Monday, June 29, 2015

Make It Monday- Fourth of July Ideas

4th of July T-shirts Easy and fun for kids to make themselves. 

Several weeks ago, I created a Board on Pinterest with Ideas for Fourth of July with high plans to work on the crafts and do some fun things.  Well, tomorrow starts the week before the Fourth and guess what, I haven't planned anything HA! 

For example, these great little t-shirts (I'm still hoping to do these on Wednesday with the kids I babysit too . . )

 4th of July Craft for Kids...easy jar candle for outdoor decoration or kids' night light. My toddler and preschooler loved making these!

 Or these great jars that could be used with a candle or with a nightlight in the kids room.

Fun idea for any kind of lawn painting ... not just stars!!! Even Happy Birthday would be cute!!My husband just mowed the back yard so spray painting this in the yard - while it's the perfect time. (But first I must spray for mosquitos!!  Uuuggg!)

 Fireworks made with a Fork and craft paint, quick and easy craft ideas for kids, 4th of July art projects #JULY4th, #fireworks, #KidCraftsMy kids love to paint so these would make a fun craft this week too.

These Red, white, and blue 4th of July Firecracker Jell-O Cups will be the hit at your Independence Day celebrations. Super simple layers of Jell-O in small cups with a cherry on top to resemble a firecracker.We are going to my in-laws on Saturday to watch Fireworks from their boat . .. I might make these to take for the picnic.  Josh loves Jello and I know these would be a big hit.

Fourth of July Crafts: Tissue Paper Flag SuncatcherI'd also like to try and get these made this week.  The boys love the flag right now so this would be a pretty easy and fun craft to do. 

4th of july decorations | Amazing-Table-Decorations-for-the-Fourth-of-July_08
This looks fun for the picnic too.  I tend to keep cupcakes simple (In other words, use a box mix) but love to do stuff with the topping to make them fun.  My boys love cupcakes so . .. .

If I do any of these things ;-)  I'll be sharing them in future weeks on Monday! 

(Click on the link to my Pinterest board at the top of the page to find links for all of these items)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekly Menu

Happy July.  (Almost).  We just put the A/C units in last week; we've had an F-1 Tornado touch down less than 15 miles from our house and do significant damage; my kids came home from a fun few days with Papa and Nana; I've read a lot of books lately.  That's our life.  HA!

I'm kinda bored with the kitchen so I thought this week I would scour my pinterest board and pick some recipes that I thought sound good and go for the gold and make a new recipe every single night.  I might regret this or we might get some new favorites!

Saturday - We usually eat out on Saturday but I might actually cook.  I'm planning French Toast Sticks and Crescent Sausage Bites with Fruit/Applesauce. Or, we'll go out for Pizza with the boys T-Ball certificates :-)

Sunday - Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, green beans and biscuits.

Monday - Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snow peas.  Rice and store bought egg rolls (I've made my own before but they take a lot of work . .. )

Tuesday - Chicken Carbanara w/ Garlic bread

Wednesday - Meatloaf in the Crock Pot, Baked Garlic Potato Slices, Zucchini Frittatas, and Rolls. 

Thursday - Low Country Boil (In the crock pot).  and Rolls (and probably Mac and Cheese for the kids)

Friday - tacos!!

I also plan on trying out Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes and Broken Glass Jello. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What We are Eating- Honey Marinated Fish

Honey Marinated Fish 
adapted from No Gojis No Glory

Since the kids are gone this week I wanted to make something new that was more for Darryl and I.  This recipe for Honey Marinated Fish actually calls for Cod Fillets but I had the privilege of cleaning out my sister-in-laws freezer before they moved out of state and she had a bag of frozen Mahi Mahi so I used that instead.  The marinade has great flavor - I would absolutely make this again! 

  • 4, 6-oz black cod fillets (aka sablefish)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup toasted sesame seed oil
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped ginger
  1. Combine all ingredients (except for fish) in a medium-sized airtight mixing bowl. Add cod and marinate for 24 hours. If possible, flip half way through marinade time to allow even flavor distribution.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F; prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove cod from marinade and bake on the center rack for 7-9 minutes, until cod is opaque and flakes easily.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teaching Tuesday - I have no idea what we did . . .

As I'm getting ready to write this post I'm kind of at a loss - trying to remember what we did this past week.  It seems like last week was eon's ago.  So, I went back through my photos from the week and this is what we did:


A little preview - I took the boys to a "Touch the Truck" event in our town where they got to get inside all kinds of fun trucks!

 We went to the beach. In the fog.  Heavy, heavy fog.  I've never seen anything like it!  It was a great teaching moment of how the fog is created.  We also were able to talk about the different safety flags that are flown concerning swimmer safety.

 We played with lots and lots of bubbles.
 We took lots of hikes and bike rides.
And walked out to see the boats come in (and out) of the channel.


The boys had their final T-ball game of the season.  It was awesome to see how much they have improved.

Thursday -
One of the cocoon's opened up and the boys got to see their moth.  They were also able to let it go and watch it learn to fly.  It was really quite awesome. 

Friday -
The boys created.  They pulled out the Lincoln Logs and built creations for hours.

Saturday -
We helped pack up my brother and his family . .or maybe the boys just played and played  .. either way, they had fun.

I guess we did a whole lot!  We may not have cracked a "book" but there was a lot of lessons learned! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Make It Monday - Sidewalk Paint

Last week I gave a photo tease of what I would actually be making and yes, I actually did it!  I came across the idea over at Growing a Jeweled Rose and it is so super easy!

Squirt Bottles
Baking Soda
Food Coloring

Very simply, take equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch and add it to the bottle.  (I use a rough three tablespoons of each).  Than, add food coloring.  Obviously the more you use, the more intense the color.  Finally, fill the rest of the bottle with water and . . shake!  Shake hard and for a minute or so - make sure that the powdered ingredients are mixed well.   Make as many colors as you want but also fill one bottle for each child with Vinegar.  Once they have squirted their paint, they can then squirt it with vinegar and watch the reaction.

I found these bottles on Amazon.  I checked out the Dollar Store and Walmart and couldn't find any clear squirt bottles. . .. probably next week, I'll find them for $1.00 everywhere HA! 

 Our campsite was quickly taken over with wonderful designs.  My boys tend to play wild and crazy when something new is introduced so when I first gave them the paint, they just squirted it everywhere.  Later we made more and then they actually worked on making actual pictures. 

 Here, Josh is using the vinegar to cause the fizz to happen. 

The bottles :-) 

I was a little worried that the color wouldn't wash off the sidewalk but, we got a good rain on Monday night that washed it all away so, for the record, it will all wash off with water! 

Next time, I would add the baking soda and cornstarch to the bottles before we leave for camping - it was super messy to fill the bottles outside not to mention having to carry huge boxes of each item. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Family Fun - Campin Trip One

We had the wonderful opportunity on Memorial Day weekend to go on our first camping trip of the season AND we were able to camp along side my Aunt and Uncle.  This was a HUGE help to us because they are well-seasoned campers.  My Uncle Dick was able to give us a million pointers on setting up our pop-up and taught us so much.  I told him that we were going to pack him up and take him with us each time we camp HA!  My aunt also threw out lots of ideas - many of which I've already put into place or are on my "to do" list. 

We camped extremely close to home (the advantage to having a state park just a few miles from home!)  The advantage was being able to leave the dog at home and being able to run home to take showers :-) It also gave me the freedom to go home for anything we had forgotten. 

Here are a few highlights from our first trip!

Our camper all set up :-) 

 The boys were finally able to go fishing!  The first time we went out (in the first photo) we had just baited the hooks when the skies opened up in a downpour.  We were soaked!  We went out later and each of the boys caught a fish (Ok, Darryl and I each caught a fish HA!)  We were able to get Nate's in a photo (above) but Josh's broke the line - it was HUGE. 
 It rained off and on during the day on Monday but it didn't stop Nate.  He loved the rain - even drinking it off the canopy.

 Blowing bubbles - a very favorite activity!
 And, riding bikes.  The boys loved the freedom of being able to ride between our site and my Aunt/Uncle's site.  I think they spend more time at their site than ours.  :-)

 And the fire . .. Nate loved the fire and loved helping with the fire.

It was really a great trip and prepared us well for our upcoming trips!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekly Menu

We had a fabulous time camping.  And I feel like my fridge and cupboards are feeling the brunt of summer.  Not that they are empty, they aren't.  It's the opposite.  I have odds and ends of food items in the freezer, cupboards and fridge from meals we didn't eat that were planned but life got in the way.  Usually my fridge is near empty by Saturday but this week it is near . .. full.  It's just weird.  This next week is another "odd" one so the plan is pretty simple . . or maybe just not planned!

Saturday - The boys and I will be at my parents helping my brother and his family as they prepare to pull out in the moving truck on Sunday for South Carolina.  Darryl has to work all weekend so I've left soup and chili behind for him (He is in the middle of having a root canal done so super easy food to eat is all he wants!) 

Sunday - The boys and I are hanging out at my parents until after lunch.  The plan is the boys are staying at my parents for a few days.  So for dinner Sunday night - I have no idea HA!  Soup? Mac and Cheese?  I'm just not sure.

Monday - I'm realizing how hard it is to plan meals that are easy to eat is not fun HA!  I found a recipe on pinterest for a new fish recipe that I might try.  And rice is always good along with some green beans.

Tuesday - I'm hoping we can go out - to our favorite Mexcian restaurant.  Darryl likes the cheese enchiladas . . .and those are soft :-)

Wednesday - The kids will be home.  The plan is pork chops on the grill, mac and cheese, applesauce, and green beans

Thursday - Beef Tips and Noodles and Biscuits.  (I can make the Beef in the crock pot!)

Friday - Guess what night is back?  It's Taco Night!!  T- ball is done so we are back to our normal schedule. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What We are Eating - Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs . .. in the Crock Pot

Crock Pot Stuffed Meatballs. 
adapted from Creme de la Crumb

In an effort to use my crock pot more this summer in order to avoid heating up the kitchen, I found this recipe for Stuffed Meatballs.  Well, this was a huge success.  My husband raved about them!  He said he would rather have them with just some great sauce and some hearty bread then even with spaghetti!  This would make a great dish for a potluck because the meatballs only need to cook for about 3 hours . . .then you could just add the sauce right to the crock pot and people could enjoy the fabulous taste!  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (panko or regular, Italian seasoned or plain)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 mozzarella cheese sticks (string cheese)
  • marinara or alfredo sauce, for dipping
  1. Chop each cheese stick into half inch pieces (about 6-8 pieces for each cheese stick). Place on a plate and chill in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Add ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and egg yolk, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to a bowl. Mush the ingredients together with your hands until everything comes together.
  3. Remove cheese from freezer. Scoop out about 4 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll into a ball. Gently push a piece of chilled mozzarella into the middle of the meatball. Roll the ball in your hands to cover the hole where the mozzarella cheese was pushed in. Place inside a greased slow cooker and repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
  4. When all meatballs are in the slow cooker (*see note for alternate cooking method), cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or on low 3-4 hours until meat it cooked through (no longer pink). The cheese may start melting out of the meatballs, that's okay.
  5. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of fresh chopped parsley or dried Italian seasoning for garnish and serve with your favorite marinara or alfredo sauce for dipping. Enjoy!
*For a quicker method, the meatballs can be baked. Follow directions to make meatballs, but instead of placing in the slow cooker, place meatballs 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until browned and cheese is melty.
**These can also be made ahead and frozen! Prepare the meatballs as instructed in the recipe but instead of putting them straight into the slow cooker (or the oven if baking), just place them side by side in a zip lock bag ( you may need two), seal and place in the freezer. When ready to cook them, follow recipe instructions and increase cooking time slightly to allow for thawing.
*This recipe makes about a dozen large meatballs. This works great for an appetizer or side dish. If you want to use this for a main dish, I'd recommend doubling the recipe to be safe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Teaching Tuesdays - Haivng Fun

This is the first week that the munchkin has been out of school so, with that in mind, I knew that we had to do something to break up the long afternoons.  Our week was filled with fun and a little review!

Our week started with a first - only Nate was home on Monday.  Josh stayed with my parents an extra day.  Due to a very late night home on Sunday night, Darryl took an unplanned day off and we did some things around the house/yard.  One of those things was mowing the grass and I love this photo.  Nate loves to walk in Darryl's footsteps when he mows.  I looked outside and saw a "game" of follow the leader. 

We also set up the pool.  The boys were all beyond excited to get to play in it on Tuesday afternoon.  This came after we did some review pages of course! 

On Wednesday, the boys played in the pool from 10:30 AM (because that is the earliest I would let them get in it or they would have gone in at 9:00!) until 4:00 PM.  They scarfed down their lunch in 10 minutes so they could get back outside.

Thursday we did some review pages and then on Friday, we did an art project about Plant Needs and Parts of a Plant. 

 Nate's very neat work!  He kept asking me if I liked "how proper" he was doing his work.  (This was because the other two boys did some scribbling in a race to get done first!)
 We also read this book - it's awesome!  The boys were totally engrossed in the rhyme, the photos, and the names of all of the bugs and flowers on each page.

Josh's work of art. 

The boys did finally plant our "garden" on Saturday.  I will admit to a total garden fail this year.  We had such a cool/cold spring that I put off putting in plants so they wouldn't freeze and then we just weren't home on any weekends.  The boys finally picked out their seed packs when we were at the store and planted them totally unsupervised.  I'm just hoping they sprout and but I doubt we will actually get anything to pick this year. Oops :-)