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Monday, July 25, 2011

THE creamiest and THE easiest cheesecake

This recipe is really from my friend Jaesi.  It's soo easy and sooo yummy, it quickly became a FAVORITE and do again and again dessert!  Ready for it?

8 oz cream cheese, softened
tub of whipped cream
1/4-1/3 cup powered sugar
graham cracker crust

With a mixer, cream together the cream cheese and whipped cream and add powered sugar to desired sweetness. Spread into a pre-made crust (either vanilla crumbs or graham cracker crust) and refrigerate til it firms up again.  I like this one topped with cherry pie filling but plain is yummy too.  ENJOY!

Monday Meanderings - July 25

Eli's birthday week is over, and I'm relieved the schedule, though still busy, is a little more relaxed this week. One good friend is returning after having been gone for two weeks and another friend is moving the end of the week {sad}. So for separate reasons and at separate times, I'll be trying to help both of them out this week.

Bible Study... Ugh, I just don't really know anymore...

Memory Verse... Romans 12:11
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Plan a mini-date for sometime this week, Wednesday or Thursday.
♥ Pay attention to what laundry he may need done.
♥ Fresh towels.
♥ Get him some food for when I'm gone next weekend.

Train Them Up...
* I'm doing a few "knights & castles" things with Eli this week.
* Been having Carter put his shoes away on the shelf and sippy cup in fridge (though he's been doing that one for awhile now).
* Making a "stay-in-your-bed" chart for Eli and Hannah. I'm tired of them getting up multiple nights a week.  IF they stay in their beds for 30 days, THEN they can have a sleepover in the same room.

Personal Goals...
* Run 1x this week??  That SHOULD be my goal but looking at the week, the weather, and the schedule, I just don't know...

New Habit of the Month...  {JULY} work on establishing new nap routine for Eli

MUST Do...
* Eli thank-you notes
* Get all party stuff put away
* Mail in Eli's Kindergarten registration --we finally got his last checkup done! The paperwork is ready, but I just noticed in some other info papers that there is a registration day in August.

* Pick up a copy of Eli's shot record from Dr? Found our shot record book!

* Do Eli's 5 yr and Family pics
* Prepare a meal for my friend Nikki.
* Pack my stuff for this weekend.
* Pack the kids' stuff for this weekend.

Zone(s)... post-party, getting things back in place

Menu - TBD

M  - Mediterranean pasta
T - chili dogs {meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and homemade applesauce for Nikki}
W - taco wraps
Th - grilled shrimp
F -Ohio
S -Ohio
Su - Ohio

* Except for an OT day on Monday, Kevin's off this week!
* Carter has his 18-month checkup on Wednesday.
* A mini-date with Kevin maybe Thursday, if I can arrange something??
* Friday I'm headed off BY MYSELF to visit my friend Lisa in Ohio for the weekend while the kids go to Grandma and Grandpa's and Kevin works nights.

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. Sweet corn.
2. One-on-one time lately with my eldest.
3. Some great days with my Mr.!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love
endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through 
all generations.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

While the pizza cooks...

...I like to let the kids color on the pizza cardboard, drawing their own toppings, or just scribbling however they want.  They get excited about it every time and it sure passes the time quickly and they play with their "pizza" for the rest of the day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Meanderings - July 18

This is Eli's BIRTHDAY WEEK (turning 5!!) so we have loads of fun things planned!  Last night we kicked off the week with cake and ice cream and slip n slide fun with his friends!  Today instead of heading to a splash park because of the extreme heat we are headed to Chuck E Cheese instead.  Yeah, I'm not one of those that despises C.E.C.  No ball bit at this one.  And germs are everywhere so we might as well go have some fun with some other friends when it's too hot to be outside.  Then Tuesday is actual B-day in which Eli will have a couple new surprises AND finish the day with a sleepover with Hannah in his new bunk bed. Wednesday is his very first eye appointment. Thursday and Friday are "blank days"/Daddy nights. And Saturday is birthday party #2, with family.  Fun fun days!!

Bible Study... Exodus! Haven't done any reading in awhile

Memory Verse... Psalm 86:11-13
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Start planning our next date! Not really sure when that can be, but I'm gonna start trying for every two weeks.
♥ I have a secret plan regarding the calendar alerts he gets on his phone.
♥ I have a couple nights out with friends this week, one of them being right after Kevin gets home from work, so I'm going to do my best to have the kids fed, PJ-ed and maybe even watching a movie so Kevin can still have post-work downtime when he gets home.

Train Them Up...
* New nap routine with Eli.
* A fun-week with them.
* Chore wheel.  We've been forgetting it lately with all the summer busyness.

Personal Goals...
* Run 1x this week. I DID get a run in last week, outside even, AND had a pretty good time (actual time, not fun time)
* Read a little bit in Exodus.
* Paint nails.

New Habit of the Month...  {JULY} work on establishing new nap routine for Eli

MUST Do...
* Get presents wrapped, cake ready for Eli's birthday party.
* thank-you notes

Zone(s)...  laundry (a bit behind these days)

Menu - 

M  - crockpot ribs
T - Chinese restaurant (Eli's fave)
W - H.H.
Th - TBD
F - mac n cheese/hot dogs (daddy night)
S - BBQ??
Su - TBD

* Chuck E Cheese today.
* Eli's 5th Birthday tomorrow. (Chinese restaurant and sleepover with Hannah)
* Eli's first eye appointment Wednesday.
* Mommy's movie night and sleepover with HER friends on Thursday.
* Friday I'm going to Omaha to meet up with an old college friend.
* Saturday -- family birthday party!

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. Country livin'.  It's so peaceful out here.  And in the summer, it's just sooo much fun for playing!
2. Parties. I love parties. I love having people to our house!
3. Summer.  Tis the best time of year.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A new week

A week ago I was pretty down in the dumps about life and marriage.  God was really revealing a lot of things to me about myself.  It was good but it was hard.  I was able to share those thoughts with Kevin. And we had a great weekend as a family, including a date night out.  Who cares that we just went out to eat, Target, Lowes, dessert, then home.  It was just the two of us, and during that time we talked about what other dates we might do.  I really want to try for every two weeks if we can at all POSSIBLE squeeze some time in, even something little.  I left the weekend feeling excited, excited for a growing relationship with my husband, and feeling hopeful for what's to come.  Gosh, sometimes I feel like I'm bipolar cuz now this week I feel zest for life. I gave Kevin a simple card, thanking him for his hard work over the weekend and of course telling him that I love and appreciate him.  And I've also got some ideas brewing for how we can better connect with other friends from church, since Kevin is often gone on Sundays.  Lots of growth coming for all of us, I hope.  So cheers to this new week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Meanderings - July 11

Bible Study... Exodus! Haven't done any reading in awhile

Memory Verse... Psalm 86:11-13
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Start planning our next date! Not really sure when that can be, but I'm gonna start trying for every two weeks.
♥ Be flexible.

Train Them Up...
* New nap routine with Eli.

Personal Goals...
* Run 1x this week. STILL having a HARD time getting back to it.
* Read a little bit in Exodus.
* Start limiting what things I add to the rest of our summer schedule.  We are really getting booked up!!

New Habit of the Month...  {JULY} work on establishing new nap routine for Eli

MUST Do...
* Get presents wrapped, cake ready for Eli's birthday party.
* Paint Eli's desk.
* Start staining the bunk bed.
* Mow?
* Deliver MOPS meal, I have it all ready, just need to get a hold of the person!
* Blog posts-- Arbor Day Farm, Fritz visit, zoo, bunk bed, 4th of July! 

Zone(s)...  Eli's room, Kitchen cupboards (really trying to clean out!)

Menu - 

M  - burritos, salads
T - spaghetti
W - kabobs
Th - chicken piccata
F - fair
Su - crockpot BBQ ribs

* Kevin's day off today--we got a lot done with the bunk bed and now it's pretty much ready for staining once we finish our sample staining first.
* MOPS park playdate Tuesday.
* Meeting Amanda and her kiddos in Omaha Wednesday.
* Holly's coming down on Thursday for a visit!
* Parade and fair on Friday and Saturday.
* Eli's birthday party with friends on Sunday evening.

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. A date with my hubby on Saturday evening.  We mostly ran errands but we had a fun time and good conversation and delicious food. Nice time out and we talked about other date ideas for the future. I really want to start doing this much MUCH more often!
2. Friends. The schedule has been so busy but it's all filled with time spent with wonderful friends and family! It's a good busy for sure!
3. Progress on Eli's bunk bed! I'm so excited and I'm thankful for Kevin's hard work on it--it looks wonderful thus far and I'm super excited get Eli's "new room" together! {I LOVE rearranging!!}

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Am a Control Freak.

I am a control freak. And so, at any given minute you are probably doing the "wrong" thing, not the thing I want you to be doing.  Whether you're pooping too long or in the wrong bathroom, you're parking in the wrong spot, working on the computer instead of playing with the kids, working on a project instead of cleaning up dinner, NOT working on a project, not eating enough dinner, saying No to dessert, or using the wrong tone of voice, I get upset. I get upset over little little things.

Most of the time I try not to say anything though because I don't want to be a nagging wife. So instead my insides boil just thinking it, and trying to hold it in.

And if we're trying to make it somewhere on time, just forget it. I'm probably going to blow my top. I try to plan ahead so we're not rushed, but I can't control everything.  The baby poops and a diaper needs changed, or someone needs to go potty again, or we can't find a shoe, or the sippy cup is misplaced. There seems to always be something. And that's what's hard.

I need to learn that even in marriage I need to choose my battles.  Let the little things go. Let. It. Go. Keep perspective and focus on something else instead of stewing. And {kindly} communicate my desires, so my husband knows my thoughts.

I don't really know how to change all this in an instant. So I'm just going to say I'm sorry.  God has been opening my eyes, allowing me to see who and what I am. And it aint pretty. It's quite the opposite. So please forgive me and know that I am trying.

Trying to slow down, take a deep breath, and ask myself if it really matters.  If not, I'm moving on! Or at least I'm trying.

Used to be.

We used to play tennis in the evenings. We used to fly kites at the park. Ride bikes through a shady trail. Go for walks. Play frisbee or catch with a ball.   We used to eat out with friends after church. Every time. We used to go to movies at the theater. Eat at restaurants frequently. And run errands together. Always. We used to order pizza in on rainy days. We used to sleep in together and watch movies in the afternoon. We used to have conversations. We used to work out together. Go Jeepin'. Take trips spontaneously. Go camping. Take pictures of ourselves.

And then.

We had kids.

And ALL that changed.

Now, we don't do ANY of that. What fun is it to arrange a babysitter just to go do something simple like fly a kite? There's no spontaneity, there's no freedom to just BE and have fun with one another. It has to be arranged and planned and timed. And then, that just takes the fun out of it.

So what's next? How do we get it back? The thrill of one another??

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Food lapbook

Our food lapbook is finally up and available for download on our school blog! Go check it out HERE!

Meanderings -- July 4

Bible Study... Exodus! Haven't done any reading in awhile

Memory Verse... Psalm 86:11-13
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Be patient.
♥ Praise him.
♥ Be his helper.
♥ No negative body language or huffing. 
♥ Plan a date night for this weekend?

Train Them Up...
* skip naps for E. Do reading time with him.
* Plan some activities.
* Make a zoo booklet??

Personal Goals...
* Run 1x this week. Having a HARD time getting back to it.
* Read a little bit in Exodus.

New Habit of the Month...  {JULY} work on establishing new nap routine for Eli

MUST Do...
* Schedule Eli's eye exam 
* Order some of Eli's birthday stuff
* Send birthday invite to family have Kevin check his OT night first)
* Deliver Eli's b-day invites to kids
* Make meal for MOPS mom
* Watch MOPS video and mail to Missouri folks
* Paint Eli's desk
* Plan a date night for Saturday?

Zone(s)...  laundry

Menu - 

M  - BBQ with family
T - chicken Caesar wraps, watermelon, chips
W - BBQ ribs, corn, fruit
Th - TBD
F - dinner with Leiningers
S - date night?
Su - TBD

* 4th of July party with family. We had such a FUN time and the weather was PERFECT this year!!
* Maybe taking kids to community pool today?  Maybe? I've never done it before, public water settings make me nervous, even if the baby area is all fenced in separate.
* Zoo on Thursday {maybe} with friends visiting the area from Virginia and my SIL.
* Dinner with church friends Friday.
* Date night on Saturday {maybe}.

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. A FUN FUN time with family yesterday!!
2. BEAUTIFUL weather!!
3. It may seem silly but I'm thankful I've figured out a way to share some of my files so they can hopefully benefit others!

To have your plans displayed somewhere in your home you can download a printable Monday Meanderings worksheet HERE.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 37:5-7

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this;
He will make your righteousness shine
like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the
noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently
for him;


I have a lot of ugly things going on in life right now, things I'm {trying} to just trust God with and leave in His hands because I simply can't bear it, I am powerless. I am {trying} to keep my eyes fixed on Him, serving HIM, loving HIM, making life about HIM.  But in reality, it's hard. I'm a Type A person, a scheduler, a perfectionist, a follow-XYZ-planner, a care-over-everyone person, a fixer. So trusting God that He will clean up this mess is against all of my nature.  I don't want to be still. I want to follow a list of things to make it better. I don't want to wait patiently. I want life to happen NOW. But I am a person 100% committed to things and people and what I say I'll do. So now, I commit. My life, my path, my journey, to YOU LORD, because You have it figured out.  YOU have the plan. And it's the BEST plan. You know the full story, and You will work the details in between.  In all of this hard hard committing and trusting and waiting and being still business, He will make my righteousness shine.  And all that, that is what living for the Lord is all about.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Don't forget you!

Don't forget to put sunscreen on yourself.
Don't forget to pack yourself a picnic lunch.
Don't forget to pick a freezer pop for yourself.
Don't forget to put on your swimsuit and get in the {baby} pool too.
Don't forget to color a picture or paint with watercolors.
Not because you have to
but because you can.
Don't forget to let yourself have fun!

Because sometimes, as moms, we forget.

Travel games for little ones

This is a much delayed post, but I did want to share some of the things I prepared for the kids to do while in the car for our 44-hr round trip drive to the beach this summer!  So here are some fun ideas.  We had so much fun doing these things we hardly got to our movies that we'd brought!

1. Print a map for your kids to follow.  If it's a short enough trip I draw it myself and add things to it I know they'll see along the way, also including the road signs we'll be looking for.  But for this long trip, I just printed some Google Maps marking our journey, one showing the entire trip, and then three other maps showing the journey for each day.  (Note, I did marker along the state lines so it was easier to see.) Along the way we'd draw on the map what kind of terrain we were seeing.  Lots of trees in Missouri, yellow flowers in Illinois, red soil in Kentucky, mountains and trees in Tennessee and North Carolina.

2. License Plate Game. We didn't do this ALL the time, but when we did it was fun. We'd look for different states on license plates, then color that state on this U.S. map. Kids also colored in the water and everything. Then each time we found a new state we'd read a flash card about it (I happened to have a set of State flash cards I'd found at Target dollar bin). Pennsylvania has the chocolate factory, Indiana has the big race car track, Alabama has a rocket museum, etc. We'd occasionally review all the states we'd learned about so far. Another idea would be to print worksheets of different state flags and have the kids color them as you drive through each state.

3. BINGO cards. I've already blogged about these before, I think here. The pictures on our cards mostly applied to things we see here in the midwest, but I'm sure you could play anywhere.

4. Graph the colors of semi-trucks.  The kids color in the squares, or just mark them somehow with an X or scribble, when they see a truck of each color. Older kids can make sets of 5 tally marks in each square instead. White was by far the most common color of semi-truck. Then ask kids questions like Which color has the most? Which color has the least? Which colors are the same as each other?

5. ABC game. I made a list of the ABCs in order and we'd have to find the letters in order until we got to the end, although the kids didn't quite make it the end before losing interest because we got stuck on a certain letter.  You can do the same with numbers.

Now for other car entertainment ideas...

6. Books on CD. A friend of mine shared with us The Mouse Cookie CD and the kids LOVED it and still ask for it today just driving to and from town! The CD includes four different mouse cookie-type stories and 2 songs to go with each, one that's just a song, and one song that's more interactive.

7. Kids songs on CD. When we discovered that we could put music and story CDs in the car's DVD player and they could listen with headphones we were GOLDEN!  They'd just sit and listen for a long time, singing along not-so-quietly!  =)
as you can see from this pic, I also let Hannah and Eli switch seats occasionally just to give variety since the middle seat has the best view, and is the seat next to Carter. *E & H are close enough in size that the only buckle adjustment is strap tightness.

8. Read aloud books.  We just had short library books but just recently we've started reading aloud chapter books (Magic Tree House series) and that would've been great for that trip! The kids could also look at books quietly to themselves too.

9. Activity packets. For our MOPS kids I make packets of activities that include mazes, dot-to-dots, coloring pages, counting or matching worksheets, and tracing.  I have packets for different seasons, and I had several left over so I brought those along on our vacation.  Driving in the car was a perfect time for activities like that! And as you can see, there's plenty of blank space for free drawing too...

10. ipod and DS games. I had a DS that we've since found some kid games for so they could use it too. We have Dora birthday game, Let's Draw, and SmartKids games. One child could play games on the ipod and one child could play on the DS for a certain amount of time and then they could switch. We mostly used this as a quiet time activity for when Carter needed to nap in the morning.

11. Rhyming game. As we drove by things one person would pick a word, and everyone else had to come up with other words that rhymed with it.  ie We see a traffic light, and someone says LIGHT. Then others can say BRIGHT, NIGHT, SIGHT, FLIGHT, etc.

*12. Guess the gas price. This one is more geared to older kids, I guess, as my kids (ie, Eli, since I knew Hannah was too young) got upset when he didn't win and so we stopped playing altogether. Every time we stopped for gas, we'd each guess how much it was going to cost. Whoever was the closest got a jelly bean. (still have candy from Easter I was trying to use up)

THEN after ALL that if we still needed some quiet time from the kids we'd do a movie.  On our long driving day we didn't even get to a movie at all!!  We all had so much fun and I really enjoyed the interactive learning experience with the kids!

I used a folder with the three hole attachments to store all of our papers and maps and driving directions inside page-protector sleeves. I used a large shoe-box size box to keep our activity packets, markers, coloring books, flash cards, and games etc. I was more than pleased at how the long hours in the car went and afterward felt excited about the possibility of taking MORE driving trips like that!

ABC/Color Graphing
BINGO Card 1, BINGO Card 2, BINGO Card 3
U.S. Map
Activity Packets: Autumn Theme, Dinosaur Theme, Apple Theme, Spring Theme