Monday, August 25, 2014

Bass Masters

 Every year the kids participate in a Bass Masters fishing tournament at a local state park.  Nick did this event lots when he was a kid so it's a family thing to do!
 These two are so cute!  This was not the year for Cal...he was very grumpy and irritated with the whole ordeal but we muddled through.
 Here's Nick and his dad.  They're pretty much exactly alike :)
 Here are Nick's mom and dad, waiting for the tournament to start.
 Here's the lake we were on.
 Grandma sandwich!

The fishing tournament is only two hours long but we didn't catch one single thing.  Not a one! We did catch our fair share of seaweed though!

Next year hopefully other cousins will be a part and we will catch fish by the truckload :)
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Here Kitty, Kitty

Last month we were surprised by two kitties. 
We put our sweet kitty Roscoe down on July 1st.  She had gotten so old and was in so much pain.  
Her death was so hard on us.  But my loving husband buried her with a nice headstone in our backyard and the kids are able to visit her...which they do often.  

Then July 3rd we went to Nick's parent's house and their next door neighbor was giving kittens away.  The kids had been playing with these kittens for a long time...they lived in a garage behind the neighboring house and were free to mosey around.  So we had thought we would get them kittens from there but we just hadn't planned on it being so soon!  

But alas in the course of three days we lost our favorite Roscoe Ann and gained these two newbies!  :)
 This is Stripe Whiskers.  Emma chose this kitty because it had a girl looking face, which ended up being a boy.  This cat.  Boy I tell ya.  Has like a Jackyl Hyde thing going on...nice one minute mean the next.  Oy.
And this is Otis Num-Num.  Who is actually a girl.  Surprise!  Another girl cat with a boy name.  I guess that is just how we roll around here.  This cat is also friendly but also kind of spunky...is that just a cat thing?

I thought we had our hands full with watching Roscoe for when she couldn't make it to her box or having to carry her but boy that was cake compared to these two.  They've broken a dining room chair, a lamp, 2 runners, and a crock.  So far.  Oh and a shoe that they completely chewed through.  They eat dog food like it's some haute cuisine that's all the rage and they ate a pound of raw hamburger when I was putting groceries away.  Seriously!  I've never had cats like this.  Not even with our crazy, insane cat when I was a cat named Norm!  who would literally jump over my bed repeatedly while I was trying to sleep.

So there's your introduction to our cats.  If you ever find us locked in the bathroom, scared of our cats, you now know why :)  Hopefully they'll mellow out...like in the next day or two!
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Snickerdoodles

Sometimes you're just sitting around like this...
 And then you decide you need to make cookies!  So you put on aprons and get to work!


 We had so much fun making cookies for Daddy!  And in our new mixer we were able to whip up a double batch of his favorite cookies-snickerdoodles!
 I was amazed...even Cal was able to hold on through the entire cookie making process.  Usually he fizzles out after egg cracking, which as you know, is usually towards the beginning.  This boy is growing up!
And here's my big girl with some of the final result.  Ignore the one with the oven mitt through it.  Someone learned how to get cookies out of the oven...with the help of mom of course :)  They were so yummy and we had such a great time.
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

hello there

Well as normal when life gets busy the blog is the first thing to go in terms of priorities...

Hope you all have been having a wonderful summer.  We sure have. 
 Our dear kitty Roscoe was put to sleep on July 1st.  On July 3rd my in-laws neighbors had kitties who were ready for new homes.  It was earlier than we had wanted to get a new cat but we took home 2 KITTIES then.  It has been crazy around here with little Otis and Stripe.  So just to review we now have 2 cats, a dog, a turtle and 9 fish.  Nick said anymore and we're going to have to get a permit or something ;)

 the kiddos enjoyed tennis lessons this summer.  It was a great place really close to our house and they always seem to have lots of fun in their lessons.


In other news my sister got married.  We ALL were in the wedding.  Emma was the flower girl and Cal was the ring bearer! They are just the cutest!

And now I am onto my biggest endeavors...the Fall/Winter Children's resale.  This is the event where I sell all of the toys and clothing that our children have outgrown.  It takes a lot of time to wash, iron, price, and ready everything.  I'm also on the marketing committee where we spread the word about the sale and raise money to give certificates to moms in need to shop the sale and get things for their little ones.  I love being a part of it!!!

After that I will be scurrying around to ready our classroom for this upcoming year of homeschooling!  This year we are starting Classical Conversations!  It's a classical model of teaching and the children will be learning the same thing for the majority of their subjects so hopefully that will really help me in teaching them.  Last year some of our days would go until 8 until 5 and it was just getting to be too much!  Classical Conversations typically has a co-op type set up you join and go to one day a week but Cal has been accepted into an autism school so with that we opted to just do it at home.  I'm very excited!  :)

Well that is all that has been going on around here.  Hope you all are well and enjoying your summer!
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Monday, July 7, 2014

MIA

Hi all!  Things here have been zooming by this summer and I hope you have had as great a summer as we have!  Things here have been wonderful.  We've gone on two trips, one to Illinois and one to Pennsylvania.  We've had an evaluation with a wonderful Autism school that we are hoping to get Calvin into.  Emma is enjoying a ballet intensive class.  We've just been busy.

Anyway, I am so lame I don't even have any pictures to share pulled up or anything.  I just wanted to hop on here and let you know I am still alive and living.  When life gets crazy the blog is the first thing to go.  Hopefully one day I'll figure out how to balance this all!

My goal this week has been to get this house clean!  Last week I was preparing for my baby sister's wedding shower my other sister and I threw. The week before we were in Pennsylvania.  It's just been a long crazy process that has left our house cluttered and hairy and messy, yuck!  This week is operation cleaning up so hopefully next week will be operation school planning!

Hope you all have a great week :)
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Beautiful Mother's Day!


Hello loves!  I hope you had a fantastic day Sunday.  Hopefully it was full of pampering and being made to feel as special as you are.  I know mine certainly was!  Words can't even begin to describe how amazing my husband and kiddos are...they did such a great job of spoiling me and making me feel amazing!  

Nick let me sleep in (I got to sleep until 9 am!) and then he made me a beautiful breakfast in bed!  Then the kids each gave me a bracelet...Emma gave me a rainbow loom one and Cal made me one out of twistie ties...they both are super cute!  Emma's came with a note that said something like "I made this for you...if it's not enough just let me know"  :)  

Nick and I then scraped the house to ready another section for painting (my idea...I wanted to!).  Then Emma treated us to a lunch she made!  She made lettuce salad with tomatoes and strawberries on the side...she was so proud and did all of it on her own...and it was delicious!  Love her and her big heart, that girlie!

Then I went on a run aroung the river in our neighborhood and ended up at the park so I could meet the kiddos and Nick at the playground.  I managed to get a ride home too :)  

After a shower and getting ready Nick just about had dinner ready.  He was amazing putting things together for me! 
While he made me dinner he served me fresh oysters on the half shell...yum!  They were so good and fresh! 

 And then it was time for dinner!  Lobster, corn on the cob, new potatoes, and shrimp scampi...it was delicious!  Amazing!  Terrific!

 But my best gift of all was these plaques Nick made me with the kids.  He used a lightbox to draw their names on the canvases and then printed each of the special poems I have between each child and I.  Then he had them put their hands and feet prints on them...so sweet and I will have them forever.
It was an amazing day!  I am so blessed to have this life and to have these children and this husband...happy Monday!
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Target Savings on Crayons: Quick Tip

Just a quick tip...

These adorable packs of crayons are on sale at Target for $0.79, regularly $0.99!  Cartwheel has a 25% discount on these you can use to save even more.  I picked up four boxes for only $0.59 per box...there are lot's of themed boxes with really neat colors!  Pick some up and save them for your Easter Baskets like I am doing.  Can't wait for Easter and it will be here before you know it!  :)
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Monday, February 10, 2014

My fancy meal plan

As I mentioned in my last post, we do our grocery shopping on a monthly basis.  This month I decided I would make a realistic meal plan (for once in my life) containing meals made out of ingredients that we actually eat and that I know I would be able to actually find in the stores we frequent.

To do this I first posted a question on facebook, asking my friends what their favorite, easy meals were.  I got so many ideas.  I was able to match the friend to their pinterest page and then to find the recipe they were talking about there.  From that I got about 6 recipes.

From there I continued perusing meals on pinterest.  The criteria for meals included that they had to be easy to make (super quick or a crockpot meal), contain ingredients I knew we would eat, have as limited processed food as possible, and be available at the discount stores we go to once a month.

I found tons but I was also finding a surprising amount of recipes that call for chicken.  While I love chicken as much as the next girl, my husband is not too keen on eating nothing but chicken, chicken, chicken.

So I switched it up a bit with some familiar stand bys I make and I found a couple of recipes from magazines I have.

Here's what I came up with...
Fancy system, huh?  I did a column for each meal and then rows for each day.  My original plan was to actually have those meals on those days but what I have found is that sometimes we just don't feel like having what is on deck for that day so I switch it around.

Here are some of the ideas I've had for low budget, nutritious foods:
Potato Soup
Tuscan Bean Soup
Corn Chowder
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Crockpot Beef Stew
Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu
Homemade pizzas
Meatloaf
Spaghetti Night
Quesadillas
Chili

You can find lots more things I've posted on my Pinterest Page here.

I'm not listing all of my meals this time, maybe some month I will :)  But I hope this encourages you to plan meals out, shop wisely to find bargains, and above all have fun with food with your family and feed them well!  By having a plan and knowing I have all the ingredients for dinner ready to go, I am a much calmer, happier Mommy.

Some months I do the Once-a-month cooking but I know not everyone is up for it and I can't do it every month.  So this is a good compromise for me.  Last month was so hurried that I was trying to throw meals together at the last minute and it was horrid.  HORRID I tell ya!  :)   So this month so far has been lots better!  Happy planning, friends :)
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Menu Planning Meets Monthly Shopping

If you've read my blog for any length of time I am sure that you have heard me prattle on and on about how we work on a monthly grocery shopping system.  I love it.  LOVE it!  We've done this for years now but now that God has blessed us with a deep freezer I am loving it even more.  

The gist of it is that we live in a city surrounded by Amish land so once a month we drive around to smaller country shops run by cute amish families and stock up on groceries...some are salvage stores, some are local butcher shops, some are dented can type places.  There I can fill my fridge and freezer with some real beauties of bargains!  Seriously, we pray before (as) we go...that God will bless us with what we need.  That God will provide for us (and our budget!) through these trips.  And he always does.  But buying in bulk sometimes eludes me from meal planning.  I generally find myself buying general types of ingredients and then later on trying to piece together what I have to make meals.  It seems to work super, fabulously well the first part of the month but leaves me with large gaps of missing ingredients for recipes the last part of the month.  

Anyway...

The farthest away place we go takes about 45 minutes on the interstate, so it does take some time and gas, but if you are getting a lot like we do then it is definitely worth the trip.  Here are some of my all time favorite finds: 

5 pounds of Starbucks whole bean coffee for $14.97
King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat flour, 5 pounds, for $1.99
Fage case of 12 blueberry yogurts for $1.99
32 ounces of Chobani vanilla yogurt for $0.50 

And the list goes on and on!  


Well anyway, I love my bargains but my problem has been the difference that falls between shopping at these places and my meal plans.  For example, I've made a menu plan with something like clam chowder, but when I get to my said bargain stores, I can't find any of the ingredients I need.  So then I buy some of the ingredients, get home and discover though that I don't have all of the ingredients...so I am forced to shop our local grocery store where I pay two to three times more than I should on ingredients, thus cutting into my savings.  

So this week, rather than be daring and inventive with my meal planning, I decided to stick with meals containing ingredients I already have on hand or what I know, know, know is at our discount stores.  This way I will be able to plan good food ahead of time so I can be on top of my menus and save lots of money.  

To get ideas for meals I asked my dear friends on facebook, am perusing pinterest, and am going through the stack of magazines I have on hand.  I am going through to plan what I am going to serve for the entire month...breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day of the month.  With only 28 days in February I figure this is a good month to start my new system :)  

Wish me luck as I tackle menu planning.  And I'd love to know if any of you have any pointers for planning meals or maybe some of you have some amazing recipes to share :)  

Look for my next post as I list what I am planning on making :)  
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Music and Munchies...there's nothing sweeter

 This morning Emma had a cough so I kept her in bed to take it easy.  I know it was just a little cough...she didn't have a fever or anything (well I guess she did have a touch of a stuffy nose) but to tell you the God's honest truth I am terrified of any of my children getting H1N1 and dying.  I know that sounds extreme but, show up with a little cough and I am putting you in bed.  Just be warned :)
 Anyway, I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon so cough or no cough, the kids had to go to their art classes.  Before we left though we stopped to have a little jam session...Emma on the electric guitar and Cal on the drums.  They got really hot and heavy into it when I went out to warm up the car. When I came back in you would have thought they were acoustically torturing something :)
 two, three, four...In case your noticing, yes I still have the price tag on our drums...don't judge  :)
 And Emma on the guitar..strumming away on the stand, silly girl.  She had to squeeze in next to all of the cookies we are selling for Girl Scouts :)

Anyway, as mentioned earlier I had a doctor's appointment.  It was my annual exam..."the lady one" as my husband says :)  I hate those appointments, don't you?  I have no earthly reason why but the week coming  up to it I am terrified for no apparent reason. I think I am always scared they are going to find breast cancer or ovarian cancer, or tell me I have a week to live.  Something awful like that.  But no lumps were found and no one said "ewww" when the sheet was lifted so I think up to this point I am in the clear :)

In honor of that I picked the little goofies up from art and then proceeded to snuggle up with a chocolate piece, a giant cup of coffee, and a teachers catalog.  A successful appointment calls for a little celebration right?  And besides they might call tomorrow with news of the death outcome so I'd guess I'd better enjoy things while I can, right?  :)

Seize the day, folks, seize the day!
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Monday, January 20, 2014

I Called a Break!

This morning has not been easy for us.

In fact, it's been down right rough.

Except for the fact that I did find that I managed to not yell and scream and rant and rave on and on.  Well, at least not very much.

Instead I sent them to their rooms to rest for a bit.

If I'm honest with myself and with the littles, the truth is that it's not just them, it's me too.

Last week I worked out (which I'll proudly tell you I do every week) but this time I did some zumba.  With weights which was the new part for me.  It was hard but the hard part was that when I awoke the next morning I could barely move.  I think I had done something to my back.  Well, I know I did something to my back, what it was that I did remains a mystery.  Anyway, what basically laid me on the couch all last week also affected our house and the chores and everything else.

And so while I awoke with a great feeling back this morning I also came downstairs to what looked like some type of extreme cleaning reality tv. challenge.


And so it was with this knowledge of me sifting through everything and coming to the bottom of what was bothering me that I knew what I had to do.  After several pep talks with myself on how homeschooling isn't always about what's in the books I paused school to have a talk with the kids.  And to explain that we are now going to clean everything...together.

At least that was the plan.  But seriously, what kid wants to clean the entire day?  So I sent the kiddos outside to play in the snow while I had a mad dash around the house, tidying things up.

After lunch it was a lot better.  I think sometimes you have to relax the rules in homeschooling to get through the day.  School at home doesn't have to be like school in the classroom.  The kids learn and thrive outside and getting to be able to move about and not be strapped to their desk all day with their Mommy School Marm hovering over them.

Plus, there's always tomorrow, Lord willing :)

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