Friday, May 31, 2013

Joy in the Ordinary

Look around, really look around and you will find joy... joy in the everyday... joy in the ordinary things.


Playing in an afternoon shower.


Planting sunflowers. 


Beans!


Keeping her mind sharp. 


Baby grapes... here one day just vanished the next. :(


Harvesting lettuce for dinner.


Chef Megan... the grill master! 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

One Project Down...

I posted about staining the mailbox post. I am happy to say that the mailbox project is complete. I didn't take a before picture and could only find the following picture of when I repaired and repainted
the barn welcome sign.

 
 
I wanted this project to be as frugal as possible.  The numbers on our post where looking old and faded.  I was able to remove them and paint them with some black hammered spray paint I found in the garage.  Now they look as good as new!


I used the same stain we are using for our fence.  Not only did I stain the post I also painted the flower box around the post.  I debated about repainting the barn.  In the end I gave it a light sand to remove any loose paint and left it.  I kind of like the weathered look. 


One project down and what feels like a million to go.  That seems to be a perk of summer and home ownership. 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

$1.96 Worth of Fun!

While shopping over the weekend I picked up two inexpensive things to create an activity with the kids. I love doing things with the kids especially if it is a creative, cheap activity. Each of these items were under a dollar... $0.98 each to be exact.
 

I was able to stretch these items into three activities. The first activity I found of Pinterest. I thought I had pinned it but apparently not. Anyway it is super easy! You mix equal parts of cornstarch and shaving cream to make a dough.
 

Very messy!  I then added some blue and green food coloring to create Megan's favorite color.  The texture of this dough was awesome.  The kids loved it!  I might add that the little ones made a very big mess.  I was okay with that as I was able to fold two loads of laundry and the floor needed mopped anyway. 


Activity two was cornstarch painting.  Mix cornstarch, water and food coloring. 


I love this stuff!  As the water evaporates you are left the dried cornstarch.  Clean up is easy as all you do is hose it off. 

I think activity three might have been the biggest hit.  I used the remaining can of shaving cream and put it into the water table.  Then the real fun began!




To quote Abe "it was fun because it was messy!"  At the end of day imaginations were used, everyone had a blast and I have no toys to store. For $1.96 I call this a win!

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Begins

I have all of my flowers planted and boy are they taking off!   
 

This is the second year that there has been a groundhog living in our neighbors yard.  He likes to peek through the fence at as.  Thankfully there is to much activity over here and he doesn't venture into our yard often.    I haven't seen babies yet, but last year they were the cutest little things. 


The first grade classes put on a play the last day of school.  Grandma Mouse was ready for the start of the play.  It was really, really cute. 


One the last day of school all of the kids had balloons to release for a summer countdown.  A card was attached where the each kid wrote their favorite scripture.   Their hope is that once the card is found it will be mailed back to school so they can see how far their balloon went. 


Chuck is on vacation this week and we used the weekend to get started on some projects.  Our mailbox has been hit I don't know how many times by people backing out of the drive across the street from us.  It isn't the ones who live there it is their company.  The annoying things is that we watch them do it and only once has anyone stopped.  It was never hit hard enough to knock it over but enough to move the post and damage the mailbox.  Annoying for sure!  Since the post needed to be reset I took the opportunity to stain the post. 


I also spent time puttering on the back porch. 


I don't know about you but I am ready the summer fun to begin! 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Something Blue, Something New

I finally got the new blue Mason jars. They are soooooo pretty!
 

I imagine they will be showing up quite often. :)  Now for the something new....


After months of discussion we took the plunge and purchased another vehicle.  Just in the nick of time as Chuck's truck developed a transmission problem on the way to purchase this.  As soon as it is out of the shop the kids and I will be ready to hit the road.  Just in time to spend afternoons in Grammi and Grandpa's pool!

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Cooking

Just a few weeks ago it felt like the cold would never go. Now it feels as if summer has arrived. The sunshine and warm weather beckon the kids and I outside. All of the outside time has left me scrambling for dinner a few times.

Even with menu planning on way too many occasions I was caught at 4:30 or so without dinner started. The temptation to run out and grab a quick burger is not something that can happen often. As we all know it is a killer on the budget!

My solution is to do something I am calling summer cooking. On Monday I look at my monthly menu and decide what we are eating Monday - Friday. I then use nap time on Monday to prepare the main events for the week.

Here is a peek at this week.

Monday: Grilled Pork Chops


Grilling is something we will be doing more often to prevent heating up the house.  Chuck has a pitch in later this week.  He is taking in a sausage cheese dip.  While I was already using the grill I went ahead and browned the sausage.  I not only use the grill for grilling in the summer I will also use it with a cast iron skillet for general cooking. 



Tuesday: Spaghetti


One for this week and one for the freezer. It is a great time saver to pull it out to thaw and heat up.

Wednesday:  Hamburgers


Again using the grill.

Thursday:  Roasted Chicken
 

I purchased this from Sams. As I was cutting the meat off the bone I put the small bits in a container to turn into chicken salad. That will make a quick, cool lunch.

Friday:  Meatloaf

 
Baked late in the evening or early in the morning.  I will slice it before re-heating. 
 
Each day before we headout for afternoon play I will get my side dishes ready to go.  My hope is that by doing this I can avoid some stress in the early evening.  It gets crazy with Chuck coming home and the kids leaving. 
 
The great thing is that if plans change I can move a menu item to the weekend or throw it in the freezer for later use. 
 
May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Time in the Garden

The days are warming up and that means I am spending most of my time outside. It feels great but boy does it wear me out!   The garden was tilled yesterday and then planted today.  As rain is in the forecast for the next five days or so I was in a hurry to get it in. 
 
 
I did most of planting while Megan was as school.  I did save her a row of green beans to plant.  This satisfied her gardening bug at least for the moment. 


I put in five rows of green beans, ten tomato plants, two zucchini, one bell pepper and six pickling cucumbers.  I also removed the frost covers from the raised beds.  Check out those cabbage!


Using frost covers is the best thing!  I am thrilled with the results. 

It is very satisfying to put food on the table that is from your own garden.  If you think you can't do this I want to encourage you to give it a try.  Just growing one thing on your own.  Once you taste the freshness there will be no going back. 


Have you ever seen your child this excited about a store bought bag of lettuce?  

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Personalized Photo Bag

This morning the little men showed up with flowers, a card and a box of candy for me. So sweet! After I relished the moment I panicked as I hadn't taken the time to do anything for their mom. Oops! It had been on my mind but never made it to the top of the list. Not like me, but some seasons are busier then others.  So after I moved it to the do right now list I hit my craft area and started brainstorming.

I had some tote bags and fabric markers and it went from there. I decided to add a picture of the boys to the bag. Trust me it is not as hard as you think!  After you have picked out your picture and edited it. I used Picasa (it's free) to make a collage, frame the photos, add a background and boys names on the pictures. Then I gathered my supplies.
 

Cut a piece of freezer paper to 8x11.  You will then print your picture onto the freezer paper.  (print the picture onto the shiny side.)  Add heat and bond onto the backside of the picture.  Trim the heat and bond if needed.  Then remove the backing and iron the picture onto the bag. 


While I was doing this the boys were playing and I was asking them what they loved most about Mommy.  I picked their best answer and added it to the back of the bag with fabric makers. 


I then traced their hands.  Eli drew in his and Abe wrote his name.  For a last minute project I think this turned out great! 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

All in a Day...

The weather is so pleasant this week... sunny and in the mid 70's. The type of weather that makes me throw the windows open and go about my task with more joy then normal.

My dad showed up the other day with a sack of fresh green beans. Just because... that is the way my parents are. ♥


They have me longing for produce fresh from my own garden.  Yum! 

I have slowly started to purchase my flowers.  I spent some time in the morning planting. 


Of course there is always a never ending list of household chores to be done.  Tuesday is the day I dust and vacuum the living room. 


It is also the day I wash sheets. 


It doesn't get much better then line dried sheets!  A simple pleasure I never tire of. 

Caring for the boys takes up the biggest part of my time.  They are active little guys. :)

 
Saturday Chuck and I celebrated our 12th anniversary.  We went to a charming little town not far from us and browsed some little shops.  I came home with some berry and star twigs that I used to fill up a crock.
 
   
 
Mondays laundry leads to Tuesdays ironing.  I enjoy ironing especially when I can do it on the back porch. 
 

I can smell the lilac bushes as sit outside and type this.  Hmmm... I couldn't resist cutting some to fill a vase. 


Dinner was shared outside.  Something I hope we can do often this summer. 


Chuck and Megan walk up and dump the compost bucket most evenings.  It makes my heart smile when I see them walking and talking together.


Then I was off for a women's ministry planning meeting.  Not something I am usually a part of.  They have some concern about women with young families not joining in and I had an idea to connect them. 
 
 
 In case you are wondering my idea was to do an online Bible study for those who can't make the commitment to be out their homes on Tuesday mornings or Wednesday evenings.  Either a Good Morning Girls study or the same study that was being done on Tuesday mornings.  That way women of the church were still able to connect with each other.  My pastors wife loved the idea.  I was asked to head it up but I am not sure I can make that commitment at this time.  We'll see! 
 
All in a day...
 
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Proverbs 31:27
 
May your day be filled with joy and contentment!