Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Recap

My February focus is
Strengthen our Homeschool
Part of the reason I picked this for February is that it won't take as much time and, considering I'm just getting started, I only have a half of a month to focus on it!  I also feel that if we can stay in our established routines this month now that we have missed 2 weeks of school (yes we did!! The weather has not been our friend - but it has brought extra friends to our house making school hard to do!!) that we will end the month on schedule, if not ahead of schedule. 
1. Make sure we are doing Math Minute daily, We did incorporate this is often as possible. I find that even though the boys have two hours a day to do independent work, they don't get through everything I want them too! 
2. Accomplishing our IXL goals weekly (IXL is a math/reading practice program the boys are required to do). We are trying but the boys aren't enjoying this anymore so it is becoming a challenge to get them to do it without a battle. 
3. Focus on cursive writing - the goal is to be writing in cursive by the end of May. This is part of our daily independent work. 
4. Go to the shelter and read at least once this month to the Shelter animals We never did this - between weather, snow days and just keeping up with school, there wasn't a day to do this during February. 
5. Look at some other options for homeschooling next year - do we need to change from Connections Academy?  It's the time of year to re-evaluate what we are doing. I have been doing some research and haven't made a decision about next year yet.  
6. Get the boys reading daily - I have the books and they need to read daily! YES!  I did a facebook post and got lots of great ideas.  I ordered four books and the boys have started reading. 
7. Josh needs to finish 1 Social Studies project and Nate has 4 reading journals he has to complete - I want to be on schedule with these extra projects. Josh picked both his Social Studies project and his Michigan History project, neither of which we could start this month as we aren't that far into the chapters yet.  Nate has completed the one journal related to the story he has read - he hasn't read the other three stories yet. 

Even though that's my main focus, I also have some other goals to work on as well. 

1. Add exercise to our daily schedule - we started this and then the horrible winter weather hit and "locked us in" thanks to bitter cold, lots of snow and then ice, upon ice, upon ice. We've still been frozen in this month.  Maybe March will be better!
2. The basement is always on my list.  I just have to do 15 minutes a day - that's my plan.  I know from past experience that 15 minutes a day = lots of work done.  I had good goals and then it was March HA!
3. Have a movie night at home.  We did this on this past Sunday! 
4. Find one activity to do this month as a family - my father-in-law gave us money to take the boys out to do something as a Christmas gift so we are tossing around a few ideas for that.  There is also a place called "Cat Cafe" that I think the boys would enjoy that is on my radar. We had a few plans but due to weather they didn't happen yet. 
5. Update my Holiday Journal - Superbowl and Valentines Day
6. Scrapbooking - my goal is to order pictures to finish up 2014; and then order January 2019 photos.  I also want to scrapbook both December 2014 and January 2019.  The photos are ordered! 
7. Find my song to sing at church at the end of April. 
8. Read - I'll have a book club book, a Baker Book House book club list and just general reading. I'm reading :-)  Yes, yes, yes! 
9. Plan Darryl's birthday (it's coming up quickly!) Done! 
10. Work on the idea of what class I want to teach at the co-op in the fall. I've picked it - The 13 Colonies.  Now to just plan it out.  I'm also looking at Space - if I want to teach two. 
11. Totally 100% clean the playroom (I have a motto of "organize one thing" to accomplish each month). I'd like to empty the playroom, clean the carpet, clean everything else, and then reorganize and put things back neatly. This is done :-)  (I didn't clean the carpet . . .I'll wait until I'm ready to clean the living room carpet too.) 
12. Purchase 2 items for our grinch calendar in December - I'm trying to get ahead. Nope!
13. Shipt - try to into shipt shopping to earn extra income.  It's hard to get into it started. The weather has really derailed this plan. 
14. Schedule my dental cleaning Yes!  I finally got this scheduled. 
15. Make a list of summer clothing items the boys need so we can get ahead of the game.
16. Practice piano - pick one or two songs to work on until I can play them well. 
17. Plan ahead for St. Patrick's Day - find the annual shirts and plan activities
18. Set up my 2019 Scrapbooking file folders Done. 
19. Incorporate Flylady routines. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Food Favorites - Mexican Street Corn Casserole

This is a recipe that was on last weeks menu that I actually tried and we actually liked.  In Darryl's words - "It's corn and it's cheese, how can you not like it?"   I did cut this recipe in half and it was the perfect amount for our family.

The recipe can be found at Easy Family Recipes.


  • 32 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 5 oz queso fresco, grated or crumbled
For Garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F
  2. Pour the corn into a large casserole dish.  Mix in the mayo, sour cream, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and half of the queso fresco until combined.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until heated through and the sides begin to bubble.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining queso fresco over the casserole and top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Origami Week 4

On week 4 of Origami we made a really cool project using a basic Origami fold.  I found it over at Mrs. Byrd's Elementary Art Studio

It included just a basic triangle fold but made a beautiful finished project.

Aren't those awesome?   I totally forgot to take photos of the student creations (this was mine!) but they are all so cool!  This is my favorite project this semester!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Darryl's Birthday Fun

Friday the 22nd was Darryl's birthday but we had some fun planned for the entire weekend. 

Our Friday plans got changed which was ok.  The boys had a plan for something to do with Darryl Friday after work but they also got invited to a friends sleepover birthday party and they started to do some thinking.  Then we were down to one car for part of the week which included Friday.  The boys and I had the privilege to take Darryl to work on his birthday (so yes, we sang happy birthday at 4:00 AM in the car driving to Grand Rapids).  Which meant we also had to pick him up!  The boys got to thinking that their original plan might not work well on that day . .. and they REALLY wanted to go to their friends birthday on time.  So in the end, we made it for the birthday party drop-off about 10 minutes late and then Darryl and I went out to dinner.  I took him to his favorite Chinese Buffet where he ate his fill of Shrimp and Mushrooms.  We then came home and both fought to stay awake until 9;30 HA!

Saturday Darryl and I planned for a day out. 

After picking the kids up from their friends and dropping them off at home with the babysitter, we headed out for a fun day.

We started with lunch at :
Darryl and I both love Long John Silver's but the boys do not!  So, we enjoyed a nice lunch with just the two of us!

Darryl has been waiting to get an amp so from lunch we headed to the music store where he finally got to get his amp!  It's fun seeing him get a new "toy".  Especially one that show cases his fabulous guitar talents

After that we headed to see a movie.  It's another one of those things we love to do without kids because we can see non-animated movies :-) It's a movie that has been talked about a lot and we both wanted to see it.  Ultimately it was a pretty good movie, but I can't really recommend it in good conscience :-)

Finally, we headed downtown to a place called:
Mojo's is a dueling piano "bar".  It was so much fun!  We got some great burgers and fries and sang along with some songs.  It was really a fun thing. 

We really had a great day being out together.  We would do it more but, boy oh boy, paying a babysitter for that many hours is expensive (It will be nice to have my mom closer next year HA!)

The party was still going on Sunday!  We enjoyed a quiet Sunday at home.  Thanks to some nasty weather, we didn't even head out to church, which really,  both of our kids needed to sleep - they were lacking sleep from Friday and Saturday.  We had a wonderful brunch.
 I made some of Darryl's favorites - Sausage Gravy and Biscuits and Fried Eggs.  
 Darryl spent a good part of his day playing with his new toy - his amp.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and then watching a movie together as a family (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and laughed a lot. 
Dinner was some of Darryl's favorite snacks - Shrimp Cocktail, Crescent wrapped Sausages, Bacon Bites, and Chili Cheese dip!  Yum!   
 Finally we celebrated with Darryl's favorite cake - Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting.  
 And we gave him his presents.  
 Josh got him a coffee cup and a gift card to Starbucks. 
Nate got him this Spongebob t-shirt and a gift card to Starbucks. 

It was a really wonderful weekend celebrating Darryl!  (And we are so thankful that the power never went out in the wind storm!) 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Worship - Worth It All

I found this song while searching on Youtube.  I love Meredith Andrews - especially when I'm scheduled for special music because her songs tend to fit my voice.  This is a great song - who knows, maybe I'll sing it some day :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Our Week in Photos #8 -

Some weeks are super busy and some are not.  This was a "not" busy week which = no photos!

That's the week we had!

1) On Saturday I had book club - it was a great time with friends.  We spent more time catching up then talking about a book but I think we all needed the break after weeks of bad weather!

2) On Sunday we went to church and just hung out at home.

3) On Monday we did a full day of school.

4) On Tuesday we took our "President's Day".  I had actually planned to run errands today (which is why we did school on Monday since technically we did not have school) but Darryl's truck broke down so I was without a vehicle!  We just enjoyed a day at home - I did some organizing and cleaning!

5) On Wednesday we did a little school and then went out to lunch with friends.

6) On Thursday we did a full day of school!

7) Friday was Darryl's birthday.  He worked, we had Friday School.  The boys went to a birthday party/sleep over and Darryl and I went out to dinner. (Oh wait - a couple of photos!!)
 Nate  - 4th one from the right - loves to help lead the verse and song in our morning opening. 
Josh and Nate in their "Grateful Hearts" class.  (I was a helper)  They made a meal for a missionary family. 

At least I have a couple of photos :-)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Happy Birthday Darryl!

Today is Darryl's birthday

Our schedules are busy today with work, Friday School, and a birthday party the boys are attending but we still want to honor this great guy!  

He brings laughter and humor into our home.  He has the ability to make the boys laugh uncontrollably at times.  He is super talented (we love hearing him play guitar!).  He works hard so that I can stay home with the boys - long hours, two jobs and is always tired! 
I'm so thankful that he is ours! 

Happy Birthday to my hubby today! 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Weekly Menu - 1 day early

I'm slipping this post in a day early as there is something else I'll be sharing tomorrow :-)  This past week went close to the plan.  Darryl and I ended up with an unplanned kid-free afternoon this past Saturday as the boys went to a friends house so we went out to an early dinner together at our favorite Mexican place (that the boys actually don't like so we only go when they are gone!) It was a nice, unexpected treat for sure!

So, here's the plan for the coming week!

Friday - Today is my husband's birthday so we will be celebrating with him.  The boys have something that want to do with him so we will probably eat out just before that based on timing :-)

Saturday - This is up in the air.  We are hoping to go out for the day for Darryl's birthday which would mean we would eat out (Probably Olive Garden since we have wonderful gift cards!) So, we will see.

Sunday - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies, and Crescent Rolls

Monday -  Tacos.

Tuesday - Chili Mac 5 way (in order words - served with cheese, onion, spaghetti . . .ect) and rolls

Wednesday - The boys and I will most likely eat out . . if there is AWANA

Thursday - It's Piano night so I think my plan will be leftovers (Meatloaf, tacos, and Chili) I'll make sure and have corn dogs and chicken nuggets as backups!

And just like that it's March!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Food Favorites - Roasted Chicken Legs

Periodically I come across a "recipe" that is a total home run and yet it is so simple it's almost not a recipe.  A few weeks back, chicken legs were on sale so I picked up a few packages, divided them up and froze them.  I shared one recipe a while back for Teriyaki Chicken Thighs (Legs) that is a long time favorite recipe.  Well, when it was time to cook up some more chicken legs I wanted a super easy recipe. So, I just looked up a recipe for roasted chicken legs and came across an amazing concept.

This is so simple!

Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil (I wasn't thinking when I made this most recently and used parchment paper, which isn't the best to use in a high temp oven).  Lay the chicken legs on the foil and drizzle/rub with olive oil.  Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning (I use Nature's Seasoning).  Cook for about 40-45 minutes at 425 degrees. 

Your house will smell amazing!  The skin gets crispy and the meat is so very juicy and flavorful! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Origami Week 3

This semester of Friday School has thrown us some curve balls in the way of weather.  We missed two weeks in a row because of snow and ice so this really is just week three!  I guess this is why I don't plan all 8 weeks in advance HA!

Friday was our Valentine's party so I wanted to start with a couple of Valentine's themed Origami ideas.

So, first up we made these adorable lollipop covers from Skip to my Lou
I used up some of my Valentine's Scrapbooking paper that I've had forever and bought a bag of Heart Lollipops.  It was a fun little craft.  They could each make three total so they left one for our display table and got to take two home.  I wish I would have checked how many Lollipops were in the bag - I would have bought two bags so they could have made more. 

Then we made these great hearts from Extreme Paper Crafting
These Celtic Heart knots look fun and they were.  They look pretty too.  

Once we finished these two items, I had printed off some Valentine's activity sheets and the students got to just have fun with those.  Our class was shortened due to the party anyway so it all worked out! 

We only have three weeks left and I have . .. three projects I really want to get done so hopefully we can get those done!! 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Baker Book Club

I have two new books to add to my list.

Two weeks ago the idea was to read a book with a one word title.  I didn't want to spend any money so I went onto Amazon and searched for free Christian Fiction.  I came across this book.

It's a mystery and, quite honestly, is not my normal pick of a read.  BUT it was free and it had a one word title.  It started our  slow and, honestly, confusing.  I couldn't figure out whether the main character was returning to the USA or to the Philippines  or somewhere else.  I have figured out that it is taking place in the US and it involves typical mystery things like drug smuggling and death.  I'm still reading this one and am actually getting a little more interested in it then when I first started it.

The book for this week was to be a book originally written in a different language.  I almost skipped this one until I saw the recommended book which was:
I actually already owned this book and had started to read it but never finished it.  This is a perfect time to finish it! There's a reason I never finished it though - I lost interest.  So, once I finish up the book above, Ice, I WILL make myself finish this book too!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday Worship - What a Beautiful Name

This is another song that I heard the first when Darryl's group performed it.  It has such a simple yet amazing message! 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Our Week in Photos #7

At the start of the week I really thought we would get 100% back into our routine but then the next winter storm rolled in and we had friends here for three days this week.  Despite that we did do some school and enjoyed our Valentine's party at our co-op too!

 After all of the ice storms and bitter cold we've had this weekend, we got a true winter snow storm this past week.  Lots of snow, decent winter temps and time to play outside.  The boys even did a little sledding down a neighbors hill.  
 This is my view for about four hours a day - looking at a computer screen with one of the boys with a nice view outside too.  
 Nate working on School work. 

 The table set for Valentine's day.  
 One of my favorites!  It's a tradition on Valentine's Day. 
 Dinner is served!  Notice there are now roses on the table from my sweetie!  

 Each of the boys had a bag of Valentine's goodies - some of their favorite candy, Pokemon cards and a matchbox car. 

We've missed the last two weeks of Friday school due to it being canceled but today we were finally back again!  
It was our Valentine's Party too and this was our box.  It is the brain child of Nate with Josh adding all of the Valentine's touches.  I think it is pretty awesome. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Weekly Menu

Last week through us a few curve balls that shifted our menu a bit (nothing bad, just some unplanned things).  I think this week will hopefully be a little quieter.  The weather has been FOR REAL since the end of January with snow storms, bitter cold, wind, ice, freezing rain - you name it, we have had it.  Thankfully, we have kept our power but many others went days and days without (including my Father-in-law!)  I "think" this coming week will be a little bit quieter . .. hopefully.

Friday - We are going to eat out.  I'm tired of cooking; it's Friday School day; it's Valentine's Party day; and we are squeezing piano lessons in too.  Put a fork in me, I'm done - someone else needs to make my food HA!

Saturday - Pork Loin in the crock pot, Mac and Cheese and Baked Potatoes

Sunday - Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes and Ground Beef, Rolls, and Carrots

Monday - Oven Roasted Chicken Legs, Mashed Potatoes,  and Broccoli

Tuesday - Brats, Mexican Corn Casserole, and Baked Beans

Wednesday - IF we go to AWANA, we WILL have Taco Bell HA!

Thursday - Corn Dogs and Mac and Cheese (It's Piano night!!)

I have a few new recipes while also trying to use up what's in my freezer!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

Do you have any traditions for Valentine's Day?  We do but not anything super fancy.  I would say of all of the Holiday's we celebrate in any form or fashion, this is the one I do the least for of all of them. 

I feel like I'm still recovering from Christmas and all of a sudden it's Valentine's Day!  But, we still like to have a little fun.  For dinner we always have Spaghetti and Meatballs, Green Beans, and Garlic Bread.  We also have Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Frosted Sugar Cookies (truth be told - I buy Lofthouse Cookies  . .. they are they best cookies ever HA!) Then, we just put together a small little gift bag with candy and a few small gifts for fun.  I'll share photos of that on Saturday. 

Darryl and I don't usually do anything - we've both always had to work both the day off and the day after (usually!) and now with kids - we just like to hang out with them at home.  Darryl's birthday is a week later so we'd rather go out and celebrate his birthday instead ! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Our Homemade Valentines

Not long ago I shared a post with lots of different ideas for homemade Valentine's.  Well, I did not share the ideas I knew my kids would pick!

Fortnite is a big deal in this house so I was pretty sure they would both pick Fortnite related Valentine's and they did not disappoint.  We have worked this week on getting them ready for our Co-Op this Friday.

First up, Nate picked his Llama Fortnite Valentine's.  These go to every family in the group. I loved that this year, I could just print, cut, and staple :-) So easy! 

 Nate picked Starburst as the candy to go along with his Valentine's.  We put them in a snack size baggie. 
 Then we stapled the card to the bag.  He also picked out a second design for his closest friends.  I'll share that at the end of the post. 

Then, Josh picked out his main cards. 

 Josh wanted Heart lollipops to go along with his card. 
Again, we used baggies to attach to the cards.  I thought about taping the lollipop to the card but both Josh and I were afraid it would fall off. 

Here are links to all of the cards we used: 
Curious and Geeks supplied two different options for the Fortnite Unicorn Llama

Mandys Party Printables provides the free printables for three designs.  Josh actually used all of them - some for his whole group designs and then some for his close friends. 

This was Nate's second card he made for his close friends and it can be found at Curious and Geeks too. 

This was Josh's final choice (and my actual favorite!) and this one can be found at Swag Grabber.

So, if you are in need of some last minute Valentine's - just print and go with any of these ideas!  

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Periodically on my blog I talk about Flylady.
Flylady is a great system of decluttering, cleaning and organizing basic weekly tasks.  I started using Flylady techniques probably about 12-15 years ago.  What I have learned is the following:

1) The Flylady plan is truly a great starting place. She lays out daily and weekly plans based on the rooms in your home.
2) It's ok to change HER schedule to meet YOUR schedule.  For example, her errand day is Thursday - but if you run errands on Tuesday, make that your errand day :-)
3) Alter the cleaning tasks/schedule to fit the size of YOUR home.
4) Her daily tasks for each zone are really great - follow them if you can; alter them if you need to.
5) The key is totally to declutter first - you can't clean clutter.
6) Dig through the website and find all of the extra stuff like deep cleaning checklists :-)
7) Understand that her concept overall is that if you have decluttered and then follow her zone cleaning and basic weekly cleaning concepts, your home WILL be clean and you don't have to do deep, hard cleaning because you will be on top of all of that stuff.  Sure, you will deep clean areas in your home throughout the year (thus the deep cleaning checklists) but you will do it easily on a monthly basis instead of all in one huge chunk.
8) Read about and follow her Flylady Journal from step one - babysteps are key.

When I started this system years ago, I built my journal - I have it saved on my computer.  My morning routine and bedtime routines have changed many times based on my season of life but the over all concept has stayed the same.  I would like to say that I have followed it perfectly over the years but I tend to really follow it well for awhile and then I let it go and get out of the routines.  One of my goals this year is to get back into those routines.  Is Flylady for everyone?? Nope :-)  It might not be your style and that's ok!

There is one thing that I've never done . . .. one of her "things" is to get dressed to your shoes )So if you have to run outside you always have shoes on)  . . well, I don't wear shoes if I don't have to!  I keep a pair of flip flops by the door and, this time of year, a pair of tennis shoes, so I can slip them on and do what I need to do but I hate wearing shoes!