Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday--it's been awhile!

It is Monday again, which means that it’s "Happy Homemaker Monday," a project which is hosted by Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. Each week, she hosts "Happy Homemaker Monday" as a way to highlight what is going on in her world. This week I have decided to join in....It has been quite a while since I did one of these...back in March to be exact! Wowsers! Well no time like the present to join back in right? So here is a little glimpse into my world on this Monday!
 

 
The Weather:::
Yesterday was GORGEOUS!!!! It was in the high 60s and sunny. Today is supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny. I just went out to get the mail and there is no humidity; it is gorgeous outside. Just checked the weekly forecast and this week is all partly cloudy with highs in the mid 70s! I will take it.

Right now I am:  
Writing this blog post. Listening to Rebecca and Jacob watch "Super Why" as they are trying to figure out the phrase of the day. Feeling Benjamin pulling himself up behind me and hitting my back with his fire truck toy. I have laundry going as well.

Thinking:
About what I need to do today. I need to get my tutoring stuff together for this afternoon's session.

On my reading pile:::
A Simple Change by Judith Miller

On my tv:::
I have 2 episodes of "Cedar Cove" on the DVR to watch.

On the menu for this week:::
Monday -  Pizza for the kids and Bill, stuffed peppers and corn on the cob for me.
Tuesday- ?????
Wednesday - ?????
Thursday -  ??????
Friday - ?????
Saturday - ?????
Sunday - ????????

On my to do list:::
Laundry, laundry and more laundry
Take trash and recycling out to the curb
Get tutoring stuff done for today and Wednesday
Take totes upstairs to put in closet
Go through Rebecca's school uniform clothes and see what fits, etc.

In the craft basket:::
I need to make a list of upcoming birthdays/ holidays and figure out what I need to do for them.
I need to come up with a group back to school art project for when school starts back for my after school kiddos at work.

Looking forward to this week:::
Coming up with a routine for August to get ready for back to school.

Looking around the house:::
Breakfast dishes are still on the kitchen table. Benjamin has his cars all over the living room floor. The sun is shining outside and I have the door and windows open!

From the camera:::

Yesterday was my birthday and my hubby got me a snuggie for when I am lounging on the couch and reading and the kids keep taking my throw blanket. I put it on and then fell asleep shortly after this pic was taken for a hour long nap! LOL

On my prayer list:::
For marriage and relationship strengthening and understanding. For the strength to change some things in the next couple of weeks to hopefully make me healthier and happier.

Bible verse:::
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
 
So there you have it...a little glimpse into my Monday. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sweet note from hubby


The other morning I woke up to find this note waiting for me in the kitchen. It is from my dear hubby. Isn't he sweet? :) I love that man! Definitely a good way to start the day!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our visit to the Knox County Fair 2013

One of our traditions since moving to our community 3 years ago is to go to the county fair one afternoon during the week that it is being put on. Well this year was no exception. This past Thursday we packed the kids up and headed down  the road to the fair!

The weather was perfect...not too humid, sunny and warm! Which meant we started out our afternoon with a bit of sunscreen being put on.


Then we went and saw the sites, including lots of farm animals. One of the first things we did was go through the "merchant's building" where different stores and organizations have booths. At one of the booths by a local craft store, the kids were able to make sand art crafts in bottles.  They loved doing it!

The kids played the balloon pop game and won a prize. Rebecca won a pink monkey and Jacob won a blue whale. At $5 per game, we only let them each play 1 game, and surprisingly they were okay with that.

Then we went and let them ride a ride. Jacob wanted to ride on this spinning ride with Bill, so they did that, while Benjamin and Rebecca and I watched. Then Bill, Jacob and Rebecca rode the train ride together.
 

After that, it was time to go get some yummy fair food! To save the costs, I fed the kids lunch at home before we left, but I did want to get them a treat. So, I got the kids some kettle corn to share, and I got a yummy funnel cake! I only get it once a year and it is so good!
 
After we stopped for our snack break, we walked around some more and looked at some more animals, including turkeys, rabbits, chickens, geese and roosters!


Overall, it was a fun filled day! The kids had a blast and it was great exposing them to local fair!

Does your town have a local fair? Do you go? What is YOUR favorite fair food?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mommy's Day Out

This morning, a very good friend of mine, who also happens to be Benjamin's Godmother, gave me the gift of a couple of hours of being kid free. She had my 3 children at her house so that I could run errands or do whatever I wanted. It was so generous of her....

So I went and got a work physical done (has to be done every 3 years) at one of the walk in clinics here in town. Then I went and "splurged" on an sausage egg mcmuffin from McDonald's. (I guess that is what it calls doing something for me....LOL)  Then, I went to Goodwill. I had 2 large boxes and 2 bags full of stuff to drop off and donate. I decided to browse while I was there and I was able to get a few goodies....

A few of the goodies I got from Goodwill today!
I bought some shirts for me (3 of which were half off!) , 2 dresses for Rebecca, a book for Jacob($0.49!) , a cup for me to take drinks into work when work starts back in August, a NEW "Horrid Henry" book for Rebecca that I will put away for Christmas (for $0.50!) , a couple wall hangings for future gifts, and a batting helmet (for $2.99!) and baseball glove($2.99) for Rebecca.  All for $25 total. I think I scored! Or it was just the fact that I was alone and could really look at what they had, versus keeping one eye on the kid at all times.

I am so blessed that my friend has a kind heart. She is a mom of 4 children herself...with her youngest being Rebecca's age and in her class. She told me when I came to pick the kids up that she felt in her heart that she wanted to do this at least once a month for me, so that I get some down time and she gets to foster a relationship with her godson and Rebecca and Jacob. She is a truly special person to me.

Do you have someone special in your life that does stuff like this? Do you do things like this for others?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ben really likes the TV


Over the past couple of days, I have spent the majority of my day removing Benjamin from being right in front of the TV. He loves to pull himself up to the TV and watch it. Even when the TV is off, he pulls himself up and waves at his reflection. I move him away and he goes straight back over to it. It has become a game to him, I think. I think I am hoping he outgrows this really fast! LOL

If anyone has any suggestions for keeping him away from the TV, I am all ears....

Gotta go....I have to move him away from the TV again.....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Banana Blueberry Bread

With the weather being hot and humid these days, bananas tend to go bad quicker than we can eat them in our house. Even if I only buy a few, they still seem to get brown before we get to the last one or two. (And believe me, we eat a lot of bananas in our house!)

Well I have more than enough in the freezer for smoothies....so I had to make something the other day when I had 2 bananas that were either going to be made into something or thrown away.....

I decided to make banana bread....then because I could I decided to throw some frozen blueberries into it as well....


The verdict...as said by my 6 year old daughter. "This is the best bread ever!" :)


So I figured I would share the recipe with you, because I can't be the only one with the problem of bananas going really ripe really quickly....

This makes 2 loaves. We ate one of ours, and I froze the other one for later.

Banana-Blueberry Bread

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 tsp. vinegar and then add skim milk to make 1/2 cup)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed up
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with  non-stick spray.
Mix sugar and butter together.
Add eggs until well blended.
Stir in bananas, buttermilk, vanilla.
Add in flour, baking soda, and salt.
Carefully stir in blueberries.
Divide batter into pans.
Bake for 1 hour.
Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.
Enjoy!

Do you have any recipes using over ripe bananas? Care to share?

Monday, July 22, 2013

I tried a new recipe

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing the new books at the library and I came across one by one of my favorite bloggers...


I was super excited to check it out and try some of the recipes in it!

Well, this past week I tried her "Vegetable Bolognese" sauce that is in this cookbook and it was AWESOME!!!


Her recipe said it served 6-8 people. Well, it made a TON. That is a large chili pot filled almost to the top. We ate about 1/3 of it over pasta and I froze the rest. I served it over pasta and we had some chedder garlic bread that I bought at our farmer's market that morning.



And the verdict was....WE LOVED IT!!!!! Even my hubby and kids, who will NOT eat anything that has eggplant in it, ate it and RAVED about it! Hubby even said that if he ever sees eggplant in the house, then it better be because I was making that sauce! LOL

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat

HAPPY SUNDAY!!!  And since it is Sunday, it is time once again for Sunday Night Chit-Chat...hosted by our friend Carla! 
 
To play along simply start your post with a photo or quote... Copy and paste the starters and link up to Carla so she and others can visit you and see what you've been up to!

So here goes:


 
The kids and I washed the car and van last week and I ended up spraying the kids with the hose. Jacob LOVED getting wet!
 
  • Reading? I am currently reading "How We Love Our Kids: The 5 Love Styles of Parenting" by Milan and Kay Yerkovich
  • Listening to?  The TV is on to Spongebob. The air conditioner is also on as it is HOT!
  • Watching? The kids are watching "Spongebob" I dvr'ed the new series on Hallmark Channel last night "Cedar Cove." I love Debbie Macomber's books, so I am hoping this series is good as it is loosely based on some of her novels.
  • Cooking/Baking? Tonight for dinner I made bratwurst, baked potatoes and green beans. I might make some banana bread or muffins tonight to use up some old bananas.
  • Happy you accomplished this week? I sold most of the baby furniture that we had in the closet off the bathroom. I sold a bunch of books on our local facebook sell site. I did some volunteer work for my daughter's school.
  • Looking forward to next week? This is fair week here in our town, so looking forward to taking the kids one of the days. Getting some more decluttering and cleaning done.
  • Thankful for today? My husband who puts up with my moods.  
  • *Bonus Question* What are you most looking forward to this summer? Well we are coming into the last month of summer vacation before school starts back and there are still a few things on our summer bucket list I would like to do....

So there you have it. A little glimpse into my world on this Sunday night! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember to link up to our wonderful chat host Carla! :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

One of our family traditions at the zoo

Last week, while my dear hubby was on vacation, we took the kids to the Columbus Zoo. We had a blast. While we were there we embarqued on what has become a tradition anytime we go there...

It started way back when Bill and I were engaged, and we headed to the zoo. I conned him into getting his picture taken next to Pepe the penguin statue.



Every time since he poses next to the statue.

In 2007, Rebecca got added to the picture. 



And again in 2008 it was only Rebecca and Daddy.

 
Then in early 2010, it was Jacob's turn to join the picture. He was only a few months old.
 

 
 
Then in summer of 2012, it was Benjamin's turn to join in the photo with Daddy.
 

 
And finally, this year 2013, it was Bill, Benjamin, Rebecca and Jacob! It is amazing looking at the photos and seeing how the kids are growing and how my hubby is changing!.
 

 
I can't wait to see what the pictures of the future look like.
 
Do you have any family traditions that are not associated with a holiday? Care to share?
 
  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Private Selection Great American Summer Fare (review)

It is summer time. Time for picnics and cookouts! Time for spending lazy days with your family and friends. During this time, you want to have some yummy eats!

To help you get started on your yummy eats, look no further than Kroger’s Private Selection brand of summer fare. Kroger’s Great American Summer fare includes:


  • Private Selection Angus Beef, which includes yummy steaks and ground angus for yummy burgers!
  • Private Selection Artisan breads to add just the right touch to your summer picnic
  • Private Selection Preserves to add that yumminess to your breakfast biscuits
  • Private Selection rubs, including Kicked Up Poultry, Sweet & Spicy, Peppercorn House, Texas BBQ, Citrus and Savory and Garlic Peppercorn Sear Crust to make your meats just right!
  • Private Selection Dark Amber Maple Syrup to add just the right amount of sweetness to your dish
  • Private Selection Panko Bread Crumbs to add a light and crispy breading to your meats

I was excited to get to try these products through Bzzagent.com.






The first product I tried was the Private Selection Preserves. We had some leftover biscuits from dinner, so I decided to add some Oregon Strawberry Preserves to them for breakfast and let me tell you….the preserves are DELICIOUS!!! This is not run of your mill preserves. This stuff rocks! It is sweet and almost creamy, while also being thick and rich but not overwhelmingly so. It is so good! The one drawback is that in my opinion it is expensive for the amount that you get. So in our house, the Private Selection Preserves are being saved for my husband and I, while the kids get the cheaper stuff.

 
 
The next product that I tried was the Private Selection Panko Bread Crumbs. I have never cooked with Panko bread crumbs before so I was intrigued to try to cook something with them. I picked up a box of the parmesan herb flavored crumbs and decided to make the chicken recipe that was on the back of the box. It was simple enough to make and the results were okay. My husband and I both felt that there was something lacking in the flavor. We both wished the “herb” part was more prominent. We could definitely taste the parmesan part. I like the fact that the box had 2 packages of the bread crumbs so that we could make more than 1 thing with them and not risk contaminating the whole package with raw meat. It is definitely something I will try to experiment again with in the future.



I have not had the opportunity to try any of the other items that are a part of the Private Selection line, however I am looking forward to in the days to come.

If you are interested in learning more about how and what to make with the private selection line feel free to visit privateselection.com to help you come up with recipes and ideas using these products.

Disclaimer: I received free product coupons for these items in exchange for an honest review from Bzzagent.com. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our anniversary

In 8 years of marriage I have come to realize that while he may not be perfect in everything, most of the time my hubby really does try to do the right thing and to make me feel special. I ran into a friend at the library yesterday morning, and she started talking about how her husband never does anything for her for their anniversary,  Mother's Day or any other day. Well not my hubby.

Yesterday was a nice day! Dear Hubby came home from work with some goodies for me....

a funny card...


some chocolate....



and some pretty pink carnations!



Perfect!

Then, last night Hubby and I went out without the kids for our anniversary dinner. We had a very nice time! We went to Ruby Tuesdays for dinner and had some yummy food. Hubby had ribs and shrimp combo, and I had Caribbean chicken and grilled green beans. It was good!

After dinner, we decided to go walk for awhile on the Kokosing Gap Trail. It was nice, just to walk and talk.

Overall, it was a lovely way to spend our 8th wedding anniversary!

Like Mother, Like Daughter


On Monday, I got up took a shower, got dressed and went into the boys' room to get them dressed. I told Rebecca to go get dressed for the day. She came in and was dressed just like me....down to her hair. It was really cute and made me think that she really does want to be like me. I just hope I don't let her down.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

8 years ago today

8 years ago today I married my best friend.



8 years have gone by where we have been Mr. and Mrs.

8 years of struggle after struggle, and laugh after laugh.

8 years of dealing with day to day pressures of life.

8 years of spending day in and day out with my best friend.

8 years of being married.

Here's to many more 8 years to come!

Happy Anniversary to my one and only!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson (book review)

Quarryman's Bride, The (Land of Shining Water)

From the back cover:

Emmalyne Knox has always loved Tavin MacLachlan. But when tragedy strikes her family, Emmalyne's father declares she can no longer marry. Despite Tavin's pleas to defy the decision, Emmalyne refuses. In her act of obedience, she gives up the future she'd always dreamed of.

When Emmalyne's father returns to the quarry business years later, Tavin and Emmalyne meet again. And though circumstances have changed in both of their lives, they cannot deny the feelings that still exist. Can Emmalyne find a way to heal the decade-long wound that has fractured the two families...and change the hearts of those who stand in the way of true love?


My thoughts:

I have read and enjoyed several of Tracie Peterson’s books in the past, so I was looking forward to reading The Quarryman’s Bride. She did not disappoint.

The story follows the love between Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan. Tragedy has caused their pending wedding to be cancelled and their lives are separated for several years. Years later they are reunited, but has their love prevailed, or has life happened to cause them to stay apart?

This story was well written and kept me interested thoughout. My heart was in this story from the very beginning to the end. I love that type of story that can keep you engaged and have your emotions help to carry you through the story. I felt for Emmalyne and understood her quandary about helping her parents as was custom while still staying true to her own heart. I felt for Tavin who was stolen away from his fiancee as custom made clear.

This is another must read from Tracie Peterson.

Disclaimer:  I recieved a copy of this book free from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for a honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade (book review)

Undeniably Yours: a novel


From the back cover:

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire. The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's Thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who's determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them and earn her love.

Just when Meg realizes she can no longer deny the depth of her feelings for Bo, their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their relationship--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?


My thoughts:

Undeniably Yours focuses on the relationship between Meg Cole and Bo Porter. However, it also deals with the relationships that Meg has with her father, her uncle, her ex-husband, an old girlfriend of her ex-husband, and the people that although are not family are the closest thing to family that she has, among others. This book explores so many relationships and how they affect Meg’s life. The nice thing about Ms. Wade’s writing is that the dichotomy of these relationships work well with each other and offer compliment to the main relationship between Meg and Cole. There is love, suspense, tears and understanding while reading Undeniably Yours.

I found myself rooting for Meg and Cole and wondering how they would make their relationship work with all the intricacies that exist in the story. Ms. Wade’s writing kept me on the edge of my seat with her story and I am not ashamed to say that I finished this story in 2 sittings (which is saying something when I have 3 young children!).

This is a must read! I loved this book.
 
Disclaimer: I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, July 12, 2013

We went to the zoo!

Over the last couple of weeks the weather around here has been miserable...warm, muggy, humid, thunderstorms in the afternoon. You would think we lived in the tropical rain forests, and not in Central Ohio. Well Thursday the weather was much less humid, no rain in the forecast and it was only supposed to be about 80 degrees and sunny. We decided to take advantage of the weather and head to the zoo!

Columbus has a wonderful zoo and aquarium, that we try to visit at least once a year. It is a little pricey with admission (which for our family was $50, Ben was free) and gasoline (it is about 1 hour 10 minutes away), but it is well worth it. The last time we were there, Benjamin was only a couple of months old, so it was time to make another trip.

I am so glad we did. We had a great day!

This was a HUGE brown bear. Right before this he was walking by the glass and he was HUGE!
We saw lots and lots of animals!

Artic foxes
We rode the train ride.


The boys LOVED the aquarium. Rebecca liked seeing the hammerhead sharks that they had, even when two of them swam right towards where she was standing! Benjamin was enamored with all the fish!

Saltwater corral aquarium with small hammerhead
Jacob loved the stingray that was feeding very close to where we were standing to look at the manatee exhibit. It suddenly stopped feeding, and swam up really fast and Jacob screamed loudly as it scared him! (He quickly recovered! lol)

Ray that was feeding right before it scared Jacob
When we were looking at the otters, one of them looked up and started making noise and yelling. I didn't realize that otters were that loud. I am just hoping it wasn't cussing us out!

The otter looking up is the one that was squeaking and carrying on while watching us.
We saw the huge male gorilla stiffen up and follow 2 people that had service dogs walking around the zoo. That gorilla did NOT like the service dogs at all. The woman told me that the dogs were in training and that 2 weeks ago they were there and the gorilla paid them no attention at all, but since the baby gorilla was born, she wondered if the male was being protective dad.

Male silverback gorilla
Speaking of the baby gorilla, it was so cute! Rebecca said it was her favorite. The baby was being held and fed by a human caregiver in a setting right next to it's grandmother gorilla. The zookeeper said that it's mother had rejected it at birth and that the grandma gorilla was taking over caring for it. She said this had happened with the young baby's mom as well (she was rejected by her mom, but raised by her grandmother gorilla). I thought that was quite interesting.

baby gorilla-- being cared for by his human caregiver for now.
Another really interesting thing that we saw was in the kangaroo walkabout, which is an area that in enclosed, but where you walk along a path among the kangaroos. Well one of the kangaroo, did NOT want anyone to walk on the path, so she stood there and blocked the way. Then she decided to lay on the path. The zoo keeper said that it was because she had been hand-raised and thought that the humans were her family.

kangaroo blocking the path
Every time we go, Bill loves seeing the "flying foxes." They are bat like animals that are huge and they are scary looking to me, but Bill loves seeing them.

Scary flying foxes
Personally, my favorite was seeing the polar bears! I think they are magnificent creatures and although they were just laying around they were still beautiful!

Polar bear---beautiful creatures in my opinion.
Overall it was a great day, full of fun memories for each family member to keep with us until the next time we visit!

Do you go to the zoo? What is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?

F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm

After a great night's sleep at our hotel, we headed down to their free breakfast. The standard fare was offered... cereal, toast, eggs, ...