If you know anything about Thomas, you know that the little blue engine has captured the hearts of millions of kids all over. Well, in our house he has captured the heart of Benjamin. Ben is all about the choo-choos (as he calls them)! So when I saw that the "Day out with Thomas" experience was coming to Ohio, I talked to Bill and we decided to treat the kids to the festivities.
It was 2 hours and 10 minutes away and we needed to be there by 9am. That meant an early morning wake up call...
When we got there, Thomas was still asleep and they had to wake him up. The look on Benjamin's face when they unveiled Thomas' face was worth the whole trip!
All 3 kids had a blast at the experience. The organizers had lots of different stations set up with activities, including a place to get temporary tattoos, play stations with trains, meeting Sir Topam Hatt, bubble station, a straw maze, games, balloon animals, etc. (I will say that I wish they had spread the activities out over a larger area, as there were so many people and kids and it was kind of claustrophobic...).
The main attraction was a train ride with Thomas the Train pushing and pulling your train car. During the midway point, they stopped the train and told the kids that Thomas was tired and they had to help give him energy by saying "Pull, Thomas, Pull!" My kids loved that part!
We spent a couple of hours at the Day out with Thomas. Then we headed to Wendy's for lunch and then started the drive home. We made it home around 2:30. Overall, it was a great family fun experience that I am so glad that we decided to do!
It seems like just yesterday I was giving birth to my first born...now I am the mom of a 3rd grader, a kindergartner and NOW a preschooler!
Today was Benjamin's first day of preschool. He is enrolled in our local school district's preschool program in an integrated classroom. Basically, that is a class where half of the children are on an IEP and the other half are not. Benjamin is on an IEP due to his autism diagnosis.
I am so excited for what this year will bring for Ben as he has gotten into the habit of copying what others are doing and looking to see what he should be doing. He has started talking more due to this and he has been trying new things because of this. One of the goals in his classroom, is that the children on the IEPs will see what the other children are doing and will take their cues from them.
When I dropped Benjamin off this morning, I will admit I teared up. I didn't do the full blown crying because I know this is the best step for Ben; and I had Rebecca and Jacob with me, as they don't have to be at school until an hour after Ben starts. When I picked him up he came running down the hall toward me and gave me a big hug and let me pick him up and he snuggled on my shoulder for a minute. It made my heart feel good. His aide and teacher said he had a great first day and that makes me so happy. I hope that his good days continue!
This morning was back to school for Jacob and Rebecca. What was new and different is that they are going to a different school than they have in the past. We put them into our local public school district for a variety of reasons....
Last night, was open house for both Jacob and Rebecca. It was a culture shock for me as a mom, as the kids are going from a school that had 1 class per grade level and maybe 150 kids from Preschool through 8th grade, to a school that has over 400 students from Kindergarten through 5th grade. We met their teachers, found their lockers and got the lay of the land. Thankfully, both of their teachers seem really nice.
This morning, I decided to walk the kids to school. We live about half a mile from the school. (I figured this would make sure that I get at least some exercise each day!).
Both kids were super excited to head to school and once we got there, Jacob just said bye mom and ran off to play and Rebecca gave me a quick hug and said bye and went off without looking back. We did have a little drama as Benjamin didn't want to leave them and he threw a tantrum that knocked my phone out of my pocket and broke the screen....but he was good walking to and from once we were on our way.
When we picked them up from school, both kids said their days were awesome and that they had so much fun! I am so glad and so relieved!
This morning, we took all 3 kids to the dentist for a cleaning and exam. Jacob and Benjamin needed them for school. Bill came home early from work this morning to go with me, as I was unsure how the boys would do.
Well they did great! The dental hygienist was very good with Benjamin who hates all things that have to do with doctors and is very sensitive to things being in or around his face and to things that make noise. Bill did have to hold him during his cleaning but for the most part he kept his mouth open and did a great job. I held him during the exam by the doctor.
Bill took this pic of Jacob right after his dentist appt.
Jacob was very nervous but he also did a great job! Rebecca was the only one who got x-rays taken and there are no cavities! Yay! I will need to take Rebecca and Jacob back to get sealants put on 4 of their teeth, but other than that they are good to go!
After we left the dentist, I promised Benjamin that we would go look at the fish at Walmart. It was the only way I could get him to leave the office! We were heading to Walmart anyways to hopefully order Jacob a new pair of glasses. His prescription changed and I was waiting to hear from insurance if they would cover them since it has been less than a year since we got the glasses he has. Well, we talked to insurance on Friday and they said that yes with authorization from his doctor they would. So, we went in and Jacob picked out a new pair and the receptionist tried to say insurance wouldn't cover until November. I told her about what we were told, so she had to call insurance and was on the phone with them for about 15 minutes and finally got clearance for the glasses to be covered. It was $19 out of pocket for us to put towards the frames but the lenses were covered completely.
Now we are back at home. I have a laundry list of items to get done and should be working on them. I hope everyone has a productive afternoon!
Thursday night, around 1 AM, Bill and I went outside to see if we could see any meteors in the Perseid Meteor Shower that was happening. I am 36 years old and I have never seen a meteor before going across the sky. Well, Bill and I were able to see about 4-5 small ones in the 30 minutes or so we were outside. It was really cool, thinking that those are miles away in outer space. It was neat.
Then, last night, we went outside around 10:40 PM as the International Space Station was supposed to be visible flying over. We were able to see it for about 20 seconds or so before it disappeared in the Earth's shadow. It was blinking brightly moving and then it disappeared. Again, it was really neat seeing it. Makes you feel very small in the scheme of the whole universe.
I was very glad to be able to experience these things with my hubby. It made it even more special.
Were you able to see any meteors in the Perseid Meteor showers?
Have you ever seen the International Space Station fly over?
It is that time of year again...Bill is putting in super human hours at work getting ready for fall sports, I am trying to get kids ready for back to school, and life is just one big ball of craziness. This past week has been no exception...
Let's see what the highlights were:
- I had my last week of summer tutoring. Next week I start school year tutoring for my business. Thankfully, I have at least 3 clients lined up, but still need to add some more.
-finished school shopping for the older 2 kids, still no idea if Ben needs anything. Had to get new shoes for each kid...Rebecca is in a 3, Jacob went up to a 2 and Ben is still in a 13. Rebecca got a new pair of dress shoes, Jacob and Ben both got tennis shoes.
- figured out softball schedule...next week starts games through the end of September
- I have found a new snack that I like and that I have been buying for the kids. Outshine fruit bars are delicious and they even have little tidbits of fruit in them.
They are seriously so good! I buy the regular ones for Bill and I and then the Popsicle size for the kids. Rebecca is thrilled because she gets to have a red Popsicle (She is allergic to red dye #40 which is used to color most red colored items, but since these are all natural there are no worries!).
- I have made an executive decision to not make 2 dinners at night. In the past, when I am cooking something that I think that only Bill and I would like, I had gotten into the habit of making something else for the kids--like hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, or something else. That is a pain in the behind....last night I instituted the new rule and you know what it made my dinner prep and clean up so much easier. I made sweet and sour chicken with rice and the kids survived eating dinner...Jacob said he liked eating Chinese food... Ben wouldn't touch his dinner, but I didn't give in and he survived.
-I have a lot of things on my to do list to do and I really don't want to do them....but I should get off of here and get something done...
If anyone is reading this, I hope that you have a great weekend!
This past weekend, Rebecca and I were able to make a trek to our town's farmer's market on the square that is held every Saturday morning from May to October. We have not gone all summer due to scheduling conflicts and other commitments. Rebecca has been asking to go the last couple of weeks, and I was finally able to make it happen.
We were able to get a dozen ears of sweet corn (which when we cooked them that night, did not taste all that good....), a small box of tomatoes, a box of cherry tomatoes, several small cucumbers (as they looked a whole lot better than the regular size cukes), 2 zucchini, and green beans. Yummy!
Once home, I took the 2 zucchinis and set out making zucchini bread, per my mom's request. I make her some every year. I don't know what happened to this batch, but it did not rise like normal and the batter was thicker than normal. It looks funky but it still tastes really good!
Saturday night, we went out to my parent's house and treated them to dinner. I took over burgers and brats to cook on their grill (as we don't have a grill), baked beans, the sweet corn, mandarin orange and blueberry fruit salad, cookies and mini eclairs that I picked up at Aldi's, and of course the zucchini bread for my mom. We had a blast at my parents house and in fact the kids stayed up after midnight as Bill and I got into a very serious and hilarious game of 500 Rummy with my dad, mom and my sister! The kids have been talking about getting to stay up until midnight and that it was so cool!
Today, I had to go see my urologist for an x-ray and follow up from my kidney stone attack back in February. Thankfully, there was NOTHING on my x-ray at all and so I don't have to go back for a year! Yahoo! He did yell because I wasn't doing very well on my diet and drinking clear fluids---I have gotten back into the bad habit of drinking cola with caffiene. I need to come up a plan to remedy that....
Well, Monday night I was actually home all day, so I decided to give it a try for dinner, with a few modifications on my part. (If you want the original recipe, click the link above). It was super easy to put together and SO GOOD! Even my picky children loved it. Jacob said it "was the greatest recipe ever!"
My adaptation of
BBQ Chicken and Potatoes Packet
8 TBSP BBQ Sauce (any brand, I used Calhoun's from the restaurant we went to on vacation)
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts- thawed
4 red potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced or 4 jalapenos, sliced
1 cup cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay 4 sheets of tin foil rectangles on your counter.
On each rectangle, layer 1 TBSP BBQ sauce, 1 chicken breast, 1 TBSP BBQ sauce, 1 potato thinly sliced, 1/8 of the red onion slices or 1 jalapeno sliced, and a dash of black pepper for seasoning.
Fold over the tin foil and the sides to make a packet.
Repeat to make 4 packets.
Place packets on baking sheet.
Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.
Remove from oven, open packets with scissors.
Top each with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.
Return to oven to melt cheese (about 2 minutes).
Remove from oven and enjoy!
I served ours with a side salad to make it a full meal. So simple and healthy! And SO YUMMY!
Last week, our county held their county fair. We take the kids every year, usually during the afternoon, when it isn't so crowded.
This year, we went on Monday afternoon. The kids loved all the animals. We did miss seeing all the birds (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, etc.) though. All of the fairs in Ohio have banned displaying live birds this year due to the risk of avian flu. I feel bad for the 4-H kids that were affected, but will say that our fair allowed the kids to make posters and presentations and they really tried to make it special given the difficult circumstances. Benjamin loved all the animals, especially the cows and the goats.
We walked around and saw the animals. Then we let the kids pick a ride to ride...They all wanted to ride on the train. I wasn't sure how Benjamin would react, but he as so excited to ride a "choo-choo."
The kids got to play 1 game each (at $5 a game that is it for our family!) and they each won a prize so they were happy. Then we decided to get the kids icees and I got a funnel cake and Bill got an elephant ear. They were yummy as we were eating them, but by the time we got home I felt gross. My body just can't handle all the heat and sugar like I could when I was younger.
Before we left, we looked at some horses and some farm equipment. Overall, the kids had a blast and it was another family fun day!
Brave Queen Esther tells the story of a brave and beautiful
hero of the Old Testament. Written in the I Can Read level two
standards, with age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts, young readers
read about a young Jewish woman who is chosen to be a queen by a
powerful king. When she hears of a plan to hurt all of the Jewish people
in the kingdom, she calls on her faith and steps forward, facing
certain danger to save God’s people from the evil plan.
This I Can Read! series of Bible stories makes use of the unique features found in the NIV Adventure Bible such as “People in Bible Times” and “Words to Treasure”.
Brave Queen Esther tells the Biblical story of Queen Esther, who along with her cousin, helped to save the Jews from persecution under King Xerxes. She is considered a female hero in the Bible. This re-telling of the Bible story is written for the understanding of 4-8 year olds. Rebecca, my 8 year old, was able to read it independently to her brothers, ages 3 and 5. My 3 year old loved the pictures and my 5 year old kept asking questions about the story. I like the fact that it is a Biblical based book that shows the importance of a female in Biblical history. When I asked Rebecca what she thought, she said that the "story was good. And the pictures were nice." I think this is a great book to be a positive role model in the lives of girls. They can see that there are females in the Bible who are brave and show courage. I also appreciate that it is a pretty accurate account of the Biblical story without liberties being taken and written in a way that allows children to become familiar with the Bible story. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone with young children looking for an authentic re-telling of Bible stories for their children.
publisher, Zondervan, provided me a free copy of this book through
Booklook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions
Last Tuesday, July 28, I turned 36 years old! I had a good birthday, even though Jacob tried to tell me that I was turning 46! Bill had bought me doughnuts from Tim Horton's as a birthday breakfast treat. He got me honey cruller donuts which are my favorite! The rest of the morning was spent at home, when my mom and sister came over.
After Bill got home from work, we headed out and had Burger King for lunch. We decided to spend some family fun time together and so we then took the kids to Ye Olde Mill at the Velvet Ice Cream Company in Utica for a treat. We go there every year for the Ice Cream Festival, but we wanted to go when it was a lot less crowded and we could just relax and explore the grounds a bit.
We walked through their little museum and read some fun facts about ice cream.
We let the kids play on the playground.
We took part of a nature walk, until the trail was roped off due to recent flooding.
Then we got to the best part....ICE CREAM! Benjamin had chocolate ice cream in a bowl. Jacob and Bill had Buckeye Ice cream cones. Rebecca had cookie dough ice cream in a cone. And I had peach cobbler ice cream in a cone which was divine!
After eating our ice cream, we walked around and looked at the ducks and fish in the ponds.
Then we headed home hot and tired. For dinner, Bill took me out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant. The food was great! Then we went to see "Ant-Man" which was okay I guess. Not the greatest movie.
Overall, it was a very good way to turn 36 years old.
We headed down to the continental breakfast which was typical of hotels. Benjamin was glad they had yogurt!
Then we headed back to the room to do a final pack of the van and we headed out onto the road to head back to Ohio. The drive back was uneventful. We did have to detour at one point, when the GPS found a shorter route off the freeway. Apparently, there was an accident or something that made I-71 traffic to be at a complete standstill. We were able to bypass that and made great time getting home. We stopped at McDonald's in our town for lunch and we were able to eat lunch in our own home!
It was a truly memorable vacation. We made lots of lasting memories. But as Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" says: "There is no place like home."