book · family · life

With May Came Spring!

Finally we have had spring weather. The windows are open. Everyone is wearing shorts (don’t look at our scary white legs). It feels good to finally feel like spring is here to stay (we won’t discuss the fact that we had flurries on Sunday).

Today I went shopping. Blake decided that he needed new school shorts. Let me tell you something shorts for boys are hard to find. I do not let my sons wear athletic shorts to school. I make them wear cargo, jeans or something on that idea. Yes, add this to my mean mom criteria. I just see school as their job and I’m going going to work in workout clothes unless I work at a gym or something on that idea. I want them to see that play clothes are play clothes not play and school/work clothes. So after three different stores (Target, TJMaxx and Kohls) I managed to get him 5 pairs of shorts. There was not a pair of jeans shorts anywhere. Oh well!

In my shopping, I did pick up a few shirts for myself, some pajamas and new bedding for our bedroom. We haven’t got new bedding for our own bed in a quiet a few years and it was time for an update! I picked up a few shirts for Blake and Colby as well. Plus Richard needed a new wallet.

I don’t go out shopping very often beyond the grocery store and Costco… so when I shop… I shop!

When the boys got home from school we headed over to Costco. Blake got new glasses this weekend and they were ready to be picked up. We actually got him glasses and prescription sunglasses. He was very happy since he’s never been able to wear sunglasses. Both the boys now have to order adult size glasses. This was a challenge, but worked out fine. I also picked up a package while I was there. Richard ordered me a new laptop. I’ve had this one for quite a while and it was refurbished at the time. I’m excited for him to come home and set it up. The one I have/had couldn’t hold a charge for the last two years so it really is a stationary laptop now. It will be nice to have a lighter laptop that hold a charge so I can use it where ever I want, not just at the end of my island.

My parent purchased me a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers that I started playing with today. I finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 3) yesterday so today I downloaded a book to read. I set up Goodreads first and downloaded Coming to Rosemont: The First Novel in the Rosemont Series. I’ve only read the prologue so I won’t share anything about it yet, but I will. Hmmm maybe I’ll take my kindle outside and read later?

I hope spring has sprung in your part of the world. Time to make dinner. We are have quesadillas tonight…. so easy! I have one more recipe from Alton Brown: EveryDayCook, Roasted Thanksgiving Salad.  This one is healthy and tasty and full of veggies.

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family · life · through my camera lens

Spring Weekend

This weekend found us with nicer weather, so that meant we were outside. The boys and I went out after they got home from school on Friday. They rode to the park and brought a basketball and soccer ball to play on the court and field down there. I took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. We walked about 1.5 miles.

We just realized that that bug protection we had been applying to Dixie didn’t cover ticks. Great!! We have already pulled 4 off her. It’s not easy to find them since she has very dense fur in some spots, plus most of her fur is black. We have given her the flea and tick stuff the vet told us to try at her last appointment. Hopefully this works, last thing we need is for her getting ticks on a regular basis.

The tick find on Dixie spurred me to get out and treat the backyard. We sprayed the area she has access to as well as the perimeter of the woods of our yard with the insecticide spray and then put granular over the rest of the yard. That was my task Saturday morning before we left for the gym.

This was the boys last week of little lifters. They really enjoyed this program. It would be nice to see my places provide this type of training to kids their age. The program was for kids 8-13. This is the prefect age to introduce correct use of gym equipment that they can use independently. They aren’t ready to get out and use the circuit training or free weights yet, but they can use a step bench, resistance bands, light weights, a medicine ball and many other equipment. Colby is very excited to create his own workout for next weekend and keep working on getting stronger.

We headed to DiBella’s and Lowes. We needed an extension rod for the new fan we purchased at Costco for the morning room. We also picked up rollers so we could paint the garage. Over the last few trips we have been picking up their discounted paints. We were getting gallons of paint for $9. It is a great way to get paint if you don’t really care about the color.

So Saturday we painted the garage. We mixed together a quart of navy blue, a gallon of purple, a gallon of sage and a gallon of a light blue. The color ended up sort of a cornflower blue. It works. Richard also took the cans of white and painted the ceiling in the back section of the garage. We still have 3 cans of different shades of green and may mix them together to paint the basement since we were already talking about painting it green. That is still in the lets think about this stage.

Today we got up and headed to North Park. All three guys took their bikes. I’m’ still nursing my hip and knee so I decided to just walk. The boys rode the paved path to the pump park where I caught up with them. I ended up walking about 1.5 miles again. I was glad to see the distance here because soon the boys will be taking mountain biking lessons here and I’ll walk while they are at their lesson  Richard rode his bike on the actual bike trails.

When we were leaving, we ended up stopping to watch an auto cross in the pool parking lot. There were just regular cars, or regular-ish cars, racing around a cone course. The boys enjoyed this. I liked that I captured a few good photos of them up close. 

What a great way to get out and enjoy the fact that we are finally seeing spring temperatures and the sun!

Hope it is nice in your part of the world and that you had a great weekend.

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Thursday is shopping day

Seems like I’ve moved my grocery shopping day to Thursday. Last night we made our week’s menu at dinner time. This is always an interesting adventure. I ask anyone have a meal they want or don’t want for the week ahead? Sometimes I get answers other times not so much. Richard is better at this then the boys. But, they are often good at coming up with things we have ALL THE TIME. I’m the type of person who likes variety, my guys like routine, or so it seems.

This week we are having:

  • BBQ chicken lasagna (leftovers)
  • hamburgers and hot dogs – haven’t had this in a while actually other than eating out
  • TBD- probably go out to Zuppas since we haven’t been there in a while and the boys have mentioned going
  • steak with sweet potato fries
  • pork tenderloin and apple sauce- haven’t had this in a while too
  • make your own scramblers
  • Tex-Mex chicken totchos – think nachos on tater tots

Ok meal planning.✓

Does anyone need anything else from the grocery store? crickets! But then they complain when I didn’t buy x, y, or z. Or like yesterday at the oddest time they will say can you pick up Alfredo sauce? It’s not as bad on the days they think of it while I’m actually making the list. The worst is the day after I went shopping, oh I needed you to get _______. Too bad, you’ll have to wait until next week. Remember to add it to the list.

So I’m going to get ready to head to the store. Typically I’d go to the gym first since they are on the same street, but not today. I am not sure what I did, but my hip has been killing me since Tuesday. It hurts to walk up and down the stairs, it hurts to get on and off the chair, it just hurts. I refuse to stop moving. Yesterday the four of us went on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner and I walked 1.47 miles and we do not live in a flat neighborhood. (looking at my map my hike info the elevation change was 128 ft between the min and max elevations). But, I’m not going to go to the gym and push it to the point of doing more damage to whatever I did. UGH getting old sucks!

So I will head out in the snow… yes it is snowing AGAIN. Yesterday we had temps in the upper 50s for a high and right now it is 33F and snowing. Here I thought it was spring. Ok mother nature we get it… we aren’t in Florida anymore. It isn’t 80s and sunny 90% of the year. But, can’t we move onto the season of spring? You know the season of renewal and rebirth? The season of flowers, allergies and sunshine? The season that leads into summer? I’m ready… any day now! At least looking at the 10 day forecast at this point there is no snow forecast after today and there are actually days in the 60s. I’ll take it… please!

So, what’s on your menu this week ahead? Do you like to have the same things over and over or do you like to switch things up pretty regularly? Has spring sprung where you live or are you suffering with the season of Spinter like me?

Image may contain: plant and flowerImage may contain: snow and outdoor

family · food

Wheat Berries

It’s snowing again… what?? This weekend we were wearing shorts today I’m wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. It’s only 33F outside and won’t get much warmer. Tomorrow is forecast to be in the 50s and then there is snow in the forecast again for Thursday. What is wrong with this picture?

Yesterday we had FFY (fend for yourself) dinner. Richard had to work late at a planning meeting that ended in dinner out. So I used it as an opportunity to try a new grain. A few weeks ago, I purchased wheat berry. I decided to make this to have for dinner. I found the directions on Genius Kitchen, I bought the wheat berries from the bulk section so I didn’t have any kind of directions. It was pretty easy to make. You started by toasting the wheat berries in the pan which was neat since they pop and even started to smell almost popcorn like. Then you add 2c of water to the 1c wheat berries. It cooks for about 1hr. I did end up needing to add a bit more water, which the recipe said might happen.

I put the wheat berries into a bowl and topped it with steak, cheddar cheese, carrots and a bit of ceasar dressing. Both Colby and Blake tried the wheat berries too. Colby really liked then and considered having it for his dinner, but he already had started making pasta. He did try it topped with alfredo since he was making it for his pasta and said it was really good. Blake tried one bite and didn’t make a big deal over it and said he liked it better than quinoa.

I like finding new things to try especially healthier versions of things we like. Now, I would not call this a replacement for rice or pasta, but it was good. It will make a nice topper for salads or an addition to a pasta salad.

Have you tried wheat berries? Any recipes with wheat berries that I should try? What ancient grains have you tried and liked?

Hope the world is bright and sunny where you are… if so send some to me here in western PA… I’m over winter. Let’s finish loading spring!

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food · life · reviews

Ice cream cookie sandwiches

This weekend found us wearing shorts and t-shirts. We spent most of our time outside being active and doing yard work. Today… not so much. I had to switch the thermostat from having the A/C on to having the heat on before we went to bed last night,. We had the air on because it was in the high 70s/ low 80s, but raining so the windows couldn’t be open. We needed the A/C on both Friday night and Saturday night for sleeping. We woke up to rain again, but now the temperatures were in the 40s. The temperature has dropped today and we actually had flurries earlier in the day.

On Sunday, we decided to head over to Costco and do a bit of shopping. We spent way too much money, but hey we don’t go very often. We purchased more meats, ziplock bags, Excedrin and snacks for the boys. These are items that I now won’t have to buy again for quite a while. We also purchased a ceiling fan for the morning room, light bulbs and clothes for Richard and I. One random thing we did pick up was a package of chocolate chip cookies. When we used to shop of BJ’s Warehouse we really enjoyed their chocolate chip cookies. We thought these would be similar. When we tried them we were disappointed.

icecream copy

So, what does one do when you have cookies that are just ok? Well, we decided to pick up some ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches. I stopped at the grocery store after I worked out at the gym (that makes the 4th day in a row that I got a workout of some kind in… progress). I picked up 3 different kinds of ice cream. My sons do not like the same kind of ice cream, and well they were on sale 3 for $10 so I got a flavor for Richard too.

Making cookie ice cream sandwiches is so easy to make. Let the ice cream get a bit soft. Put a scoop of ice cream between two cookies. Press the top cookie down a bit to settle out the ice cream layer. I then wrap each cookie into plastic wrap and freeze. Hopefully this will help with the cookie, if not… well we have ice cream to have!

Next time, I’ll have to make my own cookies, and ice cream… yummm homemade ice cream, now that is something I haven’t made in a while.

family · life · through my camera lens

Busy Spring Saturday

Spring! Spring! Yeah… it’s spring! And we have been doing a lot outside… that is where you should be when it’s spring!

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04_13_c_01After having a steak dinner yesterday, we headed back into the woods. I wanted to show Richard and the boys some of the paths I traveled. We decided to cut down through our own property and see if we could clear out a safe path to use on a regular basis to get down into the woods behind our house. I think there are a few good choices. We just need to clear out a04_13_b_02 bunch of thorn bushes, all of us ended up with cuts from the thorn bushes. One crazy thing… all four of us put tick spray on. Only one person came home with ticks… ME! I pulled at least 6 ticks off and then spent the night thinking there were more on me. Why me? Gesh!

Today, we got up and had a slow morning. We headed to the gym so the boys could go to their “little lifters”. They have really enjoyed this, too bad there is only one more week. plantersBut, the good thing is they have learned a lot of things that they will be able to do on their own. This will be good going forward especially in the summer when I plan to have them workout on the days we head there to use the pool.

After the gym, we went to DiBellas for subs and then to Lowes (if you follow my blog regularly you probably have noticed this is our regular Saturday pattern). While we were at Lowes, we picked up plants, new planters, potting soil, fertilizer and a few other things. Colby helped me pick out the plants to go in the planter and the hanging plant we purchased.  When we got home we set to work. Richard and I worked on getting the new planters set up. Dixie decided she needed to do some digging too.

We then went into the backyard and Richard began digging holes. This is not an easy task. Digging holes should not require more work with the pick ax than the shovel. He planted the Christmas tress that we purchased to use on the front porch for part of the04_14_c_03 Christmas decoration with the intent on planting them in the backyard. Even though it was a lot of work we will probably keep with this tradition next year.

While Richard was working on the holes, I spread out the butterfly/humming bird seed mix that we picked up at Lowes on sale a few weeks ago. I then went and fertilized the front yard. We need to do something to get the grass a bit greener. Since there is rain in our forecast for tonight and most of tomorrow we wanted to get some of these tasks done so the rain can do it’s job too.

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For dinner we decided to head to Red Robin (YUMMM!) Richard needed to go to the hobby shop to get a new motor for his Traxxas truck, so why not go out to eat too? We all splurged and got milkshakes which is a great treat (Richard: Oreo, Blake: chocolate, Colby: Vanilla, Me: Caramel). We figured we had burned a few extra calories today.

So I’d call today a success. We will see how much rain we get tonight and tomorrow, we need it! The big thing on my agenda for tomorrow is making pizza dough for Stromboli. The last few times I’ve tried to make pizza dough it didn’t workout… keep your fingers crossed I figure it out this time.

life · through my camera lens

Spring hike to the pond

Image may contain: flower, plant, outdoor and natureSpring has sprung! Finally I have the windows open and the sun is shining. I was able to get out and do a bit of yard work and then went for a 2 mile hike around the neighborhood. I actually went exploring the wooded area behind the house. There is a pond back there that I had checked out yet and I wanted for a few reasons. I walked to the pond one way and home a different way. It was nice to get out and see what I could find literally right in my backyard.

This weekend we will continue to have temperatures in the 70s, but the rain is coming. We are forecast for a huge storm starting on Saturday afternoon and raining through Monday. Oh well… I’ll enjoy the sun today. I think I’ll make some lunch and then read for a bit. Having the windows open is nice and there is a beautiful breeze.

Here are a few of the pictures I took on my walk in the woods.

 

I did see a few woodland creatures too. The rabbit was out in our backyard this morning. I took this picture while having my coffee. The butterfly was on one of the trails I was following. This was an actual trail, opposed to some of the deer trails I ended up on what may or may not have been made by humans at one point, but were not kept up at all. (lots of thorns were found in this section) The goose is on the pond I went searching out. The robin was on the backside of the hill in our yard that I was checking out while I was out in nature.

Hope you enjoy your Friday and weekend!

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Snow brings out smiles

So as I mentioned on Wednesday, we got a snow storm to start off the season of spring. Yesterday, Richard decided to work from home. After the boys finished their homework, and Richard finished up his last work meeting they all decided to go outside while I was making dinner.

 

It was in the high 30s, but there was little to no wind. This means that the snow is starting to melt. This didn’t stop the boys from going out on their sleds and snow scooters. Richard went out with Dixie and was tossing snowballs with her. It is too funny to watch this as she doesn’t understand why the ball disappears when she catches it.

 

Richard and Colby decided to make a snowman, but it turned into more of a snow mound. I said it looked like a stalagmite instead of a snowman. They got the shovels out and where shoveling all the snow around the back door and using it to make it huge. This mound was almost as tall as Richard.

There were snowballs, laughter and smiles for everyone. It may have been cold and snowy the last few days. Too many of us may have head colds and be blowing our nose more than we’d want. But, the moments when we can do things together. To have fun and smile… that is what makes family moments worth it all.

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Snow Day Today

The forecast this week was for us to get a wintry mix yesterday and then they said 3-6″ of snow before 8pm last night. That my friends did not happen! We had a wintry mix on and off and did see some snow from time to time, but there was little to no snow when we went to bed last night. This morning we woke up to a white world.

At 5am we got the call saying there would be a 2 hour delay. Some how we actually missed this phone call and were up and moving with the thought we’d have to have Richard and the boys out the door before 7:20. Then I noticed the phone message saying it was a 2 hour delay. (I got my replacement phone yesterday so now I feel better again!). About an hour later we got the call saying that school is cancelled for the day.

Richard decided to stay home as well. He has been fighting a head cold for the last few days. There was already about 1.5″ of snow out there and it was snowing harder and harder as the hours past.

So we had a slow morning. Then Richard and I headed out to shovel. It wasn’t bad until the plow came along and plowed about a foot of snow onto the bottom of our driveway, oh and it also took out a huge swath of the grass off the edge of our property. (What do you call that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street?? I have no idea what it’s called). After we got it shoveled, all 5 of us (4 humans and the dog) piled into the truck to go to the vet.

When we got home the boys headed outside to play in the snow. Me, I should go out and shovel again, but I’m not in the mood to do that just yet. I know it is a necessary evil of the season… oh wait it’s not winter anymore, but it is snowing. So instead I’m making dried strawberries and trying a new roll recipe to have with cheese steaks for dinner tonight.

Are you seeing spring in your area or are you seeing a winter wonderland like us?