Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Just this past weekend, Darryl and were talking about Michael W. Smith and some of his well known songs, like this one "Friends are Friends Forever".  I sang it a few times on Graduation Sunday through the years, I must admit HA!

Well, tonight, I get a text from a good friend of mine letting me know that her husband got a job he was interviewing for . . .in Florida.  We go to church together and have book club together.  As sad as I am for me that she is moving far away, I'm excited for her  - this is a dream of theirs to move down south - they love warmth, sun, Florida and . . Disney!  I'll miss her lots but like this age old song says - Friends are Friends forever!  (I know, it's corny HA!) Now, maybe Darryl, the boys and I will have to go visit them! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Steven Curtis Chapman: My Redeemer Is Faithful And True

This past weekend, Darryl and I got to see Steven Curtis Chapman in concert.  It was awesome - we both said it was like going to church.  He was solo - just him on the guitar and piano.  He shared stories and songs from his life and it was just amazing.  This is one of the songs he sang that I had never heard.  Amazingly, as this interview states, it is from his first album.  I love the simple truth of it - maybe it will encourage you today. 

As I look back on the road I've traveled,
I see so many times He carried me through;
And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life,
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My Redeemer is faithful and true.
Everything He has said He will do,
And every morning His mercies are new.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My heart rejoices when I read the promise
'There is a place I am preparing for you.'
I know someday I'll see my Lord face to face,
'Cause my Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.


And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Our Week in Photos #31

So this is how our week started.  Actually on Saturday, the boys and I went to a baby shower at church and other than their colds both boys seemed fine.  By Saturday evening Josh said his ear was hurting.  He ended up being up most of the night due to the pain.  Thankfully one of our two local walk in clinics is open on Sundays so I was able to get him in and this photo was taken after a dose of antibiotics (for the ear ache) and Benadryl Congestion (for his cold).  He was wiped out!
This was taken almost 24 hours later on the dot!  It's amazing how quickly those medications work!  We had Monday off due to Presidents Day (yep, even homeschoolers get a holiday) which was actually good so that both boys could have a low key day and get some rest.  The colds seem to finally be going away and everyone is getting back to normal.

 This has been happening several nights this week - Derby Cars.  The Grand Prix is today so Darryl and the boys worked on painting and decorating the boys cars this week. 
 The big event this week was Darryl's birthday!!
 The birthday Boy!

 Josh and Nate planned a surprise - Josh played Happy Birthday on the piano and Nate brought out a tray of birthday hats/plates/blowers that he had hid in the bedroom.  They had a lot of fun planning all of this fun stuff!
Opening gifts :-)

 Thursday night was the 2nd night of bowling (and Darryl's birthday!).  Yes, Nate is wearing his coat - the bowling alley was so cold this week!  (Last week they were sweating HA!)
Just one shot of Friday school - Nate is on the left hand side.  Fridays are fun but long days. 

So, that's our week!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekly Menu - The one with a birthday celebration!

Last weeks menu went much better.  The food was good and that's all that matters!! This coming week is a little to plan because the kids are going to the grandparents house for a few days! 

Friday - I'm not sure HA!  Either lots of leftovers or we might grab something at McDonald's and go see Peter Rabbit.  That decision won't be made until today though.

Saturday - My birthday gift to Darryl is to go to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert so we are dropping the kids at his mom's so we can go away.  Dinner will be before the show!

Sunday - We are still enjoying Darryl's birthday so we will eat while we are out and about.

Monday - Now, you know my rule - no cooking while the kids are away :-)  I'm not sure what we will do yet.  Applebee's, Big Boy, Wendy's?  Whatever we feel like

Tuesday - Pretty much the same thing :-)

Wednesday - The kids come home today so I usually plan just Mac and Cheese and Corn Dogs.  Something quick and easy between when they get home and when we need to leave for AWANA.

Thursday - We are going on a field trip so I decided I wanted something I could make ahead and just heat up.  So Tacos it is !  I can do all of the prep work Wednesday and then just heat it up when we get home before we go to Bowling!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Happy Birthday to the Big D!

Happy Birthday to this guy!!
He turns . .. . a year old today and the boys and I have fun celebrating his day even if it isn't his favorite!

A birthday pillowcase, birthday balloons, decorations, presents, his choice of a meal and his favorite cake! 

He brings fun to our family; laughter to our days; and works soooo many hours so I can stay home with the boys. 

He plays a mean guitar, drives better than anyone else I know (Did I tell you the story about how we were at the top of a hill and started sliding . . .we slid through a stop sign and were picking up speed heading straight down when he carefully put the front tire into a snow drift to stop us?  I would have crashed HA!), and loves to play games with the boys. 

Our family wouldn't be complete without his laughter and wisdom so 

Happy Birthday Darryl! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Our Valentine's

This year I decided to use Pinterest to my advantage and have the boys pick out some ideas for Valentines that we could create at home.  I was really tired of buying those boxes of nothing to use as valentines every year.  I'm glad I did, this was so much more fun!

 This idea came from Chelseas Messy Apron
On her blog she actually provides printables for several of the snack bag ideas.  This one with the cat/kit kats was our favorite.
I printed the free printable on card stock and purchased snack size ziplock bags and mini kit-kat bars at Meijer.  
This was by far the easiest idea.  Just add the candy bars to the bag, fold the topper and staple it in place! 
 This idea came from Kids Clutter and Chaos.
The printable is free and I printed it on white cardstock and then cut out red cardstock a little larger to attach the card to.  That made it much more stable. 
I purchased the Tic Tacs through Amazon and got a box of 12 for about $10.00.  I used glue dots (also purchased through Amazon) to attch the Tic Tacs to the card and that worked perfectly. 
 This idea came from Thrifty Northwest Mom.  
I printed the free printable on cardstock (looking back it would have looked nicer with a red backer on it like the one above). 
The highlighters I purchased at the dollar store (a 4 pack for $1.00) I used my glue dots to attach the highlighter to the card.  
This idea comes from Popsugar.
Now, truth be told, this one I had to add my own creativity to because I didn't realize that it was actually a craft using a Cricut.  While I have a Cricut, I don't use it and am not signed up for any of the on-line cutouts.  I printed the base card from the free printable.  Then, I went out to Google and found that lightbulb and printed it on yellow paper.  (I should have made it bigger but depth perception is not my thing HA!).  Then, I purchased the glow sticks at the dollar store (8 for $1.00) .  Again, I used the glue dots to attach it to the paper. 

All of these ideas were super easy to put together.  The boys had to make 30 Valentines each so they did approx 15 of each (Josh did 12 of the Tic Tacs because I wasn't spending $20.00 on Tic Tacs HA!) Other than that expense, the other three ideas were just about $5.00 or less each to do 15. 

The only thing I would do differently next year is I would make them in January.  It was a bit chaotic working with both boys to get them all done in one afternoon the day before the party! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana
adapted from The Chunky Chef

I've wanted to post this recipe since the first time I made it months ago.  It is by far one of the easiest but best soups I've ever made and it is all done in the crock pot!  My husband says it tastes better than what he gets at Olive Garden so that is a true compliment.  A couple of things I do slightly differently.  1) I do not use spicy sausage.  I just used original Bob Evans Sausage.  It's what we love and we aren't big into spicy stuff.  2) I cut up my own potatoes.  The recipes says you can do either the refrigerated kind or cut up your own potato/onion.  3) Sometimes I use Kale and sometimes I use baby spinach :-)  Depends on what other recipes are planned for the week.  Kale stays firmer in the soup than spinach does.  If you don't like the greens, you could leave them out or even add carrots to it instead. 


  • 1 lb ground Hot Italian sausage
  • 1 bag Simply Potatoes diced potatoes and onions (can substitute with 1 diced yellow onion and 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed)
  • 2 cloves large garlic minced
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 1/2 bunch kale (a couple of handfuls) de-stemmed and torn into bite sized
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes optional


  1. Heat large saute pan over medium high heat and brown sausage.
  2. Add minced garlic and stir to combine.
  3. Drain off the grease and then add sausage and garlic to the bottom of slow cooker.
  4. Add bag of diced potatoes and onion, cover with chicken stock and water (if necessary) to completely cover potatoes and sausage.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 (potatoes should be soft)
  7. Whisk together heavy cream and flour until well mixed. Pour into slow cooker, add kale and stir to combine.
  8. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes until soup has thickened slightly.
  9. Taste, season according to your tastes, and serve.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Just Breath

I'm pretty sure I've shared this video before for the song by Jonny Diaz called "Breathe".  It speaks the truth, that's for sure.   I'm pretty organized and easy going but every once in awhile, I hit a place where I just have to stop and regroup.  I hit that spot on Wednesday, Valentine's Day.  Nothing bad happened, nothing really went wrong but I began to feel like the plates were spinning out of control and I needed to just stop, regroup, figure out what was really important and move on.

So I sat down on that Wednesday evening and made a simple list for Thursday - what really, truly needed to be done.
1) Make our family Valentine Box for Co-Op
2) Prep our food for the Pot-luck for Co-Op
3) Make cookies for the Co-op
4) Complete prep for my two classes for Co-op

Do you see a pattern?  I do - the Co-Op this week was the cause and the effect of why I aws feeling slightly out of control.  I over committed a little this week and need to make sure I fix that for the future (Such as having the boys make their Valentine's and our box a few weeks before Valentine's day!)

I then planned my day.
1) In the morning - the boys still have some lessons they needed to get done in order to not hold us up in future lessons.  So, we will focus on school items in the morning.
2) The afternoon - I will totally focus on food and lessons while the boys decorate our box.

I knew my evening was already full as the boys begin a bowling league and I must run to the store to grab the last food items for Friday (Lettuce and Tomatoes for Taco Salad!) so I had to get everything done by 5:00.  No pressure :-)

That's when this song came to mind - Breathe.

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

I don't say all of this for sympathy because, really, by the time "you" read this - life will be moving back at normal pace and I'll have regrouped.  But rather, maybe there is one person who reads this that feels like the plates are going to fall.  Well, you are not alone.  Facebook paints perfect pictures but in reality we all have days when things just fall and that's ok.  Listen to this song, take it to hear and remember to  just . . . .Breathe! 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Our Week in Photos #30

Here's a look back at our week!

 The Olympics.  That has been a focus of our week.  This was the boys camped out as they did several nights the first few nights of the games.  They aren't quite as into them as I am but they did love watching Shaun White win the Gold!  They've also enjoyed watching some amazing crashes in some of the sports too.
On Tuesday night Nate got a game of "Spin the bottle/Truth or Dare" going.  Josh accepted a dare to put his face in the snow.   Yep, the kid takes after his mom - the cold doesn't bother him!  He also ran barefoot from the house to the garage and back in the snow HA!

Of course, we celebrated Valentine's Day.

 Thursday night was the first night of a new Youth Bowling League.  I think bowling is one of those life skills all kids should learn because every youth group or college group goes bowling.  Everyone wants to know how to bowl!  Anyway, this is something new at our local Bowling Alley and I'm so glad we got involved.
 Josh is in the "older" group so that means no bumpers!  This was his first shot and it didn't go in the gutter :-)  He did great!  (53, 53, 52)

Nate's in the younger group so he still gets bumpers.  He used them to his full advanatage (think - Pin Ball Machine HA!).  He got a 63 and then an 84.  Pretty Good :-)

We ended our week with Friday School which included our Co-Op Valentines Potluck and Party.  The boys created a Valentine's box for our family and we passed out all of their Valentines.  Then they had Tae Kwon Do after that party.  I took my camera fully planning to take photos but it was so busy all day that I just never had a chance. 

I feel like after a good month "off" of not doing much, this week we were busy!  Sometimes busy is good :-)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Weekly Menu

So last week's menu was a flop.  I picked a few new recipes and the first one was awful.  As I was making it I realized that it was very similiar to the other new recipe so I threw that one away.  I did a lot of "off the cuff" cooking this past week. 

Friday - I've said this before but after a day of Friday School my goose is cooked and I have a hard time cooking anything for dinner!  So we will get something tonight - I'm not sure what yet.  It jsut depends on what we feel like eating!

Saturday - Tacos.  We all enjoy them different ways but at least we all enjoy them!

Sunday - Swiss Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Green Beans.

Monday - BBQ Meatballs, Rice and Green Beans

Tuesday - Spaghetti/Ravioli, Garlic Bread.  It's a family favorite.

Wednesday - Out before AWANA

Thursday - Today is Darryl's birthday!  I haven't had a chance to ask him what he wants so I will make (or bring home!) whatever he wants!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Holidays.  This year I really wanted to be a little more prepared for these fun little holidays but this one kind of snuck up on me!  I think with homeschooling and then prepping for the two class I'm teaching at our Home School Co-Op has kind of sucked my time up!  I forgot to even get out my few Valentine's decor item! 

Josh truly hates doing school on any holiday; he loves to do holiday themed things instead which is fine by me.  Eventually he won't enjoy all of the cute things as much (or at all!) so I'm going to enjoy it while I can!  He also likes to create his own decorations and plan a "party".

So this is how we spent our day! 
 We made Valentine's for our Co-Op party on Friday.  I fully intended to take photos of the boys working on their cards but I ended up right in the middle of it helping them and never got a break!  Instead I took a photo of the aftermath HA!  (And hes, that is a cup of Biggby Coffee on the table - that was my Valentines Treat to Darryl!  Coffee!)
 The boys each got to pick out two different Valentine's from my Pinterest folder that we could create.  I'll share more details about each of these in a later post but this is one of Josh's.
 And Josh's second choice.
 Nate's first choice.
 And Nate's second choice.

 Josh planned some fun games for us - there were hearts everywhere.  Darryl, Nate, Josh and I had to race to pick up as many as we could.  Nate won :-)  Josh also hid hearts around the house that we had to find . . .in the dark .. . using one flashlight.  I'm glad he loves this stuff :-)
 Dinner!  This year we went with an Olive Garden/Red Lobster theme.  Darryl and I had Zuppa Toscana while the boys had Spaghetti :-)
 I also made garlic, cheddar biscuits.

 Dinner is served :-)
 I also made a No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake (I'll share recipes in the coming weeks too)
 We ended the evening with some fun gifts. 

They each got a "Mermaid Pillow" (those pillows with sequins that flip over)  Nate had gotten one for Nana at Christmas and both boys loved it so I figured it would make a fun gift!  They also got a stuffed animal, Lego/Pokemon Cards, a book and candy. 

 Oh, and I woke up to this on Valentine's morning :-)  Hearts and Roses from my Sweetie :-)  He's pretty special!

It really was a fun busy day! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Well is Kind of Dry.

The well is running a little dry lately  I know it's a season and that's ok.  I think it's a combination of long school days, not a whole lot going on, and cold and snow.  Now, I love the beauty of the snow - especially when we get a storm where the world looks like a giant snow globe.  Yet, despite that, we've been a little homebound lately so that means there isn't a lot of exciting things going on!  Homeschooling takes up a good portion of my day - lessons for both boys, staying on top of their practice work, and making sure journals are writen, AWANA books are done, and papers are written.  I find it hard to accomplish much beyond that with the exception of laundry and dishes! As I sit here, waiting for Shaun White to complete his qualifying runs on his snowboard, I realize how easy it is to get lost in the mundane.  To live in past successes and wonder why you can't do now, what you could do then and so on.  It's easy to miss out on the day to day joys amidst the seemingly busyness of the day but really, I like to breath, and sit next to my boys and they ask questions and share knowledge, dreams, and hopes.  That is what "fills my well".  

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Olympics

Are you enjoying the Winter Olympics?
We are!  The boys get pretty excited as they approach - especially the opening ceremonies.  They love to have me print out a world map and they then keep track of all of the countries and how many athletes each country has competing.  Nate has about every country memorized on the map so it's an easy thing for him to do and Josh isn't far behind him. 

It's events like this that make me miss the more traditional style of Homeschooling where I could have put together a two week study of the Olympics for the boys but with our on-line program, it's really hard to add anything other than what is required. 

It seems that on this first weekend, it has been dominated by Ice Skating.  The boys are looking forward to Skiing and Snowboarding.  I look forward to seeing Shaun White.  I was sure he was done after the last Olympics so to see him come back is awesome (Plus he looks so much like one of my nephews - how can I not cheer for him!)

I just wish there was more to watch during the day but due to the time difference, it seems to run more through the night instead of all day! 

Did you ever dream of being an Olympian?  I know I did.  I dreamed of being an Ice Skater which is kind of funny since I can't ice skate to save my life HA!  I also loved watching the divers in the summer Olympics but I never learned to NOT plug my nose underwater so that caused a slight issue with that dream :-)

So, yes, we are watching lots of sporting events over the next few weeks.  It was a nice transition after Football ended to have something else fun to watch for a bit!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Our Week in Photos #29

It's time for a little catch-up in photos! January always slows down in picture taking and I just haven't take the time to recap our weeks lately either!  Time to get back into that routine :-)

 Josh and Nate spent a week with my mom and one of the things they did was head to the world famous Frankenmuth for the snow and ice festival.  Ironically I think it was in the 50's that day and they saw more melting than anything else!
 Behind them is a sloth - we tell Josh he is related to the sloth family because he is so slow HA!
 Finally, a picture of Nate with Santa Claus! (That was my mom's creative idea!)
 Last Sunday we got hit with a huge snowstorm.  A friend challenged her facebook "world" to stop and go outside to take pictures of your kids in the snow.  I did just that (PJ's and all!). 

 We got a lot of snow!  Finally!  And it wasn't so cold that we couldn't be outside :-)
 Nate is my snuggle bug.  He loves to sit with me every single night before bed.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that he is just a little kid (only 8).  I know these days won't last forever so I try to enjoy them as much as possible.

 On Wednesday of this past week, Darryl was home so after haircuts, we took the boys to the sledding hill at our local park - it was their first time on the huge hill and they  . . .liked the smaller hill in the middle better HA!  It was great because the hill was empty so we didn't have to worry about collisions!
 While the kids were sledding I enjoyed a wonderful coffee treat HA!  Darryl enjoyed his with me too - then got tired of the boys trying to figure out how to sled so then he headed out to help them :-)
Heading in from the snow (We had our little friend with us too - she was a trooper and just loved sledding!)

This has been a super snowy week - we got hit with another big storm (about 8 inches of snow) on Friday and are ready for round two on Sunday (expecting anywhere from 3-6 inches of snow).