Saturday, September 30, 2017

Our Week in Photos #15

Another fun weekend despite record breaking temps!

 The weekend included the annual Halloween Weekend at the campground.  We started with pumpkin carving at the Lodge. 

 After pumpkins we went swimming - it was 95 degrees and the pool was packed . .. .until someone pooped in the pool and they had to close it!!  BOO! 
 Next up was the costume content.  Nate decided to be Godzilla this year. 
 And Josh is Enderman (Sp?) from Minecraft. 
 Even though I thought my kids had the best costumes, they did not win! 

 Nate's pumpkin. 
 Josh's Pumpkin.
The boys got to go Trick-Or-Treating throughout the campground and got a bag load of candy.  We ended the night with a Haunted House (which the boys loved) and a trip back to the pool (which had been cleaned and re-opened).  The night ended with a spooky Hayride that made the boys and I scream many times!!!

Monday I took all 4 kids to the pool as our local school district had a half day due to the heat.  (for Real).  

Tuesday was the official last day at the pool.  After dinner, we headed to the pool for the evening. 

 I'll miss this sunset view until next summer! 
We even got Darryl in the pool this one last time.  

Wednesday and Thursday were quieter days.  We accomplished a lot of school.  The boys had AWANA on Wednesday and my mom and I took off Thursday evening for dinner and a book review with an author.  

Friday = Friday School 
Friday school is a busy day for sure.  The Lego Robotics Teacher posted this photo today so I thought I'd share.  Honestly, the boys are not loving Lego Robitics - they thought it was more about Legos and less about learning but, in reality, it is more about learning and less about Legos!  

That's our week! 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Weekly Menu

Things are really starting to quiet down which means that our menu starts to stay the same.  This week's menu is unique because my husband just had some major dental work done and is on a very limited diet since everything has to be soft.  So, trying to keep it simple without having to make multiple meals for different people and not go crazy! Really, this next week it is more of an idea than a plan ;-)

Basics that will be eaten in this house this week between the husband and the kids:

1) Mac and Cheese
2) Mashed Potatoes
3) Baked Sweet Potatoes
4) Tomato Soup
5) Refried Beans w/ Cheese
6) Chicken Nuggets and Fries (can you guess that's for the kids HA!)
7) Spaghetti
8) Cream of Wheat
9) Acron Squash

I might add a few extra things for me
1) Tacos
2) Left over Pulled Pork BBQ
3) Pancakes and Bacon
4) Lasagna (seriously - I'm the only one who really loves it so I thought I might make a big pan and eat it all week HA!)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

School Update

So we have completed almost a month of school. 
It's been a big transition. Our on-line school changed both the Language Arts and Math curriculum and I won't lie, I hate highly dislike it.  There have been tons and tons of technical issues turning 40 minute lessons into 2 hour lessons.  The quizzes and tests are subjective and therefore even I am struggling with finding correct answers.  (And I'm pretty smart!!) I've been close to throwing in the towel, withdrawing, and doing my own thing.  But I haven't. Yet. 

This month has included 2 hours of Live Lessons for me, the parent, back to back in the middle of the day; MAP testing for both boys which takes up hours of our day AND there were technical difficulties with Nate's testing not once, not twice, but three times which delayed the test and impacted our schedule. 

Yet, as we wrap up September I can say that we are current on all assignments.  Even though I comment on every single Math and Language Arts lessons with issues (everything from the wrong videos posted for a lesson to spelling errors in reading assignments) I'm figuring out how proceed through those lessons in less time, without watching ever single video which take forever to load, while still making sure the boys are understanding concepts. 
As we start October, I'm hoping we finally have a routine.  I started this year thinking that I could do 30 minute sessions with each boy, back and forth, and accomplish a lot.  But Math and Language arts are often taking 45 minutes-1 hour and 15 minutes so a 30 minute time slot just wasn't working.  Just today I went back to the concept of I teach one boy in the morning and one in the afternoon.  During their "non-teaching" time, they have AWANA lessons to work on, journals to write and math worksheets to work on.  This one day went better than the whole month!   Now, next week, both boys will have their full scale of Live Lessons (Josh's started last week but Nate's start next week) so I may have to revert back to an hour at a time to get around the Live Lessons but it will still be better than what I was doing! This homeschooling stuff is not for the faint of heart ;-) 
My goal for October is to head in the same way we are ending September - current. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Something Yummy - Sausage Balls

Sausage Balls
adapted from Cowtails and Haybales
Sausage balls are little round, bundles of goodness.  At the end of October, I'm heading to a scrapbooking retreat and was trying to decide what meal to sign up for that was easy.  That lead to breakfast and taking a coffee cake but I felt like I needed something with some protein in it too which led me to the idea of Sausage Balls.  I can make them in advance, freeze them, and then people can just heat up the (thawed) goodness in the microwave.  Super easy.  My sister-in-law has made these for years, or a version of them, so I knew they were good.  This recipe is exceptional - it is flavorful and not dry!  The cream cheese is the game changer for sure! 

1 lb  sausage  (if you like hot sausage, you can use that - I used just regular Bob Evans ground sausage)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 & 1/4 Cup Bisquick
4 oz sharp shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all of the ingredients.  The original recipe said to use your hands but I just ended up with a huge mess so I dumped it all in my mixer bowl and used my mixer instead!!  Roll them into 1 inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 20 minutes at 375* until browned.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Stink about Deodorant

I would have never thought I'd write anything about deodorant but, for about the last six months I've been on a search to find some anti-stink deodorant.  Here's the back story.  I've worn this deodorant for 25+ years.
 This little blue stick has been my sidekick forever and has served me well.  Through summer camps, hot sweaty teaching days, several moves in the heat and humidity of July.  There was never, ever, any stink.  Until 6 months ago.  At first I chalked it up to a couple of shirts that have outlasted their shelf life but . . then I wore a new shirt and was like, "Holy Cow, someone stinks."  Oops.  So, thus began my search of the perfect, stinkless deodorant.  I went online to Pinterest and did a search for the best deodorant and got all excited when some links came up.  Then I clicked on them and they were for All Natural stuff - like rubbing charcoal in the pits.  Nope. Not doing that.

One stood out and after reading the reviews I decided to try it.
Hello Native.  It smelled good, came with the cutest instruction card ever, and even asked you to wait 14 days before giving up on it because you needed to transition to a new deodorant.  Well, let me tell you, 14 days later and this stuff still only lasts 2-3 hours.  For real.  I'm more like a 12-16 hour type of deodorant person.  I'm still trying to get my $12.00 back (guaranteed supposedly) (and yes, that price is not a typo HA!).  This stuff, well, stinks.

So, now I went back to the store and picked out deodorant number 2.
I wanted to go more middle of the road price wise so I picked up this Dove brand.  First of all, it works great.  It lasted all day and then some.  The only think I didn't like was that it was wet.  I never felt dry and that is, well, just the pits.  HA!

Finally, I bit the bullet and spent $8.00 on a grocery store deodorant.
Yep, back to Secret, but this time their "Clinical Strength."  I have my thoughts on this - I think that the clinical strength deodorant is exactly what I've been wearing for years but, in order to charge so much, they made it sound better.  For real.  I love this stuff.  It has been true tested this past week in 95+ degree temps.  I have sweated with the best of them and there has been no stink, no wetness, and just sheer pit happiness!

So, there's my take on the Stink about Deodorant!

Monday, September 25, 2017

A New Plan for Lunch

Lunch time in this house is a little stressful.  Not so much for the kids but rather for me and what I'm going to eat.  I have a rotating list of lunches I use for the kids based on what they will all eat.  I'm trying to expand that but it is slow going!  BUT, if I don't plan what I'm going to eat and have the food ready to go, I end up just grabbing whatever and it isn't always good!

A friend of mine posted a link to this great video idea found HERE.

I loved the idea of having everything made into simple lunch "boxes" at the beginning of the week, ready to grab and eat.  Especially with school starting!

In the photo are the following meals:
1. Roll-ups
2. Tortilla lunchable style pizzas
3. Italian pasta salad
4. Pesto pasta salad
5. PB and J Triangles.

I liked the idea of all of the ideas except # 5 which is fine because in reality there are left overs from the other lunch ideas so I figured I could make up 5 without a problem.

I know that I will get bored with just 4 choices so I started brainstorming some other ideas and come up with a few more ideas
1. Chicken Salad
2. Cheese, crackers and good salami (again, think lunchable)
3. Ham and pickle Roll-ups
4. Ham and Veggie Roll-ups.

I'd like to come up with 4 more (yes, only 4 because I can double one up) So that I have a a three week rotation of lunches. (I've thought of one - Meatballs.  I could freeze them and take them out for lunch on a given week)

So here are a few photos from week 1:

 I started with the tortilla roll-ups.  Now, I don't have a cute little container to put my lunches in so I opted to use this stash of 21 day fix cups that someone gave me two years ago.  They worked great for portion control.  Anyway, the tortillas I used were small so I just cut it in half.  My wrap had ham, cheese, onion and chive cream cheese and some tomota on them.  I then sliced up some orange pepper and an orange.  Added some thin triscuits for crunch and trailmix for "dessert."  It was a great lunch.
Day 2 - The article showed basically a homemade pizza lunchable but, since I'm at home, I cooked my tortilla pizza :-)  I added grapes, crackers, pickled beets, a hard boiled egg and trail mix.  Now, this was way more food then I could eat at lunch, I discovered.  Josh actually ate the egg and I only ate 1/2 of the grapes and beets.  But, again, I loved this easy plan and found it to be easy to prep and easy to eat.
Day 3 - This was my picnic lunch on the day of the field trip (that I did eat because it was so hot out!)  It was also one of my favorites (I ate it for dinner!).  It's a simple pesto salad that is so tasty!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Scripture Sunday - Come to the Table.

I heard this song on the radio recently and just fell in love with it - it has such a great message.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Our Week in Photos #14

Saturday - a fun day at a zoo!
 Darryl was still gone with his dad so my mom and I took the boys to a local animal reserve. 
 We rode the train out to see many of the animals - it just such a cool place.  I love the zebras :-) 
 Everyone got to go in the bird house and feed the birds.  
 One of my favorite activities - feeding the giraffes.  Seriously love these animals - they give me JOY! 
 Who wouldn't love that face?  I told Darryl that I want a membership to this place so I can go and fee the giraffes anytime I want :-)  

 I love that the boys still love doing "kid" stuff like riding this little train. 
 My mom's favorite part was seeing the kangaroos with babies in their pouches. 
 My two monkeys :-) 
Hahaha - Nate wanted to get a picture with his hand in the gorilla's butt HA! 

We went to dinner at McDonald's after wards and then went swimming.  The boys had a blast because we stayed in the pool until 10:00 - they loved swimming at night! 

Sunday - Church, I attended book club while the boys swam the afternoon away and then Darryl returned home.

Monday-Tuesday - School and swimming!!

Wednesday - We took the afternoon off from school so we could swim on this near 90 degree day! 

The pool is absolutely amazing right now.  The temperature is perfect, the weather is perfect . .. it's just amazing that we can swim and see the trees changing colors at the same time!

On Thursday we had the annual field trip to the Cider Mill with our on-line school.  It was 95 degrees.  For real. 

 We arrived at the Mill and signed in, ate a donut and cider and met the boys teachers.  By the time they walked up this hill above, they told me that they had three things to do and then they wanted to leave H!

 They wanted their pictures taken and to play on the jumping pillow.
 And a walk through the corn maze.
 Nate was so unbearably hot that he did not want his picture taken so Josh used his hand to take Nate's place HA!  After this, we took a wagon back to our truck and skipped our picnic lunch.  Instead we went straight to McDonald's where we could enjoy lunch in the AC!

Friday - Friday School, Swimming, and a Wagon Ride.  

 Another parent took photos today and posted them on facebook so I "stole" them. Nate loves his class on endangered animals.
 Nate working on his project for the day.
 This is me :-) teaching one of my two classes - expedition earth.
 Josh really enjoys this decorating class.
He decorated these fabulous cookies! 
 After swimming in the afternoon, we returned to the campground for a wagon ride.
Nana joined us this time - it's Halloween Weekend at the Campground so we are looking forward to lots of fun! 

Another great week comes to an end :-) (And it was a record breaking HOT one too!) 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekly Menu

Lets keep it real, I totally threw last weeks menu out the window.  For real.  Our schedule changed daily which shifted meals around so by Sunday night I said, 'Forget it' and planned a couple simple meals to get us through the week.  Maybe this week will be better ;-)

So, here's my written plan for the next week but it's all questionable HA!

Friday - Pizza from Papa Murphy's.  I still have those coupons I haven't used and after a long day at Friday school - I'm tired!!

Saturday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Baked Beans, and Salad

Sunday - We might have a cook out at my mom's camper which would mean things like hot dogs and Brats.  So I think I'll plan that either way along with some store bought Macaroni salad and chips.

Monday - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn

Tuesday - Biscuits and Gravy, Asparagus, and Fruit Salad

Wednesday - Dinner with my mom before AWANA.

Thursday - Easy Chicken Enchiladas, Rice, Beans and "salad" (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole!)

It's sounds good on paper . . .. now lets see how it plays out :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A well written article

When the well runs dry, I turn to other articles and bloggers to pass along fresh information.  I facebook group that I follow, posted this article from and I found it spot on. It is called "The Fog"

I relate well to this article and can say that I'm "emerging from the fog".  My kids are much more independent now and I find that they don't need me as much as they used to.  It's a nice place to be right now - where they still admire me and want to hold my hand yet they can get up and get their own cereal :-) HA! 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives

One of my guilty pleasures is watching the show "Diners, Drive-in's and Dives."

There really isn't anything guilty about it other than watching show after show after show about food!
Last week, there was an episode that feature a restaurant in Lansing which was pretty cool!

Guy was at "Meat Southern BBQ" and that's just plain cool.  We love good BBQ and enjoy trying out new places to find the best so this is a place that I plan on taking Darryl too sooner rather than later!

Now, several years ago we actually visited a place that was shown on the show called Joe's Gizzard City.

We went with friends and ordered the Cheeseburger mentioned in the above article - it was deep fried and totally gross and greasy HA!  BUT the experience was fun :-)

Have you ever visited a restaurant shown on this show?  Was it a thumbs up or a thumbs down???