February 28, 2013

Weekend Plans

March...Wait, wasn't it just Christmas, like yesterday? Well... my desk planner says it is indeed March 1, so here we go! This weekend is semi-free, and I like that! Friday we have no plans, other than Madison has work. Yes, my dear Madison started back to work on Wednesday, and she was excited! She is 16 now, so she can work the later shift and help close up. She actually loves working at Dairy Queen and wants to work up to a manager. I am happy because she loves her job so well. I am sad because I miss her when she is at work. Ahhhh, they really should warn you when they hand you that precious newborn that these sweet-smelling, precious bits of Heaven grow. Fast. : ) Dinner Friday will be macaroni and cheese and fish sticks with steamed broccoli.

Saturday is quiet during the day, and now that all the kids are healthy, Steve is planning a snowmobile, sled riding, build a snowman day! I am planning a sit by the window with a cup of coffee and watch day...We have Mass in the late afternoon. After Mass, we will probably pick up a pizza and eat at home before attending the opening of an art show by a wonderful local artist here in town. He has also been Madison's art teacher for years now. He is a wonderful man as well as an artist, and I am looking forward to the show.

Sunday is free. Madison works all day. Steve and Rhett may run up to camp, so Peyton and I will probably stay home with Flynn and watch some movies. I am thinking of putting a roast in the crockpot for dinner with some mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Then maybe a treat at Dairy Queen made by my Madison! Well, that is what we are up to this weekend. I hope yours is happy and fun and warm, whatever your plans may be. Thanks for visiting!

Seeing this on Madison's bed can only mean one thing...she's back to work. Ok, two things...Dairy Queen is open again!

The first of the month means I pop one of these into my washer. They really do work, and smell so good!

March first also means it is time to pack away my winter decorations until next year. Goodbye cozy snowmen!

And while I am packing away winter decorations, this is the scene outside my window!

Sorry for the overload, but it is just really beautiful!

My little coffee stirrer! She helps me every day!

February 26, 2013

Tomato Pizza Bagels

If you ever have one of those busy weeknights where serving a semi-healthy meal seems next to impossible, you are not alone. I make out a weekly menu for our family taking into account the activities and appointments for each night as I plan a meal. Sometimes we have several things scheduled for a particular evening, and it seems so easy to plan on hitting the drive-thru! To combat this, I have a few super quick and easy meals that the kids all love and are easy to throw together. Here is one of our favorites. It is best with fresh garden tomatoes, but I use what I have on hand. Enjoy!

                    Tomato Pizza Bagels

Ingredients:       Bagels
                        Sliced tomatoes
                        Shredded mozzarella cheese
                        Italian seasoning
Directions:         Toast bagels in the toaster
                        Top with tomatoes,
                        cheese, and seasoning.
                        Place under broiler
                        until cheese is melted.

That's all there is to it! I serve these with fruit or applesauce, or whatever I have on hand!

February 24, 2013

A Peek Inside...Our Toy Closet

Disclaimer...I did straighten this before I took the photos, and it doesn't look like this all the time...but mostly, it does. Ok then, on we go!

I have been a mother for sixteen years and have been blessed with four beautiful children. Through the years we have acquired many, many toys, games and puzzles. This may present a problem for someone with ...oh, let's say...OCD..., but I have found a few simple tips to help with this particular situation. Here is our toy closet. We keep 75% of our toys here. The ones Flynn plays with on a daily basis are kept out in the family room. It warms my heart to look around that room and see a kitchen center and baby dolls. I know way too soon those special things will disappear, and become a sweet memory. Our books and movies are kept on a bookshelf in the family room as well. The toy closet is conveniently located right off the family room. When we built this house, the plans called for that space to be an outdoor bar for entertaining on the porch. Easy to see why I wisely asked the builder to spare us the bar and make a toy closet instead. A mother's mind never rests.

OK...here are some professional quality the best pictures I could get of our toy closet.

The top shelf holds games because these are things the kids don't play with that often, therefore, they don't need to be close at hand. Lucky for me, both of my girls are already taller than I am!

The second and third shelves hold small toys like Care Bears, Sesame Street, and Weebles. The first thing I do with toys like these is throw away the box. The toys never fit back into the box anyway. I love these small plastic bins to store the characters and clothing for each set. It is so much easier for the little ones to grab and go.

The fourth shelf holds the toys that Flynn plays with the most. Cinderella...surprise! She can safely reach these all by herself.

The floor holds the bigger boxes and dolls that get used a lot. This is our "baby toy" box. It holds all the baby toys that all my children have enjoyed, and sometimes, still do!

One final tip I have for all the young or new mommys...Although your child will grow and stop playing with these special baby toys, and at times you will be tempted to throw them out or even donate them to a friend...Don't! These toys will one day hold very special memories, and just looking at one will take you back in time. You will be sitting on the floor again, playing with your sweet baby, who somehow, someway, has grown into a teenager, right before your very eyes. These toys are special treasures, and with a little love, you can keep them safe and sound until you play with them again on the floor, only this time as a grandma.

This was one of Madison's favorites. I still remember the day I taught her how to fit the shapes in. I was so excited when she got the first one in, and then proceed to take off the lid and put in the rest!

I remember Peyton receiving this purse for her first birthday. Madison loved it so, and we promptly bought her one too. The girls spent hours playing with them.

Some other favorites...these are so nice, and hard to find now. Everything these days has flashing lights and loud noises!

And that, my friends is a peek inside our toy closet. And inside this mother's heart, as well. : )

February 21, 2013

Weekend Plans

The weekend is here...finally! Steve and Rhett are very excited because they have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. Friday night they are going to camp with Steve's brothers, my sister's husband, and a few friends for the weekend. It is Daytona weekend, and they are all going up to watch the big race. My sister Margie is coming to stay here with me and the girls for a fun weekend of movies, games, and food. Friday night we will probably get fish fries from the church. They make them every Friday during Lent, and they are good. Do you all have those too, or is that a local thing? I really don't know.

Saturday will be quiet and cozy here. The girls and I will most likely relax and visit with my sister before getting ready for Mass. After church, the girls would like to go out for Chinese. Sounds good to me. Flynn loves lo mien! I think she could survive on that and strawberries... Saturday night will be a movie night, provided we can decide on a movie before we all fall asleep. See just how wild and crazy I am!

Sunday is the annual Rotary Auction here. Have you ever heard of this? The local businesses donate items to the Rotary Club, and then the local television station broadcasts an auction in which people can call in and place bids. If you place the highest bid, you will receive a callback, and then go downtown and pick up your item. All the proceeds go to the Rotary Club to be spent helping the community. It is really a big thing here. All the items and times are printed in the newspaper a day before so you can study it and see what you want. We have gotten many things over the years like toys, gift certificates for restaurants, blankets, and even a phone. Some people even have parties during the auction! I never go quite that far. OK, I may or may not highlight certain items I am interested in and plan a fun meal...but that's it! : )  I do think I will put some beef in the crockpot for barbecue sandwiches and have Peyton make a sweet treat or two.

Well, that is what we have planned for the weekend. I hope yours is fun, and warm, and cozy, whatever your plans may be!

Flynn played" boat "this week...so cute!

We woke up to this on Tuesday morning...Snow Day! Hooray!

That meant Flynn played her first ever game of this! And won, as Cinderella, of course. (And it was legit!)

My little helper Peyton helped me organize our books, movies, and a few games on this shelf in the family room. They all used to be in a cupboard.  So much easier to get to, and looks pretty too. The bookcase was in the basement. Nothing like shopping in your own home!

All done! : )

February 19, 2013

Sunday Afternoon At Camp

Sunday afternoon we spent the day at camp. Our camp is actually a cabin in the woods about an hour from our home. It is a cabin that Steve's grandfather originally built in 1953 as a hunting lodge. Up until recently, it was just that.. a place for Steve and his brothers to use during hunting season. Because it holds a very special place in his heart, as he and his father spent many happy days there before he passed, Steve recently decided to renovate and expand the rather "rustic" cabin so we could use it more.

This past summer, Steve and his brothers spent many long hours working on the camp and now it is done. Steve and Rhett did a lot of the design and decorating, and Rhett is so proud of it. It is so special to see the cycle of life...Steve and his father enjoyed happy times there, and now Steve and Rhett do the same.

Steve, Rhett, and Ryan went up on Saturday night, and the girls and I rode up Sunday morning. We relaxed, ate dinner, played a few games, and cleaned up and headed home. Here are a few pictures of our cozy Sunday afternoon at camp...

All ready to go!

The girls got Steve this for Christmas this year.

The new kitchen...

My mom got this for Steve for Christmas.

The kitchen table...needs something in the middle!

The first new bedroom...

and the second.

Photobombed by Rhett!

Steve and his girl.

Flynn in Steve's grandfather's rocking chair.

Madison and Ryan...

and me and my man!

The view from our little cabin in the woods.

February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

What is not to love about a day celebrating love? We started the day out with a Valentine Breakfast I lovingly prepared at 5:45. That would be A.M. I am so glad that Steve was still sleeping and missed the vision that was his Valentine all decked out in flannel jammies, mismatched robe and the general loveliness that is me in the morning. It was worth it though, as all my children were pleasantly surprised!

Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip Muffins, fresh fruit, and chocolate hearts to start the day off right!

Once everyone left for the day, Flynn and I set about decorating our festive table.

Simple, but fun!

After that, it was off to get a bath and all dressed for the day!

My sweetheart...

Then we watched some tv. Flynn was thrilled to see that "It is Valentine's Day on nickjr. too!" Then we played around on my iPad, just for fun...

because someday I won't remember this moment.

Dinner was yummy...

Pasta Florentine...a new recipe and a make again, for sure,

fruit salad (with leftover fruit from breakfast...),

and my super fancy garlic toast to round out the meal.

The mandatory picture for scrapbooks and the blog...they know the drill by now!

A few little gifts for my loves...the girls got the best smelling hand lotion ever...FarmHouse Fresh Whoopie Shea Butter Hand Cream. I got it at the spa at Bedford Springs a few weeks ago, but I also saw it on Amazon. It smells so good!

Rhett loved his camo hat and a trivia book that wants to know if I would rather eat a handful of bumblebees or earthworms...

and Flynn and her baby loved their jammies.

Dessert was a heart cookie from Mrs. Fields. Years ago, when I was in college, I got one of these for Steve every Valentine's Day. I was telling the girls about it and they suggested we order one this year. It was as good as we remembered!

And My Valentine...26 years and counting! Hope your day was filled with love too!