Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Camping Trip One - August 2018

It feels odd to write about our first camping trip of the season in August but, that's the truth!  We had planned to do to other trips earlier in the summer but it just didn't happen.  We tried some new ideas on this trip and learned some things about what we really like and don't like. 

As we started to finalize plans for this trip, we decided to try and take one vehicle.  So, with this in mind, I decided to pack as light as possible including not grocery shopping until we arrived so we didn't have to carry bins of food.  Well, then Darryl ended up without practice on Wednesday night and we now had to bring all of his guitar stuff with us to his concert (which we were attending first) so plans changed and we had to take two vehicles.  I still decided to wait on the shopping in order to keep things more simple . . .or so I thought! 

Day 1 - Sunday
The vehicles were loaded so all we had to do is get up, get ready and hit the road which is exactly what we did.  We stopped for breakfast on the go from McDonald's and then headed down the road to Darryl's concert.  Arrival and set-up at the concert went just as planned.  The benefit for the boys is that their bikes were in the van so I could easily pull them out and they enjoyed riding their bikes all over before the concert started. 

When the concert finished, we loaded up and headed out on our great adventure.  As we arrived into South Haven, we wanted to stop for lunch.  So, we stopped at a Taco Bell.  As we walked inside, someone stopped us and said, "We waited for 35 minutes for our food so you might want to go elsewhere."  We did not want to wait - we wanted to camp!  Instead we headed to the McDonald's which was located in Walmart.  (We thought that it would save us time to eat and shop "really quickly" before heading to camp!)  Well, McDonald's was slow . .and expensive (like $2.00 more a meal than normal).  Our food was messed up (we got it fixed) and it just took forever.  Now, we had to shop.  Well, I never shop in Walmart so when I made my list I based it off of what I know Meijer has and I was so turned around that I struggled to get what we needed.  After wandering the whole store and leaving with half of what was on our list - we headed to the campground.  So, lesson learned - I will never wait to shop again.  I will always buy our food before we leave AND meal prep before we leave!!!  Set up at the campground when fabulous - for real.   Fastest we have ever set up before so that was a HUGE bonus. We had chicken and salads for dinner and then We could finally sit down, relax, and enjoy our campfire after a very long day. 

Day 2: We. slept. in.  We never sleep well the first night but we were all tired and it was cool enough to sleep.  We enjoyed donuts for breakfast and leftovers for lunch.  The boys played a couple of games of ladder ball.

Josh wanted to do some blueberry picking too.  Considering it was South Haven and the Blueberry festival had just ended the day before, it made perfect sense to pick blueberries!

From there, we headed to the beach at the state park. 

To be honest, this is not our favorite beach but the boys enjoy it.  There are tons of rocks making it hard to walk out to the sand bar BUT I found that if you walked a bit down the beach, there was a sandy part to use to walk out into deeper water.  We hung out at the bean for a good 3 hours.  Now, remember that when we went to Walmart we wandered everywhere?  I didn't get anything for dinner HA!  So, we went back to the campground, took showers, cleaned and went to find something for dinner at 8:00 pm.  We found Pizza Hut and it was perfect.  We were starving and all that good pizza filled us up!!  Our night ended with another great fire!
Day 3- We enjoyed blueberries and cereal for breakfast.  We hung out at the campground for awhile before loading up and heading into town to eat at our favorite Italian place (we debated it since had pizza the night before but couldn't resist!).  Lunch was fabulous!  From there we headed to the city beach, which is by far one of our favorites.  We were blessed when we arrived because someone saw us looking for a parking spot (that you pay for) and they stopped us, told us they were leaving, and gave us their parking pass (which is good all day).  It was something unexpected and really appreciated!  We then spent hours upon hours at the beach once again.
 The boys love playing in the sand and we love watching them play in the sand!  The water was perfect on a pretty hot and humid day! 
Darryl and the boys took a walk on the pier.  I enjoyed sitting on the beach relaxing in the sand.  

We were starving when we left so we swung through McDonald's.  (Not our favorite HA).  From there we had to go to Meijer to pick up a few things.  On the way back to the campground we stropped at this ice cream shop we had seen every day as we drove out to do things except . ... it wasn't an ice cream shop !!  It was a little store!  Geesh!  It did have things like ice cream sandwiches and Popsicles but not really ice cream. 

Back at the campground we enjoyed our last campfire and just hanging out at night. 

Day 4 - Our last morning we slept in, ate a simple breakfast of muffins and fruit and then started loading up.  Just like set up, this was the fastest we ever tore down.  Checkout is at 1:00 and normally we are still wrapping up at 1:30 (which is fine as long as they see you loading up).  Well, we were pulling out of the campground at 12:30!  We stopped for lunch and then headed for home. 

It was really a great vacation/get away.  A lot of times we are all ready to head for home by day 4 but this time, amazingly, we all said, "Man, I wish we had a few more days!".  

We are hoping to fit in one more camping trip in September.  It's penciled in on the calendar so hopefully it will all work out!  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Recipe - Blueberry Lemon Hand Pies

Blueberry Lemon Hand Pies
adapted from Shugary Sweets

As you know from my weekly menu posts, I haven't been cooking a whole lot and, even when I do, it tends to be whatever I find in the house. So, cooking new recipes has not been high on my list BUT this recipe came across my newsfeed on Facebook and sounded like a simple dessert for dinner one night and . . it was simple.  Even better, it was good.  I would make these to take to a gathering or just to have at home for a fun treat.


  • 2 boxes (14.1 oz each) refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 can (21 oz) blueberry pie filling
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


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  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove pie crusts from package and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare filling.
  2. Dump pie filling in a shallow bowl and add lemon zest. Mix until blended. Set aside.
  3. Unroll pie crusts and cut 6 circles from each crust using a 4-inch biscuit cutter. You may have to re-roll the scraps to get the 6th circle.
  4. Using a 1 tbsp cookie scoop, drop blueberry pie filling into center of each pie crust circle. Fold in half and pinch edges completely. Fold pinched edges over and press with the tines of a fork to seal. Poke hand pie with fork once, to prevent bursting.
  5. Beat egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Brush over the tops of each hand pie. Bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (1 inch apart) for about 15 minutes, until browned.
  6. While pies are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Remove cooked pies from baking sheet and drop (while warm) into glaze, coating it completely. I use two forks to flip it in the glaze and remove carefully. Return to parchment paper and allow to set (about 5 minutes). ENJOY!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Summer Fun Week 12 AND 13

Wow, 12 weeks flew by.  This coming week is pretty much preplanned :-)

Sunday-Wednesday - Camping!!

Thursday - Recovery HA!  For sure laundry and grocery shopping.  There is also a school supply "give away" event we might go to and a color run event in the evening.

Friday -  I'm hoping to swim.  I'm ready to swim HA!

Saturday - Swim

So, I didn't get week 12 posted so I figured I would tie weeks 12 and 13 together.  It's hard to fathom that summer is actually wrapping up and I'm not thrilled!  Week 13 was pretty quiet.

Sunday - Nothing but swimming.

Monday - My mom took the boys to a circus that came to town

Tuesday - I had a leadership meeting for our homeschool co-op so my kids went with me and hung out with friends.

Wednesday - Today our friends that hang with us every day went back to school.  Hard to believe it's that time already!

Thursday - Another quiet day with swimming and a picnic at the pool

Friday - Today is orientation for our homeschool Co-op so that will take up a good portion of our day.  They also spent the afternoon at a friends house from our co-op - they went swimming, caught bull frogs, and Josh got to go out on the pond in the paddle boat. 

Saturday - I have no idea HA! 

So, here are some pictures from the last two weeks!

 The concert at the campground!  It's a favorite of ours - hearing all of the music played under the pines is just awesome. 
 Look at the serious "Ladder Ball" face HA! 

 We spent a good portion of our time at the beach. 
 More ladder ball

 Blueberry pickin' 

 More time at a different beach and the boys walked to pier (while I enjoyed the quiet of the beach!) 
 My mom took the boys to the circus. 
 And to do some shopping (with their own money for once!) 

And we ended the week with some fun outside - big ball base ball and "Swing ball" ! 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Weekly Menu - The one that maybe I'll stick to!!

I wrote an amazing menu last week.  It looked fabulous on paper . .. if only I had ever done true grocery shopping HA!  I am really not enjoying long runs to the grocery store right now so I've been running every day or two and picking up a thing or two HA!  Even last night I said to Darryl, "I need to run to the store . . .. unless you want another crazy lunch like today's."  He said, "Today's lunch was ok."  So I replied with, "Ok, Dad said not to go to the store kids so I'm not going!" HA!!  It's amazing what you can find to cook when you don't want to go to the store - Shoot, yesterday, on a warm summer day, we had hot, steamy chicken and dumplings :-)  WHEW!  We were both sweating when we got done eating that middle of winter dinner!! 

So what about this coming week?  I don't know.  I'm going to plan and go from there.

Friday - Frozen Lasagna, Garlic Bread, and Green Beans. 

Saturday - Sloppy Joes and French Fries

Sunday - We are heading out for a beach day.  So we will eat out.

Monday - Amish Roasted Chicken, Egg Noodles, and Broccoli

Tuesday - TACOS (My kids actually asked when we would have tacos again!)

Wednesday - Darryl has practice so I'm sure we will grab something to eat out.

Thursday - Stromboli and Salad.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Weekly Menu

I haven't really cooked a lot lately.  It's true.  I've become an expert at finding stuff in my kitchen to serve for dinner just so I don't have to go to the store.  Nate recently told me that we can survive a week without a food so I told him I wasn't cooking anything for a whole week - they could just drink water!!  He didn't agree :-)  Instead, I'm actually thinking it might be time to actually plan and cook meals again.  The cupboards and freezer are pretty bare.  So, here's the plan for the coming week!

Friday - Roast, Potatoes, Carrots and Beefy Noodles.  I have Blueberry Hand pies planned for dessert too.

Saturday - Easy Stromboli and Spinach Salad. 

Sunday - BBQ Cups, Daddy Fries, and Cheesy Broccoli

Monday - My mom is taking the boys to a circus in town so I'll feed them Mac and Cheese early enough for them to go with her.  Darryl and I are heading opposite directions so we will each eat on our own tonight.

Tuesday - Quick and Easy Chicken Enchiladas, Rice, Beans and "Salad" (Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Sour Cream and Guacamole)

Wednesday - Meatball Soup and Crusty Rolls

Thursday - Baked Ziti, Green Beans and Garlic Bread. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Summer Fun Week 11

This week we are back to our "norm" as our friends are back from vacation.  That tightens my schedule a little because I have to watch the clock!  (Last week I did not!)  This is also kind of a boring week HA!  For real.

Here are some goals/plans for the week.
1) Sunday Darryl and I are heading out for dinner for our anniversary (which was Saturday the 4th) The kids are going to hang out with my mom while we are out.  Plus our last VBS starts tonight!
2) I want to finish up the cleaning of the playroom in the morning before heading to the pool . . on Monday.  Don't forget VBS in the evening!
3) It's time to clean the master bedroom - it tends to be the catch-all while I'm cleaning other rooms.  So, that will fill the morning before swimming in the afternoon and VBS in the evening . . .on Tuesday
4) We are camping this weekend so I want to focus on camping - gathering the things we need that aren't in use like extension cords, sheets/blankets/sleeping bags.  Making lists and planning our trip.  Can you guess what we will be doing in the afternoon? Swimming!  And VBS in the evening . . .on Wednesday.
5) Thursdays are laundry and shopping most weeks.  If we can squeeze it in, we will swim and then it's the last night of VBS.
6) Swimming on Friday :-)  I'm tired.
7) There is a kite festival at our Fairgrounds that I want to take the boys to in the midst of packing for camping on Saturday :-)  There is also a customer appreciation day at our favorite farm market and friends are selling cupcakes at a local farmers market too.  Not ot mention we have to get ready for camping!  WHEW!

Our week was pretty simple - we swam a lot which was great.  The pool is probably one of my favorite places to be in the summer!  Darryl and I did go out for our anniversary at one of our long time favorites - Chinese (First Wok) followed by some shopping.  The kids did attend our local community VBS throughout the week.  The master bedroom did get cleaned and the playroom was finished.  On Friday I took time to take "formal" photos of the kids to hopefully pick out a new photo for our wall.  Saturday we didn't do anything except go to the laundrymat and get ready for camping.  Nothing else really worked out timing wise to do but that's ok.   I also didn't take many photos this week! 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Weekly Menu - it's time to camp!

This weeks menu includes days of camping which is great.  Camping is either a ton of work or a little work and this time Darryl and I are striving for the second.  As much as I enjoy camping with the kids - the planning, packing, and set-up is just about enough to make me run and hide.  Since we haven't camped yet this summer, it has given me lots of time to try and come up with ways to make everything quicker.  I've already cleaned out the camper and rearranged our supplies so they are where we use them or where they are easy to get to the one time each trip we use them so now I don't have unload everything from the camper when we set up.  Also, because of the distance of this trip, we decided to take one vehicle instead of two.  This means we have to pack light (and strap the bikes on top!)  One way that I'm helping with the packing light is we are not grocery shopping for the camping days until we arrive at our location.  AND we are shopping light - keeping it simple for sure!  So, with that said, here's the basic plan for the week.

Friday - Pulled pork, baked beans, mac and cheese and broccoli.

Saturday - I'm on the fence for dinner tonight - on one hand, I should plan something in the crock pot but, on the other hand, I have to get laundry done, pack and load, and make sure we are ready to pull out early Sunday since Darryl has a concert before we can get on our way.  So, we might cheat and get pizza or KFC.

Sunday - It's time to camp!  My plan is to make meatballs and take those so I can throw them in the crock pot as soon as I can get to it.  That way they will be ready to eat by the time we are done setting up.  Our sides for most meals will stay the same - Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad, a Green Salad, and chips. Once we get a camp fire going, there will be hot dogs and stuff for smores.

Monday - Breakfast is simple (I've learned through the years that we are not breakfast eaters) - muffins and donuts.  Lunch  - We are eating out on a little road trip.  Dinner - Tacos and sides.

Tuesday - Breakfast is the same; Lunch - we have a favorite Italian place that we like to visit so we will have lunch there.  Dinner - our annual Steak and Chicken Kabob,  baked potatoes (Crock pot), and any other sides left.

Wednesday - Breakfast is the same; Lunch - Sandwiches or leftovers; Dinner - we will grab something somewhere.

Thursday - I wait until we get back from camping - sometimes we have leftovers (I hope not - that's the point of shopping when we get there!).  If we do, we'll eat those, if not, I"ll have to pick something up !!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Plans Week 10

So I decided to do this weeks post slightly differently.  I thought I'd list our goal/plans for the week and then give a recap with some photos.

With that said, here are the plans/goals for this past week.

1. Have a picnic with family on Sunday!
2. Haircuts and Move the Camper to the driveway on Monday!
3. Meet Family at the splashpad on Tuesday!
4. Weed the flower bed and sandbox, trim the willow tree and mow the grass (if it isn't done yet) on Wednesday.
5. Open up and clean the camper; clean off two shelves in the garage - one is full of camping stuff someone gave us two years ago. Once that is cleaned off, I can move stuff from another shelf to that shelf so that I can then move the second shelf into the playroom . . ..on Thursday!
6. There is an event in the next town over so we "might" go to that . . .but I'd also like to work on cleaning the playroom - on Friday!
7. Finish the playroom on Saturday!
Add to this swimming and anything else fun we might happen to come across to do! I'd also love to get some scrapbooking done - it was one of my July goals and now that my desk is cleaned off and my scrapbook shelf/art shelf is organized maybe, just maybe I can get to that too!

Before I post photos - I just want to recap a little (since I didn't take photos of everything!)  The camper did get moved, opened up, cleaned out, and reorganized.  We did weed the flower bed, sandbox, twim the willow and mow the grass.  I also did the cleaning in the garage, moved the shelf into the playroom and we started to playroom cleaning - we didn't get as far as I wanted but it should be done soon!   I did not scrapbook - I worked like crazy and we swam and hung out with family.  It rained some on Thursday so I got some reading in as well as the laundry :-)  All in all, it was a great week - I think it helped that I was on "vacation" from babysitting this week since the kids I watch were, well, on vacation!!  

Friday, August 3, 2018

Weekly Manu

Another week, another menu.  I threw last weeks menu out on Sunday HA!  There were leftovers from the picnic my mom put together on Sunday that changed menu since I love to use up leftovers whenever I can!  Also, by using leftovers it carries over meals to the next week and helps the budget!

This week the boys are attending our local city VBS so dinner's will be quick and easy.  Thankfully, the VBS is 5 minutes away so that does help!

Friday - Ham and Scallopped Potatoes and green beans

Saturday - Tacos!!

Sunday - Mac and Cheese for all of us!  I'll add something to mine and Darryl's like cooked ground sausage to beef (or is it pork) it up!  I think some good rolls would be tasty too.

Monday - Spahgetti and garlic Bread

Tuesday - Tacos (Of Course!)

Wednesday - maybe out?

Thursday - Pulled Pork, baked beans and broccoli.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August Goals

I didn't do great on accomplishing my July goals.  I kind of feel like July disappeared before it even started but I think that's because we had so much fun!  So maybe my July goals should be . . Have Fun!! I did accomplish two huge things.  1) The boys room got emptied, cleaned, rearranged, and totally organized.  2) I cleaned out the boys desks and organized thier school books and supplies so that I know what they need for school.  and 2b) I cleaned off my desk! I still need to really clean it out more but I didn't want to get buried in cleaning out the drawers the day I was cleaning. 

A funny story.  The neighbors have been coming over and playing with the boys inside.  I find that when they are here, I clean like a mad woman.  Why?  Because it stresses me out to have neighbor kids in the house touching stuff HA!  I feel like I can't sit down because I need to keep an eye on them so instead I just start cleaning.  So, maybe it's good when they are here except it just wears me out HA!

So, here's my basic plan for August

1.  Cleaning.  Just continuing out with doing cleaning out.  I'm hoping to get the garage, camper, and Playroom completely done.

2. Scrapbooking - Just do something!  Uuugg!  I feel like I'm stuck in a rut and I can't get past it.  I'm on the fence about attending my favorite weekend crop in October - if it works out I think it will motivate me once again. 

3. School - It's time to think about school and some goals I want for the year.  I also need to start putting together plans for the classes I'm teaching in our co-op.  I'm teaching Michigan History so I actually need to have some knowledge locked in this old brain of mine :-)

4. Celebrations - As we enter the second half of the year we also enter celebrations!  Halloween, Josh's Birthday, Thanksgiving, Nate's Birthday and Christmas!  It's time to start thinking and planning so we can enjoy all of those times of years.

5. Just have fun - Sound familiar?  This is my mantra for August.  We have the full month without school so we are going to enjoy it.  Swimming, activities, and camping.