Sunday, April 28, 2019

May Goals

I usually do a recap of my current month goals before I post the new goals but I'm doing it backwards this time!  No real reason other than this post is ready first :-) 

I'm doing my goals slightly differently for the month of May.  I have a very specific list of things that need to get done for a few reasons.  One, we are trying to finish up school and two, my mom is moving and we have some things that have to get done!

With that in mind these are my goals for the month of May

1.  Finish School.  And I mean everything.  Since my actual goal is May 15th I think getting it done by May 31st should be ok.
2. Clean the playroom. Sell the chair and ottoman that are in the playroom. Trash the broken recliner that is in the playroom.  Move our current couch into the playroom to make room for a new couch we are getting from my mom that won't fit in her new home.  (this has to be done by May 9th!)
3.  Clean the laundry room area.  We are being gifted a washer and dryer but, since I haven't had either in over a year, the laundry room has become a storage room.  I have to clean stuff up and out to make room for the delivery people to actually, well, deliver. (this has to be done by May 9th also!)
4.  Wash all of the upstairs rugs - I usually do this a few times a year and has summer approaches, it is time to get the winter dirt and salt out of the rugs.  I figure I should do this while I'm still making trips to the laundromat!
5. Finish the decor in the dining room - just have to have Darryl hang the last few things since he needs to add anchors to a few things (and, well, hang things straight!)
6. I have four simple scrapbook goals for this month - a) count how many page protectors I need to finish up some books that don't have them b) Sort the last batch of photos I order last month c) put the digital pages in the protectors I bought last month and add them to the album. d) Order April 2019 photos as well as the next month I'm on in 2014 (I think it's 2014 - I'll double check before I order! )  I'm trying to stay current on my photo order and also work on catching up on some other years - it makes scrapbooking easier when I actually have the photos!
7. Plan our summer - I did this last year and it really helped me focus on some specific things and make sure we didn't miss anything we really wanted to do !
8. Finally set up my dental cleaning - I was going to do this earlier but decided to wait until my mom was here so I have somewhere to drop the kids while I go to the dentist :-) 
9. Get Josh into the orthodontist.  We've had a couple of delays due to needing a baby tooth pulled; state testing coming up (I wanted him to focus on that and not on his teeth) to name a few things but he should be in braces by the end of the month.
10.  Plant some flowers.  Darryl and I were just talking about this - how we'd like to have some nice flowers/plants but neither one of us enjoy yard work HA!  I do have the goal of planting some sunflowers this year - they are easy and we all enjoy them - and maybe some wild flowers too.  Also, I have a deck planter I want to get some plants in as well.  I also saw a friend did some veggies in some pots . .. I might do that with some zucchini (yes she does hers in a pot) and some beans maybe?  Just some things I like to eat fresh. 

I think that's enough for this month - If I can accomplish the bulk of this list, it will be good! 

Sunday Worship - You Are Good

We attended a church about a month ago where Darryl's group was playing.  A father/daughter duo sang this song and it was just so simply pretty.  I'm hoping that maybe I can get Darryl to play it for me and I can sing it at church soon.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Our Week in Photos #16

What a fun week we had!  I always notice that from Mid-April until the end of May we tend to get busy.  The days get nicer, we have holidays, and year head things that keep us hopping!

On Saturday we enjoyed a couple of Easter Egg hunts - well, Nate and I did.  Josh decided on Saturday morning that he wasn't "feeling it mom" and didn't want to go.  I know he's getting a little older so that's ok but we did miss him! 

 Nate and all his "loot" - notice the wind blown hair?  It was WINDY at the egg hunts but at least it wasn't raining this year! 

On Saturday evening we decorated eggs.  This year I bought a big kit with lots of different things to use to decorate the eggs.  Both boys said they liked what we did all the other years better - which is making egg dye with koolaid and just dying them HA!  Lesson learned!  Keep it simple, sister! 

Sunday brought Easter!  We always start our day with church - the baskets "magically" appear after we go to church and are waiting once we get home. 
 After dinner I managed to get a few smiles from the boys for pictures.  

And then we had the annual Easter Egg hunt at home - it's amazing how fast that bunny hides the eggs.  They boys and their bags HA! 

On Monday the boys had haircuts, we ate lunch out and ran a few errands.  
 Harley - we love him dearly :-) 
 Nate and his friends hanging out on a beautiful afternoon. 
 Josh hanging out with his friends on the xbox. 

 You can't see it well but there are buds on my willow tree which is the sure sign of spring (yet as I write that, we have a winter weather advisory for Saturday night HA!) 

Wednesday night were AWANA awards at church.  Josh got to be the flag bearer. 

 Nate with his AWARD for finishing his book.  He also finished all of the silver sections which is above and beyond what is done in club. 
 Josh holding his award.  He also finished his book and the silver sections. 

 After the ceremony, the kids all played some of their AWANA games for the parents to see. 

On Thursday we met friends at the local park - it was a beautiful day! 

Finally, on Friday night we attended the AWANA fair.  This is such a great night of games and food where the kids get to earn tickets to "buy" things at the store.  The boys had so much fun.  Because they completed their books and the silver sections they got a free pass which means they could play as many games as they wanted and get as much food as they wanted without needing to worry about "points".  It's a privilege to earn that! 

Such a great week! 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Weekly Menu

Can you believe that we are upon the month of May???  Wow!  I feel like I need to make up a menu for June, July, and August with about 14 meals and just rotate them to keep life simple.  But I don't know if I can really do that and stick to it!  I feel like we've really gotten stuck deep into dinner/eating ruts due to schedules and I'd like to get back out of that but I haven't quite figured out how to make that happen yet. 

Here's the plan for the coming week:

Friday - There is a fair at church tonight which includes free food (good food too!) so we will eat something light at home (sandwiches) but get things like Soft Pretzals, Sloppy Joes and Ice Cream at church!

Saturday - It's my Birthday!  We are driving over to my mom's for the weekend.  After dropping the boys off, Darryl and I are taking off for the day.

Sunday - We will be with my mom and we are going out for lunch before we head for home. 

Monday - Practice; TKD; it all keeps us hoping.  Sloppy Joes and Mac and Cheese makes everyone happy.

Tuesday - Chicken Almondine and Green Beans.  I had this on the menu a few weeks ago but didn't make it.  Since I have all of the supplies, we will eat it tonight!

Wednesday - We have nothing tonight.  No AWANA, no band practice . .just family!  I haven't made stromboli in awhile so I think that's what we will do!

Thursday - Tacos.  With Piano right in the middle of the dinner hour, something that I can have done before we leave is good.  Darryl can eat when he gets home; we can eat when we get home! 

Here's a recap from last week:

Friday - Tacos; That's exactly what we had!!

Saturday - KFC with my mom; We switched to Pizza Hut but still ate out :-)

Sunday - Easter Dinner - of course, that's what we ate

Monday - Scalloped Potatoes and Ham; I didn't feel like making it so we just ate leftovers!

Tuesday - Broccoli Cheese Soup; I made baked potatoes and we had other leftovers.

Wednesday - BBQ Cups and Fries; We had BBQ Cups and Mac and Cheese

Thursday - Swiss Steak - NOPE!  I made the Broccoli Cheese Soup instead!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Easter Dinner

I know I already posted about our Easter but I wanted to share our actual Easter dinner menu. 

Now, first up, let me share a little history on my take on Easter Dinner.  Four or five years ago, I said I would never cook Easter Dinner again.  Easter Sunday is such a jam packed day from arriving early at church for breakfast (we didn't go this year) or Choir practice (which I did go to this year), Easter baskets, Easter Egg Hunts and Easter pictures!  It's just crazy.  Well, that "one" year, we came home and I spent a good hour getting dinner on the table and then I spent a good hour or more cleaning up dinner.  I finally sat down that day at about 6:00 at night and it was not a good day for me.  Since then, I stuck to my guns and haven't really cooked.  A couple of years we went to my in-laws but they years at home we either went to KFC and got food to go or I bought everything premade!  Well, I did cook this year and it wasn't as bad because my mom did 95% of the clean up HA!  BUT I told Darryl, I won't cook it again!  Next year we are going back to our unofficial tradition of getting KFC for dinner! 

Anyway, this is what was on our menu this year!

Traditional Ham - I am able to get a small enough ham for our little family that I just stick it in the crock pot on low for about 3 hours - just enough to warm it through.

Cheesy Potatoes
These are a family favorite in our house - I'll have to share the recipe soon!

Ken's Fruit Salad
This recipe is in honor of my brother - he is allergic to alot of fruits so my sister-in-law created this using just fruits he can eat and we all love it!

Pineapple Jello Salad
Yum!  I had this at a graduation openhouse and just loved it so I got the recipe (which I will also have to share!)  It is just so good. 

Baked Beans - another great recipe we all love

Roasted Carrots

And for dessert I make a Chocolate Caramel Poke Cake.  It was something new; it was good but considering the fact that there is still 3/4 of it in my fridge, I don't think it was great.

Some years I have considered doing brunch - a egg casserole, cheesy potatoes, fruit, and some sort of pastry but I don't usually think about that option until the night before HA! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


This is the time of year that my kids and I both fight the "end of they year" shut down.  We all know that there is work to do but none of us really love doing it!

I always have a goal to be done by May 15th.  I do this for multiple reasons.  One, it gives us 4 weeks before Connections is actually done so if we have a project to finish or a lesson to do, we have plenty of time to do it.  Two, by May 15th the weather is nice and no one likes to do school once the weather is nice.  Three, if we are going to homeschool, we want to benefit from being able to be done before regular school is done!

The boys each have projects to finish.  Josh has a Social Studies project, a Michigan History Project, a Science Project and a paper to write.  (Honestly, I'd like to skip the paper - but we won't)  Nate has 5 reading journals to do, a paper to write, and a Michigan History project.  (The Reading Journals are my nemesis - total 100% busy work that are worthless but, again, we will do them and that paper, I'd throw it in the garbage too HA!) Plus they have lessons to still complete. 

Next week we have testing 4 days in a row where we have to travel to Grand Rapids to waste time and money (on gas!)  I'm not a fan of state testing so it kind of irks me that we have to do it but, again, it's required so we do it. 

So, the boys know that next week, in the afternoons, we are hoping to focus on projects and wrap them up since doing regular lessons won't happen due to testing.  Then we will hit lessons hard to wrap things up!

The boys are both asking to not do Connections Academy next year - they have said they are tired of doing everything on the computer and, honestly, so am I.  BUT, I still haven't made a decision.  I'm looking at a couple different curriculum options and then will show them to my husband and see what he thinks.  I know that he likes Connections because they track and grade things so he knows they are right on track.  So we will see!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Family Favorites - Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This recipe goes way back!  I used to go to dinner at a friends house every Wednesday night years ago while at my first teaching job.  This was often on the table and was a true favorite.  Needless to say, I brought this recipe with me when I moved away and got married.  It remained a staple in our house for years but at some point got pushed to the back of the file and, when I changed recipe files, I never printed it and added to my new system.  Well, I was looking through my old recipe file the other day I came across this one and tried it again.  It was as tasty as I remembered and brought back that "old casserole" feeling. 

I did cut this recipe in half for our family and it turned out perfectly fine.  Even with cutting it in half, I still used almost the whole can of enchilada sauce just because we like it :-)  I also do not put green pepper in it just because it is not my favorite flavor. 

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Cheri Maiuri
10 corn tortillas
1 can chicken broth
6 cups bite size pieces of cooked chicken or turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper                      1 can enchilada sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt                               1 can black olives, chopped
Chili powder to taste                               ¾ cup taco chips, crushed
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9x13 baking dish.  Reserve ½ cur chicken broth.  Cut tortillas into 1” strips; dip into remaining broth to moisten.  Layer in dish, half each of the tortillas, chicken pieces, onion and green peppers.  Repeat layers.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and chili powder.  In bowl, stir soups together until blended.  Spoon over contents in dish.  Sprinkle with cheese, spoon on enchilada sauce.  Pour reserved ½ cup chicken broth over all.  Top with black olives and taco chips.  Bake 30-40 minutes.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Weekend

We had a wonderful, fun, relaxing Easter Weekend. 

On Friday my mom arrived mid-afternoon which gave me a chance to run out and do some errands and the laundry!  We then attended the Good Friday Service at our church. 

Saturday Nate and I headed out for some Easter Egg Hunts.

 Our first stop was First Baptist Church in Lowell.  They always start with a short Easter service for the kids with songs and a telling of the Easter Story.  Then we head outside to hunt eggs. 

 Our second stop was at the local Ball Fields.  The kids cleaned up the field pretty quickly! 
 Nate with all of  his "loot".  You might notice I'm missing a kid.  Well, Josh decided on Saturday morning he didn't really feel like going on egg hunts.  Apparently they are "boring" now.  He stayed home with Nana.  

 After dinner we decorated Easter Eggs. 

Sunday started with church.  It was a great Easter Service with a great message and lots of music! 
 The boys with their Easter Baskets. 
 Such handsome young men!  So, total mom fail on Easter - I picked up the boys Easter clothes a month ago.  Nate tried his stuff on but Josh just never did.  I left early on Easter morning to get to choir practice.  When the family arrived, Josh had on his nice new shirt and a pair of his jogging pants.  Why?  Both pairs of shorts were too small!  Oops!  Next time I guess he had better try stuff on! 
 My crazy boys acting like rabbits. 
 Lunch is served! 
 Getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt
 All the boys!  
Searching for the eggs. 

Go through their loot!  

I made an amazing purchase on Amazon this year.  I bought eggs already filled with little trinkets.  For real.  I didn't have to stuff them, I didn't have to snap them together (ok a few of them had come lose but most had not).  There were fun little toys like a tiny Rubik cube, a slinky, and a maze.  It made my life so much easier this year!! 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Worship - You Saved the Day

This is one of my all time favorite Easter Songs.  Such a powerful set of words!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Our Week in Photos #15

Finally!  I feel like between lack of photos and lack of time on Friday evening I haven't been able to get this post up the last few weeks!  So, here's a look back!

 This was actually over a week ago.  We had been out running errands; when we got home I told the boys they didn't have to do regular school work IF they played a board game together.  They happily agreed and played "No Stress Chess" . . .for well over an hour.  Yes, the never ending chess game! 
 This guy is fitting right in!  Dash is a great addition to our family. 
This happened on Sunday.  Yep.  A Snow storm.  We ended up with a good 3-4 very wet inches of snow by the time it was done. 

We FINALLY made it to a field trip with our online school.  It was the annual bowling trip in April.  Josh's teacher showed up as a surprise because she LOVES him.  He is her favorite (she tells me that all the time).  She's had a tough year and told us that if it wasn't for Josh, she wouldn't have made it through the year - he brings her joy every time she talks to him.  That's pretty special.  

 Dash has finally warmed up to Darryl.  As with any rescue dog, you don't always know their backgrounds.  We have figured out that Dash had someone in his life - an adult male most likely - that wasn't nice to him so he is a little standoffish with men (and adults in general).  He adores the kids - all kids.  Darryl was super patient with Dash, treated him with kindness, and now, he loves sitting with him.  

On Wednesday both boys had to see the dentist to have a baby tooth pulled that was refusing to fall out.  

Friday night we attended our Good Friday service.  My mom is also here for the weekend!  I'm looking forward to the holiday weekend.  Next week we are looking at mostly school :-)