Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Books that I read for fun in May

Over the last year and a half, I started documenting the books that I read for fun (and not just for review purposes).  I have decided that I need to continue that as reading is important part of how I relax. Books that I read for fun are books that I have not been asked to review and that I have chosen to read, well because I like to read. In 2015, I read a total of 49 books! This year, 2016, I am aiming to read 52 books and have currently read 28, so I am on an awesome pace!

What did I read in May?

I finished off Susan Mallery's "Fool's Gold" series this month.  I would highly recommend the series! I can't wait to see if she will be continuing it! Now I need to go find another series to read...



I have a goal to expand my reading habits and to try to include at least one non-fiction book each month, to expand my mind and to get me to think about what I read and not just get lost in a good story. 

Sadly I did not read any non-fiction books these past 3 months!  

Here are the books I read for fun in:

March-April 2016
February 2016
January 2016
Books from 2015
Books from 2014

                                                 Have you read any good books lately?
Any series you would recommend? 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day 2016 is in the books and I have to say it was a very relaxing weekend and just what this momma needed. 

Sunday morning, I was treated to breakfast in bed by Bill and Rebecca. It was a very yummy breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and orange juice. All the kids came in to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. 

I got some wonderful gifts from Bill and the kids. Bill actually gave me my gift several weeks ago. He is going to take me to see Kenny Rogers later in the Summer! I love country music and am a Kenny Rogers fan, so it should be a fun show. 

I also got homemade cards, a new nightshirt that says I love the beach, chocolates, and 2 candles (one smells like the beach and one smells like the forest). I was spoiled! 

We ended up stopping at Wendy's for lunch before heading to my parent's house for a Mother's Day cookout. It has kind of become an annual tradition. 

The cookout was fun. My brother, his wife, and my niece and nephews came over. My youngest brother was there with his girlfriend. Only my sister was missing, as she had to stay at college to study for her finals this week.

We had yummy food, yummy drinks, and great conversations. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins and uncle. Rebecca even got to plant a dogwood sapling that she got at school. We also saw a baby bird in a nest near my parent's back door that was trying to fly.

Overall, it was a very wonderful Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Weeds be gone!

On Saturday afternoon,(after we had walked on the Kokosing and seen 14 frogs!) I had to run to Kroger to get some pasta salad mix to make for Mother's Day cookout at my mom's house on Sunday. (My dad and brother love one particular brand of pasta salad that I make!). While I was there, my brother Joe called and wanted to know where I was. He said he was at my house.

Well, earlier I was talking to my mom on the phone and he was at her house and I was teasing that he should come over and clean out my flower beds for me so that I could mulch them. I was just joking... well apparently he thought I was serious. 

He came over and dug out the flower beds that line the driveway. There were overgrown with weeds, flowers and some bush that was planted right next to the side step. He took everything out and then covered it with cardboard that we had in the garage and then mulched it for me. Last year we tried to plant flowers in that area, but it is not good for flowers because it doesn't get a ton of sun and it is in a bad area. Also I have a hard time keeping most plants alive! 

He ended up with a little bit of leftover mulch, so he dug out another bush that was planted by our backdoor steps and then dug out all the grass/weeds in a rectangle area there and mulched it so that I could put the kids' water table in the middle of it.

It looks SO MUCH better! And hopefully I will be able to keep it looking like that. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

14 frogs, chipmunks, and a train engine

Saturday morning was opening day for the softball league that Rebecca plays for. She did not have a game that day, but did have to be there for opening ceremony. After she came home, I suggested that we take the kids to the Kokosing Gap Trail near Kenyon College and take a family walk. 

We walked the paved trail and saw several birds and butterflies. 

We went down through some of the Brown Family Environmental Center trails. As we were crossing through a stretch near the bridge, I heard something large stepping in the forest area. I pulled Ben behind me, so that if it was an animal coming out it would see me first. Turns out it was 2 deer that we had startled and they were running the other way away from us. Scared me though!

We stopped off at the main center and explored a little. We found a pond and the kids counted 12 frogs, one chipmunk, more tadpoles than they could count and several fish. We then found another pond, where they counted 2 more frogs. The kids LOVED seeing all the frogs! 

After we left the Environmental Center, we walked back on the trail to near where we had parked. There is an old train engine there that you can climb on. Rebecca has climbed it before, but Jacob was too scared last time to climb up it by himself. This time he did it all by himself! He was so proud of himself. I even climbed up on it with the kids! 

After we left, we decided to stop and get lunch. It started raining just a bit while we were eating. Then we headed home. After lunch, we just hung out at home until later that afternoon, when my brother stopped by to surprise me with a Mother's Day gift...

Monday, May 9, 2016

What's for dinner this week??

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday. I know that I did. I will recap it later this week. It was fun, relaxing and I was surrounded by my favorite people in the world. What more could a girl ask for? In fact it was a pretty great weekend all around, just what this girl needed. 

Now we are on to another week and this week looks to be rainy/stormy most of the week. We have several outdoor things planned, so I hope they don't get rained out. We will have to see. I made my menu plan so that if something does get rained out then I have a better back up choice for dinner. 

Before we talk about this coming week, this is how I did last week::   

MONDAY::: Meatloaf, mashed potates and gravy, green beans--YEP

TUESDAY::: Italian sausage and peppers skillet with pasta--YEP

WEDNESDAY::: French bread pizzas and fruit--YEP

THURSDAY::: Tacos and corn--YEP

FRIDAY::: Sandwiches, fruit and chips--YEP

SATURDAY::: Spaghetti and meatballs--YEP

SUNDAY::: I don't know, except I am NOT cooking! LOL-- YEP. We ended up going to my mom's house for a cookout. 

So last week went pretty much according to plan. I LOVE when a week goes like that! We shall see if Mother Nature plays nice this week or if this week will be crazy. Either way, I have a plan...So here is what I am planning this week: 

MONDAY:: Lasagna (as it is cold and rainy here!)

TUESDAY:: eggs, toast and fruit, OR hamburger helper
WEDNESDAY:: BBQ pork sandwiches, corn, apple slices

THURSDAY:: Sandwiches, fruit and chips OR chicken in a bag, green beans and carrots

FRIDAY:: Pizza and fruit

Saturday:: Smoked sausage, macaroni and cheese, green beans

Sunday:: Teriyaki Salmon, asparagus, green beans and rice   

So that is what is getting fixed at my house. I love having a menu plan and knowing in advance what we are going to be eating. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!      

Friday, May 6, 2016

Found a treasure in our community!

When we moved to our current city, we lamented that we had lost access to the city parks and trails that we had just discovered in our last city. Rebecca was starting to really enjoy walking the trails and we did not know of any in the city that we were moving to. We moved from a large suburb outside of Columbus, to a smaller town. But we said that we would take her the city parks and let her play on the playground. That was 6 years ago. 

Now, we have discovered that our town DOES INDEED have a series of trails and wild space for the family to walk and explore. The Kokosing Gap Trail is a 14 mile paved trail built on an old railroad line. We have only explored the first 3 miles or so before yesterday. 

Well yesterday, the weather was cool enough that we wouldn't freeze and so we decided to take advantage and just get out in nature a while. So Bill, Benjamin and I decided to take a walk before we had to get Rebecca and Jacob from school. We decided to go to a different entry point to the trail, near Kenyon College. As we were walking we saw trails and paths marked by Kenyon and their Brown Family Environmental Center, that takes you off the main paved trail and takes you near the River and up some steep areas. We will definitely have to go back with all the kids once it is not so muddy and explore some of those areas. 

We ended up walking 3 miles! Ben was a trooper. He loved looking at the river and he especially loved the bridge that we walked through. I will admit it was beautiful. 

We saw and heard a ton of birds and squirrels. We saw several cardinals, a couple bluejays, a couple chipmunks, robins, and a scarlet tanager bird. I had never seen one before and it was beautiful. I only had my cell phone with me, so I didn't get a very good picture of it...

I am finding that the more and more that we are spending time in nature, the less stressed I am and the more I can focus. I like solitary walks and walks with the family. Even when we get goofy on our walks and take goofy selfies:

I am so glad that we found this treasure in our community that we will definitely enjoy from here on out!

Do you have trails or parks near where you live that you like to walk?