Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Fun - The End of 2016

How depressing is that title?  The end of 2016 HA!  Really, it's just the end of summer fun.  I was thinking back through this summer and came up with this list of things:

1) Vacation Bible School - two different times.
2) Trips to the park
3) Swim Lessons
4) Swimming
5) Hayrides
6) Camping with Nana
7) Camping with Mom and Dad
8) Movies
9) Ice Cream
10) The Beach
11) Slip-n-Slide Fun
12) Staying up late
13) The Olympics
14) Catching a toad

I'm sure I missed some things too.  It really comes down to the simple fact that the boys had a fun, busy summer.  They were so busy at times that they complained of being tired.  They slept until 9:00 (or later) some days.  They stayed up until midnight (or tried to) a few days. They caught bugs, toads, and crickets and planted a weed garden on Nana's picnic table.  This summer was nothing like I was originally planning back in March but, really, it turned out much more relaxed and fun. 

So now, this coming week we start to transition from Summer Fun to Fall Fun which includes school.  :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Family Fun - Leaping and Games

February brought Leap Year!  I saw a great idea where you take a photo of the kids "leaping" in the air.  Well, back when I took my photography class a few years ago I knew how to get the motion shot but I couldn't remember how to do the settings exactly so this was my attempt.  The idea is to do this every leap year and it will show how much the kids have grown.

Obviously we needed more light.  I've worked on this skill since then and have gotten some other "leaping photos"

The boys love to play games, especially with Darryl.  They got Clue Jr for Christmas and finally got a chance to play it with their dad. 

They also love to build and I usually have to take photos of their creations before they knock them down.  They were busy building with their Lincoln logs and created a whole ranch.  It was pretty cool.  And so were these cool kids.

Of course, sometimes I just take pictures of our cat.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekly Menu - Its time to camp again

We are heading out on another camping weekend.  This is what I learned the last time we camped about a month ago.  I don't want to cook. For real.  I felt like I spent so much time prepping, cooking and cleaning up it just took some of the fun away.  So, I'm doing it a little differently this time - keeping it simple.  The other thing I'm doing is shopping when we get in town.  This is two fold.  One, I'm only taking our electric cooler this time - we used it last time and loved it.  It is so much easier to use without having to dig through ice. Two, we are leaving early in the morning to head to a church over an hour away where my husband is doing a concert (well 2) that morning.  I don't have the cooler space to use for the food!  I am taking our small cooler with ice to house the things I already have on hand but space will be limited.

Friday - Taco Pizzas, Beans and Rice (I never made this last week)

Saturday -Beefy Noodle Casserole, Salad and Garlic Bread, (A carry over from last week too)

Sunday - Camping Day One. Lunch - out; Dinner - Hot Dogs (over the fire so no clean up!), Chips and Dip, and a store bought salad.

Monday - Camping Day Two. Breakfast: Cereal (no cooking!); Lunch - out; Dinner - Steak Kabobs (for real over the fire so no clean up!), Chips and Dip and Store bought salad

Tuesday - Camping day three:  Breakfast:  Cereal; Lunch - On the road on the way home; Dinner - Chicken Quasidillas, Rice and Chips at home!

Wednesday - Dinner with my mom :-)

Thursday - I haven't planned this far.  I'll need to go grocery shopping by this day so I'll plan accordingly.

Do you realize that this Menu ends on SEPTEMBER 1ST!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pizza Grilled Cheese

Pizza Grilled Cheese 
adapted from Kirbie Cravings
I have always loved a good grilled cheese sandwich.  My kids, not so much.  I mean, really??  So, I don't tend to make them often.  I came across a recipe for a pizza grilled cheese and had to try it especially since pizza is my favorite food (I could seriously eat it every. single. day.) It's a pretty simple sandwich and it was very good.  Next time I would put a little more pizza sauce on it than I did (I was afraid it would be soggy) and use more ingredients!  I just had bacon in the fridge to add to it but any of your favorite toppings would be good.  If you use veggies, though, I would saute your veggies first or they will just be crunchy! 

Bread - the better the bread the better the sandwhich
Butter spread
Mozzarella cheese - either shredded or slices
Pepperoni or your favorite toppings
Pizza sauce

I'm not sure I really need to give directions so I'll just tell you what I did.  Buttered one slice of bread and placed it in the pan.  Then I put some cheese on it and my toppings, and more cheese.  Turn the heat on under the pan - keep it low so the cheese will have time to melt.  Then spread the pizza sauce on the other slice and lay it on top; butter the top side of the bread. 

This was really yummy and I plan on making it for myself for lunch often during the winter months!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Fun - August 15th

 This week we focused just on summer fun.  I don't even have great photos to share!  Now that swim lessons are done, the boys had more freedom to stay at the campground.  They went to Nana's on Sunday and finally came home on Thursday.  Then, guess what, they went back on Friday HA!  They loved their freedom at the campground where they got to take the dog for a walk around the park, got to go on a hayride on Friday night and, of course, we swam almost every single day.  A couple of the days we took the munchkin and princess with us and enjoyed hours of fun in the pool in the afternoon.  Other times we swam in the evenings.  Summer is winding down and we are just trying to soak it all in before Nana returns home and school takes up part of our days.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Playlist - Breathe

I love this song.  I love the way it begins in almost a double time and then . . .changes.  The verses reflect the words - a busy life; rushed days; falling behind; and then comes the reminder to just Breathe. 

This song just spoke to my heart over the past 6 months because so often I felt like I was a hamster running on a wheel; barely keeping the plates spinning.  The chorus says it all:

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Family Fun - Darryl's Birthday

This year the boys requested that Darryl take the day off work for his birthday so that they could enjoy the whole day with him.  The morning started with breakfast at McDonald's. 

Later in the day, we attended the boys parent "watch" night for their gymnastics class.

 After gymnastics, we took Darryl out to dinner at Applebees where he even got a free dessert (which Josh promptly ate.)
 Once we returned home, Darryl got to enjoy his gifts.  I didn't get a photo but I did get him 5 balloons to tie on the banister.  (5 for 50 years!) So, the boys and I had stopped on Saturday morning and picked out the balloons.  It was REALLY windy.  I got them to the truck but as I was tucking them in, I lost not one, not two, but THREE balloons!!  I was so stinkin' mad!  We had to race to AWANA games practice so after the practice we had to stop at the Dollar Star and buy THREE more.  All for the birthday boy!

 Gifts came next.  I tried to steer the boys toward gifts that Darryl would enjoy.  They bought him some of his favorite treats and some games. I got him a weekend away which was scheduled in April.
Finally came the cake.  And yes, there are 50 candles on that cake. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Weekly Menu

It's been a quiet, yet busy week.  Not busy as in rushing around but more just staying busy with things so I didn't get a chance to write this week like I usually do.  Instead I focused on swimming, cleaning and marking things off of the to do list. I usually try to do alot of writing on the weekend too so I'm ahead of the game but this past week was busy too :-)

It's hard to believe that August is winding down and we are quickly edging towards fall . .. school . . cooler days.  It's been a record setting hot summer so I am getting ready for those nice crisp fall days.  BUT I've also enjoyed the pool at the campground soooooo much that I'm not quite ready to lose the warm days for that yet!

Here's the plan for the coming week:

Friday - Sloppy Joes and French Fries

Saturday - I'm going to leave this open.  Darryl has a concert so we will be gone a good portion of the afternoon AND the concert is at a festival so I think we will eat fair food after his concert.  If it is cancelled due to rain, we will have to grab a pizza instead.

Sunday - Chick-Fil-Lay Sandwiches, Coleslaw, and Fries.

Monday - Cheesesteaks, Cabbage and Noodles, and Mac and Cheese

Tuesday - Beefy Noodle Casserole, Spaghetti,  and Salad

Wednesday - Darryl usually has practice so we have dinner with my mom

Thursday - Taco French Bread Pizza, Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos, Beans and Rice

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Fun - August 8

This past week, my kids hit their exhausted point.  They have been going strong since we went camping several weeks ago.  Super late nights, tons of swimming at the campground, really physical swim lessons (swimming 4-5 laps in the huge YMCA pool), and playing outside.  We were swimming at the campground one night and Josh said, "mom, I'm so tired, I just want to go home."  HA!

Our days were pretty much the same this week.  So I'll just share some photos.

 We finally broke out the Slippy Slide this week.  Our friends who I babysit bought this in the spring when I mentioned I wasn't putting a pool up but was just going to get some yard water toys to use instead.  At that point, the events hadn't unfolded which led to my mom being at the campground with the pool.  Since we swim almost every evening, this hasn't had much interest.  But, this week it was so incredibly hot that the boys wanted water fun all day long.  The second day they added bubbles to the slide and that was a big hit!
 Priceless.  The boys love to learn.  Here, they were listening to songs about the countries and capitals of the world. 

This was the last week of summer swim lessons.  They did some hard swimming this week but wow, what improvement.  They went from being afraid of the water to swimming without life jackets on and swimming underwater.  I'm planning to enroll them in lessons for the fall so we can keep up their skills.

The boys also got to enjoy their first real "friend" birthday party by attending the 6th birthday of their friend who I babysit.  It was at the local bowling alley and the boys where beside themselves with this opportunity!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Family Fun - Valentines Day

For our family, Valentines Day is just fun.  A few little gifts, dinner, fun treats and just hanging out.

 My three boys
 A few of their gifts - new t-shirts and highlighting books.
 Our favorite strawberries!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Weekly Menu

I decided to start printing recipes.  You know the ones - all of those recipes that get "pinned" but lost in a folder that gets to big and full of recipes.  I print a handful every few days and put them in a binder.  They are not in order and my basic plan is to try at least one recipe each week, just taking them in order from the binder.  This next week I pulled more than one and added them into the rotation.  I had gotten a little bored with the same stuff all of the time and these new recipes add some excitement and who knows, we might love them and . . .if not, you don't know unless you try, right?

Friday - Hot Dog Bar and Salad

Saturday - Burgers on the grill, Haluski (Fried Cabbage and Noodles)  and fries

Sunday - My mom is taking us out to lunch :-) 

Monday - Amish Breakfast Casserole, Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies, and Fruit

Tuesday - Slow Cooker Enchiladas and Mexican Rice

Wednesday -Dinner with my mom

Thursday - Ham and Cheese Pockets, Crock-pot cheesy green beans,  and Pasta Salad

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stir-Fy Beef Lo Mein

Stir-Fry Beef Lo Mein
adapted from Pocket Change Gourmet

After several weeks of doing very little cooking, I actually cooked a real dinner this past week and made this new recipe of Stir-Fry Beef Lo Mein.  It was really, really good.  Better than I expected it to be and is one of my favorite at-home Chinese meals I've ever made.  For the veggies, I used up some things in the fridge - Carrots, zucchini and mushrooms.  I added some frozen snow peas (they were less expensive than fresh) and water chestnuts.  I also just used regular spaghetti noodles since I knew my kids would rather eat spaghetti than a bunch of veggies.  This is a super easy, very quick, a tasty dinner!  I served it with a salad (again, using up stuff in the fridge) and a loaf of french bread. 

  • ½ pound Boneless Beef Sirloin Tip, sliced thinly (or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ each Orange, Yellow and Red Peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 (12 oz) bag Frozen Pea Pods
  • ½ pound noodles-spaghetti or linguine, cooked and drained
  • ¼ cup Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can bean sprouts, optional
  1. Cut and prepare meat and vegetables
  2. Boil noodles and drain
  3. Heat wok or skillet with oil
  4. Cook beef 2-3 minutes, just until lightly browned, just have to be cooked completely
  5. Add peppers and snow peas.Cook additional 3-4 minutes
  6. Mix together dressing, soy sauce, peanut butter and garlic. Add to beef mixture, stirring until well blended
  7. Mix in noodles and about ½ of the bean sprouts, if desired
  8. Cook until heated through, serve with additional bean sprouts if desired

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Cat in a Box

 Harley is our cat. 
He sat in a box
He sat in a box as quiet as a fox.
 Harley, or "Itty Bitty" as he is called by a boy
Tried to look just like a toy

 Then this little boy, who adores our cat
Put him in another box where he sat

 And sat and sat and sat
He was a very content cat

Harley, our happy cat. 

(for the record, I am not a poet HA!)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Fun - August 1st

It's August.  Wow.  This week revolved around camping and, you guessed it, swimming!

Monday and Tuesday - We enjoyed some wonderful days of camping.  The boys got to go mini golfing for the first time.  We also visited three different Lake Michigan beaches and had a wonderful time playing in the sand and water.

Wednesday - Thursday - We returned to swimming lessons again.  I'm amazing by the improvement of both boys.  Nate moved up a level and is in the same group as Josh and now both boys can swim without a life jacket on (as long as an adult is close by to help as they get tired) and they love to swim under water.

Friday - The boys have spent a lot of time this summer memorizing states and capitals and countries and capitals.  We've been discussing the Olympics too.  So, on Friday we enjoyed the opening ceremonies and seeing all of the different country flags as they entered the stadium.  Oh, and we made pudding dirt cups too. 

Also, with school just over a month away, we have started to do some review.  Reading and sight words are our main focus!!