June 30, 2013

What's Inside My July Folder

July...The lazy, crazy hazy days of summer...not much goes on around here this month. My folder reflects this, especially this year. Now that we have decided to cyberschool, many things that were on my monthly list of things to do are no longer necessary...no need to order school uniforms or start looking for school supplies when Walmart puts them out on the day after fourth of July. So anyway, here is my July folder...

And here is what's inside...
The first thing inside is the July poem. Madison wrote this one several years ago!
Beautiful July
July comes in with the sun shining bright
Playing during the day
Sitting on the porch at night
Sparklers and fireworks
Let's celebrate the red, white, and blue
Thank God for America
It gave freedom to me and you
Running through sprinklers
Riding scooters and bikes
But the summer seems to be slipping right by
Let's treasure these moments of beautiful July
Because before you know it
It'll be school time
Madison Stoltz
The next thing is my list of things to do this month.
1. Fill in yearly school memory books.
2. Christmas in July
3.Start listing items needed for fall-clothes and jackets.
4.Order birthday gifts for fall birthdays.
I also have a few yummy recipes for special red, white, and blue desserts. And that is about it! Happy July! Happy Planning!

June 27, 2013

Weekend Plans...Anniversary Edition

Another summer weekend is rolling around, and this one is a special one for me and my sweet hubby...it is our 22nd wedding anniversary! Yes, that makes us officially old...but still as much in love as we were that stifling hot June day so many years ago. Saying yes to Steve was the best decision I ever made, and I am thankful every day for his gift of love. And support. And wisdom. And patience. And awesome parenting skills. Did I mention patience?

Friday afternoon the kids and I are going down to visit my dad in the nursing home. He is doing a bit better in this setting, despite a few falls. Thankfully, he was not hurt. I am thankful he is in a place where he is safe and sound. After our visit, I am taking the kids to our favorite quick dinner spot...Taco Bell! Have you tried the Limeade Sparkler yet? You must.

Saturday is our special day, and as such I plan on doing nothing. That is until I spot some random thing that needs straightened, or organized, or cleaned. OCD is such a joy... We are attending early evening Mass and then Steve and I have a date night planned! Without kids! Eeek! Having kids far apart in age bonus: free babysitters! We ordered some pizza kits that are arriving Saturday, so the kids will have those and some fun free time while Steve and I go out to eat and pretend that we are not wondering what the kids are doing. And there we go...another Brady Bunch episode reference...remember the one where Greg and Marcia were babysitting and Cindy had the sniffles? Oh...sorry...there I go again...

Sunday is happily free. Free from anything. Our first Sunday of the summer with no place to be and nothing to do. I think I will have some pancakes and fresh fruit for brunch and possibly some sloppy joes for dinner. In between...summer fun...playing outside, watching old movies, sitting on the porch. And that my friends is what we have planned for this summer weekend. I hope yours is happy and sunny and yummy, whatever your plans may be. Thanks for stopping by! : )

Happy Anniversary Steve! : )
It's the funniest thing...the older I get, the blonder my hair gets...hmmmm.

What do you do when your hubby surprises you with 2 baskets of these beauties?

Make strawberry pie, of course...

and strawberry muffins too!

All set for our Monsters University premiere party last weekend...

just some simple table decorations, but the kids thought it was so neat!

All ready to see the movie...and it was great!

Check out this parade that passed through our TV room this week. : ) 

My little Flynn...

Happy Summer weekend, friends!

June 25, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know how I feel about muffins. Muffins = love. June is strawberry month, and if I have fresh strawberries, you better believe I am making strawberry muffins. I found this recipe online and it has turned out to be a favorite. Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients: 1/2 cup softened butter
                      3/4 cup sugar
                      1 egg
                      2 cups flour
                      2 tsp. baking powder
                      1/2 tsp. salt
                      1/2 cup milk
                      1/2 tsp. vanilla
                      1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
                      cinnamon sugar

Directions:   Beat butter and sugar.
                     Add egg and mix well.
                     Stir flour, baking powder, and salt
                     in small bowl.
                     Add this and milk alternately
                     to butter mixture. Add vanilla.
                     Stir in strawberries.
                     Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
                     Bake in muffin tin at 400 degrees
                     for 20-25 minutes.
                     Makes 12 muffins.


June 22, 2013

Time to Change

I have this theory that pretty much any monumental moment in life can somehow be related either directly or indirectly to an episode of my favorite television show ever...The Brady Bunch. If you are around my age...ahem...43, then you grew up watching reruns of this amazing show every afternoon on TBS. At 4:35 to be exact. If you are too young to have watched it then, please invest in the DVDs...you won't be sorry! Anyway...I digress. When I was thinking of a title for this post, a song from one of the episodes came to mind at once. "When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange..."

Our family is making a major change, and we are very excited about it. This fall, my sweet children will not be returning to school. We have decided to take them out of the school system and begin cyber school. Let me first state that Steve and I have nothing against the public school system...I attended and graduated from public school, and spent five wonderful years teaching in a public school as well. We have nothing against the Catholic school system either. Steve attend Catholic school, and our children have been a part of the Catholic school system here for the past eleven years.

Our reasons for changing are diverse, but a dear friend told me after I confided in her about all the things we considered, that the one thing that stuck out to her was when I said the school system just wasn't a fit for our family. And that is just about it. I will never say anything negative about our school, just suffice it to say that we feel we will learn, grow, experience, celebrate, and love better at home as a family.

I also want to add that this wonderful world of Blogger has helped me embrace this decision with confidence and excitement. So many of you are models of homeschool success and inspire me with so many ideas of curriculum and faith that I can't wait to begin! I am not going the traditional homeschool route, however, as I know that would be a bit more than I could successfully accomplish as a first timer. We have researched thoroughly and have found a wonderful cyber school that offers K-12, and has an extensive curriculum that the kids are very excited about. We traveled to the city last week for orientation, and left very excited and anxious to start our new adventure. I am excited to dust off the teacher in me, and will be teaching the religion to the kids myself. I can't wait! Be waiting for the emails, ladies!

We will be deconstructing our seldom used formal dining room soon, and will be setting up the learning room so we will be all ready come September. I am so excited to have my children here with me. I am excited to be a bigger part of their education. I am excited to have more family time for simple things like baking and playing games and going on nature walks. I am thankful that this is possible for us, and that my children are excited about it as well.

I humbly ask your prayers as we begin this new adventure in our lives...as we realize that it's time to change, and that we've got to rearrange...And please feel free to offer any advice! You know I'm listening!

June 20, 2013

Weekend Plans...Monsters University Edition

The Weekend is here...and it is the weekend we have been waiting for...Monsters University arrives in theaters! Monsters Inc. is one of our very favorite movies ever...Peyton was addicted to it as a toddler, and now Flynn is as well. One of my most favorite memories is the time we took the kids to Monsters Inc. on Ice. Peyton was just a little thing, and I fixed her hair in ponytails and she looked just like Boo! Finally the prequel is here!

Friday evening, Rhett, my movie lover, is actually volunteering at our small town theater helping out at the opening. He has become very close with the family that runs the theater, even learning how to run the movies. They asked if he wanted to help out, so he is going down after dinner. Dinner will be quick and easy...I am thinking hamburgers on the grill with chips and fresh fruit.

Saturday is quiet during the day...and I am thankful for that. I am thinking of putting some slow cooker cabbage rolls in the crockpot for dinner and then catching up on some small jobs around the house or maybe just catching up on some reading on the porch! Madison and I are attending early Mass since she works at 6:00. After dinner, Steve and Peyton will attend late Mass where Rhett will be serving.

Sunday morning is free. I think I will whip up some French toast with fruit for a late breakfast before we head to the movies at 1:00. It will be Flynn's first time at the theater...and I am hoping it goes well. All she knows is it is Monsters Inc on a big TV with popcorn. And we will see how that goes! Sunday evening is free so I think we will celebrate one of our favorite movies with a Monsters University Pizza party! I hope your weekend is fun and warm and happy, whatever your plans may be. Thanks for stopping by! : )

One more picture of my sweetie on the carousel at Hershey. She loved it so!

My wonderful parents at my dad's Father's Day dinner on Saturday night. He had a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs...and ate every bite!

Here is my daddy, with me and two of my sweet sisters, Scarlett and Margie. Dad is wearing his Father's Day gift...a Hershey Park T- shirt I gave him just before we went!

Father's Day Breakfast at our house...Steve's favorite...Blueberry Pancakes.

On our way to the soccer game...we won! Here they are with daddy's surprise...an iPad mini...And almost got them all with their eyes open!

We finished up the day with homemade strawberry shortcake made by Peyton. We were so happy to find fresh strawberries at our favorite local spot.

This little lady is sure glad her Peyton is done with school!

Happy Weekend, friends!

June 18, 2013

Janet's Ice Cream Dessert

This is a yummy and easy dessert to have anytime of year. A friend of mine named Janet appeared at my door one day a few years ago after hearing that I was recovering from a minor female surgery. Ovarian Cysts, anyone? Ugh... Anyway, Janet brought me a meal complete with this yummy dessert. We loved it then, and still do today. Hope your family does as well! Enjoy!

                          Janet's Ice Cream Dessert

Ingredients:    2 boxes ice cream sandwiches
                         1 small container Cool Whip, thawed
                         1 jar Hot Fudge Sauce
                         ( Dove or Hershey's are our favorites)
                         Crushed Oreos

Directions:       Unwrap ice cream sandwiches.
                          Place in 13x9 inch pan.
                          Cover with half of the Cool Whip.
                          Spread Hot Fudge Sauce over Cool Whip.
                          Top with another layer of sandwiches.
                          Spread rest of Cool Whip on top.
                          Sprinkle with crushed oreos.
                          Cover and place in freezer.

I only show one box of ice cream sandwiches, but you need two. Peyton was already starting when I remembered to take a picture!

And here it is! Enjoy!


June 15, 2013

The Sweetest Place On Earth

Last week we loaded up the minivan and headed out for a three day getaway. We traveled to the sweetest place on earth...Hershey Park! Hershey Park is one of the most beautiful, clean, fun amusement parks ever, and it is located in the cutest town as well. Here are way too many pictures of our trip...just in case you are looking for someplace to go this summer and/or you are just really bored and want to pass some time...

We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Hershey, where you may find some pretty neat characters hanging out in the lobby anytime of the day!

Everyone receives a full sized Hershey bar at check-in, and as if that weren't enough, we found this waiting for us in our room...

First stop...Hershey World, where you can learn how chocolate is made on an awesome ride, and meet even more neat characters!

A dream come true...a real live chocolate bar!

After that, it was off to the park...a beautiful, shady, cozy place with the most beautiful carousel around!

My little lady loved it! She and I rode on the benches...

while my older three chose to ride the horses!

After that it was off to find the roller coasters...and thankfully all my kids love to ride!

And another...

When I saw this one, I knew it was time for mommy to go back to the room! And a certain little lady was ready too. My best-ever-husband offered to stay at the park and wait, so Flynn and I rode the shuttle bus back to the hotel. And may I add, she thought THAT was the best ride of the day! The big kids made much better time without us, and managed to ride several different roller coasters ten times!

This is what was waiting for Me and Flynn when we returned, so we ate kisses, drank milk and watched a Full House marathon...and apparently this is how they found us when they returned...

yep...that would be me and Flynn...apparently all that excitement is just too much for this old mama! And I am not the least bit embarrassed to put this on here...cause that is just how much I love you guys!

Morning cup of Hershey's cocoa...when in Rome, right?

The outdoor pool was beautiful and this little mermaid had a blast...

as did these two...Madison and I supervised from the lounge chairs. Did I mention I had the bestest husband around? He even swims with the kids!

These little kisses are everywhere around the hotel. My little Flynn was like a squirrel gathering and hoarding them in the mini fridge...then passing them out to us all. day. long. : )

And because you can't ever get enough chocolate here, this was my room service dessert...and may I just add...it was divine...

The grounds of the Hotel Hershey are beautiful...and that would be my Flynn...wearing her swim cover up as a jacket...who am I to argue with a fashionista like her?

I love that my big kids were so happy to ride the kiddie rides!

Rhett was an awesome big brother and won his sister some awesome prizes!

One last time on the carousel...

and I think this picture sums it all up perfectly...Hershey Park is indeed the sweetest place on earth!

June 13, 2013

Weekend Plans...Father's Day 2013

Father's Day Weekend already...my own father used to tell me when I was young that the older you get, the faster it goes. I think I understand now exactly what he meant...Friday evening we will be returning from a three day getaway with the kids. More on that soon!

Saturday morning will find me happily sorting and washing laundry from the trip, because sadly that does indeed make me happy. As much as I enjoy going, I enjoy being back home even more. Saturday afternoon my sisters and I are taking our father out to an early dinner for Father's Day. He has recently returned to the nursing home for an undetermined amount of time, and we thought it would be nice to surprise him and break him out for a bit! After dinner, we are planning on attending late Mass before heading home for the night.

Sunday is Father's Day! I plan on having Steve sleep late and have the kids help me prepare a favorite breakfast of his...Blueberry pancakes with sausage and fruit. Then we travel to the final soccer game of the season. Hoping for a Father's Day win! Steve would like to cook on the grill for dinner, but I don't want him to do too much, so I am thinking a pork loin with baked potatoes and broccoli and cheese.

Well, that is what's up here this weekend. I hope yours is happy and sunny and restful, whatever your plans may be!

Happy Father's Day!

Warm summer weather means lighter dinners...this is one of our favorites...fish, white rice, and these green beans from my bloggy friend Tricia. They are delicious!

Summer also means there is always a big bowl of this in the refrigerator!

My oldest and my youngest! : )

Homemade cinnamon rolls made a perfect Saturday night snack.

My lilacs finally bloomed! The smell reminds me of my mom's so many years ago...

Happy Father's Day to the man who has held our children's hands for all these years. I love you!