Saturday, July 19, 2014

Happy Saturday!

I can't believe it's here already!

The last few days have been so busy, some of the busiest days of my life.  They have absolutely flown by!  Today is another very busy day and I've got more to do than I can even believe.  I hope I get it all done by bedtime!

Speaking of bedtime...I want to begin a new challenge soon.  I really, really need to start getting into bed earlier and getting up earlier.  I've got to get better at this before we start a new school year.  I thought maybe, if you are up for it, we'd do a little challenge here on the blog.  Do you have trouble getting into bed at a decent time?  I sure do!  It is after the kids go to bed at night that I feel I can really get to work.  Sometimes they are going to bed as late as 11 p.m.  I start working then and find myself crawling into bed hours later.  It starts a bad cycle.  We are planning a special week of family time for the next few days but after that I want to start working us all toward a good schedule for our new school year.  Would you join me if I did a bedtime/wake-up challenge?  

I have so many things whirling around in my brain right now and I wish I could spend some time writing them out here, but I cannot.  There are too many little people needing me - places to go, people to see.  :)  Before I head out I have a delicious recipe that I have been wanting to share with you all week.  Thanks to precious friends who gave us zucchini from their garden, I made this Monday night.  My family went wild over it.  I'm always a very happy mama when they go wild over a vegetable.

Fried Zucchini

2 zucchini, sliced
1 onion sliced into rings
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used seasoned flour.)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup vegetable oil 

Stir zucchini and onions together in medium bowl.  In a small bowl mix flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together.  Pour over zucchini/onion mixture.  Cover bowl.  Let mixture sit for 20 minutes or so.  A batter will form on the vegetables.  Heat oil over medium heat in skillet.  Add vegetables and fry, turning to brown evenly. 

Try it, try it!  You will love it I say! 

I hope you have a very cozy weekend!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

So far today our little eight year old gal has drawn horse pictures, read in her horse book, looked up some information on horses in another book, and watched a horse movie.  She's horse crazy right now.  

It's just like God to bless us with a neighbor who teaches riding lessons and owns several horses.  Our sweet friend has offered to take our girl riding this very week.  I'm not sure she will sleep until it happens.  She is talking incessantly about it.

Isn't it fun, getting into what your kids are into?

We have an older boy saving up for a motorcycle.  He looks at pictures of Kawasaki Ninjas and checks his bank account regularly.  This, although not as easy for me to get into, is his thing.

Some of our other boys are into soccer.  WAY into soccer.  I'm a soccer mom, and I love it.  One of our boys has been taken out of playing soccer by his doctor.  Because of a brain injury he is no longer allowed to participate in contact sports.  Our pastors have promised to take him golfing.  Maybe golf will become his new thing.  

One of my favorite things about being a mom is being a part of what our kids are doing.  For a lot of years I was a mama to only boys, (twelve years to be exact).  I got into baseball and football and Star Wars and Rescue Heroes and a whole lot of other boy toys.  I learned to love camping, spent all day Saturdays at the ball field, and took field trips to fire stations and dinosaur exhibits.

Now, in my forties, I'm getting to raise little girls.  We have tea parties and play dolls.  My girls play princesses every single day and have a pretend house where they are both mommies.  Fun stuff!  

I've so enjoyed the privilege of being a mom.  People often ask me which are easier, boys or girls.  They ask which I like raising better.  I could never choose!  Our boys are rough and tumble and our girls are sugary sweet.  I love both.  I love the way the boys compete and show off and fiercely protect their sisters and me.  I love the way the girls help me with our home, trying to do everything I do, and their sweet little hearts always making or drawing something for someone.  It is a dream come true to be a mother of this big brood. 

What are your kids loving these days?  May I encourage you to get into that kid stuff with them?  Whatever it is, learn to love it.  I have a dear friend who went to her first anime convention this past spring.  She wouldn't have picked that interest up on her own but that's her son's hobby.  

Get involved in your kids dreams.  Play with them.  Enjoy their hobbies and teach them about yours.  You are sure to win their hearts!  When what's important to them becomes important to you, they know how important they are.  

Keep up the good work, Mama!




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our Summer Fun To-Do List 2014

Well, here it is.  Better late than never, right?  

Does your family make a wish list for summer?  

Last year we made a poster (you can see it here).  This year we've just made a quick list of all the things we'd like to do.  We are already a good way into summer but I think we're marking things off at a pretty decent pace.  

  
  • Read at least 10 books
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Go to the beach
  • Pick blueberries
  • Make jam
  • Get ice cream from the ice cream man
  • Take a meal to someone
  • Go to the park
  • Ride on a carousel
  • Jump rope and play hopscotch
  • Fly a kite
  • Collect seashells
  • Run through the sprinklers
  • Play frisbee
  • Watch fireworks
  • Make S'mores
  • Play mini golf
  • Make homemade pizza
  • Visit family in Virginia
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Catch lightning bugs
  • Go swimming
  • Go to the movies
  • Make a fun summer craft
  • Eat a snow cone
  • Play flashlight tag
  • Have a water gun fight
  • Drink a slurpee
  • Take a mini road trip
  • Blow bubbles
  • Visit someone sick or hurt
  • Make lemonade
  • Play in the rain
  • Watch a movie outdoors
  • Have a sleepover
  • Go camping
  • Watch a sunrise
  • Bake sunshine cupcakes
  • Feed ducks
  • Paint rocks
  • Go to a farmer's market
  • Go hiking
  • Have a family game night
  • Build a sandcastle
  • Eat watermelon
  • Go to the library
  • Go on a date with mom or dad
  • Have a movie night with snacks
  • Make popsicles/fudgesicles
  • Have breakfast for dinner
  • Stargaze
  • Make a fruit salad
  • Have dinner at the lake
  • Play in a kiddie pool

Okay, I've shown you what's on our summer to-do list.  Now, what's on yours??

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Today is already a roller coaster of emotions kind of day.  Early Monday morning we received word from home that a man we've known for many, many years was killed in a plane crash on Sunday.  We attended church with he and his family for a long time.  He was my husband's dentist for many years.  Our hearts are heavy today as we think about his wife, and children, and grandchildren.  He was only 58 years old.   

We never really know what tomorrow holds.  We must not take one single day for granted.  Hug your babies tight and hold them close.  Tell your husband each day how much you love him.  Forgive quickly.  Purpose to enjoy each and every day you have with your family.  This harsh reminder of the brevity of life has caused me to want to do just that.  

We had to say goodbye to a family pet yesterday.  That was hard.  We have had our Maggie for almost 15 years.  The kids handled it pretty well, and for that I am thankful.  It is true, pets become members of our family and it is difficult to let them go.

My honey had a check-up appointment yesterday with good results.  I am very thankful for this news!  We finally made it to the library yesterday also and I'm happy to report the kids are now signed up for the summer reading program.  That was really bugging me.  I always take the kids to sign up at the very beginning of the season.  This year it took until the 8th of July to make it in.  (To say that things are different this year would be an understatement!)  Nic is doing well and improving every day.  There are still things we have to work through, and there probably will be for a while, but to see him improving brings my heart so much happiness.  

For the rest of today's post I have a few pictures to share.  I hope that's okay with you.

Back in March my honey and I celebrated our 20th anniversary.  We had a lot of fun taking these.  (If you live in the Chattanooga area, I will be happy to give you the name and number of the gal who photographed us.  She's wonderful and she's my neighbor.)
















 



God has been incredibly good to us.  I'm so thankful for His grace! 


We had an awesome time celebrating the 4th over the weekend.  In perfect Chattanooga style we celebrated on the 3rd and 4th.  That's just how they do it around here.  :)

Here's what we did on the 3rd...














And here's our 4th...












I'm so thankful to God for friends and fun!

Are you, like me, having a hard time believing the first week of July is already gone??  I can't believe how time is flying!

I'm working on putting our Summer Fun To Do List on here today.  Check back tomorrow for that and leave me your best ideas for summer fun (before summer gets away from us)!

Friday, July 4, 2014

I'm scooting in here at almost midnight!  I hope you've had a wonderful 4th of July.  We certainly have (which is why I'm so late making it to my blog)!

Here are the simple little 4th of July candle holders my girls made.  We've enjoyed burning them the last few days.  We had them as part of our centerpiece on the kitchen table then the girls decided they wanted to burn them in their room one night as they were going to sleep.  After loving them in their room, tonight they asked to turn off all the lights in the bathroom and have only their candles glowing as they took their bubble bath.  When I lit the candles and turned off the lights, they squealed.  Little girls.


As you can see, this is a very easy project.  The girls covered jars with stars of various sizes, poured in some rice, and placed a tea light candle down in the rice.  They do look really pretty in the dark.  The stars are shimmery and pick up the flickering of the candle nicely.

One more thing before I head off to bed...
(Yes, my goal is to be in bed by midnight.  More on that later!)

I made a fruit salad today and I tried a special ingredient.  It has made us all crazy for fruit salad so I knew I must share it with you!




VANILLA PUDDING MIX!  

That's it.  A small box of instant (jello brand) vanilla pudding mix.  I cut up bananas and strawberries and dumped in a couple of cans of fruit cocktail and some mandarin oranges.  After mixing everything together I sprinkled on the pudding mix and stirred well.  Oh.my.  You must try this!  It's sooo good!

That is all for now.  I have three minutes to get up the stairs and into my bed!  Goodnight all!!  

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Wreath

I finally finished up my wreath.  Yay!!




I've shown you this kind of cupcake liner wreath before.  They're very easy to whip up.  

I used a styrofoam (14x2 - 1/2x2") beveled wreath and two (1.5 x 4 yds) of rolls of ribbon.  The only other thing you need are some cupcake liners and a glue gun.

Cover the wreath in ribbon.




Then start gluing your cupcake liners in little sections all around the wreath.



I fold mine up like this and stick it in a little blob of glue.




I like to leave a little space open at the top of the wreath to put a piece of coordinating ribbon for a hanger.




Put as many cupcake liners on as you like.  I used between 100 and 150.
Then hang on your door (or wherever)!



Easy - Peasy (my favorite kind of craft project)!

My girls have been busy making some pretty 4th of July candle holders and I will show you those tomorrow.

Happy 4th!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

(Super Delicious) Hashbrown Casserole

This very well could be the best recipe ever!  Our family loves it so much, and so does everyone else.  I've made it several times and have meant to post it on here before but I never manage to get any pictures.  The same thing happened again last night.  I made it for my family and it was quickly devoured before I remembered that I had wanted to snap a few pictures.  I was feeding not only my own teenager boys, but an extra (a total of four teenage boys, plus a tweenage boy, my girls, and my honey).  They cleared out my casserole dish so fast I barely had time to steal a bite for myself.  

The best part about this recipe is not only how incredibly yummy it is, but also how easy it is to make.  It's perfect for potlucks and church dinners and such.  It would be perfect to serve on the 4th as it compliments hamburgers and hot dogs so well.  You are surely going to love it!

2 lbs frozen hash browns
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup (10 1/4 oz.)
1 pint sour cream (I use slightly less.)
1/2 cup onion, chopped ( I put more.)
2 cups cheddar, grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.  Mix the above ingredients together and and place in prepared dish.  Bake for 45 minutes (or just a little longer) until brown on top.    

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