Happy Pinning!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Get in to nature!

This week was nature/pioneer week.  Last year the girls and I watched through the whole little house series.  Grace was always joking that characters were always in misery, the show was a lot more dramatic then I remembered haha! But it is fun for them to learn about that time period and how different things were.  I believe there is a lot less to complain about when we read about how much work was required back then to do every little thing.  For me included! I can't imagine ever wanting to stop being a 21st century Momma and trading places with Ma for a day! So the plan was to take time to appreciate nature this week and tap into our inner pioneers a little bit. As such we read through the little house book all week long.  The older two are totally into these books, fun to read all together too. One night we had an extensive discussion on log cabins and how they were like the toys lincoln logs. 

Monday we started off  with a craft to make a toy that Mary and Laura would have played with; yarn dolls.  I got the tutorial from this site.  I made one for each of my kids including a boy one for little Jack. They also colored some Little House coloring pages (I'm telling you there are coloring pages for anything now a days!)

For snack we had "Ants on a Log" except my kids sort of hate raisins (I can't blame them because I don't like them either) so our ants were chocolate chips, lol.  Hey, they ate celery it all balances out!

Monday night we started our plant pals similar to these....

However we can't take an after picture until our grass seeds sprout into hair so stayed tuned for these later this summer.  Right now they have fun watering their little friends each day. 

Wednesday we made bug jars and after dinner Daddy went exploring with us in the backyard and we collected a variety of bugs and a microfrog (seriously this frog was the size of my fingernail!)

This strange phenomenon of bug collecting is something all my kids love.  Seriously my toddler is super delighted at the sight of an ant.  Momma however hates all creepy crawlies.  I did come out to photograph their catches. Better than the alternative of them bringing them inside to show me.  I thought it wouldn't be until after my son was born that I would have to say things like "Spiders and frogs need to stay outside!!!"  They also hunted some rocks in our yard that we will use for a craft another week.

That night for dessert we had mini-jello aquariums which was actually supposed to be for beach week but we hadn't gotten to it. This picture is actually easier to see than my picture, mine were nerds with blue jello on top and a couple of swedish fish tucked in there. You can't make the jello with the candy in it because the candy starts dissolving right away. 

Sophie also started riding her back Wed night for the first time without training wheels! This was very exciting and handy for one of the weekends scheduled events!

Thurs night while I was working Craig took the girls to get strawberries. With the way things were going this year we didn't pick them ourselves but we didn't want to go without jam for the winter. Craig and I whipped it up after they were in bed.
Friday was a lot about chores. Face it the pioneers did a lot of chores. Our family has been without a washing machine for several weeks so Craig took all the kids to the laundromat (which is just one step up from beating it against a rock in the creek right? haha!) and we also did a little weeding in the garden as a family. But not to make their whole lives miserable we made homemade popsicles (to be enjoyed on Sat) out of Cherry Limeade juice, Watermelon Juice and Sprite and a cherry! They were yummy.

We let the older two stay up late and do some stargazing on the trampoline. We used our star finder app to point out constellations to them. There were also a lot of fireflies out which were like stars close to earth.


Saturday afternoon when I got home from work and my haircut the older two took off with Daddy for a bike ride to the park. When Charlotte woke up from her nap we drove up to meet them there.

First things first they played on the playground.

Then we ventured into the woods for our hike. Originally our plan was to explore a new-to-us park however with the combination of the bike ride we stuck with our favorite park.

We had fun on our hike the girls did a scavenger hunt and pointed out stuff along the way.

We saw a huge mushroom about the size of a dinner plate (I couldn't get a picture) and talked about the different things that could cause the giant trees to fall over.

Charlotte was delighted to stomp around in the creek. We helped a dog running loose find it's way home and talked about being a responsible pet owner haha! We also talked about taking care of nature and everyone cleaned up the garbage we found along the way.


Then we went and visited our favorite sign in the park, so glad they were able to keep it up after the atheist group tried to have it torn down this year.

Finally on Sunday night we had craft time with toilet paper rolls. We made binoculars with a little duct tape and string. And we made bird feeders with peanut butter and bird seed. Daddy helped hang them high in the tree.


Once again there was a variety of stuff we didn't quite get to and there was some unexpected hassles in our house this week but we still managed to have fun with nature this week. 

Last week we forgot to do a new fruit of the spirit devotional.  This week we talked about peace.  With summer comes a lot of bickering amongst siblings (that's normal right? you got that going on at your house too, please say yes!) so we talked about the importance of being a peacemaker in your house.  And we started the 10 sec rule of counting to ten before you speak or react when you are angry or frustrated.  They even made Daddy use it when he was getting frustrated with them haha. 

This next week is patriotic week, OBVIOUSLY!! But we may be getting a new family member too so I will do my best to get stuff done in the meantime.  We are still just waiting....

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

At the Beach!

Didn't mean to wait until Wed to recap last weeks theme but man there is a lot of craziness going on around here lately! You wouldn't believe it!!

Beach week had a lot of fun things planned but I didn't quite pull them all off.  I already have some postposed for later in the summer.  Monday's are always a bit tricky as I have a Dr appt every week now.  One activity we wanted to do for beach week was take a swim and have a picnic so off to Grandma's pool we went!

That night for dinner we had my mom's famous seafood casserole for dinner and homemade Cheddar Bay Biscuits like Red Lobster makes, yummy. 


Cajun Seafood Casserole

1 cup chopped onions
1 cup red peppers (chopped)
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
3 cups cooked seafood  (I use combo artificial crabmeat and baby shrimp)
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Sauté onion, pepper, garlic & celery in margarine until tender. Add soups, parsley, green onions, and seafood. Heat thoroughly. Stir in rice and bread crumbs. Turn into a three quart casserole that has been sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Freeze.  Thaw and Bake 350F for 35 minutes. For the freezer meal we used uncooked rice and ½ cup of broth. 
Biscuits were just biscuits made from good old bisquick with cheese and garlic salt added. Yummy!

Oh wait. My kids weren't thrilled. They hate seafood casserole. Even my kids have their limits. They ate it though because I promised we could go to...

Orange leaf Fro-yo seems pretty beachy. My kids creations weren't quite this nauseating looking, but close!

Tuesday was one of my work days so the kids did some beachy coloring pages and played outside a lot with neighbor kids.  Then for dinner Dad made them...

Octo-dogs! They were really more of squid dogs because they didn't have 8 legs haha.  But if you split the end of the hotdogs before you boil they will flare out a little.  The kids thought they were cute and ate them right up!

Wednesday I knew I had to kick it in to high gear.  They all got dressed in Hawaiian gear.  In the morning we read lots of beachy books from the library as we were waiting during piano lessons and eye Dr appts.  Two of our favorites were:

We got home from our appts and did a few crafts before lunch:

Paper plate, hand print Pineapples and Paper plate seahorses.  We had fun decorating them!

Then after lunch while Charlotte was napping we made shell necklaces:

This was mine! It was fun, we watched Teen Beach Movie while making our jewelry. After that the kids went out to play until dinner.  Which was quite festive we had:

Hawaiian Pizza Braid


  • 1/2 cup Canadian bacon or ham
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese 
  • 1/2 cup pineapple pieces (chopped)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pillsbury pizza crust (classic)

Pizza Braid Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray cookie sheet with pam or use a nonstick pan.
  3. Roll out the pizza crust and with a pizza cutter, cut 8-10 strips on each side leaving about 3 inches in the middle to put the ingredients.
  4. Spread the pizza sauce, cheese, canadian bacon, and pineapple in the middle.
  5. Braid the strips making a whole bunch of “x’s”
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.
Pool Noodle Chex Mix

I found this recipe here at Betty Crocker except we did Pool Noodles instead of Beach Balls (because we had cheese puffs instead of cheese balls! haha!) and we added oyster crackers too!

We also had Octopus fruit:

Which was just apples and grapes and my 9 year old cut up for each of us. A fun way to have the kids help with dinner is to make the menu fun like this.  To drink we had homemade Sonic Ocean Water.

I found the recipe here.  I must say adding coconut extract to beverages may be my new favorite thing!!

For dessert I made Pineapple Coconut Cookies:

Here is the recipe for these delicious morsels! Yummy!

So it was a very festive dinner.  Thursday was another work day.  I didn't plan anything.  I try to not make life too complicated for their sitter and give myself a planning break as well. 

Friday I got to start off the day with this!!!

What says life at the beach more than a luxurious spa treatment! 'Bout time Momma got something awesome for herself! Oh man, I did not want to leave.  But I'm glad I did, we had an outing to Fredrick Meijer Gardens with my extended family which always ends up with the girls splashing in their large great lakes water tables.

It was a beautiful day for splashing. Tuckered out we watched Finding Nemo that night on the way home and off to bed they went.  We had a big event Saturday morning and after that everyone was pooped out.  During naptime (that even Grandma and Grandpa participated in!) Grace watched Lilo and Stitch while using a drawing app to draw ocean animals.

For dinner we ate one of my husbands FAVORITES: Fish Tacos!!


Honey Lime Tilapia Fish Tacos


·         4-6 pieces of tilapia

·         1 Tbsp lime juice

·         2 Tbsp olive oil

·         2 Tbsp honey

·         ¼ cup orange juice

·         2 tsp chili powder

·         pinch cayenne pepper

·         garlic clove

·         cumin

·         salt and pepper

·         Cilantro ¼ cup

·         Lime zest

o    1/3 c flour

o    2 Tbsp olive oil for frying

o    additional honey and lime zest mixed for drizzling

o    Tortillas, salsa, shredded lettuce, diced avocado, tomato, onion for serving



·         Put fish in freezer bag with everything through up to flour. Freeze.  To cook, thaw.

·         Heat a cast iron or a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil.

·         Dredge each piece tilapia through the flour until you have a very light coating.

·         Make sure the pan is hot. Add tilapia to the oil and cook until flaky and crispy on each side about 3-4 minutes per side.

·         Remove tilapia from pan and let drain on a paper towel for a few minutes. Serve with an additional drizzle of lime and honey. Cut into chunks for fish tacos

·         Serve on tortillas with salsa, shredded lettuce, diced avocado, tomato and onion

These turned out really delicious (which was a relief as I made up the recipe for my freezer meal group!) Along with our tacos we had more "fun with fruit"
After dinner we set up the sand table for the first time this year and Charlotte got to play with her new sand toys she got for her birthday!

Sunday was Father's Day, after church and lunch (grilled brats on Daddy's new grill!) I knew that I had to fulfill one big promise.  It can't be beach week without a trip to THE BEACH!! I however am not in a great shape for schlepping myself and all the beach paraphenalia out to the beach so a neighbor suggested Millenium Parks beach and I am so glad they did.  It was much easier to access and we had a fabulous time!

I made it!

You are never too young to pick up cute boys on the beach!

Loved the vintage quality of this pic, a girl and her Papa. Had to go with Sepia.

Happy to be out in the beautiful weather with my family!

Sandcastle time!

Snack time!

Couldn't get her out of the water.  She was giggling and pulling herself along in the sand, deliriously happy!

A perfect end to the beach week!
Now I am trying to learn how to pace myself.  This week we didn't quite accomplish as much as I had ambitiously planned and not nearly as much as last week however I think we still had some theme related fun!
This next week is Nature/Pioneer week.  I know that the baby could come any time so I'm kind of living a day-to-day existence.  Wish me luck!