Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer is busy

Here I had the mistaken idea that somehow summer would be more calm and less busy.  I could not have been more wrong.  I've started several posts - all of which I will eventually finish - about various topics but I get interrupted in the middle and then amazingly real life demands my attention and so my blog has been neglected this week.  It's already Thursday and I never did manage to finish my Saturday post or the post I started on Monday.  Geesh.

Life is moving along at an amazing rate of speed.  We're already in the third week of June which just feels kind of unreal.  The temps have been HOT.  We've got a cooler day today currently sitting at 87 degrees.  We're short on rain and there are burn bans all around.  I'm so thankful that our home has air conditioning and feel sympathetic towards those who don't.

This week has been filled with ball games, a trip to the library to listen to the fireman and explore the firetruck they brought, a fun day splashing in the pool and playing with the hose at Grammy's house with almost all the cousins, two different parks just this morning, and hopefully a playdate with the cousins again tomorrow.

We've also learned - very loosely mind you - about fireflies and butterflies and today we're going to play with some Bug themed learning things I printed and laminated last night and make a ladybug craft project.  Bugs was the chosen theme of this week (which made the kids freaking out Aunt Tiffany with a worm on Tuesday a totally appropriate activity lol).  If I can get some empty mountain dew bottles from my husband we're going to make our own fireflies using those, construction paper, and glow sticks.  I know the boys will love that.

Next week the older two boys are going to attend a local VBS, the following week Kayd is off to his first ever time at daycamp, and the week after that is our church VBS which we'll all take part in.  So if you don't hear much from me for the next few weeks that is why.  but I am hoping to get a post or two in there somewhere.

Friday, June 15, 2012

To my dearest readers (anyone who reads this blog)

Hey, welcome to this post.

I know that a few people are reading my blog.  I know this because I check my stats regularly. lol  Yeah, I'm like that.

I just have a tiny little itsy bitsy request.... could you please take a moment to leave a comment now and then?  Whether you like what I've written, feel that I'm totally wrong and absolutely must tell me so, have an idea or suggestion in relation to what I've posted about, I'm open to it all.

It's nice to see that people are reading but comments would make me feel like they are enjoying what they are reading.  So do please leave one now and again and I'll do the same if I'm visiting your blog.

Intentionality... or not

Sometimes I feel a twinge of guilt.  Ok, often I feel a twinge of guilt.  This twinge of guilt is in direct relation to hearing other parents talk about intentionally teaching their children things.  I have a twinge of guilt because I am rarely intentional about this sort of thing.

I don't intentionally set out to teach my daughter the sounds that animals make but if we pick up a book that is full of farm animals I will end up teaching her the sounds they make.  I don't intentionally set out to teach my children to count but when we pick up a book that has 5 monkeys or 5 ducks or 10 in a bed we are undoubtedly going to count monkeys, ducks, whatever is in the bed, flowers in the garden, bees in the sky, whatever we see on a page that has multiple we tend to count.  I have been especially horrible at intentionally working with Sawyer on his letter and number recognition and while he doesn't know them all he knows half or more of each just from life, watching his brothers learn, watching educational shows on tv, and the like. 

So once in a while I feel a twinge that in the busy-ness of finishing out first grade with Kayd and learning to read with Colton that I have neglected to be intentional about teaching my other two specific things toddlers should know.  But then I ask Sierra where her ears, eyes. nose, head, button, and toes are and amazingly - whether the learning was intentional or not - she points to each and every one.  Sometimes it's ok to learn on accident.  I think a LOT of time it's ok to learn on accident.

My children have no concept of summer.  To them summer means learning about the cycle of water, kinds of trees and insects, animals being exhibited at the fair, and lots of water play.  I'm intentional about not making every little learning experience into something formal and for that my children love to learn "on accident".

So when I feel that twinge of guilt I tell it to be quiet because we're busy intentionally being unintentional in studying the house centipede we found in the toy bucket.  Hey maybe next time I'll think to have the kids count it's legs. hahaha

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Colton's Train party

Yeah, so Colton turned 5 more than a month ago.  I still hadn't found time to post about his fantastic party.  So here it is.  This post is going to have a lot of pictures and fewer words (hopefully).

Colton and his hand cake on his actual birthday.  He was super excited about this cake.

His green train engine.
 I made the base in a loaf pan.  The round engine part was made by baking some cake mix in a washed out emptied bean can.  I got the edible eyes at walmart a while back and his smile is drawn on with edible markers.  The stack is made of reeses peanut butter cups.

A side/back view of the front of the train.
 The coal is mini chocolate chips and the wheels are york peppermint patties.  YUM.

My mom helped me out by coloring the game poster while I was working on the cake.  She used the Usborne I Can Draw Animals book to draw the frog, turtle, and flamingos.
 As a side note every time I see flamingos I think of my MIL, they were her favorite animal so when my mom suggested flamingos beside the railroad track I chuckled and thought it was PERFECT.

Food table - carrot sticks, pretzel rods, animal crackers, fruit kabobs, and train shaped pb&j sandwiches.
The kabobs were definitely the favored food item and we brought none of those home.  I thought that the train sandwiches were just adorable myself.

The whole train.  The circus car - with animal cracker animals, pretzel stick cage topped by a graham cracker, and the log car with a load of pretzel "logs".

Party favors for the adults - I may have forgotten to pass them out to the first few people who left the party.  Oops.
 These were train shaped chocolates.  I hand stamped the tags and used colors that coordinated with the invitation.

Kids' party favors.
 In the party favor bag there were circle crayons that the kids and I made in the muffin tins, train shaped chocolates, a homemade train coloring book, and Thomas stickers.

Colton was super happy with his cake.  It was so windy though that we couldn't keep the candle lit long enough for him to actually blow it out.
Conductor Colton in the box train.
 Overall I think his party was a huge success and a lot of fun and I certainly hope he remembers it for years to come.  It was a lot of work but totally worth it to see all the kids having fun.

*disclaimer: the link to the Usborne book links to my personal Usborne consultant website, should you make a purchase through that link I will get credit for it as a consultant.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The great meal prep experiment - the COST

So yesterday I explained how I went about the actual meal prep.  Today I'm going to break down the cost and give a list of the recipes I made.

So I went to four stores.

Aldi: 72.23
Family Fare: 12.36
Walmart: 76.97
meijer: 135.82

total: 297.38

Now I will buy another bag of chicken tenders that are on sale this weekend as well as a couple of ingredients that somehow didn't make it on the list.  And then I will spend about 25 to 30 a week on bread and produce.

My youngest two children are on WIC and so their breakfasts and milk we get with that.

So all told I will hopefully stay just at or under the $400.00 budget I was aiming for for the month.  I used exactly one paper coupon and a couple of meijer mperks coupons.  I also got my string cheese free at Family Fare by exchanging points I'd earned in previous shopping trips.  I buy produce that is cheapest.  My kids will eat just about any kind of fruit so I watch for sales and get two or three of the best sale items each week.  We always have bananas and apples in the house.

Now as for recipes I got my recipes from a variety of sources.  Some were recipes we tried and enjoyed when we were using the 5 dinners in an hour meal plan.  Some are from a cookbook we bought on clearance at an outlet store forever ago called the Slow Cooker bible, and some were from the blogs I linked to yesterday and other recipes that I had printed long ago and never used.

So we have:
2 meatloaves
2 Healthy BBQ chicken
2 Teriyaki chicken
2 pineapple pork loins
2 chili
Chicken & Vegetable alfredo
Chicken and vegetable chowder
Shepherd's pie
Beef stroganoff
Beef and gravy
Hearty chili mac
sloppy joes
2 Turkey and vegetable soup
broccoli and beef (it's actually ground turkey but who's telling? lol) pasta (you add the pasta at the end though)
2 easy chicken parm
french country chicken

And half completed in the fridge I have minestrone soup and Moroccan chicken tagine (I somehow missed a few things I needed for this one).

Also on our meal plan is Mile high enchilada pie, tacos once or twice, we'll do baked chicken with kraft fresh take and fresh sides once and that should cover our dinners until the 11th of July.

For breakfast the kids eat one of the following:

oatmeal and fruit
eggs and toast and fruit
flavored bread, yogurt and fruit
homemade muffins, yogurt or milk, and fruit
cereal and fruit

For lunch the kids get one of the following

chicken nuggets
hot dogs - once in a while
pasta with butter and cheese or cheese sauce if we have some

They almost always get a fruit and sometimes a vegetable with their lunch.  I try to keep things fresh and sometimes do the pb&j in a tortilla as a roll up.  We had cucumber boats one day last week or the week before - that was hit and miss with the kids. Honestly though the kids would eat pb&j just about every day of the week.  Now that I make my own bagels we'll probably have pizza bagels for lunch once or twice a month.

Sierra with her cucumber boat - hollowed cucumber with cottage cheese in the middle.
I eat a bagel and cream cheese and sometimes yogurt for breakfast.  I usually eat baked chicken and crackers with laughing cow cheese, or grilled cheese and tomato soup, or pizza bagels, or whatever I have on hand that sounds good.  And Jay always takes the leftovers from dinner the night before.

I think that the biggest factor in our food costs was waste.  Produce going bad before getting used mostly.  My hope is that by prepping it all and freezing it ready to go there will be little to no waste from this.

I have been turning my over-ripe fruit into muffins and breads for the kids' breakfasts and snacks.  It's been an interesting couple of weeks changing up a few things trying to get to a point of peace with both our menu and our food budget.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The great meal prep experiment

Wow.  Exhaustion currently overwhelms my brain.

Every month we have the same problem.  A short or non-existent amount of money at the end of our month.  Our grocery budget cycle goes from about the 11th of one month to the 11th of the next month and from about the final day of the first month to the 11th of the second money is tight and we're scrambling to have meals on the table.

I've tried numerous things to cut our budget.  I've long meal planned and stockpiled really good sales.  I've stopped couponing extensively (this caused me to buy things we didn't really need).  I've come to the end of my rope in this area.

Every night I have the same problem.  Come 4:30/5pm it's time to work on getting food on the table. Often I've forgotten to thaw the meat I need.  Sometimes we're missing an ingredient.  Sometimes whatever I was going to cook doesn't sound good anymore.  But most often I have screaming hungry children, a disastrous house, and little energy left to deal with dinner.

Enter the new great meal prep experiment.  I read other blogs.  Often.  Usually I find them through pinterest.  The other day I was looking at a pin and here was an amazing idea.  Making a whole month of meals at once and freezing them.  Now I've heard of this before.  Not a totally new concept to me.  But one thing stopped me.  Freezer space.  I don't have a deep freeze - I NEED one but I don't have one.  I have limited space in the freezer in the top of my fridge.  But when I stumbled across a blog and then another and then another of women making all of their meals as crock pot meals I knew I needed to try it.  So I read several of these blogs to get inspiration.  Printed out the recipes that appealed to me.  Meal planned a month worth of meals - several of the meals I'm doing two of the same thing.  Wrote out a HUGE grocery list item by item through the menus.  THEN I went shopping in the kitchen.  Checked off the things that I already owned and gathered the canned stuff I'd be using in a basket for easier access.

Then I re-wrote my list putting things into categories so I wouldn't miss anything as I shopped through the stores.

Then on June 11th, I loaded up 4 kids, one package I needed to mail, my bag of empty cloth shopping bags, my purse with my list and a diaper (cause ya know, still a mom) and the kids and I headed out.  We conquered the post office first and quickly.  Next we went to Aldi followed by Walmart and finished our shopping foray at Meijer.  And about 3hrs after we set out we arrived home.

By that time it was lunch time.  My kids thought they should be fed so I fed them and since the older two boys had a ball game that night I napped all three of the younger kids and let Kayden play on the computer.  Then I proceeded to spend the next hours peeling and chopping carrots, washing and chopping mushrooms, labeling all the baggies.

Took a break for dinner (which I had conveniently put in the crock pot before we went shopping in the morning) and the boys' ball game.  Then I spent another few hours, chopping onion (thank goodness for a food processor!), chopping celery, browning ground turkey, and FINALLY I was able to start completing some of the meals.  And when I finally crashed into bed last night just after 12am I had completed a bit more than half of the meals with most of the vegetables prepped in the remaining bags.

This morning I set about to finish out those meals.  I took one baggy (two if it was a double recipe) at a time and I put whatever was missing into it.  Then I stuffed them all back into the fridge because our freezer is full to the gills.  I have two meals that I haven't completed the prep work on but to be honest I'm plum exhausted.

Ok so let's see.  What do you all want to hear about this little adventure?

1 - This month I'm going to plan the meals I'll make next time way ahead and have my baggies labeled before the day of shopping and prep.  It didn't take a huge amount of time but that 30 - 45 min could have been better spent chopping.  I would have done it ahead this time but I didn't have any baggies in the house.  I bought three boxes of 30 baggies though so I'm set for next month.

2 - I'm going to double as many recipes as humanly possible next month.  Variety is nice BUT it's easier to prep two or three bags of the same meal at once.  Looking at one recipe results in two or three completed meals at a time and the ones I doubled were my favorites to put together for this reason.

3 - I'm going to do my shopping and veggie prep on one day and the meat prep the next day and then put everything all together on the third day next time.  I need to spend time with my children after all and this way maybe I can keep things a little neater and tidier.

4 - I'm going to write out the recipes we'll use regularly on recipe cards.  I think that will make it easier on me.  Don't know why I think that but I do.

5 - when I write my list I'm going to differentiate between chopped onion and sliced onion etc so I can just prep the vegetables and measure out accordingly.  Last night I had to keep flipping through the recipes to see which ones needed slices of onion and which one needed chopped onion.  It was a HUGE pain.  Same with the carrots, and other veggies.

Things I would do differently if I had a deep freeze:

*I'd make three or four of our favorite recipes at a time.  This way we could rotate them in another month or two down the road but only have to prep them once for that amount of time.

Ok so really that is the only thing I would do differently for this if I had a deep freeze. lol  I just don't have the space to make more than I made last night and today.

Now on some of the blogs I read as inspiration they chopped up the potatoes and put them in the bags at this stage.  But I was too scared to ruin the meals if the potatoes went bad or something once they were cut so I have the potatoes but I'll wash and chop them on the day of cooking.  Everything else though I chopped right up and tossed in the bags - peppers, zucchini, onion, carrots, fresh mushroom.  Obviously we haven't eaten them yet but as they won't be in the freezer any longer than 30 days I'm sure they will be fine.

Now in the end I completed 23 meals and have two more half prepped.  I also have ground turkey in the freezer for a few meals - tacos and the like to fill in the last 5/6 meals we'd need in a one month span of time.  We'll also have some chicken tenders to use for a non-crockpot meal too.

I do think that going this route has saved our grocery budget but as I'm exhausted and my brain has stopped functioning and my children are begging to bake cookies I'm going to sign off now.  But come back tomorrow and I'll do a cost breakdown of my grocery purchases and see how the budget does in fact look.

In the meantime for recipes and more information check out the links below.

These are the blogs where I got my most recent inspiration:
Kojo Designs
Ring around the Rosies
The Test Kitchen

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thoughts on a Summer routine

Summer is almost here for us!  School will officially finish next Friday!  I think I'm more excited than the kids.  I have tons of great plans for our summer.  Now that I don't have any super needy babies in the house and my only consistent napper takes one regular nap a day it is going to be easy and fun to plan activities for summer time.

I'm just trying to figure out the right kind of routine for us.

One - we need to keep the house up.  This includes but is not limited to keeping up with laundry, dishes, the living room cleaned up, and dinner on the table every night.

Two - I want to plant a small garden.  I'm going to get each of the kids and myself a tomato plant and we're going to plant them in the backyard.  Each one will be responsible for watering and caring for their plant and will also get to pick the produce off of their plants.  I think I'm going to make a graph to keep track of how many tomatoes we get off of each plant.  I'm going to plant a cucumber plant or two as well because those grew well for me the one year and my kids and KOJ love cucumbers.

Three - I want to spend a lot of time out of the house.  We are stuck in our house all winter long and I want to spend as much time as possible out.  At parks, at the fountains, at the pool, at VBS, at friends' houses, on walks, at the children's museum on super hot days, at the library weekly. 

Four - I want to do some summer specific learning things.  I'm not sure what or how I'm going to do this yet, it's in early development stages.  We'll see.

So here's what I'm considering for a routine.  Having a designated day for each particular activity.

For example:
Monday - Park play
Tuesday - water play day (this could be the fountains, the pool, the sprinkler in the backyard
Wednesday - make something day - a craft, a special snack, a fun game/activity
Thursday - Miscellaneous fun play day - this could include bowling, the children's museum, playdates, etc.

Friday - Library day

If we get a routine down we could easily be loaded up and leaving the house by 9:30 every morning and come home by noon for Sierra's nap.  I'm planning to do dinner in the crock pot and make ahead each weeks meals on Mondays during Sierra's nap.  This way I can just dump the appropriate bag in the crock pot, turn it on, and go about our summer fun.  Pre-packing lunches the night before so we can grab them and take them with us will be instrumental as well.  Getting the kids into the habit of unloading the dishwasher asap in the mornings is going to be vital.  I think some down time for all of us while Sierra naps will be important.  We can do our "gardening" in the afternoon and maybe daily walks around the neighborhood too.

So that's what I have in mind so far.  We'll give it a go and I'll let you know how it works for us.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Proverbs 31 - to attempt or ignore?

Every Christian woman knows what lies within the chapter of Proverbs 31 in the bible.  I would dare say that most Christian women ignore it or avoid it like the plague.  I was one of those Christian women.  I would decide that I wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman and I would begin reading it and quickly feel overwhelmed at all that I would never be.

But more recently I've felt more open to some change.  I reflect back on my life and I can see places where I have had my own personal growth. Places where I finally said to God "Ok I see that this isn't how You want me to be so help me to be open to the changes." and He has been faithful to do that.  *I* could not maintain lasting change on my own.  I simply could not do it.  But with God's strength I can.  With a whisper I can be reminded to think before I speak rashly.  Change isn't easy and I'm not always eager to improve myself because by and large it involves a few unpleasant things. First I have to admit that I have been wrong.  If I need to change then what I've been doing up until this point is wrong.  I hate being wrong.  Don't we all?  But fact is we are all wrong now and again and it's ok to admit that.  Secondly I have to realize that I have been selfish and be willing to give up this small piece of selfishness to better myself.  Does that sound counter-productive?  The whole giving up selfishness to better my SELF?  Well it sounds that way but ultimately I'm bettering the person I am relationally to others around me and while yes, becoming a better person certainly benefits me it's also benefiting those around me.  When I am slow to anger it is a positive example to my children.  When I stop and consider my words before speaking to or of my husband I can find a way to word things that won't cause an argument or negative feelings from others towards him.  And no worries, I'm not perfect.  There are still times when I say something and later regret it.  There are still times that I yell at my children.  But I'm trying.  I really think that's the important part.  The trying.

So Proverbs 31 is a chapter I have a very different opinion of now.  I began a bible study on this chapter about 4 weeks ago.  It is a very in depth study and I just never knew there was this much to find in this chapter.  I think my favorite thing about this study is I'm doing it with other Godly women and we can all read the same small verse and come back with our own message from it.  I LOVE that.

So far in Proverbs 31 this is what I have learned.

*She is something to strive to be but something that in our earthly humanness will never quite get to.  That does not mean we should stop trying.  It just means that we should not become discouraged in our human failures.

*This chapter was written by a mother to a son.  It is about the kind of wife she wishes for him.  I have sons and of course I only want the best for them in all areas.  So of course this woman has the highest of standards.  In the past I've always read this chapter as a judgement of one woman on all other women.  I have previously felt taunted by the woman.  But realizing that it's a mother's words to her son changed my entire perspective.

*She works eagerly - this one hit me hard.  It has been so easy to get weighed down in the mundane day to day and whine about why does it always have to be this way.  When I am like that *I* am not happy, my husband is not happy, my children are not happy, and nobody is happy to keep my company.  I will be content and eager and even joyful in the roles God has called me to.  I am after all doing what I always wanted to do when I grew up, how ridiculous for me to resent that in some way.  How many people get to be as an adult what they've wanted to be since they were a young girl?  For me that was a teacher and a mama.  And here I am.  Teaching and mama'ing my babies.

*She feeds her family.  My husband was recently asked what his love language is by a good friend.  His response was "Dinner" and he was dead serious.  I have known for a LONG time now that the ONE thing I can do to tell my husband in actions that I love him is to have dinner in process or ready when he gets home from work.  The few verses we've gone through already talks about her shopping for their food, preparing their food, feeding her family.  It's one of our most basic needs.  It has to be done.  And it's something that I've viewed for too long as a necessary inconvenience to our days.  Not so anymore.  I am moving my family to fewer and fewer processed foods and baking more of our snacks and daily eats from scratch - which is both healthier and cheaper.

*Rises before the sun - yeah this just isn't happening here.  But really when I read this verse what I saw was that she did two things - she prepared her day and she started her day with prayer.  I can do both of those things without rising before the sun (or my sons who are up at 6:30am pretty much every day).  I have gotten into the habit of preparing things the night before.  Esp if we're leaving the house.  Having our bags packed up, lunches made, clothes laid out has made our last few times that we had to get out the door first thing in the morning go MUCH better.  Plus I got the sleep I needed to be a good mama to my babies.  And really my kids wake up and watch tv.  There's nothing that would hinder me from waking and spending 10 or 15 min starting my day in prayer in my bedroom before coming out to meet the day.  So I don't really think this verse is meant to be about waking up super early.  I think it's about preparing our day and starting our day with God.

*She does not rush into things.  This is what we're learning this week.  She considered a field - she took her time and thought about it.  She saved up for it.  Then she turned it into something productive for her family.  When I first read this particular verse I was like "Um, I have no interest in buying a field.  I can't even remember to water my tomato plants."  But the other wonderful women I'm doing the study with saw so much more than a field and even my husband had a great take on this verse.  The field could be considered a dream.  A dream that would use our talent to enhance our family.  I have a "field".  But the Proverbs 31 woman considered her field first.  She prayed about it, planned it out, saved up for it, and then she bought the field.  This may not be the season of your life to buy a field.  That's ok, continue to consider it, plan it out, save up for it and pray about it.  When the time is right for your field God will let you know.  This is not the season for my field and I'm ok with that.  I will continue to consider it and pray about it and plan for it in the future.

KOJ's thoughts were that a field is something that we are investing our time, talents, and energy into and he considers our children my current field.  And I do too.  They will hopefully one day produce the fruit of all my tending.  What a great perspective.  I don't have to feel like a field-less woman any longer. lol

So I would encourage every woman to take another look at this intimidating chapter.  Open your heart up to have a willingness to change and let God guide you through it.

When I began this study I was nervous.  I was nervous that I would not be willing to change in all the ways that I knew God would call me to change.  I prayed that God would help me to be open to the changes I knew this chapter would convict me to make and I have.  I feel at a much deeper level of peace with myself and I hope my family has felt the positive impact as well.  That is not to say it's been easy because it has not.  But I want to be the best me I can be and I will continue to work towards that through the rest of this study and hopefully beyond.

Have a blessed Thursday everyone!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Whirlwind of life

 Last week was a complete whirlwind and this week has just plain disappeared.  Not sure where it went.  Last week on Tuesday the kids and I went up the children's museum. The kids had a blast. We were actually there because my sister's son had his school field trip and she didn't have a way to get there so we volunteered to go up and play too so she could be there for her son. So aside from my four children, the one child of another couple, and two children of a mom and grandma pair, there were about a hundred kindergartners running through the place. I was actually VERY impressed at how controlled the chaos was. The museum had a great protocol in place for field trips and it was amazing to see how well it worked first hand.

This is the toddler area, the field trip kids weren't allowed here.  Kayd thought the pieces for making a house were awesome there in the duplo blocks.

Sierra plays with the water.  She loved this.

When the field trip kids went to lunch, those of us NOT on the field trip flocked to the water table.  And the kids had a blast.

Colton played dress up for a bit.

Sierra practiced her mad grocery shopping skills.

Then on Wednesday evening our very good friend Diana from Life Light Images and her husband (also our very good friend lol) took our family pictures. Here's a sample. We haven't gotten them all but if these are any indication they're going to be amazing.

This was an attempt to recapture the below picture from almost 2yrs ago when she was a newborn.
I cannot believe how much she has changed in two years.  It's amazing.  Still she's so precious and sweet and captivating.
Then on Thursday my kids were ferried out to friend and sister and my mom and I took off and spent the day shopping. We went to Ikea. It was my first time ever to go there and even now a week later I'm just still in awe of this store. We loved it so much. We spent three solid hours there and only left because we were hungry. Seriously. Amazing. I could spend a fortune there. If I ever won the lottery I'd be spending a huge chunk of it there. Just saying. I haven't won the lottery and therefore only spent a small amount there on small things. See, Kayd built that track using some of the new pieces I found there at Ikea.

Friday was a blessedly calmish stay at home day. Saturday morning though there was a war. The Civil War to be exact. We went to the Civil War Days hosted by our town. It was totally free and very cool. We really enjoyed it a lot and will definitely go back again next year. I LOVE the dresses from back then. Not sure I'd love wearing them but looking at them is fun. I don't have any pics of it but they had a staged battle at 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday. KOJ took the boys on Saturday and then again on Sunday. Sunday was cooler (well not really it was over 90 on Sunday, but still) because a friend of the boys' from church was playing one of the drummer boys in the battle. He got shot and taken to the field hospital and they got to go visit him there. I stayed home with a napping princess. We don't do battles in 90 degree heat. But it did sound like a lot of fun.

As if that weren't enough fun for our weekend on Sunday evening we loaded up the kids and took them to the fountains.  Last year we also loaded them up and took them to the fountains on Memorial day weekend and since it was so hot we thought it might be fun to make it a tradition (weather permitting).  The boys jumped right in but Sierra was a little hesitant.

She did get wet finally though.  She had so much fun and was so much fun to watch.
My boys, warming up for a minute.

Then on Monday my mom kept our kids at her house while KOJ and I had a morning date. We went out to breakfast and spent some time perusing goodwill. It's what we do on our dates, eat and shop. We're ok with that. Then that evening Mom came over to our place and we had a cookout type dinner only we ate it in. We had cheeseburgers, and corn on the cob, and pasta salad, and watermelon. And for dessert I made a cheesecake. I chose cheesecake for the express purpose of making it look like this in honor of Memorial day.

This week has been a lot less active around here thankfully. I became sick with sinus and congestion stuff throughout the weekend and I'm still trying to get rid of it as of right now. I'm at the tail end but I'll be happy once it's gone again.

And in closing I want to say a HUGE Thank YOU! To any service members who might stumble upon my blog. A few days late but I do appreciate all that the service members of our country do for our freedoms. I also appreciate all the spouses of service members. They have a job I could never ever do and I admire them greatly for it. So thank you. And know that my children and I are praying for you.