Saturday, September 14, 2019

Our Week in photo #34

I totally missed last week!  As I mentioned previously, we got sick in this house with a crazy cold so I was out of it all weekend!  I'll catch up today though!

We started school on Tuesday, September 3rd.  Hard to believe we have a 4th and 5th grader!  Normally we go swimming the first day of school but the weather did not cooperate!  The boys also returned to piano lessons and we managed to squeeze in about 15 minutes at the park for something fun on the first day!

 Nathan



 Joshua




 On Wednesday, September 4th the boys both got braces.

 Joshua's smile "before" 
 Nate's smile "before" 
 Josh's smile "after" 
 Nate's smile "after" 

On Friday, September 6th we started Friday School!  It was a busy day so I didn't get many photos but I did get this one! 
 The boys are excited to be back with their friends! 

Apparently I didn't take photos this week HA!  Oh well.  This was our second week of Friday School! 
 Josh's "school" photo - 5th grade
 Nate's "school photo" - 4th grade




Friday, September 13, 2019

Weekly Menu

The start of the school year is still kickin' my behind.  Well also the fact that we have been busier than normal and we all got hit with a pretty bad head cold so we have been just trying to get the bare minimum done.  Crazy, I know!  The good news is that we eat at home more :-)  I'm actually enjoying cooking a little more (well, except for the days my head was so stuffed I couldn't breath!) so that makes eating at home a little easier!  This next week is a little busier than normal though so I have to do some planning to keep us on track!

Friday - I am not sure :-)  Maybe stuffed shells or maybe Darryl will "cook" :-) (For real, Darryl will probably pick something up on the way home :-) )

Saturday - Crock Pot Fajitas.  This was on the menu last week but it's the one meal I didn't get to so I'm sticking it into this week!

Sunday - Stuffed Shells and garlic Gread

Monday - Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tuesday - We have a field trip that will take up most of our day so dinner has to be simple - Turning leftover Pork Loin into BBQ pork is perfect.  Add Mac and Cheese and applesauce and life is good.

Wednesday - Tonight is the kids first night back to AWANA.  I try to keep it simple - corn dogs, frozen pizza ect.

Thursday - The boys and I will be gone all day on two different field trips.  So, again, dinner has to be super easy and ready to eat when we get home.  Tacos it is.  I'm actually to prepare everyone on Wednesday so all we have to do is eat it up when we get home on Thursday.  After a long day, if I don't do this - we will 100% eat out.  :-)


Friday, September 6, 2019

Weekly Menu

Sorry for being absent this week - the first week of school always brings about a new routine which means that blogging takes a back seat for a few weeks.

This week I really focused on making sure we ate "in" and not "out".  Eating out had become easy this summer especially on nights Darryl worked later.  I made a menu and stuck to it.  Plus we were super blessed by my mom this week with meals making it even easier!  I am also thankful that this year the boys have piano lessons during the day verses during the dinner hour!  It makes it so much easier to plan meals :-)

Here's the plan for the coming week.

Friday - It's the first week of our co-op.  I was going to throw something in the crock pot (because I hate cooking after a day of Friday school!) but I have an eye appointment sending me to Grand Rapids during the dinner hour.  The boys will be at my moms and Darryl and I will mostly be on our own since I don't think the timing will work for us to meet up :-)

Saturday - Creamy Parmesan Orzo with Chicken and Asparagus.  This is a new recipe that looks really tasty - hopefully it's as good as it looks!

Sunday - It's Football Kick-Off!  I've said this before but Darryl and I used to do all kinds of snacks on this day but since having kids (or at least kids at the ages they are) I find that they eat at normal times so having snacks all day doesn't benefit anyone!  Instead we will have sloppy joes, baked beans and Mexican dip and chips.  Still, good Football food!

Monday - Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken with potatoes and carrots and homemade biscuits.  Nate goes back to Tae Kwon Do tonight which means we eat in shifts so a crock pot meal is perfect for that.

Tuesday - Stuffed Shells with Cheese, green beans and garlic bread

Wednesday - Chili Dogs (with left over Sloppy Joes), Chips and potato salad

Thursday - Did I mention how much I love not having piano lessons on Thursday night?  Well, I do love it.  Crock Pot Fajita's is on the menu tonight.  I kind of forgot how much I love Fajita's until I made them for camping back in August.  This is a different recipe - hoping the crock pot does wonders for it :-)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Our Weekly Photos #33

Here's a look back at our week!

Saturday = a quiet day at home.  Darryl has been feeling a little under the weather so we hung around home.

Sunday = church, dinner with my mom, and a restful afternoon.

Monday = Nate and I worked on cleaning out the playroom so we can make it "his" room.  He requested to have his own space for his stuff so we are making that happen.  For now, he still wants to sleep in the same room with Josh (plus we have a couch in the playroom for now) so we are just moving his stuff and it will be "his room" to hang out in.

Tuesday = Today I worked with Josh on organizing his stuff and then the boys and I worked through the playroom stuff to figure out what needed to go where.

Wednesday = SWIMMING!!!

Thursday = Agape Stuff!

Friday = NOTHING!  HA!  Actually, I sat outside for over an hour on my swing and read.  The weather was perfect for that!

Do you notice what's missing?? Photos!  Anytime we do reorganizing I never remember to take photos!!!  Oh well.  We did have a busy week but we got alot done and had fun too!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Weekly Menu - The unofficial End of Summer

Wow.  Just wow.  It is Labor Day Weekend.  The unofficial end of summer.  We have to shift into a different gear with School, Friday School Co-Op, Piano Lessons, Awana and more.  Last week I actually planned meals (no more of the "something with chicken" HA!) and it kind of felt good to have a plan.  We eat out less when I plan because I actually KNOW what I'm going to cook all week.  I also make less trips to the store every. single. day. when I plan out a good list and double check it against the fridge/cupboards before I leave home.

With that said, here's the plan for the coming week:

Friday - Tacos :-)  This is a carry over from last week actually

Saturday -  Crescent Chicken Braid.  This is another carry over from last week.

Sunday -  Baked Ziti and Garlic Bread. Yep, another carry over!

Monday - It's Labor Day!  I'm sure we will do a cook out with my mom.  :-)

Tuesday - Today's our first official day of school.  (It is all intro lessons so it takes about 20 minutes HA!)  My mom has offered to cook dinner tonight to make my life easier so we are going to her house.  Rumor has it she is making ribs!

Wednesday - Meatball soup and French Bread

Thursday -  Again, my mom has offered to provide dinner for us to help me out as we start school.  Rumor has it she's picking up a take and bake pizza from Aldi's for us.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

September Goals

Sure, I'm technically still wrapping up a few lose ends from my summer goal list but it is time to think about September!  I had to look back and remind myself of what I posted back in January because I had completely forgotten!

I don't necessarily have a specific focus this month as I had at the beginning of the year.  Rather, I just have a list of goals I hope to accomplish!

1. Finances - I'm working on sticking to a budget this month that includes getting the bills paid (of course) and then saving for other things that are coming up in the next 3-4 months (Like birthdays and Christmas)
2. Menu planning - my goal this month is to be intentional about menu planning.  Planning meals that we enjoy, keeping the grocery budget in line,  not running to the store multiple times in a week and not eating out on nights where it is easier than cooking.
3. Deep clean the bathroom and also update the art on the walls.
4. Create and tweak our school schedule this month.  I always start out the month with ideas I want to implement but those ideas have to be tweaked throughout this first month of school.
5. Another school goal is to help the boys be more independent in their online classes.  The "easiest" class to do that in is math so my September goal is to have them doing their math lessons by themselves by the end of the month.  Why? Because the more independent they are, the more they can direct their time.  For example, if one boy wants to start his lessons at 8;00 AM and get everything done by 11:00 - they have to do it independently.  If I have to do all subjects with both of them, they have to rely on my schedule to get work done.
6. Camp - we have a camping trip scheduled.  I need to plan the details, pack, load and go!
7. Look for other fun, inexpensive, things we can do as a family.  I use facebook to help me by clicking "interested" on lots of activities that pop up so I can remember them later!
8. Read.  It's time to get back to reading.  I need to go back to my challenge of years ago and pick out 4-6 books I want to read each month and post about it!
9. Update my holiday journal and also read through the items for Thanksgiving and Christmas from last year so I'm prepared!
10. Get Halloween costumes for the boys
11. Purchase Josh's Birthday Presents this month.  This is always a stretch but I'm hoping I can accomplish this.
12. Follow the flylady schedule I have weekly.
13. Scrapbook - I'd like to finish 2015 - I just have December to finish so it is doable if I take time to scrapbook this month!
14. Scrapbook - I'd like to spend 2-3 hours a week scrapbooking.  With football season coming, I'm thinking I can scrapbook on Sunday afternoons while watching football . . . but sometimes, Sunday afternoons are my do nothing times - so we will see! There's a scrapbook weekend in October I'm hoping to attend so I need to register for that soon!
15. Bake.  Breads, fun desserts, cookies.  Just one little thing a week.
16. Clean out my truck - once swimming has wrapped up, I will need to clean out the summer stuff and make sure it is ready for winter.
17. Sort the photos I ordered several months ago and see what I need to order next.  Order at the end of the month.
18. Have the boys try on all of their fall/winter clothes and see what we need.  I automatically know that they both need boots HA!
19. Plan out the topic/class I want to teach next semester at our co-op.

Once again I hit 19 :-)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Summer Goal Wrap-up

Here's the final update for the summer.
June = Green
July = Purple
August = Orange

So, I udpated in June (the dark green) and now I'll show what I accomplished since that update.  (Dark Purple) 

A friend of mine also started a "Summer Seventeen" facebook event that I joined - some of those goals are the same and some are different - I'll share that at the end of the event mid-August.  

Here's a quick look at what was accomplished in June! I feel like it looks like I didn't do much but yet I feel like I did - we've been busy with a variety of things . . .just not all of these things!
1. Scrapbooking
    --- Figure out how many page protectors I need to completely finish albums. I did this and have it noted so I can order when I can. 

    --- Spend about 4 hours a month specifically scrapbooking.  I want to carve out schedule time to scrapbook.  I'm hoping for at least one 4 hour block each month. The month isn't done but . . I have a busy few days so this won't happen this month.  I never scrapbooked but I do actually have my stuffed organized and set up on my now clean desk so I can get back into preserving our memories! 
2. Desks - Work with the boys to completely clean out their school desks so they are ready for the fall; also do a complete clean out of my desk so it's nice an organized once again. Done!!
3. Clean the garage and organize it completely. Not done but I'm hoping the weather is comfortable enough this coming weekend that maybe we can work on it and get some things organized. 
4. Clean out the playroom and organize everything Done!! (Finally!) 
5. Clean out the boys rooms and help them organize all of their stuff. Done!! (Finally!) 
6. Continue work in the basement - a lot of progress has been made but still more to do!
  -- In June we cleaned the laundry room and got a new washer/dryer; got the dehumidifers going!; and cleaned up the "playroom" (really it's toy storage - no one wants to play there HA)  I cleaned off my storage shelf and got rid of lots of trash.  This is 90% done.  I would even claim it is 100% done.  There are some organizing things I'd like to do but it is actually cleaned up and not embarrassing anymore! 
7. Clean out my flower bed and plant the sunflower seeds Done
8. Read 6 books throughout the summer.  Setting the bar low! I've a lot of struggles this summer with my contacts which has made it hard to want to read but I have managed to read 2 books :-) 
9. Take year end photos of the boys Done 
10. Take School photos of the boys (End of August) This will probably happen next week - once we start school 
11. Learn a piano song for July (have to play the piano for church)Done
12. Learn my special for July (Have to sing at church) Done (but I didn't end up singing!) 
13. Make the elusive dentist appointment HA! Done - going in about 2 weeks
14. Order Halloween Costumes (yes, I do this in the summer before prices start to climb!)
15. Plan two birthdays and Christmas (I like to plan by the end of August to make it easier to accomplish everything) Nothing is 100% planned but I do have lists started and ideas in the works. 
16. Bake and Cook something new.  Specifically I'd like to try making Macarons. Those delicious little French pastries.  I also have a few great cookbooks I'd like to try a few things from as well. Never even looked up a recipe HA! 

I feel pretty good about what I accomplished this summer.  I also worked on some other things like organizing and cleaning out my jewelry, cleaning the master bedroom, setting up some routines and more.  This last week of August I'm focused on doing some final organizing before school begins, making to do lists, and planning out schedules for our school days.  Well, and just enjoying a week of no school!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Summer - Weeks 10, 11 and 12

I kind of did this with my summer posts: 
 Yep, I have dropped the ball! 

We've had a much quieter summer this year then past years.  I didn't plan a lot of extra things; we missed a lot of the library dates early in the summer; we didn't do any crafts; we just didn't.  My kids are very much home bodies right now.  Given a choice, they'd rather be home (or at Nana's house) then out doing stuff.  
That's fine.  I've learned to not push what I want to do on other people because it just makes us all unhappy.  
Well, except for the pool.  I push the pool on my boys even when they don't want to because I want to swim and we won't have that option next summer!  

So this week, it's a quiet week but we will enjoy the pool as much as the weather allows us too!  School begins next week (shhhhh - even I don't like thinking about it early HA!) 

Next summer, I need to plan a little better and do my posts differently so they are so boring!!  


Monday, August 26, 2019

Things to Remember as a new School year Begins

A good friend of mine shared this wisdom last week and her kids gear up to return to school.  Even as homeschoolers, the start of a new year brings lots of changes so many of these reminders fit! 

Things I thank myself for doing as the school year gets underway…
NOTHING EXTRA. I schedule nothing extra for the evenings of the first week of school, and very little for the weekend after it starts. My kids need good food, a listening ear, extra love, to just BE HOME, and early bedtimes or a mindless hour of TV.
NOTHING EXTRA, PART TWO. No extra appointments in September. No routine doctors, no routine dentists, no haircuts, no oil changes. September already has enough ‘extra’ details and obligations.
TWO WEEKS OF GRACE. It takes us two full weeks to transition into any new schedule. When I get frustrated or overwhelmed, I remind myself that we’re still getting the hang of things.
DINNER DELIVERED. Whether take-out, pizza delivery, or a visit from Grandma, I intentionally plan a few meals to be courtesy of someone else the first two weeks. Anyone can cook. Mom’s hands are best used handling other things that only Mom can handle.
CA$H $TA$H. I go to the bank to get a pile of one dollar bills and a pile of fives. This means I am ready to attend sporting events and send my kid to the concession stand for weeks to come. I can turn in the order form for school photos / the field trip / the team t-shirt immediately. I can hit the carwash and the coffee house. Done and done.
VENDING READY. I turn my fridge, freezer, and pantry into ready-to-go vending machines. There are dozens of options pre-packaged in single serve bags and containers. Packing lunches, grabbing after-school snacks, eating in the car on the way to practice is a piece of cake. Fruit, veggies, pasta salad, hummus and pretzels, meat sticks, individually wrapped muffins, squeeze yogurt, string cheese…
HOUSE HELP. Once the kids are out the door, I like to refresh the house from all our summer fun. This goes way faster and is more fun with a girlfriend or a cleaning lady.
REMEMBER ME? I keep a list of things that come to mind of ways to take care of ME in the midst of taking care of everyone else. This can be adding my favorite lunch foods to the grocery list, scheduling a pedicure, going to the library, or cleaning my closet. Whatever fills me up.
TRAIN THE BRAIN. I have a collection of specific works I reread this time of year (some with my kids) to train our brains. There is a piece on KINDNESS from “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker. The book of Proverbs from the Bible. Steve Jobs’ commencement speech from 2005. Top Tips for Test Taking. And a list of “Teen Commandments” from my grandparents’ office. These works bring some key things into focus to keep in mind as we kick off each school year.
THIS IS ME. I walk my kids through writing a statement of affirmation about who they are, what they believe in, how to they behave, and what they are striving for. We post this list on their bathroom mirror so they see and read it every day. It proves to be a place for us to later on check behavior against the standards THEY SET for themselves each year

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Our week in photos #32

Here's a look back at our week!


Saturday = an unexpected day at home!  We slept in a bit, ran some errands, and I got some things done at home.  After dinner, Darryl surprised the boys with new fishing poles and we took them fishing.  Something Nate has been asking to do since he went fishing with his class from our co-op.





Sunday = Church in the morning with a quiet afternoon at home followed by a church picnic at the lake.



Monday = Swimming in the afternoon followed by TKD in the park and a potluck.



Tuesday = Swimming once again :-)

Wednesday = Our friends returned to school today so to celebrate the fact that we DON'T have to go to school, we went out to lunch.  We had hoped to go swimming but ran out of time!

Thursday = Swimming.  Why?  Because we can while everyone else is already in school!





Friday = Time for our Meet and Greet for Friday School!





Friday, August 23, 2019

Weekly Menu

It might be time to start thinking about actually planning menus and cooking again as we start to wind down from the freedom of summer and begin looking at the schedule.  School, Co-op, Tae Kwon Do, AWANA, Piano lessons and so on.  I'm hoping to be more intentional with meal planning as we go into fall but. .. who knows.  Just one day at a time!

Friday - Tacos.  We have a busy day so an easy dinner is a must!

Saturday -  One of our favorites - BBQ Cups and Homemade Mac and Cheese.  (Josh has informed me that he only likes Homemade Mac and Cheese so we will see how this goes HA!)

Sunday - Grammy's Swiss Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Green Beans. 

Monday - Baked Ziti and Garlic Bread

Tuesday - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn

Wednesday - Tomato basil Chicken and French Bread

Thursday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Baked Beans and Broccoli

Friday, August 16, 2019

Our week in photos #31

Here's our week in photos and maybe a few comments too!
 This was on my phone HA!  I love it. 

Saturday = just a day to get ready for camping.  Actually, the boys went to VBS with a friend in the morning so I grocery shopped.  Then spent the afternoon packing and getting things ready.   

Sunday = We got up Sunday and loaded everything up to go camping.  After lunch at home, we hit the road.  It was an easy trip and the fastest set up ever - 1 hour and 11 minutes.  BOOM!  (Yes we time it!) After set up, we all went to Meijer to do the rest of the grocery shopping (easier to shop then haul it all) before returning back to the camper for dinner. 

 Joshua 
 Nathan
 Our fun set up.  

 The boys and Darryl headed out to get ice and wood.  Yes, the boys love to ride bikes everywhere. 
We ended the night by the fire! 

Monday = Time at the beach.  We hung out at the camper until after lunch and then went to the beach where we swam and swam.  The water was super warm so it was easy to stay in for awhile. 
 I couldn't see my phone to take a worthwhile photo!


 Breakfast in the camper! We keep it simple most days and just enjoy cereal and milk. 
 Passing on our tradition of making steak kabobs over the campfire for dinner. 
 Josh found a caterpillar.  
Nate loved the play ground.  He always makes friends! 

Tuesday = We started out at the camper for the morning.  We then headed into South Haven for our annual lunch at Maria's, our favorite Italian place.  From there we headed to South Beach for hours of fun at the beach.  We wrapped up the day eating at an awesome Ice Cream place before heading back to the campground



 South Beach is a favorite beach.  Today the water was COLD! BUT we still went in!  

 This is how much Nate likes ice cream HA! 


Wednesday = Loading up!  I cooked a nice breakfast before we got to work.  Once again, we beat our tear down time (not by much!) It took 2 hours.  (Yes, it takes longer to tear down!!)
 I kept taking pictures but Darryl kept saying "Will you put that down and help me HA!" 


We couldn't leave South Haven without picking Blueberries!  (I hate picking blueberries so I take pictures!!) 

Thursday and Friday = Unpacking and catching up on sleep HA!