An ICubs Outing

When J and I were dating and first married (a looooong time ago!), one of our favorite things to do was to go to Iowa Cubs games.  The tradition continued for awhile after we started having kids, but the more kids we added to the mix, the more difficult this outing became.  But some things are worth the effort and now that our kids are getting a bit older (read: more manageable!), we’ve decided to do our best to get back into this adventure that we used to enjoy so much.  Soooo, we decided to registered our 3 big kids for The Iowa Cubs Knothole Gang, which means that for just $9 they each get tickets to 7 games, a t-shirt, free drink & treat at all games, and an invitation to a free clinic (which was rained out – boo!).  Plus, J and I were able to purchase our tickets at a very reduced price!  Score (literally!).  Anyway, after a couple scheduling conflicts, we were finally able to make it to our first game last Thursday and, I think it’s safe to say that, we all had a BLAST!

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I can’t think of many things more fitting than having all the dads in my life (my hubby, my dad, and my father-in-law) spend Father’s Day at the ball field watching my first born learn, practice, and play a game that has been so meaningful in my life.  After all, weekend tournaments are how both J and I grew up and how we’ve spent many-a-special day.  It just seemed right that we were all where we love to be, doing what we love to do, on a day meant to honor the men in my life.  It just makes a mushy girl like myself all sorts of giddy.

Things that make me not so giddy?  The lack of pictures with the dads/grandpas, the pain in my lower back from sitting on bleachers for 2 days straight, AND my sunburned/scorched shoulders.

But if that’s the worst of it, I’d call it a gooooood weekend.

No meal plan this week.  I’m getting creative, eating out of the pantry, and basically winging it! And by those things, I mean: we’re having cereal and smoothies tonight, leftovers tomorrow, mac & cheese on Thursday, and hot dogs at the kids’ VBS program on Friday.  And that, my friends, is what you call cheap & easy!

Happy Monday!

Summer Days

To say that we’ve been enjoying our summer days is a huge understatement.  One thing is for sure: this unemployment thing, while devastating on so many levels, has certainly increased our opportunity for adventure this summer. And it’s my goal to capitalize on that opportunity!

Finding good in the bad.  Opportunity in the hardship. See how I did that?  I’m learning. Correction – He’s teaching me.  It’s such a process, but we’re getting there.

On The (Currently) Challenging Child

I’m relatively new to this whole parenting gig, but I think I’ve been around long enough to know that when you have multiple children they like to take turns being the “challenge.”  It’s some sort of hilarious game of tag to them.  “You’re it!  No, you’re it!  Now it’s your turn!”  That’s been our experience, at least.  Thankfully, though, it seems rare that all the children are challenging at the sametime.  (Thank you, Jesus!)

Currently, Kaiah is my tricky kid (although Elijah and his mouth are in a close 2nd!).  And while I shouldn’t be surprised (she IS 2 after all ), I’ll admit that it has caught me a little off guard.  It’s like we went from sweet baby to terrorist 2-year-old overnight.  Granted, there are many pleasant points throughout our days, but at least during this season, she is just plain tough to parent.  There are the many “me do it” moments, swings and misses in my direction, monumental meltdowns, and plenty of pouting (always accompanied with crossed arms, a hanging head, and a factual “it not fair!”).

I’m grateful for the wisdom and experience to know that this, too, is just a phase.  But more so?  I’m thankful for the new starts each day and God’s grace when clearly my mothering just isn’t measuring up.

PS  We ARE eating this week, but I just haven’t had a chance to post MPM in a while.  I’ve been buuuusssyyyy, yo’s!  A good busy, but the kind that makes you wish you had 4 extra hours in a day.  And a nanny.  And an assistant.  And a cleaning lady.  And a cook.  And a chauffeur.  Alas, we’re getting by and taking it day by day.  Soon I’ll have my feet under me again and be back to my {more frequent} blogging.  Pinky swear.

MPM

Hey, friends!  Just popping in with a quick hello!  These weeks after a holiday just tend to fly right by.  I’m just now getting together a meal plan for the week and am going to do my grocery shopping tonight. Blah.  So, here’s what I’m feeding the circus this week.

Monday: We had Easter leftover…probably along with the rest of America.

Tuesday: We’re finally having the Balsamic Vinegar Chicken and let me tell you – it smells WONDERFUL!  Even my sis-in-law asked if she could stay for dinner when she came to pick up the baby! 🙂

Wednesday: Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Thursday: Baked Penne

Friday:  We’re grilling for the first time this season! Brats and sweet potatoes, it is!

Saturday: Birthday Party for a friend – the kids are being shipped off to the grandparents!  I.can.not.wait!

Of course, I haven’t had the time to download our pics from the weekend, but here is just a quick sneak peak at our Easter Festivities.

I just love my little bunnies!

Happy Monday, friends!

Finish The Sentence!

Today I’m linking up with Holly & Jake for a rousing game of “Finish The Sentence…”

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1. If calories didn’t count, I would eat… An ENTIRE pan of brownies (the gooey-er, the better) and all the marshmallows out of a box of Lucky Charms.  Not joking.  I curse you, stupid sweet tooth.  And for what it’s worth, I’ve also been known to lick the frosting off of cupcakes and eat Nutella with a spoon.

2. On my Prom night…. Our pre-dance dinner was drive-thru in a limo.  Keeping it classy.

3. When I go to the store, I always buy… onions. Because, clearly, if we were to have an emergency, onions could sustain us.  “Here kids!  Have an onion!”

4. Family functions typically… leave my family circus looking like a freak show.  Inevitably, people puke, kids scream, I yell, and my husband falls asleep watching sports. I just know that when we leave, everyone else takes a collective sigh of relief!

5. I think my blog readers… are awesome.  I mean, who doesn’t love their mom, dad, and grandma? Just kidding.  Kind of.  Honestly, I consider you all some of my best friends…even though we might not even personally know each other!  For you to keep coming back here, not knowing if or when I will post next, keeping up with our circus, and leaving me nothing but uplifting, kind comments?  It truly warms my {lonely} heart.

6. I’d much rather be….. getting a paycheck than cutting coupons, stressing about money, and NOT shopping.  Just keeping it real…

7. I have an obsession with…. shaving my legs, Pinterest, picking my kids’ noses, eggs for breakfast, party supplies, the Duggars, my crockpot, the photography industry (although I have NO desire to become a “real” photographer!), Target T-shirts, workout clothes (ok, ALL clothes), softball (shout-out to my Central Dutch!), staying organized, my (dying!) Keurig, (using parenthesis), and my children. Uh. I guess taking awkward selfies ranks up there too.

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8. My work friends…. are ages 7, 5, 4, 2, and 2 months.

9. When I created my Facebook account…. my little brother had to walk me through it and assure me that it was, in fact, way cooler than my beloved MySpace.  MyWhaaa?

10. My least favorite word is… moist.

11. I really don’t remember…. what I don’t remember.  I remember pretty much everything, y’all. The shirt I was wearing for 3rd grade class pictures?  Yep!  The name of my best friend’s neighbor’s dog?  You bet!  The birth weights of all my children?  Of course!

12. Justin Bieber…. is NOT good enough for Beezus.  I mean, Selena Gomez.

I’d LOVE for you to play along!  Just head on over to Holly’s blog to link up!  Oh, and if you do play, would you mind leaving me a comment, so I can be sure to check it out?  Thanks, yo’s!

hellllloooo!

As you may have guessed, I was on spring break last week.  Well, “on” might be a little misleading, as we never did leave our little town, but still!  J and the big kids were on a break from school and if I can’t have a real  vacation away from here to someplace warm, then a week at home with just my people is the next best thing.  We had a blast hanging out, watching movies, playing games, doing projects, going to the gym, and getting out on other little adventures.

So while the ol blogity blog has been quiet, this house certainly has NOT. Amidst the quickly accumulating mess, mass amounts of laundry, and dirty floors, this last week afforded us LOTS of blessings and my heart is full to the max – much like our couch.March2013 076b  March2013 085bMarch2013 082b

Thankfully this we are being eased back into the school/work routine, as this is a pretty low-key week for us.  Aside from a little Easter prep and a to-do list longer than my right leg, our evenings are mostly free.  And since we just kind of played dinner by ear all last week, I am kind of looking forward to getting back into the swing of things…and not stressing about what I’m feeding all these little mouths.   Here’s what’s on our menu…

Monday: Spaghetti & garlic bread

Tuesday: Baked Potato Soup

Wednesday: Bubble Up Enchiladas

Thursday: Roasted Garlic Pasta

Friday: Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Tomatoes

Saturday: 3rd Annual March Madness Party with dear friends!

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

MPM! And Meyah!!

Helllloooo!

Anyone else feeeeling that time change?  Like big time? Oofda!  I am struggling today!  Lucky for me, though, it was MEYAH DAY!  As in, my sweet niece’s first day hanging out with me and my posse while her mommy and daddy were at work.  As expected, she was awesome.  I think it’s safe to say that she has 1 HUGE fan (ME!) and 4 little groupies in my Starr-lets.

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On to the good stuff: Food!

Monday: I’m off to a meeting and J is making homemade hot pockets.

Tuesday: Again, I have a meeting, but am going to make Easy Potato Soup (a carry-over from last week) before I leave.

Wednesday: Chicken and Noodles

Thursday: Cheeseburger Casserole

Friday: Sweet & Spicy Carmelized Onion with BBQ sauce grilled cheese

Saturday: Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

I had someone comment on a previous MPM post and ask about what we feed our kids….do they eat what we eat or do I make separate meals.  I couldn’t reply to them directly because it was an “anonymous” commenter, so I figured here was the best place to answer that.

In this house, I make one meal.  And the kids are, for the most part, expected to eat what J and I eat.  Of course, there are times that we switch things out, but almost always they are served and eat the same main course that we are.  And I will say — our kids are really very good eaters.  Eli is the pickiest and often times eats very little for dinner.  That being said, however, he eats like a ravenous giant at breakfast and lunch.  And we’re ok with that.  The kids know what we expect and make choices according to that.  I should also mention, that I really do try to meal plan according to everyone’s likes and dislikes.  For instance, when Addi was smaller and didn’t like corn, I didn’t make many dishes with corn in them OR if I did, I’d wait to make that meal until a night when I knew she was going to be with the grandparents.  Now, I’m NOT saying that this is the right way to do it.  At all.  As a matter of fact, I’m sure there are plenty of parents out there who DO make multiple meals for each member of their family and, hey! if that works for them, then GREAT!  As far as I’m concerned, to each their own!  And we just do what works for us!

Anyway, keep those questions coming!  AND remember to attach your email to your profile, so I can email you directly!

Happy Monday, friends!

MPM/ “shop” update

Hey, dudes!

I promise that my Monday-only posting isn’t intentional.  It’s just that on Monday I’m all physically and mentally organized for the week ahead, then as the days go on, I tend to become scattered, flustered, and short on time.  So, until I get my mid-to-late-week crap together, Monday afternoon posts are what you get!

I have this week’s meal plan to share, as well as a recap of our weekend and some pictures, but I’m thinking that I might split them up into 2 posts.  That way I can’t blame only one post a week on lack of content.  With MPM today and weekend recap/pictures another day, you’re assured at least a double post week.  Lucky you.

Anyhoo.

Dinner this week?  Quick, easy, and cheap.  Notice I didn’t say healthy? You know what they say:  You can’t have your cake and it it too.  Literally.

So, here we go:

Monday: Chicken, Ranch, and Rice Soup (a carry-over from last week!)

This actually IS a healthy recipe and one of our faves!

Tuesday: Spicy Sausage Pasta

Wednesday: French Toast Bake

Thursday: Grilled Apples/Pears & Cheese

Friday: Easy Potato Soup

Saturday: Spaghetti

What’s up for supper at your house?

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And now how about a little “shop that I don’t have” update?

First up – a sign I made for my sweet niece.  Probably not my best business move photographing the sign next to a cute baby.  I mean, no one will be able to take their eyes off of my little Meyah.  Oh-well.

Next, here’s a pic of the chalkboard I made for my cousin Chandra.  (Thanks for letting me steal your photo, cuz!).  Don’t you just love the color of her walls?!?

Here’s a quick wooden sign made for a friend of a friend.  I love it and would really love a farmhouse to go with it!

Finally, a digital print I made for our master bedroom that will never get printed or hung BECAUSE I SCREWED UP MY HUSBAND’S BIRTHDATE (YEAR!).  For the love!  Welcome to my world – I’m ridiculous!

And that’s a wrap!

Be back later this week!

Monday.

Life seems to be moving at warp speed around here lately – leaving me questioning: How in the worlddid I work full-time (from home) and do all of this other stuff too?!? I know many of you might be giving me a dramatic, although justified, eye roll right now at the thought of this now stay-at-home mom carrying on about the busyness of life.  But seriously. These kids! This house! A soon-to-be small business! It’s all a LOT of work.  And to say I’m keeping up with it all is a gross (literally!) understatement.  Currently my house is a disaster, the piles on my desk are out of control, my children ate hot dogs and french fries more this weekend than I care to admit, and I haven’t had a “date” with my husband in almost a year (truth!).  And yet?  Life is good.  The busyness has kept me…well…busy.  And focused.  Focused on this family, our future, and what God has in store.

Anyway.  Enough of my Monday afternoon ramblings.  Here are some pictures from last week and our wonderful weekend, as well as, an easy-peasy meal plan to accommodate our busy week.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Monday: Cauliflower and sweet potato au gratin  (please pray for my family – they have no idea this is coming!)

Tuesday: Baked Penne

Wednesday: Chicken Pesto (carry-over)

Thursday: Baked Tacos

Friday: Chicken Ranch and Rice Soup