Spring Break Plans 2016

This week is spring break for a lot of families. Even though we homeschool, we try to do most holidays and breaks that the local school does since that's who we want to minister to ans well as do-life with.

as Jules is Spring Breaking

We'd fallen a bit behind compared to where I wanted to be in our school work so last week I bribed my big girls and trudged through a lot of work to get caught up, allowing us to take this week off from school paper work. Now we can focus on what I'd rather be doing: playing with friends OUTSIDE, enjoying our last days with our #spidie before he possibly heads to provisional care, spring cleaning purging, recovering after a traumatic baby injury, and doing a special unit about EASTER! That's just the stuff we plan to do at home, not including the valley stuff like working on interior construction, cleaning, partying at the building with friends, cleaning out storage units, preping for our Easter service, and normal weekly responsibilities.

El's ER visit

maybe someday I'll be able to talk about this...but not now

If I write all this down, maybe several things will happen, I'll have a better picture of what I want to accomplish and maybe I'll actually do the things on the list! #accountability

I was planning to publish a post last week about minimizing toys in your home BUT then I realized that toys had taken over again. They were everywhere. Requiring way too much of our time during our day to clean up. Having fosters who have been overly *blessed* with stuff as well as 3 birthdays and Christmas in resent months, I had not been diligent about keeping them out of the house.

Playroom Purge

new playroom shelves last year vs this year

The purge plan includes sorting items into #spidies toys to go with him, toys to be donated to the valley, toys to sell at Duck Duck Goose, and then a few toys to keep. The toys that are being kept will be open-ended toys that require imagination, are manipulative for school, and or are educational all by themselves.  

community easter egg hunt

Our Easter plans include the resurrection garden we made Friday night, helping prep for and attending the community Easter egg hunt, the holy week calendar that I'm already behind on, sinning rocks that we usually don't do until good Friday, and teachable Easter baskets that I'm doing similar this year but rather than 4-5 baskets, I'm doing one large "family basket". My hubs and I already had a date night and purchased all the things for it but they're currently in the trunk of our car in the baby pool because...where do you hide that? hehe

We also already have the stuff we plan to use to make our spring baskets for our neighbors. Now we just have to figure out how to get those items out to make the baskets for them without my kids seeing the other stuff. 

I like planning to just stay home. Its nice to be able to plan flexible trips with my family while others are in school. PLUS, lots of our neighbor friends don't have big plans either so we can play lots more with them. What are your plans for spring break?! 

Share Button

Post to Twitter

Our Family’s Monthly Menu

Menu planning can seem overwhelming and for the only super-organized types but I'm here to say it can be crazy easy and simplify life so much!

MONTHLY Summer MENU

Even before we did our decided to eat rice and beans for a month, I found out the benefits of being a "boring menu" planner. Identical weekly menu planning still has all the benefits of of monthly menu planning and still gives you enough variety to not get sick of things and enough wiggle room to allow for changes in your days from month to month.

This is what works for us. There are lots of random variables that got us to this summer menu but for starters, the weather- we want mainly light foods. While I'm going through our menu and why we do what we do, think about the routines in your life that could make a "boring menu".

Breakfast Menu Sunday-Saturday

Sunday mornings, we need something the kids will eat fast so we can get out the door to the valley. Mondays and Thursdays we can take our time so we have waffles with peanut butter and syrup and fruit. Friday we used to do "movie day" so I did cereal, no milk, so they could have it in snack cups in the living room. Even though we don't always do that anymore, we just kept it and Tuesdays as well just because...I wanted a pattern. Wednesdays we have a small lunch I wanted them to have a big breakfast sot hey wouldn't get grouchy. My hubs is off on Saturday so he uses his awesome electric griddle and makes the kids fancy pancakes- breakfast and a show!

blue breakfast menu

Lunch Menu Sunday-Saturday

Some lunches are because it was easiest to remember alliteration according to the day of the week so I don't have to think too much about it while doing school, like Mondays and Fridays. Sundays are my day off from cooking, so we go out to each after the valley. Tuesdays are when we try to get the most school work done so chicken nuggets make for an easy, no fuss lunch. Wednesdays we have Valley Group at our house so we do a lot of picking up/cleaning so hot dogs make for a simple, quick lunch. On Thursdays, one of my kids goes to Nanna's for the day and she always makes them PBnJ so we have it at home as well. And Saturdays we like to do a lot of resting so we do a snack lunch or sliders which are super easy and have to the option of having a living room picnic while watching a movie.

gray lunch menu

Dinner Menu Sunday-Saturday

I try to make a crockpot meal I can turn on when we leave for the valley so I can rest the rest of the day and have a real meal Sunday nights. Manic Mondays is when one of us is usually in town with the big girls for dance/gym so we have several easy chicken meals to choose from but sometimes we trade Wednesdays pasta meal if its easier. Tuesdays is...tacos! of course but some times its a form of "tacos": nachos, enchiladas, fajitas. Thursdays are Nanna days like I already mentioned and that means we usually go out to eat for Family Dinner. Friday nights are just a fun night to do a movie {sometimes Red Box} and pizza night: biscuit, french bread, homemade crust, frozen, occasionally take out pizza. Saturdays offer plenty of time to put together a beef meal or a new recipe.

yellow dinner menu

 

I hope this was helpful! HERE is a free printable menu if this particular one works for you. You could also make a dry erase menu board using some fun scrapbook paper and a thrifted, upcycled, painted 8x10 picture frame.

DIY Dry Erase Monthly Menu

Recipes links for some of our favorite meals:

Ranchy Chicken and Potatoes
Chicken Casserole
Tacos
Fettechini Alfrado
Shepherds Pie
Stuffed Meatballs
Chicken and Stuffing
3 Cheese Noodles
Biscuit Pizzas
Potato Soup
Mexican Chicken
Nachos
Taco Soup 
Stir Fry
Fajitas
French Bread Pizza
Baked Ziti

Share Button

Post to Twitter

The Great-Wall Transformation

The Great-Wall Transformation

If you're like me, you know what you want but can't exactly explain it to anyone else. If you're like me then you might also scour Pinterest hoping someone smarter and a few steps a head of you already did what you have in your head. Here are some of the things I loved.


fireplace-built-in-shelving-6-via-the-sweetest-digs

plank-wall-6

fireplace-built-in-shelving-2-via-the-sweetest-digs

Great-tips-on-making-the-most-of-the-little-space-you-have

DIY-mudroom-bench-640x1024

DIY Board & Batten Entryway Redo-3blog

Soooooo, yeah. Didn't find anyone who combined what I was going for. I mean sure, slapping a mudroom-like wall on a giant wall in your living room right next to the front door with an entertainment center in the middle of it doesn't appeal to everyone...or maybe anyone. But, my hubs and I decided a long time ago that we would LIVE in our home. We want it to be comfortable, functional, fun, and inviting.

After looking at tons of pins, thinking through the thousands of things I wanted this is the list of thing I needed from this wall and the simple sketch of what I came up with for my hubs to work with.

the original sketch for the Great-Wall transformation

Mudroom

  • Lots of hooks for winter gear
  • Space for each individual's shoes
  • Washable baskets to collect shoe grime
  • Kid-friendly usability
  • Classy enough look for adults
  • Ledge for my picture frame obsession
  • Bench for more seating
  • Ability to walk from front to back door with shoes on
  • Decorative board and batten
  • Bright White wall to lighten up the entire room

Entertainment Center

  • Wall-mounted TV
  • Lots of DVD and some video game storage
  • Easily reachable DVD player, sound system, and Wii
  • Storage for all small electronics from around the house
  • Charging station for camera and iPad
  • Decorative "ship lap" to hide wiring

Process of Building the Wall

  1. Move all furniture
  2. Clean wall and flooring
  3. Build structure of the entertainment center
  4. Install chair rail and ledge pieces {horizontal boards} 
  5. Hang TV mount
  6. Remove baseboards
  7. Pull up carpet
  8. Tear up tack-strip
  9. Cut off excess carpet and padding
  10. Cut tack-strip to appropriate length
  11. Reinstall tack-strip
  12. Staple padding in place
  13. Tuck carpet around tack-strip
  14. Complete entertainment center
  15. Attach drawer faces and tracks on drawers boxes
  16. Push entertainment center in place {don't install}
  17. Measure 8000 times
  18. Build benches
  19. Moved outlets up {above bench tops}
  20. Patch drywall/add wall texture
  21. Attach wire spacers on the wall
  22. Attach ship lap to spacers
  23. Spray paint primer coat on 3 loose pieces
  24. Install entertainment center and benches
  25. Install trim pieces {vertical boards} on wall
  26. Install baseboards and quarter round
  27. Fill all cracks with caulking
  28. Paint...everything
  29. Sand rough wood
  30. Install hooks and hardware


hanging chair rail and ledgeremoving carpet hole on the back part of the entertainment center where the cords feed in from behind the ship lap

Entertainment Center before and after mudroom-like before and after

I could write a gazillion posts on my thought process behind each logistical reason I wanted things a certain way but not too many on the construction steps- maybe I'll tak my sweet hubs into writing more on that. Sorry I don't have more process pictures. Thanks for coming by to see our new Great-Wall! Weeks later and it's still making me smile.

Share Button

Post to Twitter

Educational Tips for Using Halloween Candy And a Fun Ways to Get Rid of It!

Hello mamma with loot of Halloween candy you desperately need to make disappear! It's not even Thanksgiving/Christmas season yet and we are all gaining poundage by the minute with all this "fun sized" candy laying around. To start with, use the candy for fun "educational" tools. This will get this kids thinking of the candy as more than just for eating as a snack. Then I've got some ideas to help you sneak out that candy or to get the kids excited with you about all the "opportunities" you have to share it in fun ways.

Examples of HARD Halloween Candy that you can get rid of by using in Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Education Uses for Halloween Candy:

  • Math Sorting: by chocolate vs fruity, by type, by size, and then you can break them down into color for things like MnMs and Skittles.
  • Math Graphing: learning about graphing by creating lines of candy next to one another can create bar graphs and you can discuss greatest, least, same, most popular, grossest, weirdest, etc.
  • Science experiments: this can run from anything like "which melts fastest" to "which one dissolved in _____ the fastest". This will be fun but the candy still won't have to be eaten.
  • Language Lessons: alphabetical order according to name of candy, mad libs, compound words, etc.

image

10 Ways to Rid The House of Halloween Candy:

  1. Operation Christmas Child Boxes: our number one way to "share" our bounty is by sorting out the hard, non-melty, non-chocolate candies for kids who don't have any candy much less an entire loot
  2. Cookies for Friends and Neighbors: MnM cookies, monster cookies, better than anything cake with candy toppings,
  3. Nursing Homes: make your candy a good excuse to go make some new friends who may need a visit
  4. Stockings: we've totally done this! Put back a little bag of each child's favorite candy and scatter it into their stocking.
  5. Birthday Party Pinata: smacking a pinata is always fun but can be expensive to stuff if you don't already have the candy laying around
  6. Party Favors: if your kids birthday {or a friends kids'} are near Halloween, make up some stuffed goody bags Full of candies.
  7. Neighbor Treats: holiday themed treats like Turkey cookies
  8. Work Candy Bowl: loose the pride and hose all your work friends by placing a bowl of goodies out that they can't resist.
  9. Waitress Tips: add to your generous cash tip for your waitress with a little goody pick-me-up for the night
  10. Bribery: forget the same and call it what it is, keep a few treats as school bribes for good, on-task, fast work.

I am SURE there are lots of other educational uses for the candy stash as well as creative ways to Get. Rid. Of. Candy. Boom! #mommied

Share Button

Post to Twitter

#mommied Monday: Parking Lot

In honor of Mother's Day, I have been sharing stories that makes me wanna say, "BOOM! You just got Mommied!" because it is a super empower ;) Often we feel like we just got owned by our children in the small battles so we need some encouragement when we don't lose! Sorry this one's late.

#mommied Monday Parking Lot

Our garage feels like it is constantly being “cleaned out”. No joke, I’m sure my neighbors are laughing every other week as I drag all my junk out onto the drive way to sort through, trash, rearrange, and stuff back inside. One of the areas in our garage that has saved me a few headaches is the “parking lot” for all our riding toys. Even Ellie {16 months} knows where to find things and the general idea of “parking” them when we are done.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • cleared floor space next to a wall in the garage
  • tape- I used frog tape {brand of painters tape} but masking or duck tape would work
  • riding toys

Simple Parking Lot Concept:

  • swept, dusted, mopped {if you have to} floor, so the tape will stick- I learned the hard way the 1st time around
  • lay out riding toys in a row {I spaced mine smallest near the door to largest further into the garage}
  • eye-ball the length you’ll need my stretching it out next to each vehicle
  • tear it off
  • stick it down
  • stand back in awe of yourself 😉

*for light-weight toys that roll on a slightly declining surface*
create a parking block behind the vehicle to keep it from rolling into the garage: I used a thin strip of cardboard cut off a box in the trash but used a flat twig or scrap sliver of wood the first time and taped it to the floor under the tape

My kids LOVE that they have their own space in the garage for their vehicles! It’s very clear for them to see where their riding toys fit and can easily put them away {when I don’t pile things behind their parking spaces :/ }

BOOM! #mommied

I hope you all had a GREAT Mother’s Day! I find that, we as mommies, push ourselves to extremes where we either live fake lives because we are constantly feeling less-than in comparison to other moms or announce our failures as if they’re metals we’ve won without an attempt to always improve. May we all recognize our victories and be encouraged to press on in our struggles.

Share Button
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Post to Twitter