Menu Plan Monday

OK…so it’s been FOREVER and a million years since I’ve done a Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie. But I want to get back into it so I thought I’d plan what’s up for this week. It’s going to be pretty simple since we’re gearing up for leaving on vacation Thursday night…but here’s what we’re planning. Since we live with my mom we have divided the days up for cooking as so: Monday and Wednesday are mom’s days to cook, Tuesday and Thursday are mine, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday we collaborate, or we might go out to eat, or go see his mom and dad, etc. 

So this week’s menu looks like this:

M-Italian night: Lasagna and Chicken Alfredo with garlic bread
T- Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy and a veggie
W- not sure what mom has in mind for this night
R- since I’ll be busy packing and getting the last minute things ready I’m thinking a slow cooker recipe for today. Golden mushroom pork chops, with sliced potatoes and onions. Add some green beans and some peaches and it’s an easy dinner.
F- we will have arrived in Washington DC. We might hit my mom’s favorite restaurant in China Town for noodles.
S- Mom’s birthday! My brother is planning a dinner out, possibly a restaurant called Two Amy’s which is a Tuscan pizza restaurant. Apparently it’s a favorite of the Biden’s. Maybe we’ll see them there (I hope not :P)
S- Happy Birthday America! It’s the 4th of July and we’ll be on the National Mall in DC enjoying the Smithsonian Folk Festival. This year it’s Mexico and the Asian Pacific, so who knows what we’ll end up eating! I’m sure it’ll be great though!!!!

So that’s our menu this week! I hope everyone has a great week! I hope this is the beginning of getting back into the habit of menu planning! Thanks Laura for hosting! To see more menu plans head over to Org Junkie.

Our New Outdoor Spot

We’ve been in our house for two years in July and we finally have a deck for the house. Unfortunately, stupid zoning laws in our city prevented us from building a deck the size we wanted off of our door to nowhere, (it’s all because we have a corner lot! I hate zoning laws! Why should they get to tell me what I can and can’t do with my house?!?!?!) but we were able to build one as big as we wanted to off of mom’s door. So here is the 20 x 24 party deck that is built out of her door. The furniture is coming this week. And all that is left to be done is to finish the steps that will go up the hill to the driveway and a retaining wall to keep the hill from sliding onto the deck during a big rainstorm (like the one that dumped 4 1/2 inches on us last night!!!) We can’t wait to get back from vacation and enjoy a get together with friends and family. By the way, I should definitely mention that my wonderful and amazingly talented husband built this! He had some help along the way (thanks Michael and Blair, Orlie, Jonathan, Russ and mom!!!), but mostly he did it by himself! Great job babe! You should be very proud of all your hard work!

Incredible huh? The parkay look took a while because all of the support beams had to run the opposite direction of the decking boards on top of them, so it took a while to get the framing worked out. But once he did that it went much faster! So yeah. I’m pretty proud of Steven! He’s learned a lot since we bought this house and has done things he probably thought he’d never learn to do. He’s gotten to be pretty handy-I think I’ll keep him around a while longer 🙂 
And for those of you who like “befores”: here is what the space looked like before the deck was put in. 
Better, isn’t it?!?! 
Well, that’s it for today. I’m working on getting the house cleaned up, getting the laundry done (I HATE coming home from vacation to a messy house and laundry piled up to the ceiling!), getting started on my lists of things to pack. We’re on the countdown…4 more days til the big road trip! Now would someone like to pack for me?!!?!? Anyone?!?!?! Please?!?!?! Oh well! Just thought I’d ask! I hope you all have a great week!

Road Trip

In a little over a week, we will be heading out on our first real vacation since we went to Kansas City to visit Denny and Dionne over fall break in 2007! Before that, the last vacation we had gone on was to Florida when Brianna was 7 months old, so that was…drum roll, please….2005! 
We are traveling to Washington, DC over the Fourth of July to visit my brother Chris who is currently living there. We will also be spending a few days in Baltimore, MD and then hitting a beach destination on Lake Erie for a few days on our way home. (Micah will turn 1 there, and  Steven will turn 32!) Now I know some of you are thinking “Wow! You are crazy!” We are, but not so much! We LOVE Washington DC. It is one of our favorite vacation destinations for many reasons. One, I am a history nut so I am totally in my element when I am in DC. Two, there is A LOT to do there so you can easily find something that is going to appeal to everyone. Third, it’s the Fourth of July people! Our Nation’s birthday. What better place to celebrate than in our Nation’s Capitol!?!? And fourth, almost everything in DC is FREE!!! Yes, I said it! And maybe that should be reason #1 because it does make for a cheap vacation when all the museums, the zoo and anything else you might do (with a few exceptions) requires no money! Plus, when you are as cool as my mom and can find amazing deals on hotel suites where they have complimentary hot breakfasts in the morning, a full kitchen and an outdoor patio with a complimentary grill…you can go cheap on the food too! 

I am super excited to go on this trip. We are going to drive up in our car and we will be very full going up because all five of us, my mom and my brother Michael and his boyfriend Blair will be going too! So all 8 seats will be taken up. Blair, however will be flying home from Baltimore half way in to our trip so we’ll be a little lighter on the way home. 

So now, with our trip being a week from Thursday, I am trying to brainstorm how we are going to be able to keep everyone happy and comfortable on our 8-10 hour drive to our Nation’s capitol. We are planning on leaving after midnight so that the kids will sleep for the majority of the trip. We are planning to put them in the back seat so that they will not be in the way as we stop at rest stops and gas stations if the adults need to get out to stretch their legs or go potty. I am brainstorming car kits that I can make for them with toys and games, a rest stop kit (that will include jump ropes, Frisbees, bubbles, and side walk chalk) to help them burn off energy when we stop and they are awake. I’m finding printables and car games for us to play. I hope to hit the library for some DVDs and books on tape that they haven’t seen or heard, to help hold their interest a little better. I was just on MomsMinivan.com and WeJustGotBack.com for their road trip ideas and tips. Two great sites that I think I will visit for years to come. Check them out if you’ll be going on a road trip this summer. They are great! I need to find a car top carrier. Unfortunately as much as I love my Outlook, it has NO trunk space! At least not enough to hold everything we need to take with us. So we need to find a car top carrier, or one of those things that you hook onto a truck hitch. 

Then I need to start thinking about clothes, what toys we are taking, packing food and drinks for the car so we won’t spend as much at gas stations and rest stops. I need to get together a first aid kit and finish up our itinerary. There is so much to do, but I know the time will go quickly and before I know it we will be loading the car and hitting the road! Pray for us! Pray for a safe drive, that everyone will be patient and considerate of each other for so many hours in a tight space, that the car will function properly and that we’ll have a fun time together as a family. 

And I pray that you all are having a great summer with you and yours, and that Our Father will protect you wherever the roads take you this summer!

Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY, June 15, 2010

Outside my window… it is sunny and finally not raining! But it’s also hot and muggy which makes it hard to breathe and drives us inside for the majority of the day! UGH!

I am thinking…about way too many things to list here! My mind is in a million places at once!

I am thankful for…safety last night from the severe storms that rolled through our area. Lots of lightning, really strong winds, and possible tornadoes, not a fun night, but we dodged the bullet and were back in bed by 11:30pm.

From the kitchen…stroganoff over egg noodles and biscuits. Yum!

I am wearing…blue jean shorts and my Old Navy 4th of July shirt from 2004

I am creating…a clean and organized office/craft room. It’s been a slow go because I’m just working on it here and there when I have the chance, but it’s getting there! I’ve thrown out two boxes of shredded paper, and probably 4 or 5 bags of trash! Yikes! Never again!

I am going…no where! Steven is working 4 12 hour days this week and I try not to take the kids out alone if not absolutely necessary. So we’re at home today! Probably until Thursday when we might meet some friends at another friends house to go swimming!

I am reading…nothing. I just got finished reading Stephanie Meyers new book The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. It was really good, and WAY too short for me! But it got me really excited for the opening of Eclipse in a few weeks! Yea!!!

I am hoping…to get Bri registered for Kindergarten by the end of the week.

I am hearing…A marathon of America’s Next Top Model. The kids are down for quiet time, and I’m not really watching b/c I’ve seen every episode a million times…it’s just on for the noise! I don’t do quiet well! A hazard of having 3 kids under 6!

Around the house…It’s actually pretty stable. I’ve been doing Flylady for about 2 weeks now and things are feeling manageable!

One of my favorite things…snacking on chocolate chips, like I am doing right now!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
1) take dinner to a family tomorrow who’s mom had surgery this week.
2) go swimming on Thursday with friends.
3) graduation party on Saturday for Steven’s cousin.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…Micah rough housing with his brother and sister!

See more Daybooks over at The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

On A Rainy Saturday

So we’re getting hit today with the deadly storm that passed through Arkansas, leaving at least 16 people dead and countless others unaccounted for. And while I feel awful for their loss, I am greatful that the storm has lost some of it’s strength and fury as it passes over us! One good thing to come out of this though is that we are stuck in the house, no yard work, no building the deck. And while I’d love to get the deck finished, I came down from my shower to find this scene in front of me:

 Father and daughter rediscovering their good friend, the Wii. 

And even though she had been singing “Rain, rain go away! Come again another day!” not an hour before, this smile tells me she’s just fine with the rain, because she’s found something better to do snuggled up in her daddy’s lap!

Have a blessed weekend, be it rain or shine where you are!

Brianna’s First Dance Recital

Last weekend, Brianna had her first dance recital! It seems like only yesterday we were taking her to her first class, and then, it’s recital time! She had so much fun and did an amazing job! She wasn’t nervous at all, in fact, she loved the crowd! And the crowd loved her! Her class did two numbers, a ballet number to “Butterfly Fly Away” by Miley Cyrus and a tap dance to “Shake Your Tail Feathers” by Ray Charles. I will never be able to hear “Butterfly Fly Away” ever again without bawling!!! 😛 

Here’s some pictures of our sweet ballerina (tap) girl!

Getting curly and beautified!

In her ballet tutu and shoes, and her tap feathers and shoes!
Brianna’s class: Brooklyn, Grace, Brianna, Meredith, Sophia, Emerson and Miss Libby.
Brianna and Miss Libby (her demonstrator) and Miss Natalie (her teacher)
Bri with Miss Shannon, the owner of the dance studio. She’ll be her teacher next year, which I am very excited about because Shannon is terrific!
The proud mommy and daddy! It was so much fun to watch her dance this year and I hope she continues to love and excel at it for years to come! We love you Bri! You rock our world!

Here are a few videos for you to enjoy! You will laugh, I guarantee it!

“Butterfly Fly Away” ballet
“Shake Your Tail Feathers” tap

Do You FLY?

 If you have been around the internet and blogging land for any period of time you have probably heard reference to FlyLady. FlyLady is a personal online coach to help people like me, who have no routine and no routine minded brains to get lasting and solid routines in place to bless their homes and their families. I found the site about a year ago after reading about it on another blog (I can’t remember which one!) and checked it out. At the time I wasn’t ready to become a “Flybaby” so I ignored it and moved on with my crazy, hectic life. 
 
Recently though, I’ve realized how desperately we need routine around here. Routines are very important to children, but my children seem to really need one, and they thrive when we manage to get one in place. The problem is that Steven isn’t a routine person either, so the routines never last! Around Easter I went back to FlyLady’s site and signed up for her emails. And then I took the first step toward FLYing….I shined my sink
 
 
Yup! That’s the first step. And that’s all I did! 
 
Except for the monthly habit challenges for April and May, which were making your bed (something I did most days, now I do it EVERY day!!)
 
 I love my bed!!! Don’t you just want to crawl in it!?!?! Well don’t! It looks too pretty-don’t mess it up!
and moving for 15 minutes a day (I didn’t fully complete this, but it did get me motivated!). 
 
The habit for June,
 
 
drinking your water. I HATE water!! I just find it boring and uninteresting (Steven laughs when I say that!) but I have probably spent most of my adult life dehydrated and so that has to change. I’ll feel better, I’ll have more energy, and I’ll be able to take care of my family better! Water-who knew!?!?!
So I decided it was time to take the baby steps listed on her site and become a full fledged “Flybaby”. I’m on day 3 and I have so far survived, even though it required me to get dressed every morning down to the socks and shoes! I don’t wear shoes in the house-EVER! I barely wear shoes outside most of the time (It’s OK-I live in Kentucky!!!) But FlyLady insists that you get dressed down to your shoes every morning (including hair and makeup) so that you’ll be ready for anything and everything. (Right now though I do have my shoes off because I am chillin’!) So we’ll see-this might be my biggest hurddle to overcome! LOL!
Anyway, I’m excited to be starting on this journey toward FLYing: Finally Loving Yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s because of perfectionism, or in my case plain laziness, loving yourself makes you want to be better, but you realize that it’s OK not to be perfect! You will look put together every day, even if you’re just rolling on the floor with the kids! You will drink water to keep hydrated. You will shine your sink because it makes you smile! Even if the rest of the house is falling apart, the sink is clean! You will make your bed because it’s one more thing that you can make look nice and you can feel good about it. You will have solid routines so that you don’t have to panic when something unexpected happens (like everyone sleeps in and you only have 20 minutes to get out the door!!!) because everyone’s clothes are laid out the night before and the house is clean because you did your fifteen minute rescue the previous night before you went to bed. I’m ready to get my house in order, get rid of the stuff we don’t need and organize the stuff we do. (I don’t know what happened but me and the boys did not inherit my mom’s organization gene! I think it skipped a generation! I hope my kids get it, but it’s not looking too promising!) I’m ready to be able to have some one call and say “We’re on our way!” and not panic, knowing that whole house looks great and not just the first floor!
 
I’m ready to start to FLY. Are you?