Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Menu Plan Monday...Err Tuesday!

The happiest countdown moment in the life of a Disney traveler has happened today! Our Magicbands arrived, signaling that it's time to get packing and loaded and go! It was a great high to the low of the fact that a long weekend of fun was over. I hope you all had a great holiday weekend. We spent it out of town but having a lot of fun together as a family.
Did anyone else wake up today thinking it was Monday? We got our trash out, did school work and even began to get ready for Cross Country when my husband sent me a text to inform me that I was completely off on days and there was no cross country until tomorrow! Oh dear, at least we are prepared for tomorrow. Since we did a lot of eating out I knew I had to get our menu in order for this week and here I am finally sharing another Menu Plan Monday on a Tuesday since it's not really Monday!

Tuesday: Mexican street corn with Quesadilla bar (Watermelon with lime and salt for dessert)
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken sandwich w/ individual Caprese salad (Ice cream Sundaes for dessert)
Thursday: Mexican Grilled Hotdogs (Hot dog topped with avocado, pico de gallo and jalapenos)
Friday: Salad bar with Baked Potato bar and Summer berries for dessert
Saturday: Mini Meatloaves with Mashed Potato toppings and cantaloupe slices for dessert
Sunday: Fettuccini Alfredo but the noodles are made from Zucchini

All dinners are being served with a pitcher of ice water and lemon slices to cut down on our carb overload! LOL! I needed a quick week of meals that could be prepared fast or in the crockpot! With Fall sports kicking off, I knew it would be a week of rush, rush, rush followed by evenings of wine, wine wine! HAHA!
Enjoy every minute my friends!

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Vacation Prep

Do you ever sit and think about when you planned a vacation, how it all seemed so far away and then when you are actually there it seems to have flown by? Perspective seems to be everything not only with vacations but with life too. We started school this week but of course have been overwhelmed with the thought of our vacation that there it is really easy to distract everyone! We keep getting shipments in the mail whether it be from Disney World, Disney Cruise Lines, The Disney Store or other random purchases we have made to prep that it's easy to get off track!
How far in advance do you begin packing? Our Disney Store order arrived (part 1 of 2) and I really wanted to begin right away but I knew that suitcases would just get in the way of our daily lives. We packed about a month early for our winter in Mexico and well let's just say it got aggravating to see things laying around all the time! I felt that it was necessary so that we would have all that we need but of course we ended up with WAY TOO MUCH!! I am hoping to avoid that this time around as we are driving AND we are now driving a rental that is MUCH smaller than our regular car...why? Oh because the engine blew on our vehicle and it will take them about 30 days to put in a new one...YUP, when it's vacation time for our family something drastic always happens. It also happens to be the week that our property taxes are due and that happens to be ON our anniversary! Can we have an anniversary dinner at McDonald's please? Oh well, we are thankful no one was hurt and that the Lord has provided us with all that we need, it could be worse!
One way we love to countdown our vacation is with a simple paper chain. The entire family gets involved in making the paper chain and then the top of our countdown becomes a window or door decoration on the trip too! With each day we take off a paper strip and pull one question from our Disney Trivia game and ask it out loud. This helps us prepare for the DCL trivia game onboard and also to have fun every day when pulling off the link for the day.
I have been hitting up Disney Outlets and used video places (they sometimes sell Disney pins) to fill up their lanyards with pins to trade! I love spending next to nothing on pins and they get ones they really want and have fun doing it! It's an activity that can be enjoyed in the parks and on the ship. The kids also have their own itineraries and money put on a gift card for them.
I've also kept busy making door and window décor for our resort and cruise stays. Getting the kids involved in one activity a week, 1 Disney Family Movie a week, 1 package arrival a week takes car of almost half the week and easily helps it fly by. We also like to spend 1 day of the weekend chatting about things we like to do where we want to go first and sometimes opinions change and others they stay the same. Needless to say the planning all goes by in a whirlwind.
 We also like to buy books that pertain to our vacation destination once every other month or so to help with planning but mainly to look at all there is to do! We are Members of B&N and that gives us 20% off coupons that come in the mail every other month or so and then add it to the 10% members discount we get daily and it's well worth it! We always know when a coupon comes in it's time to buy a vacation book!
My daughter and I are having a blast making bows for our MagicBands that can easily be made into hair bows on the days we do not have them on the bands. We are also cute bag obsessed! This is a lunch cooler that we have decided to carry around as a purse! LOL
Even when we are not planning for Disney, it's always on my mind! Here I am at my book club and ready to talk Disney with anyone that eyes my purse! The Disney Dooneys are my biggest weakness!
The planning binder is a MUST for our Disney trips. We change out the cover sheet for each vacation and each page inside can easily be accessed for additional information. We use highlighters and different colored pens and inside is a folder that holds any documents we get from Disney. I will be doing a Disney Binder post in the future where I will just go through this binder. One thing we love about our cover sheet is that it has the vacation year on the bottom and destination at the top but the center is plain and this is done with a purpose. When it's time to go, we ditch the binder and put all the sheets inside the pockets of our passporter on the coordinating days and then we pull out the cover sheet, laminate it and use a magnetic clip to turn it into our dry-erase board on our resort room doors or cruise line door! It's so much fun to read all the messages from people.
Just a hint of our planning madness, but it sure is fun! With our Transatlantic cruise next year, I hope to document our entire planning process with a once a week post, but we will see as I have already booked the trip and we have been getting things in the mail for some time now. Having 2 trips booked at one time is crazy! Enjoy every minute my friends, time certainly flies when you are having fun!

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Monday, August 29, 2016

And Then I Woke Up...

Hello everyone! My goodness, as I blow the dust off this blog I am left thinking about so much that has been going on over here. Bloggers out there in the world, do you ever have that feeling where even though you are busy every minute of every day (or at least it seems that way), they you are just not creating anything blog worthy? Yes, vacations and getaways are spectacular but at the same time...well I want to LIVE them and not be a slave to my camera. Have you reached the point where the school work that used to be cute and creative is just WORK now? I have taken photos of the kids at the board doing Algebra and yet what can I say about it? There are no cute games for Algebra! I had decided to step away for a bit and re-evaluate where this blog should go...and then I woke up.
There will always be things to blog about, meals to prepare and fun games to play and learn from. As the kids get older the posts may be fewer and farther between but there will always be blog worthy parts of our life, why? Because I love my life and every miniscule part of it. What may not be interesting to others, may in fact be a time capsule for my children to look back at when they are older. A digital scrapbook is what I have created and though I may not have been blogging for anyone in particular in the past, now I blog for them. These past few months have had us preparing for our County Fair with 4-H and all of their projects and judging and then they found out they made it to the State Fair and it was a whirlwind trip downstate. Here is my daughter at the fashion show for sewing. She made that skirt, those cuffs and that scarf. It's amazing what kids can do when you let their imaginations go wild. Me? I can't sew a button on straight and look at her, taking on the world. She went on to win the Champion prize in this competition!
As we continue down the path of growth, I will share the fun of being a parent to teenagers, the vacations we take and how to prepare for them (we are headed to the beach, Disney and a cruise VERY SOON!). I will still share my menu plans, the activities and sports in the world of homeschooling, along with just every day bits and pieces of my life. I may only blog once a month or every day for a week...it will happen and life will get in the way but I will try and keep a record of it as much as I can. I needed that wake up call, the realization that I blog for me, for them. It's easy to take photos and have them stack up in my phone but to be able to put some out there as a memory that will be here long after I am gone. It's something they can share with their own children.
The fair season took us down several new paths. At the beginning of Spring we brought home a new pet or shall I say our first ever pet. My youngest decided to begin raising a show rabbit and Carrots entered our life. It has been great fun and also been quite the lesson in responsibility. I am proud to say I have not once walked the rabbit (crazy right?!) nor have I ever cleaned his litter (he is a house broken rabbit). He is a Crème D' Argent bunny and is just about reaching his maximum size. It has definitely thrown a kink in many plans as we have brought a rabbit with us on vacation and camping and even on long road trips! Carrots has needed a sitter when we were gone too long and sometimes he even comes with to grandma and grandpas house!
While Carrots was being shown at the fair, my middle son fell in love with a new litter of Polish rabbits (not too new, they were 2 months old) and well of course one went home with us. Cocoa is the newest addition to our family and this will only get a wee bit bigger. It has been a lot of fun watching my boys grow up as they become responsible pet owners. This responsibility will follow them through life and it was something they needed to learn. We will soon begin showing them the cost of having a pet and discuss money and other things, I will post more about this in the future!
Out of nowhere, my shy and quiet middle son decided he wanted to do a food demonstration and enter that competition category this year. I was so PROUD to see him step out of his shell and take on this new challenge that I didn't care how he did, just that he was doing it! He ended up taking Champion on this too! It was an amazing moment to see his eyes register the win and me? Well I was the nerd mom crying in the second row. It wasn't because he won, it was because he was willing to tackle something new and though he was nervous he did it! If you care to see it, here is him practicing at home, I am laughing a lot and I don't even know if we finished the entire video but we were just being silly at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzwCit0-xb0
At the end of fair season, the kids entered 36 projects and ended up with 34 blue ribbons winners (my youngest has green as he is in a different age group) and 2 red ribbon second place winners. They worked so hard this year that they learned their hard work can take them anywhere they want to be. I was there to answer questions and of course help them find things but the rest was up to them and they did a phenomenal job with it all.
This Spring and Summer our National Parks passport has seen a lot of action as we took off in search of history, our swimsuits have been in lakes, oceans, rivers, streams, waterparks and hotel pools this Spring and Summer as we have ventured off many beaten trails to encounter new adventures. Our vehicle has had many miles of dirt roads, gravel trails and highways as we picked up and saw our surroundings but mostly our family has experienced so much time together that we have grown to learn more about one another. Small hotel rooms, tiny tents, cramped backseats, loaded train cars and over flowing buses...we have traveled them all in the desire to see more and learn more and we also came out loving more. The world can be anything we want it to be and as a family we are all seeing it through the same eyes and yet different ones too. Life is all about living and we are doing plenty of it.
As a new school year begins, we may spend some time in the classroom but we will make sure that we spend more time out of it. Learning is happening all around and life is sailing by, we don't want to miss a minute. We only have these few years with our children and if you take the time to realize that at 11 years old our oldest will only be living under our roof a handful of years more, it's why we do what we do. The bulk of her life under our guiding hand has come and gone so quickly that we need to hang on to these slivers we have left. The middle son is only one year behind her and the youngest 2 years behind him. The time goes too fast, though I want to take it all back and do more, I am eager to send them out into this world and see what they can do with all that they have been given and developed on their own.
Enjoy every minute my friends, the time goes and before we know it we only have memories...Photobucket
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, we certainly did and we managed to stay in town all weekend long, kind of! We had a lot on our schedule as it was the first weekend that didn't bring frosty temps to the Midwest. It was time to scrub down patio furniture after pulling it out of storage, put new sand in the patio cracks and fix any blocks that may look worse for wear. It was a nitty gritty kind of weekend and we were ready for it! The kids knew that they had to work hard if we were to be rewarded and the reward was a dessert party at the Drive-In movie theater to see The Jungle Book and Zootopia! We had already seen the latter but it was still such a good movie that we were ready to see it again! It was all phenomenal and we had a lot of fun! What did you do this weekend?
Now it's time for Menu Plan Monday! I found this spectacular Monday-Weekend pad of paper in the Dollar Spot at Target and figured it was much nicer than having to print something out or the more expensive pads out there! I LOVE IT! It fits right into my planner for grocery day too!
Monday: Spinach & Feta stuffed Chicken breasts with Green Beans and a garden salad. Served with Iced Black Tea.
Tuesday: Lettuce Wraps & Raw Veggie Platter with homemade hummus (portable for a cross country event and late night) served with Lemon Water infused overnight in waterbottles and strained in the morning.
Wednesday: Veggie Lasagna with a Caprese Salad & Iced Green Tea.
Thursday: Grilled Salmon and Squash served with a garden salad and Lemon Water

Friday: Couscous Chicken Soup with Homemade Dutch Oven bread

Saturday: Grilling and Bonfire Party

Sunday: Kids have a cross country race and then we will go out to dinner with family to celebrate afterwards.
Enjoy every minute my friends!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesdays are for Organizing!

Oh happy is the day when the office supplies comes out. I love to get the highlighters in a row, the pens in a rainbow of colors and the pencils sharpened just so. I enjoy getting file folders and labels, fun index cards and stickers, paperclips and pins, bands and tabs. Office supplies put me into an organizing coma and it was time for one, in fact is was long past time for a day like this. It was time to get organized for our county fair projects for 4H. We already have a lot of our books gone through, marked up and ready to create our exhibits but this was our day to get due dates, judging dates, supply lists and such all set.
The only place to hold a meeting like this is Starbucks. This is the perfect place for the kids to work and not be distracted AND get good treats while we are there too! I have 3 kids and each of the big kids is taking 11 projects and my youngest is taking 6. This makes for a lot of project books, glue sticks and poster boards! This day was spent labeling a file folder for each project, putting in any notes and sketches as well as project books. On the front of each folder we have half for due dates and the other half is for the list of items they will need for their display. On the back of the folder is a list of what is required for that project. 
As we were working and chatting, I starting reflecting on our second year of 4H and how excited we were starting out and how we still remain excited to this day. We have had so much fun getting involved in such an awesome club and even better we have learned so much. My husband has just signed on to coach a robotics team for the 4H this year and he is very excited for what this brings to him. He is a man that works 70+ hours a week and now he is adding this on too? That's just how much we believe and love this organization! Are you or your children or have you ever been a member of the 4-H?
Enjoy every minute my friends!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Vintage Buttons Make Me Happy

I collect several things, but none so much as vintage buttons. If I see buttons, I have to have them all. I am someone that sees the buttons on a piece before I see the rest of the garment and have often bought things for the buttons alone and then torn them off, sewn on new ones and donated the unworn piece. Buttons make me happy, be it that they hold someone's history or the colors are so bright, the materials are so different or any other reason, I just enjoy seeing them.
I keep so many in jars that I cannot bear to part with, but I also craft with many of them. Button bracelets are one of my favorite things to make with them along with brooches, rings and of course putting them on clothing!
My children volunteer at our local history museum and this past weekend worked WWI days, where they work as village interpreters of children during that time. Here they are in the 1 room school house. Everything they do MUST be done in that time period, even the lunch and snack they bring. This of course sent mom on a scavenger hunt for the right drinking receptacles and lunch totes. They have been doing this for 2 years now and it has been such a learning experience for not only them but for those of us that go and see them too! Being on the hunt for certain items has led me to many vintage and antique shoppes and that has been so fun for my button addiction!
I was finally able to procure a basket with embroidered napkin for my daughter and a vintage lunch pail with lid for my son. They are using dairy glass jars for drinking and mason jars for their snacks, or they must be wrapped in brown paper.
At this past event, they had several vendors set up and I was able to pick up this super cute bag shown on the bottom left, I knew I loved it straight away but also knew exactly what it needed. I got right to work when I got home and added a line of buttons on the front pocket. Now it is absolutely perfect! This shout-out goes to The Hotsy Totsy Housewife for having such amazing goodies and I cannot wait for WWII days to see what else I will buy from her! The purse & the lunch pail were perfection but I also added on a skirt and wish I had picked up more!
Enjoy every minute my friends!

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Sunday School! Post #13

I really need to get better with posting on Sundays for my Sunday School post on the Catholic things we did in our classroom that week, but the weekends have just been insane lately! I still want to share these things and if I waited on them, the one Sunday post would end up being far too picture heavy! So here it is, Sunday School...on a Tuesday! All the other posts in Sunday School can be found HERE! In the photo above you will see a cross that we made out of metal clips. I love crosses as wall décor because they not only speak of our Faith, but seeing them everywhere is like a reminder that the Lord is always with us. I picked up these clips at Michael's with a 50% off coupon and really had no clue what we would do with them, I just loved them. When I figured that we should try and make something with them, my youngest thought a cross would be fun! After a lot of trial and error we came up with this and I love it. As we were working together, we discussed what we loved about being Catholic and what we still wanted to learn more about. This is a GREAT discussion to have on a regular basis, to see just what changes in and with your kids!
Why have we been so busy? My kids work (volunteer) their time at our local history museum and this past weekend was World War I days. My children dress as village children from that time period and perform different tasks as interpreters from that time. In this photo from my INSTAGRAM account, they are selling ice cream. They don't always work together, but I love when they do, because it makes for some great photos! I try to post daily over there, so feel free to follow me on INSTAGRAM and I will follow you back too!
One of my favorite things that we did this past week was make pendants out of cork from wine bottles! This was so much fun and we got to use up papers that would normally see the recycle bin! We use SETON as our curriculum and I absolutely love it, but one thing I don't like? Seeing all their gorgeous pictures hit the recycle bin as we finish a workbook. I try so hard to cut out the photos, but then my scrap bin begins to overflow and I have to think of what to do with them all...this was the perfect solution! I am even gathering enough supplies to do this with my Little Flowers Catholic Girls group! The full instructions are HERE!
With Divine Mercy Sunday being the Sunday after Easter, we had a lot going on in school but one thing that I absolutely loved doing was making a small chaplet for the kids to keep on their person at all times. It's small and portable, not only to serve as a reminder that the Lord is all around you, but to use in times of nervousness and stress. I like reaching in and praying along with it or even just feeling the cross if I get anxious over something. The beads move as you pray and I have also told the children to use them for keeping track of all the good you do in the day. Make it a point to do 11 good things a day and slide the bead as you go starting at the top (the Our Father bead) and working your way to the cross, which I likened to "working your way closer to God". I really enjoy hands on things like this, which allow us to chat as we work and then to also give them a visual aid once we are through with them.
One thing I speak about often is the need to visit church, even when we are on vacation. I turn this into a fun part of our touring plans as we are seeing a new place that is full of history and going to mass too! This church was in Mexico at the top of a LARGE mountain that had a VERY rough terrain to hike up as well as many wild dogs. This road is very rough on cars and shoes but in the end so worth the breathtaking views and vistas. They are remodeling the inside but what we saw was still amazing and the best part is that mass still goes on, even with the scaffolds and drop cloths everywhere.
Enjoy every minute my friends!

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