Sunday, October 13, 2013

Moments to remember

I'm going to completely ignore the fact that I haven't posted in months. Today several things happened that I wanted to remember. So what better way than blogging about them right? So here they are.

1st: I woke up to little voices on our landing. It took just a moment to realize that Ian was reading jokes from his library book "The Substitute Teacher from the Black Lagoon." Ian does very well with reading. It's getting him motivated to read out load. The fact he was reading to his brothers without any prompting made me smile. He later read the jokes to me as the boys were getting dressed

2nd: Aiden decides he "needs choices" before he could decide what to wear to church. He proceeds to lay out at least 10 shirts in a row on the floor. After I told him he had enough choices (it took some motivation as he thought he needed more), he walked up and down the row. All the while he is tapping his chin with his finger going "hmm, hmm." He finally picks his Easter suit. This is the conversation that followed
              Me: You will be the best dressed young man ever
             Aiden: Yes, I be beautiful.
             Me: Yes you are very handsome
             Aiden: Mommy I don't like you clothes, but I LOVE you shoes

He than ended the conversation and started to put away all the rejected shirt back in his closet. Oh that boy!

Friday also had many fun moments with Aiden. Aiden decided to bring along our X-Men early reader book on our errands. In that car he stated this
               Aiden: "Wolverine can't have a tattoo
               Me: "Why not?"
               Aiden: "His arms are too hairy."
I laughed. Most likely this came from the fact that Cai can't keep temporary tattoos for more than 30 mins. The hair on his arms causes them to rub off very easily. Still the very fact that he boldly told me that Wolverine couldn't have tattoos cause he is too hairy still makes me smile. The way these boys' brains work is simply amazing.

Later, still carrying his X-Men book, Aiden had a long conversation with our pastor about X-men, snakes, cats, and dogs. He jumped from one subject to the next as if it was the obvious conclusion. When our pastor asked if he would come back another day to talk, Aiden responds with an energetic "YES!" Our pastor then asked what book he will bring to talk about and Aiden tells him "Sonic, but we don't have the book anymore" We had checked out "Sonic the hedgehog" comic books a month ago and he still asks for them.

I'm sitting here trying to think if Cai has done anything to remember these last few days. Sadly I'm drawing a blank. He is reading a few words. His preschool is working on letter sounds, so he is learning to sound out words. If he keeps picking up our cats I swear he is going to come crying with a bloody hand from a claw or tooth. Personally I wish the cats would just scratch or bite him, maybe he would learn to be nicer to them. Cai has decided to be Wolverine for Halloween because he has claws. I was told I had to include the claws in the costume. Thank you internet searches. But I'll post closer to Halloween about costumes.

So there you have it. A few moments to remember. If I can remember to continue recording them, maybe I won't have to rely on my shading member to remember these awesome times. But for today I'm thankful for little boys reading, silly jokes, fashion styles all their  own, and out of the blue comments that make me smile.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Menu Plan Monday- May 20,2013

Happy Monday everyone! Hopefully yours started off better than mine. Although the day has ended pleasant enough. I can tell we are at the end of the school year, as my 6 year old has become hard and hard to deal with. 6 Days left of Kindergarten. And only 3 left of Preschool. Arrgg when the end of the year come so close? On the up side that means we leave for Kansas in less than two weeks :)

I'm going to keep this short. Here is our menu this week.

Monday: Stir-fry noodles (Simply in Season)
Tuesday: Quiche
Wednesday: Quinoa Pizza Bits
Thursday: Groundnut Stew (More with Less)
Friday: Mexican Rice Casserole
Saturday: Black Bean Burgers
Sunday: Leftovers or other simple meal

It should be noted that weekend plans might change if we decided to have friends over. But I figure I could at least make some plan even if I change it  later. There more like guidelines, than rules :)

For more menus head over to Organizing Junkie. Happy Menu Planning!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday- 4/29/2013

After a month of trying to get back into routine and failing, I figure at least I could start menu planning again. Even it the rest of our lives is pure chaos, this is a small step to gaining some measure of control. At least that's my hope. With the sun shining and the weather warm enough for short sleeves we have starting grilling some. It's a nice change of pace. And being outside in the sun is doing us all some good. Me especially. So here is the menu. What's on yours this week?

Monday: Hotdogs and roasted potatoes on the grill. Eat outside on the pond deck
Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese with peas
Wednesday:  Chicken curry
Thursday: Taco salad
Friday: First Fridays- eating out - most likely the hotdog stand
Saturday: my mother in law is cooking- Cai and Aiden have a dance recital and while have dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house after
Sunday: Leftovers or simple supper- maybe popcorn and apples?

Head over to Organizing Junkie for more menu idea. Happy menu planning!

Delightful Daffodils

The sun is shining. The trees budding. The worlds is bright and green. A week ago it was dark and dreary. Raining and cold. I thought spring would never come. But in among the dark and depressing landscape were yellow and white pockets of color.

 Delightful trumpets of joy. Waving heads of sunshine when I thought the sun would never come out again. My world has been filled with daffodils. And their very presence makes me smile.

 In the mist of the cold, the wet and the dark, these cheerful flowers brought some joy. I love daffodils. But it wasn't until recently I discovered the beauty of (and existence) of other varieties of the flower.

 While I have gotten to enjoy the cheering yellow and white daffodils all over town, its in my own backyard that I have discovered new varieties of this lovely flower.

 Walking my yard is an adventure. And simply gazing on all the different varieties puts a smile on my face. Might seem silly, but true. 

And while the days were dark and gloomy it was a much needed break. Now the view includes other colors of purple and red with tulips and other flowers popping up. But still it's the daffodils that bring me joy. Hope they bring a smile to you ! :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Menu Plan Monday- April 1st, 2013

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted a menu. Last week was crazy being Holy Week. Add to the fact we made a trip to PA, heading out Palm Sunday and arriving home late, late on Wednesday night, for Mark's grandfather's funeral and I was feeling exhausted. Despite the fact that Holy Week and Easter seems to fly right on by, I feel like I got to enjoy Easter. We had dinner at a friends house with another family which was so nice. Our host made ham , rice, peas and salad. I brought pies (chocolate pudding, peanut butter chocolate, and strawberry). And the other family brought cheese and crackers. It was wonderful. And we had a big egg hunt with some other families from church. Now we are on spring break. Which has it's advantages and disadvantages. Aiden has been cranky and I'm starting to wonder if it's because he has spent so much time with his brothers without a break. With our trip last week we are on week two of time together without school. On the up side, my mom and step-dad arrive tomorrow afternoon for a few days! We'll get to spend tomorrow afternoon and Thursday with them. They we'll all head to Chicago on Friday for the day. Mom and Andrew will head back home sometime in the evening and Mark, the boys and I will stay the night and spend Saturday in Chicago. Should be a fun weekend. :) With that all in mind here is our menu for the week.

Monday: sweet potato oven pancakes (Simply in Season cookbook- sub gf flour for wheat) with bacon on the side. (Ian went to the dentist and had to get a filling. He was told only soft food for the day.)
Tuesday: Cheese corn chowder (More with Less cookbook)
Wednesday: Egg curry (Extending the Table cookbook)- maybe make gluten free naan
Thursday:???? I'm going to leave this undecided and have my mom help me. :)
Friday and Saturday: Chicago!!
Sunday: Leftovers or simple meal such as popcorn and cheese

For more menus go visit Organizing Junkie. Have a great week!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Family and Life updates

It's been almost a month since my last post. And the last few posts were menu posts, so I thought I would post a general update and such. Time is always marching, even when I don't sit down to write. So life happenings.

 This winter the boys have all been in an activity of some sort. Ian has been taking tennis lessons. He will have his last lesson next week. Ian seems to really love these lessons and always looks forward to them. In fact he already told Mark he wants to take more again this summer when they are offered again. I took him to his few few. It was fun to watch him do the drills. Of course this means he bring these drills home. Lately he has been setting up chairs or other large objects across the floor. He and his brothers then run through them, weaving around them in what every way Ian determines. If they are not sitting they see to be running. Mark has been taking him these last several weeks. Leaving me to take Cai and Aiden to their dance classes

Aiden is in a creative dance class for 3 year old. He is the only boy but doesn't seem to mind. It he fun to watch how his own dance movement at home has changed due to the class. This week was watch week. Meaning parents could sit and watch the whole class (rather than just the last 10min normally allowed). It was really fun to watch him. I was surprised he stayed focus on his teacher and not me. But he did great.

Cai also has a dance class following Aiden's. His is called Dance Sampler and is for 4-5 year olds. He too is the only boy but for the most part doesn't seem to mind. Cai had a lot harder time focusing in class with me there. I'm not sure if his lack of focus is normal, but I know I was the distraction this time as he was constantly waving and looking at me. It was cute even as I felt bad for his teacher. He too was fun to watch, when he was actually focused on what he was doing. :)

March 2nd was Dr. Seuss' birthday. Ian's class celebrated on the 1st (Friday) by watching the newest Lorax movie. Neither Mark nor I have seen it yet. In fact I had not even thought it an option to watch with the boys as I figured they would get scared. So I was nervous when Ian told me that watched it in class. Last time they watched a feature length film he had to walk out and stay in another room. But he told me that while he was scared at first he stayed for the whole movie. And HE ENOYED IT! I'm so proud of him. He stayed despite being afraid. This is one of those times that I'm grateful they don't stay little forever. It's nice to see Ian learning to face his fears and conquer them.

Cai got to celebrate his 1/2 Birthday (since he is a summer birthday) at preschool on the 1st. We decided to bring Dr. Seuss themed snack. I searched Pinterest and found lots of ideas. I pinned a few but this website gave us the ideas for our snack. We made One Fish Two Fish jello. Next time I will add the Swedish Fish right before serving instead of the night before. They got alittle soggy. And I made Marshmellow and Strawberry Cat in the Hat hats. Cai loved it. And it seemed to go over well with the class.

Our Dr. Seuss kick has continued into this week. I think we brought home 8 or so Dr. Seuss books from the library yesterday. And less than half of those I picked out. We also got 4 Star Wars easy reader books. The Lego one has Ian's name in it. The character is actually Han Solo but the H on his name tag gets turned to look like an I, so until the last page you think this the boy is named Ian. Cai loves it. Ian has not had me read it yet. But something tells me that as soon as he figures it out it will become the most demanded book of the week.

Since homework is one of Ian's afternoon chores and he doesn't not always bring homework home (only about 3 out of the 5 days does he have any), we recently decided that on non-homework days he gets to read to us for Book-It. This week he has read Green Eggs and Ham, The Foot Book and I Can Read With My Eyes Shut. This last one caused him a few problems in places but really he is flying though these books. I'm constantly amazed at his reading abilities. I guess one could probably guess we are a book loving family. Last night while he was reading I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, he was struggling with a word and Cai read it. I'm not sure if he picked it up from the picture or the rhyming scheme or just recognized the word. Either way it was impressive. He will probably start reading soon too. Fun things are happening at our house.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Menu Plan Monday- Feb 11th, 2013 and Fat Tuesday Meal

So clearly I have not updated in awhile. Of course we have been sick around here. I think I was sick for two weeks with only a few days in between. First the fever, ache body flu, then the stomach flu which Cai and Aiden gave me and I gave to Mark. Only Ian seemed to be spared. We are all healthy now. And I couldn't be more grateful. Really!!!!
This week will be different for my family as far as menus cause I'm leaving Thursday with a group of women to go to Meridian, MS for the weekend. We are helping out at the Women's Retreat at Jublee Mennonite Church and then our pastor Brenda is preaching there on Sunday. It should be lots of fun and I'm very much looking forward to the trip.
 For those who follow the Christian church calendar you know that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. It's so early this year. To be honest it's kinda freaking me out. I'm not sure I'm ready. But here we are. Which makes today (Tuesday) Shrove/ Fat Tuesday. So in honor of the day I made sure to prepare us a feast. :)

We had steaks with this marinate. Baked potatoes. Peas.

For dessert we had these gluten free yeast donuts.

 I used an egg and 1% milk in place of the flax seed and rice milk. They turned out nice.

Everyone liked them.

 It was a good feast. Mark especially liked the steak. I know he likes my cooking but on nights like tonight it is really nice to hear and hear multiple times. :)

Okay so here is our menu for this week.

Monday: Basic Curry recipe over rice (La Leche League's cookbook Whole Foods for the Whole Family)
Shrove Tuesday Feast: Marinated steak, baked potatoes and peas.
Ash Wednesday: Lentil soup
Thursday: I'll be eating on the road- Mark and the boys will eat Cheese Corn Chowder at Grandma and Grandpa Saner's house
Friday: Mark's cooking
Saturday and Sunday: Mark will cook one night and his mom will cook another. TBD

Mark has told me he plans on having Chicken Dijon one night. He loves it but I'm not a huge fan so I haven't made it since our first year of marriage. We have had it at his mom's on occasion.

For more menus head over for Organizing Junkie. There are always lots of ideas and recipe links.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday- Jan 14, 2013

I'm not sure what to say right now. Mark got back Saturday and I was very glad to have him home. Monday and Tuesday for the most part were good days. I decided to try something new for dinner and tried out the Curried Carrot Soup from Simple in Season. As I really wanted something more than just soup I thought it might be a nice topping over rice or quinoa. I tried quinoa. It wasn't as good as I thought. As a soup the topping would be great. It needed more salt but other than that it had a nice flavor. I used some sweet potato in addition to carrots. The boys liked the curried carrots but not so much the quinoa. They seem to like quinoa better when it's flavor is masked with a strong dressing, etc. Oh well. Now I know. Today has been crazy. Luckily I didn't have to cook. Got to love church meals! :) The boys all have activities on Wednesday afternoon now. Aiden has dance from 3:30pm till 4pm. Cai then has dance from 4:10pm till 4:55pm. Ian has tennis lesson from 4pm to 5pm. So today Aiden, Cai and I got in the car and picked up Ian from school. Then we took Aiden to dance class. Dropped Cai off at Mark's work, which happens to be right next door, and drove to Ian's lesson across town. Mark then picked up Aiden and made sure Cai got to his class before returning to his office to work till Cai was done. Ian and I then met up them at Mark's office after tennis. Then Ian stayed at the office to work on homework while the other 2 and I went to the grocery store. Martin's  in Goshen is currently selling a personal size gluten free frozen pizza for $2.99. I picked up 3 this morning and went back this evening for more. When gluten free frozen pizza is normally 6 to 8 dollars depending on the brand, I could not pass up this price. We have enough to last Cai for months. :) I don't remember off the top of my head what this brand was. It was not one I have tried before. But as Mark pointed out Cai won't care. Even when I don't like it, Cai will eat it if it means that he gets what everyone else is getting. If he gets to eat pizza he is happy. I feel very blessed that he is so good about trying almost anything. And the fact that for the most part he doesn't fight about not getting exactly what everyone else is getting is wonderful. He seems to accept that he can't have gluten and that means there are many things he can't have. Luckily there are so many things he can have. And the boy loves rice. What a blessing! Okay I've rambled enough. Here is the menu. Sorry it's late and out on Wednesday and not Monday.

Monday: Spaghetti with tomato sauce, frozen peas
Tuesday: Curried Carrot Soup (from Simple in Season) served over quinoa
Wednesday: Mid Week Meal at church
Thursday: Chili with corn bread
Friday: Family Movie Night- Order pizza- Book It coupon for Ian- Frozen GF pizza for Cai
Saturday: Spaghetti Pie, frozen peas for the kids and Grandma- Date night for Mark and I
Sunday: Leftovers

Go visit Organizing Junkie for more meal plans. You know you want to ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jan Pinterest project- angry birds pizza

So I saw this pin on a friends board and quickly showed it to the boys. The boys love angry birds and this pizza was so fun. They of course wanted me to make it. I put it off. Of course in my defense I haven't made homemade pizza is weeks. Sadly I should confess that when we have had pizza it's been take out or even store bought frozen. Anyway last night I didn't feel like making curry as I had planned. So I asked everyone if pizza sounded good. It's not often pizza is turned down.

I used a gluten free crust that was given to me by friends. I then made two pizzas. One into Red and one into Chuck. Here is where I should note that at our house we know all the names of the Angry Birds. Cai bought the National Geographic Angry Birds book at Ian's school's book fair. In addition to learning about angry behaviors of birds we learn a little about all the Angry Birds. Really it's a great book. Anyhoo! I wanted to make two pizzas because I've been feeling that one hasn't quite been enough. But the thought of having 2 Red birds seemed silly. So the advantage of making Chuck is that he's yellow. Around our house people like Hawaiian pizza, well if you exclude me it's still not my favorite.  Pineapple is yellow! Tada I had my second pizza. Like the pin, I used pepperoni for Red.

 I didn't have mushrooms so I just used more cheese for the eyeballs. For Chuck I shaped the crust into a triangle. In some ways this might be easier with gluten free crust, seeing as how gluten free dough is more like a thick cake batter or cookie dough than traditional bread dough. I could use my spatula to help spread the batter into the correct shape. My original idea was to place pineapple chunks along with ham all over the body. Turns out I didn't have pineapple chunks, just crushed pineapple. 

The over all look is probably more what I was going for. Sadly this meant pieces with no ham on them. I had a bowl of ham that could be added on after the fact. Really I think they look very good. And they tasted good. And probably the most important  the boys loved them. We even started talking about what other angry birds we could make into pizza. Pesto and spinach pigs? Blueberry dessert pizza blue bird? A whole black olive pizza Bomber bird? There are lots of possibilities. We might just have to get creative with our pizzas :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

He Lost a Tooth!

Ian's front teeth have started to wiggle just alittle bit for the last several months. They barely moved but they moved and that was exciting enough for Ian. The past several weeks he has been working on wiggling on of the front teeth on the bottom. We told him that if he kept wiggling it would eventually come out. The past couple of days he started to be able to wiggle it with his tongue. The joy and excitement in his eyes when this happened was awesome. At night when I lay in bed cuddling him he would show me how much it wiggled. It was so close! Today he races into the van as I pick him up from school smiling widely at me. As I am in the pick up line and other cars are behind us I quickly tell him to get in his seat so we can go. "Mom, Look!"

The tooth was gone. He proudly told me that it came out at lunch. He had been wiggling it with his finger and pulled his hand away and there it was. "Right in my hand" Apparently he then got to go to the school nurse, who put the tooth into a plastic tooth shaped box and hung it around his neck. So very very exciting.

 Of course then we had to skype with Grandma Cindy to show her the gap. And we had to tell Dad (who being in meetings just got a message on google talk. And as soon as we saw Uncle Tex and cousin Josiah we had to show them. Growing up. Ian is growing up. My big 6 year old, kindergarten boy has lost his first tooth. And he is very very proud of the fact.

 So proud that he refused to put said tooth under his pillow. Another night he told me. He is not ready to part with this new treasure. Not even for the joy of  a special gift from the tooth fairy. Which he has already told me is money. It's okay though. I'm not sure I'm ready for him to be so big. So if he wants to hold onto that tooth for awhile longer, I think I'm okay with that. Maybe I too can hold onto him being little. Surely he won't grow up too fast. Please.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Menu Plan Monday- 7 Jan 2013

Okay, I'll be real honest here and say this will be a very very short post. Yesterday the boys and I drove Mark to the airport in South Bend where he flew to Atlanta, Georgia for the week. His company is having their annual meeting. He'll return on Saturday around lunch. Having him gone is weird for sure. Luckily our family is helping out. Yesterday we ate dinner with my in-laws. It was nice cause then I didn't have to cook. And given that it was alittle after 5 by the time we got back to town we got to eat almost right away. Anyhoo the menu this week is pretty lacking. Monday and Tuesday we ate at my mother-in-law's. Mark's aunt and uncle are in town in addition to his brother. It has been nice to spend time with them. My sister-in-law Rachel is bring us a meal sometime this week. She was just going to double one of her meals. I'm very grateful. For the rest of the days I figure we'll eat macaroni and cheese one night, cause Mark doesn't like this anyway, and enchilada casserole another.That should cover us till Saturday when we pick up Mark. Saturday night I think I'll make curry. And Sunday can be popcorn, apples and cheese. Pretty simple week. Well as least as far as meals. I'm not sure the week will be simple in any other matter. Wish me luck. I think I might need it.

Do be sure to visit Organizing Junkie as well. I'm sure there are much more impressive menus there. ;)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pinterest project- Jan 2013

This was not what I imagined for my first post of 2013. But right now this is what is on my mind. My one new year's resolution thus far is the following. I want to work on completing at least ONE project I've posted to my pinterest boards. The way I see it, I've pinned lots of cool crafts, recipes (which I actually do use), games, etc, etc. But half the time after I pinned them I forget what I pinned. Until I'm trying to look up some other pin and see it again. The whole thing is silly really. So my goal: complete one of those great ideas a month. The whole thing will feel less silly. And pinterest as a whole will hopefully feel like more than a time suck. Although to be honest I'm not on all that much. My time is wasted reading fictional stories, either online, on my kindle or in a physical book. ;)
Anyhoo, for Christmas I used one of my many pins to make a gift for my nephew Josiah. When I saw this pin I immediately thought of my large motor skills, very active nephew. It was perfect. This hopscotch mat looked like something I could easily put together and Josiah would love.
Hopscotch mat for Josiah
 And hopefully it would be good for my sister-in-law, who like me needs ways to direct play in a productive manner while still allowing for those large motor skills to be used. (They are going to run all over the house unless you give them something else to do with their bodies. Sit down games only last so long)
In the end, it really wasn't to difficult. I bought 2 yards of canvas from Walmart and cut it in half. This was great because then I could make one for my boys as well. I cut numbers our of blocks of felt and used the numbers on the second one.
Mat made from extras for my boys. I used fabric pant to draw the boxes 
Using a zigzag stitch I sewed around the edges to hopefully deter unraveling. Unlike the blogger who originally posted the idea, I used fabric paint in addition to felt.
Tic-Tac-Toe outline
 For the back tic-tac-toe game I cut out rectangles and painted x's and o's on them instead of adding felt letters. I also used paint to write the numbers for the dart/bomber game on the back.
Bomber/Dart game
Because there is snow on the ground and I had no desire to dig for rocks, the bomber bags double as both bombers and hopscotch rocks. Josiah seems pleased. And the boys played with it some last night after we exchanged gifts. All and all I too was pretty please with the results. I sadily didn't take any pictures of the tic-tac-toe pieces or the bag I put it all in. It was one I made a few years back, but it was brightly colored and the right size. I wrote hopscotch in fabric paint on the bottom.
 My boys now want me to add a tic-tac-toe game and bomber game to the back of ours. We'll see. For right now thought the hopscotch mat seems enough for them.

On a side note, we have hard wood floors and canvas sides very easily across the floor. While places heavy books on top of the canvas can work it doesn't work well. I have been using the double sided tape from our plastic window coverings used to winterize the house. I have used these sheets for several years now, with the exception of this one (I decided after last year and the cats slashing every single one it was not worth the work). Because the tape is meant for the wood trim around window I figured it would be safe on my floor. So far it has not caused any problems. Of course by the end of day two the fabric decided it does not want to stick anymore and you have to replace the tape. But that's better anyway. If it doesn't stay long on the floor it has less potential of ruining the finishing.