Friday, May 29, 2009

Where'd the Time Go?

So, here it is Friday and I'm still playing catch up from last week!

Last Friday was Josh's last day of school. His current school only goes through 2nd grade, so it was his last day at that school! He was a bit sad, but he's excited about starting at the Intermediate School next year too!

Last Thursday, they had a small class party and put on plays for the parents. Here are some pics of Josh and his classmates and teacher....

His two best friends in his class, Nadine and Emily. Emily is moving and we're very sad because she and Josh were very good friends this year. According to Nadine, they fancied each other but I'm in denial about that and Josh says they were just good friends.

Josh and his teacher. We loved Ms. Barlow!

And his whole class together. They were a great bunch of kids, but apparently 2nd graders are very rowdy!

Also on Friday, Josh had his last baseball game of the season. He did really well and made lots of progress this year. At his last at-bat Rich pitched to him and Josh had his best hit of the season. Rich only had one pitch and Josh swung and smacked the ball as hard as he could. Right over Rich's head! I was lucky to get the picture!

Daddy pitching to Josh

On Friday night Rich and I were trying to think of something to do that weekend. We didn't want to sit around the house and let the long weekend go to waste. So we decided to go to Chattanooga for the night. We go up there quite often. It's only an hour and a half away, but we decided to make it special and spend the night up there.

There are lots of places to stay, but we decided to stay at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel (run by Holiday Inn). It was a great choice! It looks like they are refurbishing it a bit, but at the moment it's a bit dated - however, the staff were so nice! And the restaurant was surprisingly good!

They converted the old train station into a hotel and it's really cool. You can even stay in the train cars if you want. We opted for a 2-room suite so the kids could have their own room and we could spread out, but I definitely want to stay in the train cars one time. And the boys want to do that too.

We did the usual trip to the Aquarium on Saturday but wanted to do something a bit different on Sunday. And it was raining so anything outside was out of the question. We decided to go to Ruby Falls. It's a large underground waterfall. The trip had us walking through a cave to the cavern at the end with the falls. Pictures from the site can be found here. It was lots of fun and very pretty! My pictures from out trip can be found here and here. Not all of them, but a good selection.

This week I've been trying to keep the boys busy. We're trying some new things this year. I don't want the boys to sit infront of the TV playing video games all day so we're getting out and exploring and trying to find free things to do in the city. Or at least inexpensive ones! Starting next week we seem to have quite a bit planned with free movies, trips with the Mom's Group and things I've planned.

I'll try to be better at updating with our adventures and the Things We Do!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Liverpool Boys

Liverpool are #1!

Okay, so maybe they didn't win the League, but they're still the best team! Here's to next year!

For more Wordless Wednesday visit the WW HQ and 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Happy Monday everyone! I do have some updates and such but since it's Menu Plan Monday I'll wait and post them tomorrow.

I seem to do okay on my menu planning for the start of the week, then it seems things come up the second half of the week and I mix it up a bit. I use what I have on hand, but seem to change what we eat.

I guess the main thing is I'm using what I already have to make a meal. Like last week, I made a stir fry on Friday night instead of fajitas, and I made Salmon Tikka on Saturday (it was really good and details on this are below). A lot of the changes depend on what vegetables we get in the farmers market baskets on Thursday.

This week I'm trying to maximize food I already have in the house. Of course I need to go shopping for a few things, but I want to use the meats and fish that we already have in the freezer. And I want to use up the vegetables in the fridge too.

So I'm sure there will be some changes as the week progresses, but at the moment, this is what we have on the menu this week....

Monday - Left over Salmon Tikka, roasted cauliflower and curried chickpeas.

On Saturday I marinaded some salmon (cut into cubes) in some organic fat free yogurt mixed with some tikka spices and lemon juice. Then I stuck the cubes on skewers and broiled them for a few minutes. YUM! I served them with some roasted cauliflower (which is one of my new favorite things) and some curried chickpeas. For the chickpeas I just sauteed some diced onion - about 1/2 a small onion - in olive oil until they were soft. Then I added a can of chickpeas and stirred to coat - about a minute or so. Then I added a spoonful of Patak's Mild Curry Paste and added about 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes and simmered for about 20 minutes. Then I added a handfull of chopped baby spinach, covered and let simmer until the spinach was wilted and we were ready to eat. It was SOOOOO GOOD! Anyway, I'm having the left over's today.

Tuesday - Chicken with Green Olives & Prunes, broccoli and brown rice

This is something I really don't think Rich will eat so I'll be having it on a day he won't be home for dinner. I love chicken and green olives together and the picture just looks so yummy!

Wednesday - Something with turkey cutlets.

I have them in the freezer and they're quick and easy to cook up. Josh really loves baked potatoes so I'll probably serve them with a salad, baked potatoes. I really love cold roasted beets in vinegar. So if I have time to roast up some beets this week I'll do that and we can have them with the salad as well.

Thursday - Salmon, vegetables from my farmer's market basket and potatoes.

This is sort of a "Thursday staple" and you'll see it over and over again. We love salmon and I try to have fish a few times a week.

Friday - Baked Penne

Josh has his last baseball game on Friday night and who knows how long it will last. So I'll make this. It's from CleanEating and basically, brown up some ground white meat turkey breast, boil whole wheat penne, add some broccoli, mix the penne & meat with some tomato sauce (I like the Muir Glen Organic the best but use what you like). Throw the mixture into a casserole dish - top with a bit of low-fat mozzerella and bake at 350 for 20ish minutes. Easypeasylemonsqueezy - and delicious!

Saturday - Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus & Lemon and potaotes.

You've seen this one before. It was really good so I'm doing it again.

Sunday - I have no idea. If the weather is nice, I'd love to do a barbecue. And since next Monday is Memorial Day, we've been thinking about trying to go camping that night... but who knows. We'll just have to wait and see.

As usual, I'm taking part in two menu planning blogrolls. For more ideas and menu plans, visit Menu Plan Monday at "I'm an Organization Junkie" and Chive Talkin's Menu Plan Blogroll (she had some really yummy looking things last week!)

I have heaps of oranges that I don't really know what to do with. In my search, I found this recipe for Cranberry - Orange Biscotti. I made them this week. They are really good and so easy to make! I used orange juice in lieu of the orange liqueur because that's what I had on hand. They were very good and would make an excellent teacher gift!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Last Day of School Picnic

I'm not quite "Wordless" today... I have a few things to say!

I can't believe Sam's done with school. He only has one more year left here before he goes on to Kindergarten!

Here are some pictures from yesterday's picnic.

First they sang some songs...


Or maybe not... Yes that is Sam with his head in his shirt...

Not Singing, Hiding.

Then we had a picnic lunch...

Mommy & Sam having a picnic lunch

Here's Sam with his teachers, Mrs. Cindy and Mrs. Lynn. Sam had Mrs. Lynn for toddlers 2 years ago. And both the teachers had daughters in Josh's 4 year pre-k class. Mrs. Lynn has to go back to work full time so she won't be there next year. We're very sad to see her go, but wish her all the best with her new job! And we're looking forward to seeing Mrs. Cindy in the halls next year.

Sam with his teachers

He LOVES both his teachers very much! When we got home yesterday he told me he was sad that school was over. That's quite a change from the start of the year when he didn't want to go to school at all!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


It's Monday and that means time to plan the weekly menu!

We had a few changes last week due to car issues, spontaneous trips to the pool, and a last minute parent-student night at the school Josh will be going to next year.

So, I didn't have the fajita salad and last night, since it was Mother's Day, we ordered pizza. I know, pizza is not "on my diet" but it was Mother's Day and I felt like having pizza! And it was good!

Of course I'm paying for it today... the scale showed me at the same weight this morning as I was last Monday. I know it's mostly water because mid-week I'd lost a pound. So, I'll weigh myself tomorrow after a day of clean living and see how we go.

Everything new that I tried last week was really yummy. The Portobello Cheesesteak Sandwiches were really good as was the Chili-rubbed Tilapia. They are definitely making the cut! I have to say, everything I've made from the Eating Well Book has been really good. I highly recommend it for the recipes if not the diet!

So, here's this week's Menu...

Monday - Lebanese Turkey Meatball/Kebabs with salad and yogurt (fat free plain organic yogurt and I'll throw in some cilantro, onion, lemon and cuke)

This is from Prevention Magazine's "Fit Over 40" I made them a few weeks ago and they were delicious. I have a few in the freezer that I'm pulling out for dinner tonight. The kids have an "End of Year" party at a local indoor play place so they'll have pizza or whatever is there. If you want the recipe for this, leave a comment with your email address and I'll send it to you. I don't want to post it because of copy write issues. I found it in a magazine and I'm not sure if I can just post it or not. They are yummy and easy!

Tuesday - Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers , roasted zucchini & yellow squash and oven sweet potato fries.

Wednesday - Grilled turkey cutlets with Salad and baked potato.

Nothing fancy here. I'll just season up the cutlets with whatever I have around, then grill them on the George Foreman and serve with a salad and baked potatoes.

Thursday - Potato Horseradish Crusted Mahi-Mahi , vegetables from my Farmer's Market basket.

We had this a few weeks ago and it was really good! I can't wait to have it again.

Friday - Fajita's - trying this one again.

Saturday - Salmon, spinach and potatoes.

Sunday - Hopefully Chicken on the grill and grilled veggies.

For more Menu Planning fun, I'm participating in Menu Plan Monday at and Chive Talkin's Menu Plan Blogroll. For more inspiration head over to both places and have a look around!

I'm also in the midst of a huge clear out of my house. I'm sick of all the junk so I've begun to organize and purge. Last week's project was the kitchen. More on that tomorrow...

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Friday! The End of a LONG Week!d

I am so glad it's Friday!

Rich had to work last weekend so it feels like we've had one BIG LONG week!

Josh finished up the last of his homework with his ALP presentation on Wednesday. He did fantastic. He got 48 of 50 points - only lost points on being "organized" during his presentation.

He was very proud to do so well, but did say "If only I was more organized!"

To which both Mom and Dad replied, "That comes with practice Josh. The more you practice BEFORE you give your presentation, the better organized you will be."

So, now he knows when we bug him to practice, we're not doing it to be mean. I could not get him to practice his presentation to save my life. So I figured, this may be one lesson that the only way he'll learn is to "learn it himself."

But we are proud of him for receiving such good marks on the whole project!

Josh also had Field Day and a "Field Trip" to the park behind his school this week. Next week he has his 2nd Grade End of Year Party to celebrate the end of his time at the Elementary School. Next year he goes on to an "Intermediate" school that has grades 3-5. Last night we went to Parent & Student night at the new school. He's very excited about going there. They have lots of activities for the kids like Student Council, "Recorder Karate," an International Drum Group, Robotics Club... and all sorts of extra curricular activities to enhance his education.

I was impressed too. I had heard that the homework and expectations take a huge leap in 3rd grade and from the presentation, they do. But it also looks like they try to keep the learning fun with Author's Night and the kids putting on plays and doing projects about the subjects they're learning about. Josh was so excited to be "movin' up" that he came home and said he wished 3rd grade started tomorrow!

We also had a few more issues with my car. Caused a lot of stress and inconvenience, but in the end we just needed (another) new battery covered under warranty.

The boys and I have managed to get to the pool this week. The water was too cold for me, but they liked it!

The weather's been a bit like summer here this spring. Lots of rain making the days when it isn't raining quite humid. It seems the drought may be over! Most lakes are at or above pre-drought levels, but the "watering restrictions" haven't been lifted yet. Of course with all the rain, who needs to "water" the plants?

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The Pool's Open!

... and it was cold but we still got in...

Josh wasted no time and jumped right in...

First Dip in the Pool

First Dip in the Pool

Sam on the other hand...

First Dip in the Pool

He spent more time on the side lines than in the pool....

First Dip in the Pool

But he did eventually...

First Dip in the Pool

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tagged Again - Pieces of Eight

I was tagged by Dina from 4 Lettre Words for this meme. It's called the "8th Meme" (but I like Pieces of Eight better) and you list 8 things in each category. Pretty stock standard.

So here are my "Pieces of Eight."

8 Things I Look Forward To
1. Summer vacation and not HAVING to get up and get the boys ready for school.
2. Spending time at my parents' house in July.
3. Bedtime. Not just the boys bedtime, but mine. I love bedtime!
4. Spending time with just Rich.
5. Spending time with all the boys.
7. Spending time on my own.
8. After summer when it's time for the kids to go back to school.

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Woke up
2. Made breakfast, lunch and dinner
3. Got kids off to school.
4. Went grocery Shopping.
5. Updated blog and successfully avoided cleaning
6. Got kids from school
7. Played "Little Big Planet" on PS3 with the boys.
8. Watched Lost and Fringe on DVR with Rich.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do
1. Sing - well carry a tune. I mean, I can sing, I'm just horrible.
2. Draw - again, see above.
3. Keep the house tidy.
4. Fix the economy.
5. Travel more.
6. Win the lottery
7. Have more family vacations to the beach.
8. Have more vacations with just Rich.

8 Shows I Watch

I watch EVERYTHING on DVR. The other night we actually watched something that wasn't recorded and it drove me nuts. So, please no spoilers for the shows I'm watching. We stock them up so we can watch them in large chunks.

1. Lost
2. Fringe
3. 24
4. Rules of Engagement
5. The Graham Norton Show
6. Primeval - season 3 starts next week on BBCA!
7. How I Met Your Mother
8. Leverage

8 Bloggers Tagged For The Task

I hate tagging people so I'm not going to tag anyone. First eight people to leave a comment that haven't done this already -- consider yourself tagged. And if you're lurking, your tagged too!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


As part of my 12-Week Mission I'm planning out meals for the family and me. I do it anyway, but I'm getting much stricter about it and not just planning dinners but breakfasts, snacks and lunches as well.

When the boys break up from school I'm going to need something to help keep us on track so I'm not in the kitchen playing guessing games with their meals all summer.

And since I already plan my menus, but I'm giving them a face-lift, I thought I'd join the "Menu Plan Monday" crew over at I'll only be posting dinners here. I won't post all the recipes this week. If I try something and I love it, I'll post the recipes next Monday - or forward them to those that ask.

Monday: Peanut-Ginger Tofu & Veggies*.

I actually had this last week and have tofu left over so I'm having it again. It was quite good and is sort of like a tofu Satay. But since I'm the only one that will eat tofu the boys will have grilled chicken, broccoli (or spinach) and potatoes.

Tuesday: Lemon Chicken Artichoke** & roasted zucchini & summer squash and potatoes.

Wednesday: Portobello "Philly Cheesesteak" Sandwiches* & a salad. Boys get Turkey Burgers and "Oven" fries.

Thursday: Salmon grilled on the George Foreman, veggies from my farmers market basket & potatoes (either regular or sweet depending on what's in the basket.)

Friday: Chicken Fajita Salad. The boys will have Fajitas.

Saturday: Chili Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus & Lemon*, Brown rice

Sunday: Chicken, veggies and potatoes on the Barbecue.

Items marked "*" are from the Eating Well Diet cookbook, those with "**" are from CleanEating Magazine. The rest are just made up as I go.

And to update you all -- I had a good week on my Mission. I'm down 2 lbs from this time last week. I know quite a bit is water from not drinking wine in the week. I did manage to get out and walk around our "circle" once last week - that's 3 miles door to door. I hope to do the same this week.

I'm aiming to do some form of exercise 3-4 times a week. Whether it's the Wii, Treadmill or walking outside.

Also posted on Chive Talkin's Menu Plan Blogroll. She has some yummy looking fresh meals on her meal plan too!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

We Celebrated National Astronomy Day!

If you haven't guessed, the new science museum in our area is our new favorite place to visit.

We had lots going on yesterday but for one reason or another, almost everything got canceled or "re-prioritized."

First of all, Rich had to work yesterday -- and today too. And Josh has been busy working on his Constellation presentation for school this week.

Josh was invited to two birthday parties at the same time - obviously he could only go to one and it was a slumber party for his friend Sean. He's home now and extremely tired!

One thing Josh really wanted to do was go to the National Astronomy Celebration at the Tellus Science Museum. But with his baseball game and the slumber party we didn't think it would be possible. We've had a few days of rain and Josh's baseball game was canceled. So we jumped on the opportunity to head up to Tellus.

It really beat sitting around the house all afternoon counting the hours until it was time to go to Sean's!

There were all sorts of activities planned, like solar viewings and looking through telescopes and other "outside" activities. But, unfortunately, the weather had other plans and it rained off and on all day yesterday!

That didn't stop the fun though. We only had a limited amount of time there this time so mainly focused on the "extra" events they had going on.

The Observatory was opened and the astronomer was there to explain about the telescope and answer questions. Josh was totally enthralled by this! And when the astronomer said he was going to point the telescope toward Betelgeuse, Josh impressed all present by saying that was in the constellation Orion!

Telescope at the Observatory

Now we can't wait to go back one evening when they have the observatory open so we can see some stars!

They also had some people from the local Astronomy clubs answering questions and handing out things. Josh was able to get a handout that he can use for his presentation so he was very excited about that!

The boys made bracelets with UV Beads. The beads are white and when they get hit with UV light they change color. They were surprised to see even on a cloudy day, the beads changed bright colors! And yes I used this as an "Always Wear Sunscreen Even on Cloudy Days" lesson!

Making UV Bracelets

The local meteorite collecting club was there with meteorites for the kids to look at. This one was VERY heavy!

Heavy Meteorite

And then we played in the children's area for a while.

Playing With Magnets

Their favorite part is running around the inside of a (fake) large hollow tree. The ceiling has a screen and you can choose different weather to show on the screen. Of course the favorite is thunderstorms! But they go in the tree and just run around in circles. Sam will do this as long as I let him I usually have to pull him out!

We weren't there for long, but we were there long enough to kill some time, learn something new and make use of our family membership there! That's the best thing about having it so close to us.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Friday and the Weekend is Just Around the Corner

Well. Here we are at Friday already.

Seems the closer to the end of the school year the faster time flies! It's hard to believe Sam has just over a week left of school. Six days to be exact! And Josh only has 3 weeks left (15 days and HE'S counting!)

We've been busy. Josh has one last homework assignment. It's for his ALP class. He has to give a presentation on "Space" for the "Space Time" unit they've been doing this term. I don't know why, but it seems HIS homework assignment gives MOM more work! I've been running all over town getting his "costume" ready, finding materials for the presentation....

We've been slowly chipping away on it, but the timing is horrible! I really wish she'd given this to the kids three weeks earlier. We've just finished CRCT (state standardized tests) and the kids just don't seem to be able to focus any more. Plus with the weather being beautiful it's hard to justify staying indoors to do homework. But still we sit. Me forcing him to do work and him moaning about it.

But it's due next week so we should be all down hill from then on.

We did manage to get outside and run through the sprinkler's again yesterday though. Those boys are so full of energy and just want to play outside, it's hard to say no.

Sam was a bit more daring this time.

We invited Derek, my neighbor's son, to run through with us.

They had a great time and got very muddy!

This picture was taken AFTER I'd hosed them down. Sam fell and was covered head to foot in mud. I would have gotten a picture of that but he was crying because he was muddy!

Anyway, we've got lots on this weekend. Josh has a baseball game in the afternoon then a sleep over at a friend's house. I told Sam I'd take him out for ice cream after I drop Josh off.

And Sunday we have to finish up Josh's school project. That should be fun with an exhausted, tired boy on our hands!

Hope you all have a great weekend!
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