Saturday, February 27, 2016

Family Fun - The Start of Nate's Birthday

This is the first year in several that Nate and/or I have not been so ill that we skipped his birthday.  (The poor kid!)  This year we were healthy and really enjoyed celebrating this wonderful 6 year old!

We started Nate's celebration week with a birthday party with the Munchkin and Princess.  The 17th was the last day they would both be at the house so we celebrated with cake and gifts. 

 The boys love getting to decorate their own cake for their "friend party".  Nate helped me make the cake - he picked out a carrot cake.  Which was just weird since this kid is so picky and won't eat any veggies.  Yet, he loves carrot cake.  And yes, the more sprinkles the better!
 Oh my, the candles.  He put 60 candles on his cake because, well, he is six.  Some of the candles were almost burned out by the time I got the last one lit!

 Time for gifts from his friends! 

He got a couple of matchbox cars and a rocket.  It was one that shot in the air with a foot pump.  We only lost it behind the desk once ;-)

I'm so thankful that he got to finally enjoy a fun start to his birthday! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Menu

So, the truth.  We've ate out a lot this past week - some planned; some not.  It started last Friday where my husband understand what a busy day I had and stopped to pick up some Fish and Chips at  a Fry Food take out place.  Saturday we ate at church; Sunday we ate out for Darryl's birthday; Monday night we ate out at after Gymnastics and Tuesday we grabbed fast food inbetween picking the truck up at the shop and running some errands.  Wednesday night I made dinner but Darryl didn't get home until almost 9:00 so he had already eaten.  Thursday night we ordered pizza thanks to a great promo from the local pizza place.  Get this - I cooked on Friday.  The chicken was raw so we couldn't eat it OR the veggies I had roasted in the same pan and then placed the raw, bloody chicken on top of.  I have no idea why it didn't cook either - it was in the oven at a high temp and I cooked it 15 minutes longer than the recipe called for UUUGG!

It gets better, I went to the grocery store on Friday but as I was driving I realized that I did not really look at the calendar before writing the menu/grocery list.  For one, I had planned corn dogs for Monday but realized we ate them for lunch on Thursday when everyone was home with a snow day.  I also forgot that we have a field trip on Tuesday AND I have a meeting that evening so I really need a crock pot meal.  Needless to say, I crossed off half the list and only bought what I need for Saturday and Sunday; I'll regroup based on what is in the freezer/cupboards and make a second run to the store on Sunday.  Or maybe we'll just eat out all week again ;-) HA!

Saturday - Today is a family birthday party so I just have to supply some party food - nothing big.  Keeping it simple.  I'm in charge of the cake and then I'm going to bring some Mexican Dip/Chips too.

Sunday - Lunch at church today so I'm just supplying green beans and a salad.  I'm not sure what we'll do for dinner. 

Monday-Friday - right now, I have no idea.  Some weeks! 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Family Fun - Family Christmas #1

One of our priorities during Christmas is family.  This includes our little family and our extended family  It is amazing how short the month of December is when you try to fit everything into that one month.  I learned a few years ago to take time in October, yes, October, and plan our holiday month to ensure that we do the traditions we love as a family and also have time to enjoy our other family too.

This year, one of our priorities was to visit my father-in-law and help him decorate for Christmas.  He lives alone so we knew that without a reason to put up a tree, he wouldn't do it.  My sister-in-law and her family came as well and this was a pretty special day.  This was the first time my Father-in-law had both of his kids and all of his grandkids over for Christmas in . .well, ever.  What a special day for him!  My sister-in-law and I bought all of the food to have a full Christmas Dinner (Turkey, Ham, Cheesy Potatoes, Salads, Veggies, Rolls and more)

 The boys love playing games with Aunt Kelly AND she loves playing with them which is awesome.
 Darryl and our nephew Levi had time to play guitar together - here Darryl is showing Levi some new things on the guitar.
 Good thing Levi was around - he had to go up in the attic in the garage and dig out the tree HA! 
 Where's Levi?
 There he is!

The boys got to decorate the tree - which they loved :-)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekly Menu

We had some great food this last week.  I actually enjoyed cooking and that makes eating more fun!  It's also fun when new recipes work out and that is what happened this week!  I'll be sharing those in the coming weeks.

Here's the plan for the coming week :-)

Saturday - We have a dinner at church followed by a night of music called Feasting with Praise.  We haven't been able to attend the last few years but are looking forward to being part of it this year.

Sunday - After church the boys and I have to run to a choir meeting so it will be an "eat in the car" lunch.  Then for dinner, Darryl gets to pick his birthday restaurant so we are heading out for Mexican food!

Monday - Today is Darryl's birthday and it is the big 5-0!  He's taking the day off because, well, that is a really big deal to the boys right now - to take your actual birthday off from work.  We are going to go out for dinner at Applebee's after gymnastics and, of course, enjoy some Carrot Cake with the birthday boy!

Tuesday - Slow Cooker Loaded baked Potato Soup and Rolls.  I quit making soups this winter because every time I did the temps went up to WAY before average.  So, get your swim suits out, I'm making soup HA!

Wednesday - Asian Sesame Sliders, Baked Beans and salad.  I haven't made these little sliders in a long time.  I'm ready for burgers so we'll go with these sliders for now until we can get the grill out again!

Thursday - Balsamic Chicken and Roasted Vegetables, Baked Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes and Biscuits

Friday - Chicken and Wild Rice Strudels and Antipasto Salad and Basil Dressing. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Teaching Tuesday

So, this semester my goal is to stay on top of all the extra stuff.  Journals, portfolio items, extra pages, plus holiday fun.  I've also let go of perfectionism and the need to finish every lesson each day.  Instead, I use our whiteboard to list what needs to be done each day.  It looks something like this:

Josh - LL 9:00 (Live Lesson)
Write 1 journal
Complete 5 lessons

Nate - LL 10:00
Write ABC sheet
Finish Art Project
Complete 5 lessons

By doing this, it gives me a focus and allows them to see what they have done as we mark items off. 

Another goal I have is for the boys to attend as many of their live lessons as possible.  I'm finding that the teachers are using the Live Lessons to give assignments or explain assignments in the upcoming lessons which is different than fist semester. 

Last week we accomplished quite a bit . We wrote out lots and lots of Valentines, Nate had an animal report to complete, Josh wrote journals, memorized word lists, and worked on reading.  Plus Live Lessons and regular lessons.

I need to take some more lessons of the boys working but every time I head to get my camera out, someone needs me!! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Make It Monday - Valentine's Fun

My boys love Valentine's Day.  Since we homeschool, last year we sent Valentine's to family members.  Needless to say, they wanted to do it again (and they are going out tomorrow . . .a few days late!).  We also had some other opportunities this year, though.  Josh was able to fill out Valentine's for his on-line class and send them in to be sent on to classmates.  His teacher let us know that the envelopes of Valentines were being sent out so we should get those on Tuesday.  PLUS, this year, I took extra meds (HA!) and decided to take the boys to the Co-Op Group Valentine Party.  We did this like 3 years ago and I almost had a nervous breakdown due to the sheer chaos of the party.  Such disorganization - I packed the boys up and left.  This year, I figured they were old enough to do much more on their own so we went.  They were thrilled.  They filled out more Valentines (I swear, I spent about $3000.00 on Valentine's this year.  Ok, not really, but we bought a lot - good thing they are cheap!) I made our box .. .secretly . . with no help . . to save my sanity.  And I signed up to bring fruit cups so I didn't have to cook or worry about anything food related - I just bought applesauce cups :-)  I DID make our family Valentine's and was very happy with my creativity :-)

Don't you just love it???  HA!  Now, I can't take credit for this - my best creativity comes from other people so you can find this idea over at Our Thrify Ideas

 There was a compitition for the best decorated box.  I thought ours was pretty good - it included some pink heart flower picks all along the sides (the kids took those) and two Valentine balloons - again, confiscated by the boys.  BUT there were some UNREAL boxes at the party.  R2D2's, Lego Boxes, Minecraft, and more.  The boys have already told me that they want to decorate our box next year so they can win. HA!

Just a sample of the 47 8 boxes of Valentines we bought.  Yes, e.i.g.h.t. boxes. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Weekly Menu

I can always tell when our days are full because I blog less.  By the time I sit down at night, I'm done.  We've been focusing on school work and Valentines so we've been busy!

I have some great cookbooks.  The Pioneer Woman and Taste of Home (I buy their yearly cookbook each year!) but I seldom open them.  I decided that I needed to pull them out and start trying some recipes.  We are getting tired of all of our old standbys and even as I've made some of those old favorites, we've found that we don't love them anymore and need new choices.  Or maybe I'm just tired of cooking :-) haha

Here's the plan for this week:

Saturday - We have enjoyed going out to dinner the last few Saturdays.  It's a great way to get out of the house for a few hours plus I don't have to cook :-)

Sunday - It's Valentine's Day!  Pan-Fried, Marinated Steaks, Sweet Potatoes/Baked Potatoes in the Crock Pot, Steakhouse Salads (w/Blue Cheese Dressing!) and, because I want to show love to everyone in the family, Mac and Cheese :-)  We'll have Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Sticky Cherry Cake for Dessert.  This is a mix of old a new - Some Pioneer Woman Recipes and some that we already love.

Monday - Tonight is one of those nights where I have too many places to be.  The boys have gymnastics and I have to be at a meeting.  So, simple, simple.  I'll leave Hot Dogs/Corn Dogs for the boys to all eat after Gymnastics.

Tuesday - Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Thighs (something new from Pinterest), Buttered Noodles, and Roasted Carrots. This main dish recipe comes from Pinterest.  Chicken Thighs are cheap right now so its a great time to try out new recipes.

Wednesday -  Honey Onion Chicken, French Fries and Pickles. This is a recipe from my recipe book - I'm trying to cook through my recipes to weed out the ones we don't love anymore.

Thursday - BBQ Ribs, Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad, Rolls. We love ribs.  This is a new recipe from All

Friday - Baked Cranberry Meatballs, Crab Wonton Cups, and Layered Greek Dip. I'm on the hunt for new snacks so I used the Taste of Home Cookbook to pick out some new things to try.  I'll probably have frozen pizza for the boys. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Family Fun - A Visit to Santa

We have a great thing locally - a "Santa House" with a registered Santa and Mrs. Claus.  It's a great set up and it is all free.  The boys look forward to going and this year, it wasn't even cold :-)

 Waiting in line - there are "Elves" who hand out cloth snowballs to use in some games.

 Josh has no issue with going right up to Santa, sitting on his lap and sharing his life story with him.
 Nate, on the other hand, makes it as far as the door and stops so this is the way we take a "Santa Photo" :-)
All the kids got red noses this year :-)

And one other event on December 12th:

Josh lost his first tooth.  Nate accidentally elbowed him in the mouth and knocked it out (it was loose).  Josh was a little shocked by the whole thing and didn't want anyone to know.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekly Menu - It's Superbowl Time!

This is the time of year that we love to hate . .. It's Superbowl time.  We love all of the hype and fun but we hate that it is the end of Football!  One good thing . . the Olympics are coming :-)

Here's the plan for the coming week:

Saturday - We did not go to town last week so right now the plan is to go to town today.  There is a Home Depot workshop to attend, a Red Robin gift card to use, Christmas/Birthday gift cards to use at Toys R Us and probably a stop at Trader Joes and Krispy Kreme donuts. We'll still need to eat dinner so probably BBQ Cups and Fries - something super easy but something we love.

Sunday - Super Bowl!  After church - Alfredo/Spaghetti and Cheese Stuffed Meatballs.  (I love the meatballs because they cook in the crock pot while we are at church!) Of course, we'll have Super Bowl snacks.  I'm still totally on the fence on what to make.  I want easy, no prep work, very little clean up . .  so I'm not sure what I'll do!

Monday - Chicken and Stuffing in the Crock Pot, Salad, and Rolls

Tuesday - Baked Chicken Thighs, Mac and Cheese, and Green Beans

Wednesday - Tomato Basil Chicken and Salad

Thursday -Asian Sesame Sliders and Fries

Friday - Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Broccoli, and Rolls

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What We're Eating - Olive Bread

Olive Bread
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

I've had this recipe saved for awhile but just didn't try it.  I was trying out some new lunch recipes recently and, since I had olives on hand, decided to try out this bread.  I used canned Pillsbury french bread for the break (obviously, cooking the loaf before using it).  I was afraid that this bread was going to be weird since the recipe uses mayonnaise (that always freaks me out HA!) but it reminded me of a pizza with olives without the sauce.  I really enjoyed it and plan to make it again.  The link above shares about how to flash freeze the bread so you could make it in advance and cook it on different days.

  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 6 ounces, weight Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives
  • 6 ounces, weight Black Olives
  • 2 stalks Green Onions (scallions)
  • 1 stick Butter, Room Temperature
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 pounds Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Roughly chop both black olives and pimiento-stuffed green olives. Slice green onions into thin pieces.

Combine butter, mayonnaise, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise. Bake at 325ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.

Mixture can also be refrigerated (up to two days) and used as a dip. Great with crackers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Teaching Tuesdays -

Image result for Winter Semester

So, we have started the second semester . . .technically.  Second semester started last week, Tuesday.  The boys were visiting Papa and Nana and came home on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I finally felt like I can put everything "back together" - there was still stuff  not unpacked and put away from Christmas.  For Real.  So, I spent the day going from room to room and putting everything thing back in its rightful place.  The boys did educational things - built Legos, configured a race track and figured out how to get the electric cars working.  On Friday, we had our Co-Op so things were busy and, quite honestly, I was ready to get back into the grind.

Now, the scheduler is run to reflect that we started classes yesterday.  We have our goals for sight words, Josh has a book to record, Nate has January writings to finish and February writings to start, Josh has a writing assignment to do plus we have Valentines to write and sent in for his classmates.  Not to mention live lessons, gymnastics, AWANA, and Tae Kwon Do.

We have an ultimate goal (Ok, I have a goal)  to be 90% done with school by May 1st.  I'd like to have every subject completely done with Art, Science, Social Studies, and Technology leaving just Math and Reading.  Those two subjects I don't mind working on throughout May but I'd like to be done with those before Memorial day.  I know that once the weather gets nice - the boys want to be outside and that is one of the privileges of homeschool - getting to enjoy the weather!

With that said, we are busy working this week to stay current and maybe get ahead :-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Goals

Can you believe that January has FLOWN by! I saw a post on Facebook that said something about letting February count as the first of the year HA!  I kinda like that though - we all start January 1st with high hopes yet our fridges are still full of leftovers, the Christmas gifts are put away, and, in some cases, there are still Christmas parties happening.  Really, February should be the start of the goal year. I did accomplish some things on my list but had hoped to get more done.  That's ok, February is here and I'm hoping to accomplish more this coming month. This is what is on my radar for the next month:

February 2016 Goals
1.     Keep current with the Women in the Bible Bible Reading (I'm actually a little behind and need to play catch up)
2.    Find a Scripture memory program that will work for me – 1 verse a week
3.    Memorize with the family the church verse of the month and review January’s verse
4.    Read “life and soul” books
a.    The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
b.    The Power of a Positive Mom
c.    That’s My Son
d.    Taming the To Do List
5.    Stay Current in the Book Study – “Lies Women Believe”
6.    Create a Prayer Journal – See ideas in Pinterest Folder for Inspiration
1.     Walk/Ride Bike for 30 minutes, 5 days a week - hopefully the weather will cooperate more this month
a.    Incorporate the Couch to 5K program already printed
2.    Do the arm workout (printed from Pinterest already) based on what it says to do
3.    Begin working on Clean Eating.  Focus on getting rid of processed foods and focus on healthier eating all day (Please note, we will never be "clean eaters" but we would like to eat a little healthier!)
a.    First goal is my breakfasts – I want a basic rotation of 4-5 meals to cook throughout the month
b.    Second Goal – Snacks.  Have a list/on hand items for three basic snacks each day – morning, afternoon, and evening
c.    Third Goal – lunch. 
d.    Fourth Goal – Dinners – each week add another meal (Week 1 – plan 2 meals that are considered clean, Week 2, Plan 3 meals etc)
4.    Get Nate to eat one new food this month
1.     Finish Scrapbooking all of 2014 and put in an album
2.    Scrapbook January and February 2015
3.    Scrapbook January 2016
4.    Order next set of pages from Scrapping Simply
5.    Order one months worth of photos
6.    Go Through 4 years of photo albums and make sure they are complete – add any photos, journaling, page protectors that need to be added by month end
1.     Continue with the Monthly Savings for adults and kids
2.    Put $20.00 in envelopes for clothing items for each of us ($80.00 total)
3.    Track Darryl’s income Daily
4.    Put together January’s spreadsheet (Income/Expense record) and file accordingly
House Goals
1.     Follow the Declutter 365 February calendar and also do the January calendar
2.    Basement
a.    This month I want it done. 
b.    Clean the laundry room completely including cleaning out anything that doesn’t bring me joy (Like the broken washer haha)
c.    Clean out the play room side completely including purchasing the last of the flooring pieces, organizing the books and other items on the shelves and toys
d.    Finish the main area
                                          i.    Get 1-2 more shelving units  and organize the bins
                                        ii.    Get see through containers ($6.00 each at Meijer) that fit on the shelves and move stuff into those for easy access
                                       iii.    Move all of the unneeded, unloved, not used stuff to one area in the Basement out of the way so we can have a garage sale in the spring
                                       iv.    As always, go around the room and get rid of anything we haven’t used since moving in
                                         v.    Totally sanitize the floors and buy a long rug (or watch for one and get it eventually to run from door to shelving
                                       vi.    Purchase a bigger dehumidifier -- or at least begin saving for it
3.    Kitchen
a.    Again, this month this needs to be done with deep cleaning
b.    Finish going through every cupboard and drawer and clean out the stuff, wipe them down, ect.
c.    Clean, really clean, all appliances
d.    Make a list of things I want done this year (Specifically a backsplash and the floor)
e.    Do all of the extra deep clean stuff like wiping down baseboards, windows, lights, etc.
4.    Master Bedroom – it stinks
a.    Go through every clothing item and clean out what doesn’t bring us joy
b.    Clean out everything in the closet and make it more user friendly
c.    Set up Darryl’s side differently like without the stand . . .maybe a small chair??
d.    Clean the carpet so it doesn’t stink anymore
e.    Do all of the normal deep cleaning stuff like wiping down walls, baseboards, cleaning the fan, etc.  I want it to smell pretty and not be cluttered once done
5.    Dining Room
a.    Do all touch up painting (need to buy a small thing of paint)
b.    Clean up the homeschool stuff on the walls – what do we need and not need?
c.    Rehang the photos so they are neat looking and even
d.    Do normal deep cleaning
e.    Get some new curtains or valances for the window
6.    Make a brainstorming list for the summer AND a time frame to get stuff done
7.    Get IKEA shelving to use in the Living room ( behind door), playroom (Closet) and maybe the boys room (better lego storage/access.)
a.    Measure all areas,
b.    Search the IKEA website for planning purposes
c.    Go to IKEA
d.    Set up all shelving
8.    Clean out the upstairs filing cabinet.
All about Me!
1.     Purchase new clothing Item – Looking specifically for shorts for the summer
2.    Buy Something each month project – Chapstick and Pens
3.    Paint my fingernails weekly
4.    Paint my toenails once this month
5.    Send cards and small gift once each baby is born
6.    Send Alicia and Marisa birthday cards
7.    Pinterest
a.    Print 10 items/do items/file items from February
8.    Find a cooking class for me (free) and see if I can attend
9.    Learn how to do makeup better by watching You Tube Videos – I want to do Foundation/cover up/eye  pick ups
10.  Make Sunday’s better
a.    Make sure the kitchen is cleaned up on Saturday evening so that it is clean and ready for Sunday
b.    Pick out clothes – specifically the boys and I.  Make sure we have everything we need
c.    Pack the church bag – bibles, pens, notebooks, offering etc
d.    Do any prep for food – i.e. put roast in the pan and have it ready for the oven, have noodles out on the counter, ect.  Also, if possible set the table or at least have the dishes on the table ready to finish when we get home
The Family
1.     Plan Summer Activities
a.    Make al list for each week of a park to go to, an away from home activity, a food to make and a craft PLUS writing, reading and math
2.    Plan Darryl’s birthday celebration
3.    Purchase Kid Items – need to get new rainboots (Website from Karla)
4.    Put the fish tank together before V-Day and get fish for V-day
5.    Sign up for Swimming Lessons
6.    Sign up for T-ball/Base ball
7.    Create a chore/routine chart for the boys and incorporate it
8.    Plan our Metro Beach Trip
9.    Decorate for V-day (First week)
10.  Plan V-day activities
11.  Take the boys to Home Depot on the first Saturday of the month
12.  Hang up the Lighthouse map in the boys room
13.  Work on vacation
a.    Plan and complete everything needed (maps, travel books, ect) for days 1-3
1.     Make a folder/printout lists of books for both the boys and me to read
2.    Build an older library for the boys – begin purchasing 4-5 books a month
3.    Practice piano songs for February and March
4.    Practice song for March
5.    Sight words – review and master with each of the boys.  Need to work on target area for the boy
6.    Find basic Primer Piano book and start teaching Josh specifically
Joyful Thanksgiving
1.     Read “Longing for Paris”
2.    Find resources on how to discipline, teach and train using veres and biblical examples
3.    Pick out this months Joyful Thanksgiving verse and learn it as a family
Other Items
1.     File Taxes
2.    Clean out truck
3.    Change Flag