Sunday, August 2, 2015

Fail To Plan. Plan To Fail

Holy cow Inservice starts this week!!!!! Which means school starts next week!!! I feel like there is so much to do in my classroom and there isn't enough time before now and then to get everything ready!! I have list upon list of things to do I am so ready to start checking things off!

Before I wrap my head around the upcoming school year with coaching cross country and getting the girl to soccer practice I have to remember to feed myself and my family. That means it is time to get back to meal planning and putting together my freezer meals because for some reason having everything all planned and written out just gives me a sense of calm and peace in this mess I call my brain.

I have already purchased all of the ingredients for 8 meals (5 dinners and 3 lunches) so we are off to a good start for the first few weeks of school. Some of these meals I will also be splitting in half and swapping with my friend who is a making a bunch of meals so we can swap. That means I will have at east 12 meals that I don't have to think about! If you can find a friend to swap meals with I highly recommend it. You get a variety of meals and it is fun to get together to swap meals, grill yummy food, and drink yummy drinks.

To make things even easier on myself I have a very loose schedule of what types of meals I make each day which helps me plug everything into my nifty difty handy dandy dry erase calendar. Every Monday I use one of my crock pot freezer meals because it is Monday and I am usually exhausted on Mondays plus the fact that it is Monday makes me sad so I want to make everything as easy as possible. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday and we typically make turkey tacos or chicken fajitas or some sort of stir fry this day. Wednesday we have spaghetti or some sort of pasta (zucchini noodles with chicken meatballs, inside outside ravioli, etc). Thursday is typically another crock pot day because it is the end of the week and I don't really feel like cooking. Friday isn't really planned out because we usually have leftovers or we have date night so we usually grill out and every now and then we go out. This is a very tentative schedule and we throw in a meatless night every now and then to shake things up.

I shopped at Costco and Kroger to collect everything I needed and since I already had all of the spices, gluten free soy sauce, and the chicken for the fajitas I am not including them in my Grocery List and final total

What I am making

Beef and Broccoli
Mongolian Beef
Pepper Steak
Chicken Fajitas
Stuffed Pepper Soup
Sweet Potato Chili
Hamburger Soup 
Zucchini Noodles With Pesto and Chicken Meatballs

 What I Bought

8 lbs. Ground Turkey $20.00
4 lbs. Flank Steak $32.81
Ground Chicken $3.99
Pesto $5.39
3 Yellow Onions $1.21
1 Purple Onion $.79
Tomato Sauce $7.99
Diced Tomatoes $5.99
4 Boxes Beef Broth $8.37
Bag of Carrots $1.99
2Red, 2 Green, 2 Yellow Bell Peppers $7.58
Bag Red Potatoes $2.00
Bag Sweet Peppers $4.99
Frozen Bag Broccoli $1.50
4 Zucchini $1.93
4 Sweet Potatoes $2.97
Balsamic Vinegar $4.99
Sesame Oil $3.99
Almond Meal $7.99

What I Spent 

Tomorrow to save my sanity while cooking I am taking my child to the redbox and letting her pick 2 new movies which I will let her binge watch while I cook, prep, and bag everything! Typically I would be doing all of this on the weekend while Brent is home, but I know my child and if I don't entertain her somehow she will ask me every 5 seconds when I will be done cooking so we can play hungry hungry hippos. Now don't get me wrong I absolutely love playing with my girl and we spend most of our time at home playing hide-n-seek, hungry hungry hippos, hi-ho cherry-o, sneaky snacky squirrel, puzzles, my little ponies, to name just a few things. Tomorrow I need about 2 hours of non interrupted cooking time so I figured I could let her watch a couple movies for a few hours kind of like how I am watching The Office right now.

Wish me luck and  pray the girl picks 2 really good movies and lets me cook and drink a few cups of coffee for a little while.


Summer Lovin

Summer break is coming to an end and the new school year is approaching all to quickly. Before we jump headfirst back into our routine I wanted to share a little bit of the fun we have had during our time off.

I am so very thankful that I have a job that lets me spend all summer with my favorite girl and this summer has by far been my favorite. Now that my girl has made it around the sun one more time I can reflect back on  our previous summers and why this one has been the best so far. For me this summer has been the best because this age has been the best for us.Our first summer was spent trying to survive as new parents, our second summer was spent running around half naked because we were potty training, and last summer she was 2 so that speaks for itself. We never had knock down drag out terrible two's, but 2 was definitely the longest year for us because we did suffer through about 2 months of tantrums which made me think we might never have another kid. Thankfully looking back I realize we made it out alive and it really wasn't that bad so maybe we won't make her be an only child.

This summer was so relaxing and so much fun! It may or may have been because we didn't have to drag a ton of stuff around with us and could just get up and go without a lot of thought and preparation. To start off our super fun summer we made a summer bucket list of things we wanted to do and I think we did a pretty good job of having fun as we possibly could this summer. 

We started off our summer slow and easy

We built every type of fort we could possibly build.

We spent many many days at The Children's Museum with Yaya

 We also spent many many many days at the zoo 


We traveled to Nashville 

 And then we brought Nashville to us

I think my favorite part of summer was our week at the beach. We hadn't been since mom was sick and before Mckinley was one so it was really special to get to spend this time with our entire family and it was so much fun watching the girl really enjoy herself this time.

Last summer Mckinley took swimming lessons, but I wasn't too happy about their technique of basically forcing the kids to do things so this summer we decided to let her get go at her own pace and now I can happily say my four year old can swim. She still needs to grow a little bigger so she can touch the bottom, but this kid has turned into a fishy this summer.

 Besides all of the fun we had this summer we also have to talk about the fact that we just celebrated my girl's 4th birthday which I am still trying to pretend like I didn't happen!!!
 How oh how is this precious angel already four. I still remember everything about the day I had her so there is no way it was four years ago! We had a small party at our house with pizza and princess cupcakes and spent the day with our family at the Children's Museum and it was perfect!

This summer has seemed so long, but now that it is almost over it feels like it went by way too fast. I don't know if next year can live up to this one, but we will sure try to make it just as special.

 We have definitely had as much non napping, wet hair, red cheeked fun that we could possibly have summer!! I can't wait to see what next summer brings!!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Life Lately

We try to spend as much time as we can with our families which is pretty easy to do since they all live relatively close by. The grandparental's are always requesting sleepovers with the wild child so she gets spoiled by one set or the other practically every weekend. Now that it is summer time we are spending even more time with family especially my mom since she is a crazy get up and goer like us. We have also tried to squeeze in as many play dates and grill outs with friends to squeeze every bit of fun out of this summer.

We met up with some girlfriends and their little for a Day of Merry Making at a local park and even though it was blazing hot we still had a blast.

Good food, cold drinks, and ice cream for the kids = parental relaxation time

What we do any day we don't have anything else to do. This girl has definitely gained confidence in the water this summer. We decided not to take swimming lessons and I feel like that was the best decided for us. We really didn't care for the forceful way they made her do things she didn't want to do and it made her more afraid of the water. Maybe she was too little or maybe they were really mean, but for us swim lessons did more harm then good. This kid is now a fish and has developed an obsession with the water and she will swim without her puddle jumper when she is stronger and ready.

We recently bought a bike trailer off of a local resale sight and plan on doing some family bike riding on our local green line. It has been a little too hot lately and we have had plans already set every weekend so we are hoping to hit the road soon. We have been practicing in our neighborhood just to get the feel of things and someone has definitely been enjoying the ride.

Mckinley has also been practicing riding her bike with Papa and Yaya and she has gotten pretty good at it. She also got a new to her red flyer for our house and has been flying around the house past few weeks and terrorizing the dogs.

Water balloons with Car Car and Nonni

We have made quite a few blanket forts which are perfect for eating picnic lunches and watching movies with popcorn.

Zoo day with the boys

God bless the bounce house!

I am still not sure if she enjoyed The Pink Palace or was terrified by it.
I am going to go with terrified

 Splash pads and snacks

We are still soaking up every minute of this summer break and have so many more fun things planned!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Squeaky Clean Jelly Bean

We are only 4 days into summer break and I am already exhausted from my girl asking me when we are going here or there. I racked my brain to come up with something that would help her not make me crazy everyday and I finally thought maybe if she had her own calendar she would stop asking me 20 times a day when we were going to camp. We ran to target hoping to find a poster board calendar like you might find at a school supply store, but of course that wasn't available and I knew we would have to make what we wanted. I wanted to let Mckinley pick everything out to make it more fun and to make her think this was all her idea because that is sometimes the only way to get them to do what you want. Once we found the poster board section I could see the gleam in her eye when she spotted the shiny silver hologram poster and I just knew that monstrosity would be hanging in my kitchen. Next we had to figure out a way to put all of our info. on our calendar but it had to be easy to move around and change since our plans always seem to change as soon as we make them. Thankfully we found a small pack of colorful sticky notes which would be perfect for color coding activities for the girl and easy to remove when our plans change. Last, but not least we had to figure out how we would section everything out and that was when I spied the washi tape section and prayed the girl didn't choose the hot pink leopard tape. Thankfully she chose the perfect accompaniment for her super shiny poster board and highlighter colored sticky notes, the polka dotted washi tape (My girl fears no pattern). Now that we had all of our supplies and I found a new bathing suit cover for our beach trip we were ready to head home and get to work.

Someone was really hungry when we finally got home so after our inaugural summer break lunch picnic we were ready to go.  

cantaloupe, grapes, pepperoni, a chocolate peanut butter sandwich (Justin's hazelnut butter), Cheetos puffs, and taco soup

 Now that the girl was fed we could get to work on our new calendar. I started off by deciding how it would be layed out. I knew I wanted an area to write the month, a row for the days of the week, and enough rows, to make an entire month. I also wanted it to do a little double duty and created a place to add some chores in for the girl. The green sticky notes are days not filled with activities just yet, orange sticky notes are the days we have summer camp, pink sticky notes are days we are hanging out with friends or going special places like the zoo, and blue sticky notes are swim days. So far the color coded system has really helped Mckinley be able to decipher what we are doing each day and not ask me over and over again We have already added and changed a few activities and the sticky notes have made it very easy to change things up without having to redo the entire board.

As I mentioned earlier we have started incorporating a few ways for Mckinley to help us around the house and these things have just happened naturally because she, as most little kids do, love to help. Their idea of help may not be exactly what the parents had in mind and may seem more like a nuisance when you want to get tasks done quickly, but the more you let hem help the more they will want to do and it won't be a struggle when you ask hen to help later on. We started with simple tasks that she requested to help with like stirring batters, washing bowls (I pre washed them just to make sure they were really clean), making the beds, and her favorite task sorting the utensils which does double duty because she is helping with the household cleanup, learning of help, and learning how to sort objects with differences in size and use. I am still helping her with many of these tasks, but as she gets more efficient I will let her do more and more by herself. 

 It's funny how so many things I use at school carry over into my home life. I was trying to figure out how we could mark when McKinley does each of her chores and my awesome sister suggested using clothes pins like I use at school so McKinley could be on charge of marking each one which is another twofold skill. She is using her fine motor skills to squeeze each clip and she is learning to be independent by making sure we are completing each task. To me is doesn't matter  if she does everything perfectly it just matters that she is learning to help and having fun.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summertime Fun

It has technically only been 2 days so far we have already had a blast our first few days of summer break. My goal this summer is to do as much as we can and be at home as little as possible. We have already created a bucket list of things we want to do this summer and so far we have already marked off a few things.

The first thing we marked off of our list was a visit to the zoo. Thankfully we have passes so we can visit anytime we want and our favorite thing to do it get there really early right when it opens to beat the crowds and enjoy the animals

We chatted with the prairie dogs 

Made friends with the goats. She kept saying "Mommy he loves me!"

Tentatively playing in the geysers and ran screaming every time the big one blew. I had forgotten to throw a bathing suit in our bag, but I did however have our trusty backup tye dye dress so we threw that on after she was done running and screaming.

Before we left I thought it would make our special day even more special if she got to pick something from the gift shop. We have never done this before so she was really excited. There was so much to choose from, but we finally narrowed it down to a soft white polar bear.She loves him just a little.

Another one or our favorite things to do during the summer is walk around the pet store and visit all of the little animals. Bonus if there is an adoption that day. Today we fell in love with the ferrets and wanted to show them our new polar bear, but the were too busy fighting to really appreciate his fluffiness. 

The next day we decided to hit up the Children's Museum where we also have passes to play whenever we are bored. I had packed our swim stuff since there is a splash pad included with our pass but someone wasn't too excited about that idea so we did not splash that day. Sadly they are also redoing the playground so we will have to wait until next time to climb and slide.

We always start off visiting the chicken coops and even spoke with the man taking care of the chickens. We were asking if their chickens lay eggs and what do they do with them since there are so many of them and not a lot of chicks running around. I wondered if they hatched them and if so what did they do with the chicks. He said they collected the eggs and took them home and he wanted to give us some fresh eggs, but they had already been taken out. I think it is so neat that the staff gets to take the fresh eggs home to eat. I swear everyone who works there is so unbelievably nice! The man said they taste like butter they are so delicious. I would still love to have my own  chickens someday, but Brent has used one of his marriage vetos and says no chickens so it is a no go for now. Also I don't know how chicken would fair with our dogs so no chickens for now.

We typically start off at the airplane where  Mckinley loads and unloads packages for 30 minutes and then we move on to the river for some fishing. We arrived so early today no one had even played here yet so it was still nice and dry.

After fishing it was time to do a little grocery shopping and as usual it was Mckinley's job to scan everything while she barked orders at me to put everything away. She is a tough boss.

Testing out future careers? We had actually had a conversation about this on the way to the museum and my girl stated that she wanted to do the jobs with the colors like the museum. I am still not sure what job this is but something with colors at a museum so that sounds pretty cool. 

After we got home we had to finish getting ready to go out of town later that day so Mckinley relaxed in her tent and ate a chocolate peanut butter sandwich (Justin's hazelnut spread) and strawberries while I finished rounding everything up. 

So far our summer break has been super fun and I am sure I will have even more fun things to report after we start summer camp and find more adventures to share. I see a lot of watermelon and popsicle eating in our future and maybe a park and river walk adventure!