Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Menu . . the one I forgot to post on Friday.

So, funny story.  I wrote the Weekly Menu post that went up last Friday, two weeks ahead of time.  Great planning, right?  Then, I took the boys to the park on a Friday and wrote up a quick grocery list so we could run to the store and planned a completely different menu HA!  Oh well, we had a great few days camping and had some wonderful food and that is all that matters!

Here's the plan for the coming week.

Saturday - This is my night "off. "  Darryl either brings home dinner or we eat out.

Sunday - Burgers.  I had planned burgers for, well, tonight (the day of this post) but we ended up with a graduation open house to attend instead.

Monday - Slow cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meaetballs, Spahgetti and garlic bread.

Tuesday - Chicken on the grill,

Wednesday - Cheesy Crockpot Tortillini

Thursday - Tacos

Friday - Something on the grill

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What We are Eating - Crock Pot BBQ Root Beer Chicken

Crock Pot BBQ Root Beer Chicken
adapted from Frugal Girls

A few weeks ago I had some chicken to cook but I didn't want to cook it in the oven so I went in search of a Crock Pot Recipe and came across this particular one.  It was fabulous.  So, then I was going to make Chick-Fil-lay nuggets last week but it was too hot to stand at the stove so instead, I made this recipe again; it was just as good!  Sorry there isn't a photo but it is just BBQ chicken after all :-) 


What You’ll Need:

What You’ll Do:

  • Cook chicken in crockpot on high for 3 hours {covered}
  • After 3 hours, drain juices from crockpot
  • Mix together BBQ Sauce, Root Beer, Salt and Pepper
  • Pour mixture over chicken, and cook on high for 30 more minutes {covered}

And, for the record, I just figured out that I'm a day off this week HA!  That's what happens when you are camping at the beginning of the week; it throws the whole week off! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Teaching Tuesday

Here's a short recap of our past "school" week:

1) The boys spent a few days with Papa and Nana who took them on walks, bike rides and to their Children's museum.

2) I attend a Homeschool conference where I learned some good things and saw some great curriculum, which, by the way, I still need to start buying.  Soon :-)

3) We went camping.  The boys explored, held catipillers, saw a box turtle and Lunar Moth thanks to the park Explorer person, picked up pine cones, caught fish and ran in the rain.

I think this week counts as a HUGE learning success!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekly Menu - The one with Camping included

This week starts our camping adventures for the summer.  We've been looking forward to this since last year!  This first weekend we are camping with my Aunt and Uncle whom I love (which is a good thing!).  We are only camping about 5 minutes from home (it is nice having a state campground in your backyard) which is great - we can set up the camping and kinda get it set for the summer all at the same time.  So, here's the plan for the week

Friday - Hamburgers and Fries (I know, it's taco night . . but keep reading, we are having tacos a different night!)

Saturday - Darryl cooks :-)  Whether it be pizza or fast food - he'll bring something home.

Sunday - First day of camping :-)  Dinner the first night has to be easy and "fast".  The work it takes to set up the camping spot makes me very ready to sit down and not do food.  So, my plan is tacos.  (I know, it's not Friday HA!)  I can throw the taco meat in the crock pot when we first pull in and the whole time we are setting up it can be heating up.  That way, when we are done and ready to eat, it's ready for us! 

Monday - Memorial Day!  We have our standard camping breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast/bagels.  Lunch will be simple after a bigger breakfast.  I'm just planning cheese, crackers, and meat.  Finally, dinner.  I"m guessing we'll be eating with my Aunt and Uncle so I'm sure we will do hot dogs, salads, chips and all that fun stuff.  A lot of times we marinate steak and cook it on Kabobs so I might have some on hand (I can always pan fry it for dinner when we get home on Tuesday).

Tuesday - We'll enjoy breakfast at the campground of cereal, toast and bagels before packing up.  My plan is just have sandwiches for lunch once we unload.  Then, honestly, we'll either have leftovers from the weekend like Tacos or Steak OR if there isn't enough left over, we will probably get Little Ceasers since it is so cheap.

Wednesday - It's T-ball night!  I'm going to try out Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs served with Spaghetti and garlic bread.  I'm really, really trying to use the crock pot much more this summer. 

Thursday - And, it's practice night! Cheesy Crockpot Tortellini.  I think might kids might actually like this but, I'll have something I know they love as a back up to make sure no one goes hungry.  Like . . great yeast rolls :-) 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What we are Eating

We are eating . . . .I just haven't made too much that is exciting enough to post about :-)

I did recently make corn on the cob in the crock pot . . .never again :-)  It tasted . . .weird.  I wanted it ready when we got home from church but, it wasn't worth it.  Ick.

We are also grilling alot - steaks, hamburgers, . . .all yummy! 

Otherwise, nothing new and exciting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Teaching Tuesdays

This was our week in a nutshell last week:

Monday - We went grocery shopping.  The boys were great and helped me fill the cart. 

Tuesday - Darryl was home and they had a dentist appointment.  No cavities and no lose teeth!

Wednesday - We went shopping for Nana's birthday.  The boys had their first T-ball game.

Thursday - We loaded up and met Nana for the boys to stay with my parents for a few days.

Do you notice what was missing?  Yep, we didn't do a single "summer school" item.  But that's ok.  When I planned our summer plans, I knew we would have weeks like this and that's ok.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Things My Kids Say

* Our boys really love baseball (and yes, we are cultivating that on purpose. )  We tend to watch a lot of Tigers Baseball in our house right now so one day Josh told me that someday, he is going to play for the Tigers and when he plays, we can sit at home and watch HIM on TV.  My response?  Please, Josh, play for the Tigers :-)  How awesome is that? 

* Nate informed us recently that when he and Josh have wives they will all live in the same apartment.  Josh carried it a little further.  He said that our friend Maeve would also live with them.  (He has told us he is going to marry her and plans to call the church soon.  And yes, he has asked her to marry him already HA!) We asked if she would have her own room.  Josh replied, "No, all three of us will sleep in one room.  There will be two beds and two of us will sleep in one and one will sleep in the other.  Interesting.  That's all I'll say :-) hahahaha

* Darryl and I have pulled our bikes out recently.  The boys found it completely amazing that I could ride a bike.  They were so amazed when I got it out that they had to give me detailed instructions on how to ride and held on to my bike while I got on it.  At one point the boys got way ahead of me so Nate got off of his bike, ran back to meet me and asked me if I needed his help.  They are such sweet boys :-)

* Nate was on the phone with Nana recently when she told him that he and Josh were coming to their house to stay for a few days.  Nate told her that they weren't coming because it wasn't on my calender and only things on my calender really happen.  That is one of the downfalls of living with a planner :-) LOL  He was very confused when I told him Nana was right . . .and told me I needed to add it to my calender.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Family Fun AWANA Awards

At the end of April, the boys were awarded for their hard work in Cubbies and Sparks this past year.  They were beyond excited about awards night especially because both Papa and Nana AND Grandpa and Grandma would be in attendance.

 Nate was so excited to go up on stage for his awards.

 Nate got an award for completing his book during the year and also because he was graduating from cubbies and heading into Sparks.

 They also sang some of their favorite songs and it was so fun seeing how animated he was on stage. 
 Josh on stage - he gets very serious (and slightly nervous) on stage.
 Josh received an award for finishing his book (it was also noted that he reviewed his book as well because he finished it so early in the year). 

 The Sparks also sang their favorite songs and I love seeing Josh singing!

Once the awards portion was done, everyone went to the gym where they had the kids play a game all together to get the parents a chance to see how the game time worked and then, they served ice cream.

Such a fun night after a great year and now, the boys are so excited because they will BOTH be in Sparks this fall and they LOVE being together :-)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekly Menu - The one without kids

This past week was good.  Mother's Day dinner was wonderful (my husband can grill a mean steak HA).  We enjoyed some awesome burgers and got to see the boys play in their first real T-ball game.  Now, though we are at the front end of a week without kids and you know what that means!! Not a lot of cooking!

Friday - I will be attending the conference most of the day - dinner will be determined when we eat.  Pizza? Taco Bell?  Whatever we grab? 

Saturday - The same as above

Sunday - We are in Traverse City so we will be eating there.

Monday/Tuesday - I WILL cook one of these days.  I'm thinking that Darryl will grill; probably steaks.  And then, I just heard of a new restaurant in the next town over that is supposed to have great burgers and fries so I think we might try that one night.  It is more of a "pub" so we don't really want to take the kids. (Or we will both be craving our favorite Mexican place OR we'll try a  new Italian place that is right next door to the Mexican place!)

Wednesday - The kids come home today and we are going to celebrate my mom's birthday.   As of the posting of this menu, I have no idea what I'm cooking yet :-) 

Thursday - T- ball Practice :-)  Two weeks ago, I made breakfast for dinner and I discovered that the boys were extremely hungry at about 9:00 at night (yep, they got out of bed and asked for food.).  So, something a little heartier - Chicken and Fries/Tater Tots.  I'll make Chick-Fil-lay nuggets for most of us and cook frozen nuggets for Nate since that is what he loves.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Kindle Verses A Paper Book

You all know I love to read.  Books are like good friends who don't talk back :-)  For years I struggled with moving to the whole "E-Book" concept because, to me, nothing could really replace that feeling of a real book in my hands.  But, then my parents got me a Kindle for Christmas a few years ago and I discovered that there really are some benefits to the whole e-book concept. Eventually, I emptied my bookshelves and sold all of my "real books".  I still go back and forth with what is really the best way to read so I thought I'd throw down some pros and cons of an e-reader just for "fun"

Pro - I can get e-books very inexpensively I have a $20.00 a month budget for books.  If I search I can find free books or books for $0.99 each - even new releases by my favorite authors at times.  This means I can get tongs of books.  I usually "spurge" on one or two books that go with a series I'm reading but otherwise stick to the cheap books.  If I was buying real books - that $20.00 might get me two books a month.

Con  - I never have any idea what I'm reading.  When I read a paper book, I see the cover, the title, the back of the book every single time I pick it up.  I can remember the author and the title because of this - it is always in front of me.  With an e-book I never have any idea what I'm reading HA!  I never see the cover of the book and never read the back of a book. 

Pro - It's so easy to take my "book" anywhere I go.  Not to mention that I can "load" it with a handful of new books to read so no matter when I finish a book I always have a new one to read.  This is nice for traveling.  I used to take a grocery bag full of books with me anytime we traveled . . . now I just put my kindle in my purse and go. 

Con - I can't remember what books I've read and never re-read them.  When I had a bookshelf full of books (or two . . or three bookshelves!)  I had them all organized alphabetically by author (and yes, I had a spreadsheet of every book I owned!).  Every January, I would start back at letter "A" and reread just about every single book on my shelf throughout the year.  If I got the latest book in a series, I would reread that entire series before I read the new book.  It was awesome.  Now, I really am clueless what books I read last week, let alone last month.  I have not figured out anyway to categorize the books on my kindle to keep series together or to put books I've read in a certain spot.  I wish it had bookshelves . . . ..

Pro - Storage is easy.  I do miss having bookshelves of books in my home.  I think they add character to a house but, I really don't have a place for bookshelves full of books so not needing to store them is a good thing.

There's a short list for you :-)  I really do love my kindle but I do find that I like reading non-fiction, "self help" (for lack of a better word) books as paper books.  I feel like I get more out of them when I can turn back three or four pages easily and re-read something I didn't quite understand.  I find on the Kindle, it's hard to move back a few pages to read something again.  I also like being able to mark up a book that I'm reading to learn from so having the paper copy sure is nice!

Now, I think I'll go read !!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What We Are Eating - Simple Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Simple Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes
adapted from Cupcake Diaries 
This was a super easy recipe to make because it starts with a box mix :-)  The cakes match their name - they are the perfect blend of Strawberry and Lemon! 

  • 1 box lemon cake mix, plus ingredients to make
  • 24 cupcake liners
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. strawberry preserves
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 24 strawberries, to garnish
  1. Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Remove from cupcake tins and place on wire rack to cool.
  2. With an electric hand mixer, beat butter till smooth. Add powdered sugar 1/2 c. at a time; add vanilla extract and strawberry preserves.
  3. Place frosting in a piping bag secured with a frosting tip (I used a Wilton 4B tip). Gently squeeze the frosting on each cupcake in a circular motion starting from the outside rim and working your way into the center. Top with a strawberry to gar

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Teaching Tuesday - Summer "School" Style

This was our first official week of our Summer "School" plan and it pretty well.  We did some seat work a few days and then a project.  Not to mention PE (also known as T-Ball).  I even have a fantastic bruise where I took a bat to the arm while helping the boys work on their batting skills.  (Good thing we were just using a cheap plastic bat or I might actually be in a cast HA)

 One of my main goals with our summer school concept is to review items like sight words, phonics, and math.  I went through and searched out various packets of Kindergarten review worksheets and put together packets for each week.  Confessions of a Homeschooler has some great sight word worksheets and then I found a couple of complete packs of review info at Teachers Pay Teachers.  At first I tried to find all free worksheets but, honestly, paying about $8.50 for a complete pack of worksheets that takes us through the summer was well worth the time I saved.  The nice thing is that as we continue through the summer the boys will know what to do on each worksheet and won't need much direction. 
 Most of the sight words are review from this past year but we are putting them up on our wall for a visual each day. 
 This little book came in one of the packets I purchased so the boys cut out their pages and then we read the book together.
 Josh's flower that he made using patterns of color.

 Nate wanted to make a daisy - he did a great job.  This flower idea came from Mess for Less.  It was a perfect craft for my boys because it was simple and quick. 

I love the creativity my kids are starting to show.  One day last week, Josh came inside to get glue and paper.  Then, he gathered Nate and the Munchkin and instructed them to make a nature craft (we did this last year while camping).  The boys had to gather sticks, rocks, dirt, and flowers to glue on their papers.  Also, Nate learned how to make paper fans form a cartoon he was watching so then, he gathered us all at the table and taught us how to make one.  We had to color our paper and then "fold and flip" to make our fan. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Make It Monday - Praying for our Kids

My kids are the most important "thing" in my life.  They are super cute, funny, fun, caring and, well, they drive me crazy.  But more than that, they burden my heart because my greatest desire is for them to grow up loving the Lord and knowing Jesus Christ as their personal savior.  I love that they are learning the Bible Truths and examples (I don't like calling them "stories" because the Bible is real - it is not a story book).  They understand more than I sometimes give them credit for and I love their simple, innocent ideas.  For example, Nate will tell me there are Four parts to God (not just the three parts - the Trinity).  My dad is probably cringing at the doctrinal implication I'm about to shatter HA According to Nate there is, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and God, the father of Abraham. :-)  I love it.  Anytime a discussion comes up about the Trinity - Nate has to remind us that God is actually four parts ;-) 

Anyway, I cam across a great chart over at Keeping it Personal.  This chart shares 31 Biblical Principals to Pray for our children.
The blog author gives a great idea that goes beyond just praying these virtues.  She suggests actually talking about them with your children each day.  Sure, some of the ideas might be over a child's head depending on their age but that doesn't really matter.  The more we talk about things, the more kids learn.  So, for make-it-Monday, I'm printing this off for myself and I'm going to work on doing this every day; every month.  Not only praying these for my children but talking to them about these virtues. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Things My Kids Say

* Nate made a delcaration this week, "Dad has the biggest brain of every body.  He's so smart."  That was stated as Darryl and the boys were working on building train circles. 

* My boys tell me that they love me all of the time.  They tell me I'm the best mom ever.  Then, one day last week, Nate told me, "Mom, I will love you always and forever.".  So sweet. 

* Every single night Josh comes out of his room about 30 minutes after bedtime and says in his sweet voice, "Mom, I can't get to sleep, I need to sleep with you because you  make me sleepy."  He then proceeds to cuddle up and watch TV with me for a little bit before saying good night and heading to bed. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Family Fun - Easter Part 2

Easter Sunday was a beautiful day!  Darryl was sick (:-(  ) so he stayed home from church but, as I mentioned before, we ended up getting to spend the day at home so it ended up being a really nice family day.

 Before the boys and I headed to church, we attempted to get some photos of the boys.  They are at the age where they like to make funny faces so I just keep snapping and hope to get one half way decent photo! 

 When we got home, the boys went searching for the Easter Baskets and found them in the playroom. 
 This year Darryl and I the Easter Bunny focused on outside toys.  They got Frisbees, Kites, Bubbles, Water Spray Fans, Legos, and candy. 
 They also got a second controller to the game cube - they have been asking for one for months and the "Easter Bunny" listened :-)

 Of course, the first item they each opened was . . .Legos! 

 While the boys built Legos, I got dinner on the table.  (One advantage to Darryl staying home?  He was able to put the cheesy potatoes in the oven so we could eat earlier!)
 This face!  So adorable :-)
 I managed to sneak outside . .The Easter Bunny even managed to hide eggs without being seen even though the boys kept looking outside throughout the afternoon to "catch" him! 

 This Easter Bunny was very, very smart and labeled each of the eggs with a "J" or an "N" so that there were no arguments or fights over who got more. 

 The best part of the whole hunt?  Josh found THIS.  Yes, it is Rabbit Poop!  This totally convinced him that the Easter Bunny had really hidden the eggs. 
 I love this shot of the boys playing with the new controller.  They were probably playing Mario Cart.
 As luck would have it, it was very windy on Easter so the boys convinced Darryl to head outside and help them fly kites.  (I have written to the Easter Bunny and said, "No kites next year HA!) 

They actually really did get them flying and flying high.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekly Menu

So, last week my menu was absolutely nothing like I posted last week.  When I switched from the winter menu, well, I haven't been very excited about that I picked for the summer menu.  I did cook a ham in the crock pot last Sunday and then used the leftovers for some other meals.  We also cooked some pork steaks on the grill.

As looking ahead to this coming week I'm again struggling with what to cook.  Maybe I'm bored with cooking, I'm not sure, but we still have to eat so I still have to cook :-) 

Friday - Tacos :-)

Saturday - I'm not 100% sure yet . . .the boys and I may go to town so I can do a little shopping and then meet Darryl for dinner at Pizza Ranch.  Or, the boys and I may take China to get a bath at a car wash that has a dog bath too . . .and then have Darryl bring dinner home; or who knows :-)

Sunday - Mothers Day!  I've already put in my request for Steaks on the grill.  I'm thinking I'll just put some potatoes in the crock pot so they are ready after church, corn, because that is my favorite veggie, and crescent rolls.  I plan on making "Sin" for dessert - it's so yummy!

Monday - I would like my crock pot to become my best friend this summer.  I just recently "pinned" quite a few Crock Pot meals that looked good and a friend of mine commented on  Chicken Rice Casserole recipe that it was "Great" . . .so I'm leaning towards that one.  

Tuesday - Grill night!  Burgers :-)  I'm thinking some potato salad and fruit will go well with the meal.

Wednesday - Tonight is the boys first t-ball game.  We love sloppy joes lately so I think I'll make those and fries.  Simple but hearty for dinner.

Thursday - My kids will be gone and I have a meeting.  Darryl and I will have something simple - I may have him bring something home. (Like Adobe (Tacos) or Popeye's Chicken!)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting Things done

I spent most of April (and probably all of March!) not getting much done and here is the reason why:

 Do you see those empty pages in my planner?  I did not take time to make a to do list of any kind on most days.  There were a few weeks where I was sick with a cold that settled in my chest so I did as little as possible in order to avoid coughing but otherwise, well, I read a lot.  :-)
I'll say it over and over but, I'm a planner. I'm a list maker and an organizer.  It's why I still love a paper planner - so I can make a list and have it handy.  When I take time to make a to do list, I actually tend to accomplish close to 90% of what is on that list because I don't like NOT crossing things off throughout the day.  Sometimes I write the entire weeks goals out on Sunday; sometimes I write out a list for the following day before I go to bed and sometimes, while I eat breakfast, I write down what I want to do that day.  So, it isn't a matter of when I write something down but rather just the fact that it is listed. 

Oh, and I still love my Erin Condrin planner and am already saving my pennies to be able to buy this "splurge" at Christmas :-) It is one of those things that makes me smile and I make sure that at some point while at the Beach in the summer I take the "perfect" picture of the boys to put on the front of my planner that brings me joy all year long!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teaching Tuesday - The start of our "Summer"

This week we are starting with the summer plans.  I'll have pictures, ideas and links to share next week. 

So, this week I thought I would share some photos from a recent field trip the boys took to the Kalamazoo Museum with their grandparents.

 Here Nate is serving as the waiter/cook at the diner and Josh is ordering.  These boys love to play restaurant so I'm sure they loved this!
 Jammin' with Grandma. 

 It's hard to see but Josh is doing the weather.  He loves maps and weather so this is right up his alley.  He watches the news in the morning for the sole purpose of seeing the maps.
Nate and Grandpa build a car and then raced it. 

I'm beyond thankful the boys have two sets of grandparents who love to do fun things with them.  It gives them great experiences at places that we don't always get a chance to take them.