Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
- 50 Mileage Chart - I create a chart for each boy that has 50 mile increments. Our trip is 450 miles so I put 9 blocks and write 50 in each one (make sure to have a chart for on the way home too). I usually tape the chart on their window. I keep small stickers and every time we reach 50 miles they get to put a sticker in one block. To keep them informed I'll put a red X in one of the boxes and write lunch or hotel! Then they know when we get to that box we're going to stop. They love this! When they were younger I kept a stop watch in the car so they know about how long 50 miles is. I put 45 minutes on the stop watch and hang it where they can both reach up and look at the clock. When the timer goes off they get a sticker.
- Party In A Bag - I usually purchase a gift bag and put small gifts in the bag then every 100 miles (or two stickers) they get to reach in the bag-without looking and pull out a prize. Its always something simple, something to keep them busy in the car or maybe a little treat. The BOF really helps and we do a little count down with the mile markers like 5,4,3,2,1 PRIZE TIME!!!!
- DVD Player - A life saver indeed! We love to go to the library before a trip and load up on "new" movies. Now that there is Red Box and Blockbuster Express on every corner we often stop and let them each get a movie. I mean for $1 its worth the entertainment!!!
- Personal Fun Bag - Before our trip the boys each have a back pack and they get to fill it with anything they want from their room to play with on the trip. We always get new crayons, blank art book (mine don't like coloring books), pencils and they each get a disposable camera (the pictures are always interesting). Give them space and let them fill the bag with items they like reminding them it needs to be small for the car and not something with a ton of pieces! No puzzles!!!!
- Stop Often - When the boys were little we would stop for lunch at McDonald's or a local state park. After sitting in the car for hours the last thing little ones want to do is get out and go sit still to eat! So we decided our lunch stop would be play time! They would go right to the play ground and play for 30 minutes then when it was time to go we would set them up lunch in the van, turn on a movie and they were happy!! Take advantage of the rest areas! Stop and get out a ball, jump rope and bubbles and let them play. Its amazing what just 10 or 15 minutes will do. It does everyone good!!!
I hope these tips help spark some ideas for you if your planning a trip. Just remember to keep it fun and build special memories!!! I would love to hear tips on what you do keep your kids entertained on long road trips.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Now when we plan for a trip I take a few simple steps to keep me from loosing it the night before and morning we pile in the van to go! The following are the steps I take to create a pleasant atmosphere as we plan for a fun time together
- Start a two week To Do List - two weeks before we leave I start a To Do List and on the list I have the day of the week, things to do, errands to run, phone calls to make and the menu for that day. As I think of something I need to do, I simply flip to that day and write it down! I like to have the menu planned so I don't get so busy we eat out all week! I don't want to spend our spending money before we leave just because I did not plan an easy pre-vacation menu.
- Plan to return to a clean house - We all want to leave the house clean and organized so why not set a plan to do that? It much better to plan ahead instead of being up until 4 am the night before working like a mad woman trying to get it all done! Again Guilty!!! Make a plan, what do you want done before you leave? Write it down and start working the plan!
- Create a packing check list! As you can tell I'm a list gal! It makes life so much easier. I create a packing list for each person in the house (I type it in a word document then just print it every trip). The list consist of everything they need to pack such as number of pants, number of socks, number of shirts, deodorant, toothpaste.....as you think of things add it to the list so when its time to pack you have a list on hand. Your less likely to forget something if you start a list.
- Pack early! We start to pack three days before leaving. I give the kids their list and have them lay it all on their bed, then when its time to put in the suitcase I go in and make sure they pulled out appropriate items. We then put it in the luggage then place in the room for those last minute items and toiletries. This makes it nice because your not running around the night before trying to do laundry and realize everyone needs socks then your off to Wal-Mart!!! Yep, guilty of that too!
- Recruit help! Going on a vacation is a family affair so get the family involved in the pre-planning of the trip. Assign cleaning jobs to the kids they will appreciate the trip more if there apart of the work getting to go. Since we plan two weeks out they get one extra job a day for our pre-planning. The extra jobs are usually a $5 job so they not only help me with getting some jobs done but they earn spending money for the trip too! Its a win win!
Just by following these simple tips it will change the dynamics of your trip! Trust me, I know! Leaving relaxed, organized and happy is the way to start a vacation! If you would like a copy of my to do list feel free to leave a comment and I'll be happy to email it to you. I would love to hear how you plan to leave for vacation!
Friday, July 23, 2010
I love a good salad and since we're getting ready for a trip easy meals are on the menu this week! Since making salsa the other day, we've been enjoying not only chips and salsa but some yummy Mexican meals as well. One of my favorite meals is Taco Chicken. I hope you enjoy it too!
- 3lb Boneless Chicken Breast
- 1 pkg Taco Seasoning
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Chopped Lettuce
- Diced Tomato
- 2 cups Sliced Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Season the chicken with the taco seasoning and set to the side
- In a skillet heat Olive Oil and saute chicken until done
- After chicken is done top with cheese the add to a plate of lettuce & tomatoes
- Top with salsa, sour cream and if desired more cheese
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family enjoys it!
To see more delicious recipes check out The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
George Muller said: The Lord taught me that the first business I needed to attend to every day was to have my spirit happy in the LORD. My first concern shouldn't be thinking of ways to serve and glorify the LORD, but rather, how to get my spirit into a happy state, and how to nourish my inner man." Do you have a happy spirit? Dose your husband say "she does me good?" Today I renew myself to work on a "happy spirit" not only in me but in my home and with my husband as well. May he say about me...She does me good and not evil all the days of her life.
Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I ran out of crock pot liners so I was bummed about that today. If you enjoy crock pot cooking you'll love the liners, they make clean up super simple!! Now on to the steak.....
2lb - Round Steak
1 - Small Onion cut in Rings
2 - Package Brown Gravy Mix
2 - Jars of Mushrooms or 6 Fresh Mushrooms cut in slices
Seasonings (I used Seasoned Salt & Garlic Garlic)
I don't pre brown my meat when cooking in a crock pot. The crock pot does not dry out meat so I just skip this step.
- Season the meat on both sides and put to the side. Make sure to season each steak well.
- Mix brown gravy mix according to package instructions; however, only use half the water. The steaks will draw moisture in the crock pot and add more liquid. Don't cook gravy just add the water, mix well and set to the side
Once layers are finished pour brown gravy over the top
I wanted this ready for lunch so I turned the crock pot on high and cooked for 4 hours. For slower cooking turn it on low and cook 8-10 hours.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Because they are all boy they have boy toys! They really wanted their paintball supplies displayed so we painted a peg board the same color as their wall and they had so much fun arranging all the items getting the space organized and looking cool! When helping them organize let them have a voice. Having all the paintball stuff on the wall is something I would have never wanted but they did, they love it and its all organized!
The next thing they have are skateboards! I hate seeing them all over the floor and in a small space the less on the floor the better! We researched for a long time how to hang them without having a ton of hardware on the wall and keeping the cost down. I found these great garden hose hangers at Lowe's for just $6 each and they hold 2 ripsticks or 3 skateboards each!! The display case to the right holds their Tech Decks (mini skateboards) so they are on display too. We still have two garden hose hooks to purchase and one more Tech Deck case to hang. Its so nice to have them behind the door and not on the floor!
Next, we purchased this shelving rack which holds their TV, video game system, art supplies and all those odd and end items that never seem to have a home. Getting the boys organized and teaching them to keep a clean room is a character trait that will follow them through out their lives. We're still working in the room and have a few more details to finish up but they have a space for everything and when its time to clean the room it takes just a few minutes for them to get it organized.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Just like last year we were blessed with some yummy garden vegetables and I've had a few people ask me how I make my salsa so I decided to post the recipe again. I did make a few changes and this year we were also given tomatoes, cucumbers and squash which I added to the batch of salsa. The fresh veggies came just in time because I just opened the last jar of salsa from last summer.
You can go here to see our blessing of produce this week!
- 8 - 14.5 oz Cans of Chopped Tomatoes (or 8-10 large garden tomatoes)
- 2 med Onions (I like to use white onion because they are sweeter)
- 2 Green Bell Peppers chopped (this year I did not have bell pepper so I did 1 cucumber and 1 squash)
- 1/2 cup Carrots chopped - optional
- 1/2 cup Celery chopped - optional
- 2 Jalapeno Peppers (keep seeds if you like it a little hotter)
- 6 Banana Peppers
- 2 cloves of Garlic or 3tbsp Garlic Garlic (this is what I used)
- 24 oz Bottle of Hunts Ketchup
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup White Vinegar
In a food processor chop all vegetables. I like to chop them separately because some items are tender some are hard. You don't want your tender items turning to mush before your hard items are chopped.
When cooking a big batch of items that need chopped I like to use my food processor that my husband bought me for Christmas a few years ago. I know, I know, not a very romantic gift; however, I thought of it as something he thought I needed to make my life easier and to me that was romantic. Now when I get it out it does not make me mad, I am thankful for it and know it will save me a ton of time. I always thank him every time I pull it out!
If you're making a full batch you might want to can or freeze in small containers. If you decide to can then follow these steps....
When you're almost finished cooking boil the canning lids and keep them hot.
Sterilize your jars! I like to do this in the dishwasher, its so much easier and no hot water to tend with. Just make sure to keep them hot. I start canning when they are about half way through the dry cycle.
Fill your jars! I have a nice funnel for canning but do you think I could find it, NO! I just used a small measuring cup. Make sure you wipe the rims off before adding the lid.
Using TONGS get your lids out of the hot water and place on your jar. Remember, they will be HOT! Secure ring around lid but don't make it tight. After they cool you can go back and tighten. After an hour check your lids, if they don't have a popping sound when you push in the middle they are sealed. If they do make a noise then they have not sealed. You can put them in a hot bath and seal them or just refrigerate and eat those first or give them away.
Friday, July 2, 2010
After we hung up I was excited for him and then began to watch the clock knowing he would be home in just a few hours! It was so nice knowing he would be home for dinner and not get a leftover plate reheated in the microwave. I could not wait to welcome him home at 5:30 and not 10:30 pm!
I wanted to take a moment today to Thank God once again for giving Mark a job where we have the privilege to see him everyday and not just on the weekend. Its a new chapter in our lives are we are truly blessed to count it all joy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.