Monday, July 31, 2017

Recap of July Goals

I wrote my July goals HERE and wanted to take a minute to go over what I did . . and I didn't do!

1. Reading - I've been posting about what I've been reading but I will say I didn't read as much as I wanted to read.  Need to work on that more in August.

2. Scrapbooking - the only thing I accomplished was getting our family photos done!  I just didn't have the quiet time to tackle any of the other projects.

3. Bible Study - I did a different Bible Study with a group of facebook friends on Romans.

4. The House -
     a. I recently wrote about returning to Flylady concepts - I'm slowly working on that.
     b. I am working on my picture wall in the living room - it's done yet but it will be soon.  The Living Room finish painting is planned for August and I will slowly get artwork as I find what I want.
     c.  The basement playroom is basically cleaned out and we did start some other cleaning out in the basement as well.
     d. I also (with the boys help) totally cleaned out the playroom and Darryl and I did a lot of work in the garage.

5. Family
    a.  We did go camping and had a great time
    b.  We did not make it to the free fair BUT instead we went to a fair while camping.
    c.  Still working on some details for our "anniversary" fun in August.

6. School
   a.  I returned the books to connections that I needed to (and we got the new ones for this coming year)
   b.  We did zero review HA!  The boys were reading every day up until about a week ago and then I let it slide.

So overall, I accomplished enough to make myself happy.  We are having a wonderful summer and really, that's all that matters!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Our Week in Photos - #6

Most of our week consisted of Camping. I shared photos in THIS post.  But here are a few more.

After getting home and unpacking, we surprised my mom Thursday evening with Frosty's and Josh stayed the night.
My mom's dog, Molly, absolutely loves Josh.  And, yes, Josh loves Molly too. 

Friday we had fun at Nana's decorating for "Christmas in July" and doing a few Christmas activities. 

It's been another busy, fun week.  We are loving summer so much this year!   

Friday, July 28, 2017

Weekly Menu

Can you believe that it is  (just about) August?  Holy Moly.  The summer is just flying by!  We are back from camping and sticking close to home.  As I sat down to write this coming weeks menu, I drew a blank.  I'm tired of planning . .. but we must eat so I must plan!

Friday - Tacos, Rice, Beans and Chips

Saturday - Chinese Chicken and Broccoli with rice

Sunday - French Dips (they were so good last time!), broccoli and rice casserole

Monday - Dinner at my Mom's with a campfire and smore's!

Tuesday - Pulled Pork Tenderlion, Fries, and veggies

Wednesday - I think Darryl will have practice and my mom doesn't have dog training on Wednesday's now so the boys and I will have dinner with my mom before swimiming (hopefully!)

Thurday - Balsamic Pork Loin, Mac and Cheese, and a veggie!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Camping Trip #2 - Fun, Food and Family

We just arrived home from our second camping trip yesterday!  It was a pretty perfect trip with great weather, new friends, and lots of fun!

Darryl had to work on Sunday (to make up for days missed due to unplanned emergency dental surgery!) so here comes the first "first".  I had to drive the truck, pulling the pop-up to meet Darryl in Grand Rapids.  I have never pulled anything with a vehicle but, I did it.  We survived and now we know that Darryl can work on the day we are leaving and I can meet him in town.  Granted, I refused to drive it through downtown and all of the interchanges - I left that up to the professional driver . . .my husband HA!

Sunday - We arrived in South Haven at the State Park in the midst of heavy humidity.  That's not fun for set up!  But, we did it.  This is one of the boys favorite places to camp because there is a huge playground right by the site we pick and they make instant friends.  I had planned a simple meal with some new recipes:

D: The perfect picnic sandwich and Ranch Bacon Pinwheels.

Well, they were awful HA!  Two of the worst sandwiches I've ever tasted.  Good thing we had Hot Dogs to roast over the fire later!

Here's a few of my camping tips from Sunday:
1) When using an electric cooler (which I love - no ice!), plug it in the day before so it's already cooled down.  Then, keep a few items for later in the trip frozen and place those in the cooler to help keep it cold.  Add all of your cold food just before leaving and it will stay cold until you can get it plugged in again!
2) We use our ice cooler for drinks - if possible, make sure the drinks are cold before putting them in the cooler otherwise the first two bags of ice you put in the cooler will melt very quickly as they warm up the drinks :-)
3) Sandwiches are a great meal for the first evening - just make sure that they are sandwiches you like!
4) Lunchables - best camping food ever for kids.  They are perfect for the first night to keep things easy and also for any other meal to keep the kids happy and fed!

Once we were set up on Sunday, Darryl got a great campfire going so we could roast hot dogs.  Honestly, the kids played with their new friends until it was time for showers and bedtime.

Monday - This was our quiet day.  The boys were up and out of the camper before we were so they could meet up with friends at the park.  Darryl and I enjoyed a quiet breakfast while they played.

 Josh convinced Darryl to push them on the Merry-Go-Round. 

 Notice all of the kids? 
 This little girl and Nate became fast friends - so much, in fact, that they exchanged phone numbers and have talked already on the phone. 
Why yes, we do bring some electronics when we camp.  They don't use them very often but they are great to have for quiet time and also when it rains. 

After lunch, we loaded up and headed to the beach for the afternoon. 
 This was our first visit to this beach and we didn't realize how rocky it would be.  The boys didn't mind though.  It was a " Red Flag" day due to the huge waves.  The boys were able to enjoy them close to shore.  
 (Yes, they did put life jackets on to play in the water!) They also loved digging in the sand. 
 Nate and his rock tower.  The rocks were, for the most part, all flat and round so they boys worked on building these cool towers. 
 Josh and his tower. 
Nate is my beach baby - he loves the beach and would stay all day if we let him.  

After the beach, we returned to the campground for more playing and relaxing. 

B: McMaster Sausage McMuffins and Hard Boiled Eggs
L: Sloppy Joes, Potato salad and chips
D: Steak Kabobs, Salad and chips
AND, Smores after dinner! 

Tuesday - This was our super busy day!  We left the campground at 10:30 and got home at around 9:30. 

We started out at a Blueberry Farm and picked our own Blueberries.  Now, lets keep it real - I hate picking fruit but Josh loves Blueberries so we thought it would be a good experience for the boys to picked some and they both liked the experience.  
After picking our berries, we drove around South Haven, which we love, before stopping for lunch at Maria's - one of our favorite pizza places! 

 After lunch we headed to the Ottawa County Fair.  We missed our local fair (which is HUGE) just due to the timing so we told the boys we'd take them to this fair.  They started with the Merry-Go-Round. 

 They loved the roller coaster.  Notice Nate's hands are in the air (In the last car) and Josh is holding on for dear life? HA!
 The slide is always a huge hit! 
 The Pirate Ship is Nate's favorite ride. 
 While Josh prefers the Swings. 
 The Ferris Wheel ended the day for us at the fair. 

Wait . . .the day isn't done yet!  After consuming some Fair Food (Ice Cream and Elephant Ears!), we headed to another beach. 

 That huge barge was coming down the channel when we got down to the water. 
Today, at this beach, it was a "Green Flag" day so it was pretty calm.  The boys convinced Darryl and I to get into the FREEZING water, which is always fun. 

Once done at the beach, we were starving so we ran through fast food for the kids and Darryl and I ordered dinner from a favorite Thai Place.  We stopped at a park and ate.  I must confess, the food from the Thai Place was not as good as we remembered and we won't go again but the experience was fun! 
From there, we finally headed back to the campground to have one last campfire and roast some marshmallows! 

Meals:  Our meals were eaten out today :-)  (Breakfast was just Pop tarts and Hard Boiled Eggs)

Wednesday - We just focused on packing up and, of course, the kids played until it was time to leave. 

Breakfast: Hard Boiled Eggs, Pop tarts, and Blueberries!
Lunch: Hot Dogs and Peanut Butter Sandwiches with potato salad and Chips
Dinner (at home): Pineapple BBQ Pork Sandwiches and fried Zucchini! 

Despite being so tired and dirty (sand everywhere!) when we got home, it was a fabulous trip away! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Something Yummy - Crock Pot French Dips

Best Slow Cooker French Dips
Carls Bad Cravings

We really love a good french dip sandwich but of all the recipes I've tried I've not find one that I make a second time . . . . .until this time.  This sandwich was everything it promised - it was tender, tasty, and perfect.  Plus, it cooks in the crock pot which makes it better! 

3 lb beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 hoagie buns (I used those good onion rolls)
Sliced provolone cheese

Slow Cooker:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup coke - not diet (I will admit - I forgot to buy this and left it out)
1 10.5 oz cans beef consumme (in the soup aisle)
1/4 cup dry minced onions
1 tablespoon beef bouillon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
12 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf

Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Sear the roast on all sides until lightly browned.  Add to the slow cooker and top with remaining slow cooker ingredients.

Cook on LOW for 4 hours then remove roast to a cutting board.  Thinly slice roast across the grain.  Place sliced meat back in slow cooker and continue to cook on LOW for 1-2 additional hours.

When ready to serve, remove roast and strain the fat from broth for dipping.

Split rolls and line the bottoms on a baking tray.  Top each half with beef followed by cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees or until cheese is melted.  Serve with reserved au jus.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Overwhelmed = Flylady

A few weeks ago I looked around and felt so overwhelmed so do you know what I did?  I released myself from the whole concept of "Minamalism".  For real.  Holy cow was that freeing! 

So here are a few simple truths:
1)  I don't like cleaning but I enjoy a clean house. 
2) I don't really enjoy clutter but there are four people who live in a small house who have stuff so guess what, they/it takes up space
3) It's ok to keep stuff you love and enjoy
4) Flylady is my best friend so I just need to embrace her and stick to the plan. 

I somehow started to think that minamalizing was the only way to get control and for me that was the opposite.  Instead I felt tied to this need to clean out every drawer and cupboard even though I've done it before.  Instead, I need to focus on clutter and cleaning - Flylady 101.  

I've gone back to my "roots" and pulled out my old Flylady plans and tips.  Following her weekly cleaning plans (which start with delcluttering in the weekly zone before every cleaning), and doing my morning and evening routine.  The clean sink never happens but, that's ok.  :-) 

On that note, I'm off to reboot the laundry for the day, after all, a load a day, keeps the laundy bin . .empty (Ok that doesn't rhyme HA!) 

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Never Once"

I heard this song recently and it really spoke to me in the time we are in right now.

July is a tough month for our household due to my husband's job.  You would think after this many years we would be used to it and expect it but every year it catchs us off guard.  The taxi business slows to a crawl so we have to make drastic changes in our daily living to get through the very lean time.  We also know that we always get through it, sometimes a little worse for wear, but as fall picks back up we always see God's faithfulness.  The truth is simple, God is always faithful.  Even on days when I'm not quite sure, he is.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Our Week in Photos #5

This week started with the boys at Grandpa and Grandma's house.  It ended with a field trip and fun at the pool!

We took a field trip to the Local Fox 17 Station - this is the station that we watch most often so the boys were hoping to see some familiar faces.  They loved sitting on the big red couch where the morning anchors do the newscast every morning!

 I may or may not have gotten slightly star struck when this weather guy walked in - I've been watching him for about  . .well forever HA! 
 The kids loved the green screen.  Josh was trying to do the weather and point to the areas in Michigan.  I wish we could have had a few more minutes where he could have been by himself. 

 The boys spent the first part of the week at their grandparents.  They fished.  And they caught fish.  They brought home their catch and we fried it up for dinner.  It was soooo good!  Thankfully Grandpa doesn't mind cleaning the fish and he does an amazing job fileting them too. 

I talk alot about swimming so I took my camera one evening and took some photos.  Josh didn't start jumping into the water until later so I didn't get any of him jumping.  Maybe another time when the pool is empty of people I can get some good shots of the boys doing some amazing jumps.