family · life · through my camera lens

Rainy Days and Halloween

Last night we had the builder in trying to fix our stairs. Richard was home, but on working still. The boys carved their pumpkins and then we headed out to grab dinner. 2018-10-31 18.22.04While we were driving home (before 6pm) people had already started trick or treating.  Why you ask? Because there was finally a break in the rain.

The temperatures we perfect yesterday, but it was far from dry. So I think as soon as there was any kind of break in the weather, people just said… go!

Well my boys had to come home and eat dinner, then finish prepping to go out. No worries, at least it was almost dark when they left. But, they both decided to toss their rain coats over their costumes. It was mainly drizzling, but there were a few patches of down pours.

Richard and I sat in the garage and handed out the candy. It was nice that the boys were 2018-10-31 18.15.43able to join another group of kids their age and head out trick or treating.

Richard and I popped across to some of the other families who were handing out candy and chatted between lulls in the crowds.

We certainly do not get the huge groups we got in FL. We could easily have just used 1 Costco size bag and that is with giving 3/4 candies to each child. Oh well, the extras and all of Blake and Colby’s candies that they didn’t want was dropped off at their school today. Their school collects candy and other treats and makes stocking to ship off to the troops.

All in all, it was a good night and the boys had a blast… that is all that matters.

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family · life

Indoor Block party?

The street we live on is finally complete. We decided this was a good reason to celebrate. A few of us got together and tried to coordinate a weekend date in Oct to have our first block party. This was back in September, and the best we could do was this weekend. So we planned our first block party for yesterday. It was all planned out. We were going to block off the cul-de-sac, drag out tables, chairs, the grill and fun things for the kids to do.  Yeah well I guess no one consulted with mother nature. Starting Friday night we had rain on and off all weekend. Finally Richard and I decided we would just move the party into our house.

Friday night we began the process of company cleaning the house. You know that feeling of everything that is always out and about needs to actually be put away in the right places. We began in the basement and worked our way upstairs. It felt good to get everything cleaned and know I didn’t have to clean during the week. This also forced the boys to help clean beyond their basic cleaning. Ok they still didn’t do it willingly, but it was done.

Saturday I sent out a message saying that we would make a final decision on Sunday, but that we could move it into our house if needed. We kept putting it off, but finally gave in and said… ok inside it goes. Right after we sent out that message, the sun came out. I felt like mother nature was messing with my head. We also decided that since it was wet and only in the 40s that even with sun…. inside was better.

The party was planned for 3:30pm. Around 3:29 the skies opened up and I felt better about the change in plans!

There are 6 houses on our street (4 in the cul-de-sac and 2 on the straight part of our street). Everyone showed up! It was nice to get everyone together. The people in the house next to us, the last to be completed, were able to meet the rest of the neighbors. We had a 13 month old, an almost 3 year old, a 4 year old (it was actually his birthday), Colby, Blake and another 6th grader, a middle schooler and a high schooler. This was a decent mix of kids. The children are all boys except the one high schooler is a girl. The kids were down in the basement. They had red zone on the tv and were playing on the PS4. Colby set up a hot wheels track and got out the monster trucks for the little boys.

The adults hung out in the kitchen and chatted. The groups were pretty fluid and no one seemed to be left out of the conversations. Each family brought food and there was a lot of food and drinks consumed and leftover.

We already scheduled our next get together. Another family offered their house this time and we picked the date while everyone was together. We hope to do this every couple of months, especially through the winter!

So while it didn’t turn out like we originally planned it was a lot of fun and worth it.

life · PreK class

It’s Monday!

What a busy month this has been. I feel like the weeks are flying by and we will soon be posting about Christmas plans.  Eek, never mind I’m not ready to go there yet.

This weekend we went out kayaking for 3 hours. Let me tell you that if you kayak correctly, you get a really good core workout. I was focusing on keeping my “paddle box” and not paddling with my arms as much. I could really feel it in my lower back and abs. We saw the blue herons, cormorants, blue jays and ducks. This was scheduled to be a fall leaf tour, but the leaves still haven’t changed here. I think this is going to be a very blah fall. The leaves aren’t changing, but they have started to fall off the trees. I hate falls like this. There is something magical about the colors of fall and when they don’t turn it feels like something is missing. This is one of the changes I was glad to have again when we moved to PA. I always missed the color changes when I lived in FL.

Today was one of “those days” at school. You have those days from time to time where you feel like it must be a full moon, but it’s not. I must be talking in a different language, but I’m not. Ummm ok it’s just an off day. Tomorrow we go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Today it is raining…. This means tomorrow we should be having a very muddy field trip. I will have 17 children and their families in a muddy pumpkin patch, oh joy! Oh and the temperatures have finally decided to drop into fall temperatures (Saturday we didn’t get out of the 40s!) My class is meeting at 10:30 it is forecast to be 39F at 10am and 42F by 11am. Cold and muddy. I think I’m pulling out my warm boots.

I hope life is treating you well in your little corner of the world.

 

 

life

Rain

TODAY

SEP 9

Rain
58°56°
100%
E 15 mph 92%
MON

SEP 10

Rain
71°58°
100%
S 9 mph 87%
TUE

SEP 11

Cloudy
72°59°
10%
W 5 mph 80%
WED

SEP 12

PM Showers
79°64°
50%
ENE 5 mph 80%
THU

SEP 13

Partly Cloudy
82°66°
20%
E 6 mph 76%
FRI

SEP 14

Partly Cloudy
82°65°
20%
E 7 mph 76%

Our weekend has been filled with rain! It was raining when we woke up yesterday and hasn’t stopped yet. We went from temps in the 90s, there were days this week where the boys couldn’t go outside for recess because of the real feel temps. Now we are in the swing back into cooler temperature. Not sure how long we will keep the fall temps, but we can hope!

We headed to Lowes yesterday and picked up more grass seed and a few other things. When we got home Richard and I put out the grass seed and the grass mat that we purchased in attempt to get our lawn to grow! There are a few places that I burnt out with fertilizer, it seems super sensitive to the amount of fertilizer put down in any given place. Oh well. learning experience.

Last night we originally had planned to have steaks for dinner, but I forgot to take them out, oh well that meant we didn’t’ have to grill in the rain.  Instead we had pretty much make your own chicken nugget meal during half time of the UCF football game. We were excited to see UCF win even if it was an ugly win. Oh well…  W is a W. Onto next week.

Today brings on laundry and school work for me. Richard is working in the garage and the boys have escaped to the basement to play on the PS4 until Football begins. Blake and Colby are stoked to have RedZone back.

I hope that this week I can find a new groove as far as time and planning. I need to get things done and then I need to make sure that I’m getting out of there and can do my things at home too. If I can figure that out, blogging will be back on the daily plans! Thank you for your patience and continuing to read my blog even when I’m in and out of posting during this transition time.

family · life · Must Have Monday

Weekend Update

Happy Monday Morning…. why does that always sound soooo wrong when you say that? So, I don’t think I even opened up my laptop this weekend, hence the lack of blogging. So let me catch you up on life!

Friday was the boy’s last day of theater camp and there production. They did Frozen Kids this time. Colby was Olaf and Blake was the Duke of Weselton. They had so much fun. I am totally impressed that these kids can learn a whole musical (lines, scores, blocking, dances etc) in one week.  Well it isn’t even a week. On Monday they have auditions. Then they practice T, W, Th at the studio and then on Friday they have their dress rehearsal and the show.  (pictures taken after the show– Colby was hot in his Olaf costume and Blake’s wig was driving him crazy. so they aren’t the best pics, but they had fun)

Saturday we slept in! I think that was the thing Richard and I were looking forward to the most for the weekend. Getting up at 5:30am everyday to workout is good… and bad! But, worth it. Saturday and Sunday are rests days in this program so we didn’t have to get up and get moving. I took Saturday as my cheat day too. This meant I finally got to try the PB&J cookies. They were really good I think the ratio of peanut butter to jelly was off. I almost would prefer them as a thumbprint cookie instead. We ran a bunch of errands including going and researching getting a full rack of dumbbells for working out. Then went out for Tex-Mex for dinner.

When we lived in FL we had a few different Tex-Mex places that we went to on a pretty regular basis. I guess Tex-Mex isn’t as popular here, or it at least doesn’t live up to our standards.  We keep trying different places, but haven’t found that OMG this is good Tex-Mex just yet. The one we went to on Sat. was the closest we’ve tried. We would at least go back to this one again opposed to the others that were one and done places.

Sunday found us with beautiful weather and motivation to hit the trails. I dropped Richard and the boys off for a bike ride and went for a hike. I found it a lot easier to walk trails that I’ve walked before. I wasn’t having to stop to catch my breath after climbing the hills and increased my pace. I hiked just a bit under 2 miles. The guys rode just under 5 miles. The rest of the day found us doing relaxing things at home.

I finished 2 of the books I got at the library this week and the third books I read two chapter of and then gave up because it didn’t peek my interest enough. I also deleted the book I was reading on my kindle, that one started to get too smutty. I’m now reading a book on my kindle about Hemingway until I get back to the library.

Ok that is my weekend in a nutshell. Hope you had a good weekend too

 

family · life

Weekend update- mother’s day edition

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. We were busy this weekend. Saturday found us at North Park on a bike ride. The boys wanted to show Richard the trails they have been riding in bike class. I decided to skip the ride and go for a hike. I went on a few new paths that I hadn’t walked on before. It was a win-win all around. We then went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and stopped at the bike store. Blake needed a new helmet and Richard wanted to look at new bike shoes. We were spent a while outside doing a bit of this and a bit of that as well as chatting with neighbors. We originally planned to go out to dinner, but the skies opened with no sign of letting up, so fend for yourself dinner it is! We decided that since we stayed home we should watch a movie. We decided to watch Ocean’s Eleven (2001). Richard and I have been on a kick of showing the boys movies that Richard and I enjoy, but are still appropriate for tweens.

Sunday morning Colby decided he wanted to make me breakfast in bed. Richard told him that wouldn’t work since there was no way to serve it. So instead Colby opted to make me a strawberry peanut butter smoothie. He tried to bring it up to me, but I was already on my way downstairs. After breakfast, we went off to the gym, DiBellas, and Lowes. We had a long list of things to purchase at Lowes. This did not make the boys happy. We can’t win they don’t want to go if we don’t have a list, now they don’t want to go if we do have a list. Get over if… home ownership means trips to Lowes!

When we got home we started putting down seed on the front and side lawns and then were were going to begin putting the bags of top soil on bare spots. The ground here is rocky, loaded with sticks and it is clay not soil. So we are having to work hard to get this lawn looking the way we want it to look. We will get there. While we were working on putting out the top soil it began to rain. It wasn’t bad at first, but then it picked up. We had to head in and wait it out in the garage. We were already partially done and slightly damp so we decided to wait it out instead of going in to change. We then went out again when it let up only to have the sky open and drench us. Oh well… it got done.

Colby came outside when he finally stopped raining and was observing the run off on the lot next door. He has been learning about water and the effects of it on the landscape. It was neat listening to him discuss the erosion he was observing, the tributaries that were created as well as many other terms he learned in science class. School work at it’s finest!

We had homemade pizza and rolls for dinner. We used the Alton Brown recipe again. It wasn’t as good as the first time we made it, but it was still really good.

The night was ended with Google Hangout calls to both grandmothers to wish them a happy mother’s day.

Hope you had a great weekend.

(Must have Monday is still going to appear today…. just later on today. I didn’t post yesterday so I wanted to share the whos and whats of the weekend)

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.

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!

Image result for loading spring failed

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!

04_13_bc_01

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.

04_14_c_02

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.