St. Patrick's day that both of the boys enjoyed. 

To begin with I prepped the craft by cutting out a black pot and gluing it onto some white cardstock.  I then prepared a plate with a small amount of paint to make the rainbows.  Had I been thinking, I would have saved some of the Rolo papers as the boys ate their treats in the morning to use on the top of the black pot for "gold". 

 Josh loved finger painting and did a really great job making his rainbow.
 Nate wasn't too keen on using his finger so he got out some q-tips to work with at the beginning.

 The boys also liked playing in the paint (once they were done with a color) and combining various colors to see what new color they could make.

 Eventually Nate did use his finger and said, "Mom, I DO like finger painting after all!". 
The boys finished pictures.  Nates is on the left and Josh's is on the right. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Things My Kids Say

* Nate has been throwing out all kinds of fun statements lately like:
"I'm more full than a junebug!"
"I'm as cold as a banana peel!"
"I'm as tired as a worn out web" (He's been watching a cartoon called "Sunnypatch" lately!)

*I'm not sure why but the boys are a little intrigued with death and people dying. So recently the discussion came up of what would happen to Willow, my parents dog, when Papa and Nana die.  I said that we would probably take Willow.  To which Josh reminded me that, "Mom, you'll have to brush her teeth but that's ok cause she likes it.  Oh, and you'll have to wipe her butt because that's what Nana does."  Sorry Nana, I don't wipe any dogs butt!  HA  When I told Josh I wouldn't do that - his response?  "Well, if I'm old enough Mom, I'll take care of brushing her teeth and wiping her butt." LOLOL 

*Josh informed us recently that "When I grow up I'm going to live with Nate and, if he moves, I'll just move with him."  He also told us that since we'll be dead, he is going to just drive our cars.  Whereas Nate said he would be getting a brand new car.  I asked him what kind of car and he said, "Well, a green one of course."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Family Fun - St Patricks Day

For some reason, I enjoy St Patrick's Day more than most "little" holidays.  It is just kinda fun.  This year was no exception especially since the boys remember last year and how the Leprechaun brought candy throughout the day so they were on the look out for him. 

 Who could ever resist this face?  :-)  We called him "Elton" (Elton John) all day long - those glasses!!

 Nate wanted his picture with the whole outfit - including the shamrock straw!  I think one of the reasons I enjoy this holiday so much is all of the fun little dollar store stuff - glasses, headbands, necklaces, straws!  So much fun!
 My sweet little, adorable cuties!
 Per our yearly tradition - Lucky Charms for breakfast.  (Good thing Darryl was home - I forgot to buy Lucky Charms so I had to make a quick run to the store!)
 Oh my goodness.  The boys and the leprechaun.  I had to be super sneaky as I hid Rolo's when they weren't looking!  They were bound and determined to see the little green guy but never did.  Instead I would hear, "Mom, he was hear again - did you see him?"  The best part?  When they were making lunch, Josh kept checking to see if the Leprechaun had left treats on the table.  I managed to sneak some by their plates . . .when the boys saw the treats, Josh exclaimed, "I KNEW I shouldn't have helped with lunch - I should have just sat at the table!" HA! 
 My Super helpers making Mac and Cheese for lunch.
 Now, I knew, unlike when they were 2 and 3, the boys would not eat Green Mac and Cheese.  As a matter of fact, it made Nate so upset to see his favorite Mac and Cheese turned green (just a tiny amount of it) that i had to get him a new plate!
 Another funny story.  The boys were outside riding bikes when they saw a Rainbow coming out of the ground.  They called me outside to see it . . .and they were positive the Leprechaun would be coming out of the ground!  Their excitement was HUGE because of this discovery.  (I didn't tell them it was a reflection from Nate's bike HA!)
 Our annual dinner of Stuffed Cabbage, Crash Potatoes, Rainbow Jello and Green Beans.  We also had cupcakes with green frosting that we may or may not have eaten before dinner :-)  Sometimes dessert should be eaten first!
The boys also took their annual green bath - they love it that the water is turned green with some food coloring.  Then they played Chess with Darryl before bed. 

Such a fun day!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekly Menu - When March becomes April

Here's a little known secret about our family .  .. we love to eat out.  Ok, maybe that is a well known secret!  We enjoyed eating out on some family adventures this past weekend - it sure makes my life easier!  HA  But we still must eat at home most of the time ;-)  I'm working hard to stick to our grocery budget which means a little switch up this week in my preplanned monthly menu but that's ok, I'm flexible :-) Speaking of that menu (which I love), this will be the last month of the "Winter" menu.  In May, I'll switch out many of the dinner options for things that are grilled or don't cook in the oven for any length of time.  Things like Lasagna, Enchiladas, and Meatloaf will go away until fall!   

Saturday - Today we'll be heading to AWANA Olympics and going out to lunch with the grandparents.  So for dinner, we'll do something simple like Pizza - Probably homemade.

Sunday - Darryl is working today so the boys and I will grab lunch after church.  Dinner will be another simple meal.  Soup and Sandwiches - Broccoli Cheese soup with little ham sammies YUM!

Monday - Lemon BBQ mini Meatloaves, mashed potatoes, Carrots, and Rolls

Tuesday - Applebees :-)  (Kids eat for $0.99)

Wednesday - Pancakes and Sausage

Thursday - So, I have a turkey (or 2) to cook.  So, today I'll do just that - cook a turkey.  We'll have baked regular and sweet potato (Darryl prefer's sweet potatoes!), and green bean casserole along with some biscuits.  (All the leftover turkey will go in the freezer to use in future meals!)

Friday - Tacos - of course :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Recap of March Goals

Yes, I know, it's only March 26th but I know what the next week looks like so I know what I will, and more realistically, won't get done!  I figured I would post this now so I can hit April goals next week right on time.
You might recall that I posted March's goals about half way through the month so that never bodes well for the plan!

1) The boys room was emptied out, cleaned, organized, and the bunk beds set up.  At the writing of this, I need to work on Lego Organization but I do have the bins for what I want to do - I just have to work on sorting everything.

1) I will be placing an order for a few school books for the 2015-2016 year at the end of the month. 
2) I have until April 10th to register the boys for T-Ball so that will get done around the end of the month as well.

1) The boys photos are hung in the dining room and the old ones are hung in the basement.
2) I pulled out the boys summer clothes and sorted everything.  Nate believes it is summer so he is now only wearing shorts and t-shirts unless I specifically tell him to put on pants.  Man, I love that kid HA!

1) We had a fun St Patrick's Day - more to come on that later
2) We had a great visit back to Metro Beach - pictures to come later
3) I'm now focusing on some Easter ideas which will be done by the end of March (Since Easter is the first Sunday in April!)

1) The March Budget plan is going well - we even had money set aside to fix the truck - not something in our plans at all!
2) This month I've consistently work on my piano music for about 30 minutes a day. 
3) Just One thing - I didn't accomplish as much as last month but I am making progress. 
4) Misc Items - I have personal goals - things only I know - I will admit, I will only accomplish my monthly goal in 1 of the 4.  Good thing April is a new month!

There is a simple recap. Sorry - no pictures this time because I didn't really do too much :-) 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What We Are Eating - Beef Ribs and Grits

Beef Ribs and Grits
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

I know, you are thinking, "Grits? Really?"  Yep!  We love grits and I have seldom made them.  These are yummy cheesy grits which are even better!  Josh tasted them and then, couldn't get enough of them!  They paired really nicely with the ribs and were a nice change from potatoes or noodles.  The ribs were "fall off the bone" good - so tender and flavorful and (a true tragedy) I even forgot to throw the bacon in the pan!  These would make a great Sunday Dinner!   Please note - the recipe below is just for the Ribs BUT if you click the link above - it will take you to the recipe page which supplies a link for the Cheesy grits! 


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 beef short ribs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 thin slices bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2 shallots, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
Splash of red wine
4 cups beef broth (enough to almost cover the ribs)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Cheese Grits or regular grits, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Salt and pepper the ribs, then dredge them in the flour. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until completely crispy and all the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and set aside. Drain off any excess fat.

Add the olive oil to the pan with the bacon fat and raise the heat to high. Brown the ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove the ribs and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the carrots, shallots and onions to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Splash in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Add the broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add the ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid. Finally, add the cooked bacon.

Put on a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until the ribs are fork-tender and falling off the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes with the lid on before serving. At the last minute, skim the fat off the top of the liquid. (You can also refrigerate the mixture, then remove the solid fat from the top.)

For each serving, arrange 2 ribs on a bed of the grits, spooning a little juice over the top.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaching Tuesday

We've had a great couple of weeks (I totally forgot to post last week).  I've altered our year end plans slightly.  Why?  Well, we had some really nice weather last week and I already saw how hard it will be as it warms up for the boys to do school.  We are really hitting a lot of review at this point so I have combined lessons and plan to be done by the end of April - about 2-3 weeks earlier than planned. 

One of the things we are focusing on at the end of this year is time.  The boys love time and on this particular day, they had to write their name as many times as they could in one minute.  They loved it.  We also tried doing other things to see how long it took such as running through the living room, doing jumping jacks, and singing Jesus Loves me.  

And yes, notice the two diverse ways the boys are dressed?  One without a shirt and one with a sweatshirt?  Another reason we love homeschooling!

 This is the book we use for our lessons on Time.  It's a great introductory book - it goes slow and has lots of repetition.
We have also worked a lot on money this year because the boys both love it.  Here, Josh was counting out a bunch of change to give to Darryl has a gift.  It was really neat watching him count by 5, 10, and 25. 

 On Darryl's day off recently, he had PE class with the boys outside.  They worked on throwing the football at the garage door to see who could hit it. 

We also celebrated St. Patrick's Day last week.  I'll share more in a post later but we did do a fun craft with a rainbow along with lots of St Patrick's Day themed worksheets that corresponded with what they boys are learning in their regular work.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Family Fun - The Circus

We have wanted to take the boys to the circus for awhile and felt like they had finally reached great ages where they could actually enjoy it.  The Shine Circus came to town this month so we took advantage of "Buy Two, Get Two" tickets and headed out for a day of fun!

 We had fabulous seats.  We were dead center, front row.  We had no one in front of us and had clear views of everything. 
 Joshua - very excited about the whole day.
 Nathan - already figuring out everything he wants to buy, ride, and see.
 Darryl, the big kid at heart!
 Josh couldn't wait to get his hands on some cotton candy.  He and I are the cotton candy lovers so we shared this wonderful treat.
 The boys got to pick out some great sourveniers.  This is Nate's light gun.  Josh got a light wand plus they both got light up necklaces and some Sponge Bob Blow Ups.
 Super Cute! (Darryl and Nate, not the lady's butt behind Darryl hahahaha)
 Me and my boys.  :-)
 THIS is the Tiger tamer - wow, he was a character.  Totally 100% 80's everything - hair, outfit, dancing moves . . .he made us laugh.

 This guy totally intrigued the boys. They were amazed that he could walk on that high, moving wheel.
 We were very surprised to see the elaphants.  I love them - probalby my favorite act in the show.
At intermission, the circus floor was open with lots of activities.  The boys convinced Darryl to take them to a bounce house.  I stayed in the seats and used my big camera lens to find Darryl - do you see him? LOL  It was a ZOO at the circus during intermission so he was amongst many people! 

We really had a lot of fun and already are planning to go again next year. 

We left the Circus and got dinner before heading home.  It was really a great day!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekly Menu

This was a pretty normal week.  No forgotten groceries; nothing really unexpected.  . .. just a run of the mill week.  I even put away my own groceries so there were no cans of biscuits put in the cupboard :-)

This coming week is planned as follows:

Saturday - We'll have homemade pizza tonight.  Normally I have Darryl bring dinner home since he'll be working but, we'll be gone all day Sunday so . . I figured we should eat at home.

Sunday - We are heading out on a family fun day to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement.  We had hoped to go away for the weekend but cut back a little - Josh (and Nate) have AWANA games practice on Saturday and then it ended up that Darryl has to work so we are doing this on a Sunday this year.  We'll eat out for both meals today.

Monday - Chick-Fil-Lay Nuggets and tater tots.

Tuesday - Pan Fried Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, and Buscuits

Wednesday - Waffles, Bacon and the kids favorite sausage

Thursday - Double Crunch Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, Green Beans, Rolls

Friday - Tacos, Of Course!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Make It Monday - A New Bed

This past week we had some fun "making" a new room for the boys.  We've been talking about getting the boys bunk beds for well over a year.  There are a a few reasons.  One, it would open up a lot of floor space in their room for toys and, well, Legos.  Two, Josh's bed frame was completely falling apart. I've been searching online for months for the perfect bed.  I finally had found one so we drove to the furniture store to check out the one I found online  . . . and saw another one that was tons betters, came with drawers, for the same price.  So, after searching for months . . we bought one that we never once saw online HA! 

 Despite the mess, I wanted to get some before photos of their room.  I'm the first one to admit that their room got a little messy but I knew that the bed was coming so . . I figured I would organize and clean once the bed was in the room!
 So, we had to first clean everything out of the room.  I had some awesome helpers.  They got busy with hammers and ripped that thing apart.  (For real). 

 Harley the cat took over the headboards once I moved them into the dining room.  He is so photogenic.
 Nate wanted a picture of himself in the room licking the hammer.  What?  Don't all kids lick a hammer?
 I then laid the mattresses down on the floor so Nate went to get Josh and made him close his eyes so he could surprise him.  It was super cute :-)
 Then the boys got to jump on their mattresses for the rest of the day. 
 They loved hanging out in their room. 
And Nate loved sitting underneath the headboards in the dining room.

 Josh's face - kills me.  Wow.  Needless to say, the boys were crazy excited when the workers arrived with the bed. 
 They hauled chairs up to the door so they could watch the "Bunk bed Super Heros" put the whole thing together.

The final product!  A bonus?  See the drawers?  I asked if the drawers came with bed and was told no.  In all my research, I learned that those drawers run an additional $250.00.  We didn't really need them and I don't mind having storage under the bed.  So I was quite surprised when they drawers showed up with the bed.  I guess since it was the floor model - we got the whole thing!  Oh, and the boys picked the bed - they LOVED the white and you know what?  They have good taste - it goes perfectly in their room!