Thursday, September 22, 2011

And it rained. And it poured. And we camped.

I never posted about our summer camping trip this year.  Usually, we head north with Mr. CrazyLife's parents to the far western end of the U.P. where his mom grew up and camp there for a couple weeks.  All her family comes and we have lots of cousins to play with and lots of family fun.  This year, with Nana not doing so well, we decided to stick a little closer to home....just in case.  But we still got lots of fun family time in.

We decided to take a trip to the Straits of Mackinaw and visit Mackinaw Island and Fort Michilimacknac.  Lots of fun and lots of learning on this trip.  Thing #1 begins her study of Michigan history this year, so we thought it would be a good jumping off point for her.  And Mackinaw Island is a great place to visit anyhow.  We planned to bike around the island before visiting the historical parts.

So we packed up and headed north.  Only to be hit with a maelstrom of craziness along the way.  I stepped on a nail.  The camper blew a tire.  Thing #1 and #2 complained of upset tummies.  Mr. CrazyLife couldn't find the tent.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  We finally got all things settled and got to the campground, just in time to set up the tent in the dark and park the trailer in a spot that was smaller than your average trailer spot.

Then we went for a walk by the lake....sunset was happening and it was almost dark.  And this is what we saw:

Well. okay, we might have seen that....if it hadn't been so dark.  This is actually what we saw the next morning as we prepared to head out to the fort.  However it rained.  And poured.  And rained.  And poured.  And thundered.  

All.  Night.  Long.

It was a good thing we found the top part of the tent.  Also, on the first night Thing #1 woke up and said her tummy hurt.  She barely made it out of the tent before you know what happened.  Ugh.  Sick kids in a tent on a rainy night.  Now that's fun.

By morning, Thing #1 felt okay.  The sun was shining.  With a few clouds in sight.  You can see them above.  It was pretty spectacular.

We decided to try the fort.  

Walking in we saw this....if nothing else, it made for a great picture.

The Mighty Mackinaw Bridge surrounded by dark, thunderous clouds.

We held our breath and tempted fate.  We stopped to watch them light the cannon....and pretend to shoot at a ship coming under the bridge.  I love re-enactors, they have the best senses of humor.

(notice Thing #4 is proudly showing off the site map)

They actually managed to light and fire the the pouring rain....and HAIL!  
Yes, hail.  We ran for cover under the blockhouse....which, being made of wooden poles really wasn't much of a cover.  Mr. CrazyLife covered him, myself and Thing #4 with his coat.  They were dry.  I was wet down my entire backside.  The other things were with Grandma and Grandpa and stayed relatively dry under the umbrellas.

After the initial rain and hail, the day dried out and we enjoyed visiting the fort.  

We headed back to the campground early.  The next day was Mackinaw Island. However, I have no pictures from there as I left my camera in the car at the ferry dock.  Ugh.

After the island, we had one more camping night.  Campfire and s'mores it was.

And for some reason, Thing #4 who loves to take and be in pictures never seems to have a face in them other than this:

Before heading home the next morning, we stopped at the Straits Lighthouse for a quick tour and climb of the tower.

When it rains, it pours as the saying goes.  We had plenty of rain.....but it also poured lots of fun!

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Just Dance

We are a family of least us girls are.  Poor Mr. CrazyLife and the boys are often left behind while we go off chasing our dancing dreams.  I guess they are used to it by now.  Mr. CrazyLife knew what he was getting into when he married me and encouraged me to get my dance teacher certificate.  I just wish we could find something for those boys . . . I guess they're having enough fun playing in the dirt and trees with Daddy, though.

Thing #1 has been taking dance lessons since she was three . . . we're going on year 6 now of ballet, tap and jazz lessons.  She also takes German, Hawaiian, and Scottish.  And this summer she got to learn some Polish dance as well.  Call her well-rounded.

Thing #4 just started dance lessons this summer.  She was so excited to go to her first class with "Miss Wimba (Miss Linda)"  She did acro this summer as well as creative movement and is enrolled in a creative movement/tap class this fall.  

And of course for me there is a full schedule as well.  I get to play dance mom two nights a week, dance student one night and dance teacher on Saturday mornings.  I'm taking another Zumba dance class this year - lovin' it!  Saturday mornings I'm teaching Scottish/Celtic dance lessons again and loving every moment!

Thing #1 on the 4th of July, dancing at the Volkslauffe Races.

Thing #4's first dance show - doing acro at the Country Fair Days....isn't she just the cutest, tiniest little thing?

Thing #1 showing off her awesome cartwheel.

A little bit of Polish Dance.

Some Hawaiian Dance.....

And a bit of German (here at the Bavarian Festival) to round us out.

Here I am with my wee little Scottish Dancers at the Midland Highland Festival.  It was their first dance-out and they did super!  (Thing #1 is hidden behind me - don't I look like a giant compared to the babes?)

With dance recitals and shows, I think we had over 12 dance-outs this summer.  
Crazy.  Busy.  Fun.

We're hoping to go on the studio trip next summer....Thing #1 has been moved up into the pre-teen class and even though she's the smallest and youngest, she can certainly hold her own.  And being part of the dance company means more dance shows and more dance-y fun for the whole family!

(Poor Mr. CrazyLife......he's destined to be a dance dad instead of a sports dad!)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Goodies From the Garden

I've been a neglectful blogger this summer.  I don't think I checked in on my own blog more than once or twice all summer.  And I know I didn't blog hop the way I do during the fall, winter and spring months.  I miss seeing all the great ideas out there in the blogosphere and I miss sharing all the fun things we do at home.  I guess you could say I've been busy living life for real instead of living through words.  =)

One thing I've always been proud to blog about is our garden.  Mr. CrazyLife and I are avid gardeners and every year we plant a huge victory garden.  And each year it grows bigger and bigger.  We're kind of grow as grow can kind of gardeners.....plant a seed (or a plant), water it a wee bit, weed it for half the summer then go on vacation and leave it to grow as it will, then harvest the bounty and enjoy.  Sometimes our garden looks a bit more like a jungle than a nice, neat tidy growing space.  But it provides for us and we are blessed and thankful.

This year we tried a few new things.  We added raspberry bushes to our fruit patch.  We planted potatoes.  We did a multi-plant of corn....planting new seeds every two weeks for about six weeks.  We planted swan gourds. And we planted muskmelons.  All new things for us.

And our garden grew.

And grew.

And grew.

And was bountiful.  Isn't God great?  A little seed turns into a beautiful green plant.  And in turn it bears fruit that will nourish our bodies.  And it grows it own seed to continue for the next year.  What an awesome thing!  I'm amazed every year at how perfect and wonderful nature is.

Our garden went in late this year.  And it was so nice that everything that usually comes into season right as school starts was a bit later this year.  No picking and canning tomatoes the first night of the school year!  In fact, we're just now starting on the tomatoes.

This year, we decided to get the children in on the food preserving process.  And boy, did they ever get into it - all over their arms, bodies, heads, and even in the creases between their toes!  =)  Apparently, mashing tomatoes and apples is great fun.

I think it is important to teach the children this.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and they are more apt to try a food if they helped "make" it.  And it teaches them to be prepared.  To  take what God gives and use it wisely.  To not be wasteful.  And to take care of themselves.

I'll have to come back and edit this post with some pictures (apparently, my school computer doesn't have an SD card slot!  LOL)  I've got some great ones of Thing #4 helping make sauerkrat and Things 3 and 4 helping to mash tomatoes.

Love those kids!

Love that garden!

Love the harvest and full jars of yummy food in my pantry.

An accounting: (so far - as of 9-20-11)
18 jars of strawberry vanilla jelly
16 jars of peach jelly
14 jars of bumbleberry jelly (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry combo)
15 jars of BBQ sauce
58 quarts of applesauce
24 pints of sweet pickles
24 pints of dill pickles
a 10-gallon crock of sauerkrat, fermenting as we speak - 4 weeks to go
9 jars of Oktoberfest mustard
20 pints of peaches
10 1/2 pints of spirited peaches
12 quarts of tomato sauce
36 lbs of blueberries, frozen
26 cups of broccoli, frozen
apples, strawberries, basil, blueberries, onion and gr.pepper dried

Still to come:
More tomatoes - four 5 gallon pails and one 10 gallon pail full + some still in the garden
green beans to be frozen - probably about 12 cups worth
corn to be frozen - only about 15 ears to blanch and cut off the cob
and who knows what else I'll find to do????

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Meal Plan Monday - on Tuesday!

A little late to the game this week!  School has been in full swing for two weeks and life is getting crazy hectic again.  But I love it!

     School lunches
     Sauerkrat and Sausage w/bread and butter and green beans

     School lunches/brown bag lunches
     Mini slider burgers with bacon, baked onion potatoes, green beans

     School lunches/brown bag lunches
     Pancakes w/bacon and sausages

     School lunches/brown bag lunches
     Speghetti Pie

     School lunches/brown bag lunches
     Homemade pizza w/breadsticks and salad

     Lunchmeat sandwiches w/potato chips and cut veggies
     Birthday Dinner for Mr. CrazyLife at Grandma's house

     Lunch on the Run (either packed picnic or drive-thru)
     Meat Loaf w/mashed potatoes and corn and fresh bread
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not a Morning Person . . . at all!

I don't know about anyone else, but I am not a morning person.  I've never been a morning person.  I love my pillow and I love my blankets and I love snuggling into them and hitting the snooze button many, many once or twice in the morning.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Once I'm up - I'm up and moving.  No dwaddling along then.  Up, showered, dressed, and moving along with my day.  I'm not the type who sits around drinking coffee and watching the morning talk shows.

However, lately I've been inspired to get up earlier.  Since school started, I'm the only one up in the mornings and it is so nice.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  Calm.  And with four small children in the house, that doesn't happen very often!  Since Mr. CrazyLife was laid off at the end of the last school year, he gets up with the kids and takes them to school.  I get up about an hour and a half earlier and prepare everyone's "stuff" for the day and get myself organized and out the door to work.

But I still hit the snooze button many, many at least once each morning.  I probably could get up almost an hour earlier if I didn't do that.  Imagine what I could get done!

I've been contemplating this the past couple of weeks.  And then today while doing some blog hopping, I ran across this challenge quite a bit: Maximize Your Mornings Challenge.  What a great idea!  And what inspiration!

I missed the sign-up deadline.  But perhaps I'll start doing it on my own. And I did see that they might start an overflow group sometime soon...I'll be watching for that.  But until then, I'm going to set my alarm a bit earlier for tomorrow morning and maybe I won't hit the snooze button at all more than one time, anyway!

Anyone else interested?
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 8-15-11

The days are long, but the years are short.  I read this quote on another blog today and it totally fits how I've been feeling lately.  Life has been moving at breakneak speed.  We've been spending lots of family time enjoying each other's company.  But the kids are starting to drive me crazy!  Thing #1 has picked up a "tween" attitude lately and all summer her rolling eyes have followed us around.  Things 2 and 3 are just busy being boys and wrestling and breaking things and yelling lots.  And Thing #4 is too full of her own cuteness and trying to get away with murder! 

It's been a hectic summer with lots of trips to Grandma's house, a family wedding, two new babies in our families (LOVE being an aunt!) and a couple of family funerals.  As such, I haven't been online much.  It seems that I'm too busy enjoying the days to go online and when I do have time, I'm too tired!  So here I am, attempting to write again and stay up to date. Thanks to anyone who is still following and reading along!

We've got two full weeks and a half week before I head back to school and three full weeks before the kids do.  We're still waiting to hear if Mr. CrazyLife gets called back to teach this year or if his layoff will stand.  He's got a couple of applications out, so keep fingers and toes crossed and lots of prayers for us.

Anyhoo....we plan on savoring and enjoying every last minute of our summer vacation!

On to business . . . .

Meal Plan Monday 8-15-11

Breakfasts - served with fruit
cereal w/milk and cinnamon toast
scrambled eggs w/sausage
oatmeal w/fuit and honey
granola bars

Lunches - served with fruit and veggies
Mac n' cheese
PBJ sandwiches
ramen noodles w/hot dogs
tuna salad sandwiches (or on a lettuce leaf for me)
muffin tin lunches w/fruit, veggies,  meat, jello, crackers and cheese

Dinners - served with veggie and bread
Nachos/tacos/taco salad night
homemade pizza
Grilled pork chops
sloppy joes
grilled cheese and ham sandwiches
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's Blueberry Picking Time!!!!!

Blueberry picking is a HUGE family tradition for us.  I've been going with my Gram since I was just a wee little girl.  I've tried to continue that with my kids, because it was such a special memory for me.

So, each year, usually on the first weekend in August, we drive over to Muskegon to pick berries.  It's been wonderful and the kids really enjoy it!

This year, things got a little crazy and the weather is crazy and life is crazy and well, the berries came in a bit early.  So instead of driving across state, we went in our own area.  And man....was it great!

Despite the super-hot weather, we found a pretty cool morning to go.  And the bushes were loaded. And it was an organic farm.  And the berries were bigger than quarters!  And so sweet!!!

We only picked about 18 lbs this round.  We'll have to go again later this weekend to finish up as I usually do up about 25 lbs a year.

We're working on getting them cleaned and frozen now.  I have a special process for that.  It works really well to help the berries retain their shape and not get too mushy.  First you have to layer them on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Pick out all the stems and leaves and yucky pieces.  Then place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 45 minutes or until the berries are firm.  Take them out and measure out two-cup groupings of berries.  Then place in bags and put in freezer again.  I've been using my food-saver and vacuum sealing them, which works well and saves space in the freezer.

Now we're ready for berries all year long!!!

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A Meal Plan for the Week - Finally! (July 18th)

What can I say?  It's been a busy week. I feel like I never have computer time anymore and when I do there are so many other things calling my name.  Plus, our meal plan this week is a bit crazy as we're running here and there and everywhere!  =)  But here it is:

Scrambled eggs w/toast

Lunchmeat sandwiches
mac n' cheese
ramen noodles
chicken nuggets

Grilled Brats/hot dogs
chicken wings
grilled steaks
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Monday, July 11, 2011

You're Invited!

You're Invited to our Grand Opening/Mystery Hostess Virtual Workshop!!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently became a consultant with Heritage Makers, a digital storybooking/scrapbooking company.  I've used their programs and recieved their products for several years and love the service and the products I've made and recieved.

Here is a link to the Heritage Makers website: Heritage Makers.

I'm really excited about my new venture.  I love the products and I love scrapbooking/storybooking and I love to share my books with other people.  Plus, as much as I loved paper crafting, I find that I just don't have the time to sit down at my craft table anymore - or when I do have time, I just don't have the energy.  Heritage Makers is perfect for that - it's all on a computer. I can work on it anywhere and anytime!

Right now I'm hosting a Virtual Grand Opening/Mystery Hostess Workshop to celebrate my new business venture.  Eveyone who particiaptes will receive an entry into the Mystery Hostess drawing and by doing extra "events" will earn extra entries into the drawing.  At the end of the week, I will have one of the kids draw a name out of a hat and that person will become the Mystery Hostess Winner and receive all the hostess benefits earned during the week!!!

And even if you particiapte and don't win the Mystery Hostess, you can still be a winner because of all the great Heritage Maker products you'll be introduced to and begin to work with.  At the end, you'll have a family heritage book (or canvas or calendar or deck of cards or other exciting project!) to share your stories with friends and families.

Every picture tells a story.  Every story deserves to be heard.
Wouldn't you like to share your stories?
I can help!

Please check out my Grand Opening/Mystery Hostess Virtual Workshop this week (July 10-15).  Ask me how to start a FREE Heritage Makers account and get started sharing those important stories!!


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Meal Plan Monday - July 11th

It's been a while since I posted a meal plan and boy, you can tell looking at my pantry and refridgerator!  It seems like the weeks that I don't post a meal plan, or even worse, don't have one written down anywhere I'm a mess when it comes to mealtimes.  Add to that the craziness of our last month with weddings, baby showers, wedding showers, visits from relatives and lots of travel and it's just a mess!

So let's get back to basics here. . . . I NEED to keep this going or else I have no idea what to plan for dinner all week long!!!

breakfast: cereal and toast
lunch: Tuna Pasta Salad, PBJ & Chips w/cut veggies
Dinner: Italian merinated chicken breasts w/fresh rolls and scalloped potatos

breakfast: cereal and toast, fruit smoothies
lunch: grilled ham and cheese sandwiches w/chips and fruit pieces
dinner: grilled brat burgers, baked beans and oven baked potato chips

breakfast: cereal and toast
lunch: mac n' cheese w/hot dogs
dinner: taco/nacho night

breakfast: scrambled eggs and toast
lunch: grilled brats and hot dogs w/potato salad and chips
dinner: quick dinner  - either on the run or sandwiches w/cut veggies at home

breakfast: cereal and toast
lunch: VBS luncheon
dinner: ramen noodles w/sandwiches for kids - mom and dad out to dinner

breakfast: pancakes and bacon
lunch: do-agains
dinner: speghetti w/meatballs and salad, fresh rolls

breakfast: toast and cereal/granola bars
lunch: Big Boy buffet
dinner: homemad pizza w/breadsticks and salad

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Date Night

Mr. CrazyLife and I have decreed this Friday, July 15th as an offical DATE NIGHT.   It's been quite a while since we had an offical date night so I'm quite excited.  You know the kind where you get a babysitter and actually leave the house without four squabbling children in tow?  Our date night lately have consisted of wrestling said squabbling children to sleep and then popping in a movie, cuddling on the couch and promptly crashing into sleep ourselves.  It's about time we took a night off.

And as some people might know . . . there is a release of a certain movie this Friday. Part 2 of a specific movie to be exact.  And we're super excited.  We're big Harry Potter fans from way back and can't wait to see how the movies end up.  In fact, we found that the theater in our town is running a double feature of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 AND Part 2 back to back on Friday!  Yippeee!!!!

I might have to sneak in some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans or something in honor of the event.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to hit all the previous movies this week to remind/catch up with the series.  I probably should really re-read them all, but let's face it.  Time and the essence just aren't with me this week.  Not to mention that Thing #1 is BEGGING to read Harry Potter #4 and I'm trying to hold her off for a bit (at least until our Hogwarts summer is over!).  If I started re-reading them, there'd be no holding her back!

So a Harry Potter movie-a-thon is on order for the week.....and I might or might not have some Harry Potter recipes set aside in honor of that as well.  Just not Butterbeer - check out this post for more on that Epic Fail!
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Run, Don't Walk and Buy this Book!!!!

The 20th Anniversary Edition of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander was released in Canada and the United States today.  And the title of this post says it all - if you haven't read this book yet (or even if you have!) RUN, don't walk and BUY it right away!!!!

I first ran into this series of book while in college.  I was standing in line at the bookstore, waiting to pay thouands of dollars for my books (well, maybe not THOUSANDs, but close enough!).  The line was a thousand years long (again, a wee bit of exageration, perhaps?).  The book, "Voyager" was on the bookshelf near the line, so I grabbed it and bought it.  It was thick.  It was heavy.  It was cheap (ish).

Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.  I probably drove my roommates crazy because I was raving about the story.  Fantastic!  Great writing.  Great romance.  Great history.  All favorite things of mine.  Then I discovered that it was part of a series - and that it was the THIRD book?!? What in the world?

Well, of course I had to go and find the first two books and read them all in order, including "Voyager" again.  Then I went on and on and on reading.  And I still am . . . . the last book in the series has yet to be released.  I'm very impatiently patiently waiting.

But back to the topic at hand.  Today, Diana Gabaldon released the 20th anniversary edition of the first book in the series.  And it has a ton of extras with it - notes from the author, a timeline of events, a map of the area in the book and even a CD with selections from Outlander: the Musical (which is a whole 'nother topic I could go on and on and on about since I just found out about it and NEED to find out where I can see it!!!!!)

If romance novels are your thing, you'll love this book and series.
If historical novels are your thing, you'll love this book and series.
If sci-fi is your thing, you'll love this book and series.
If you love bodice ripper novels, you'll lve this book and series.
If you love books and series where you become attached to the characters and feel as if you know them as well as yourself, you'll love this book and series.

I can't say enough about it.
Don't Walk.
Nearest Bookstore.
Outlander: 20th Anniversary Edition

Read it.
Love it.
Share it.

And while you're at it - check out Outlander: the Musical - I'm listening to it now and WOWOWOWOWOW!!!!  It's an Outlander Series lover's dream!!!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Vacation?

Isn't summer vacation supposed to be a time for rest and relaxation?
Whoever said that certainly doesn't know the CrazyLife family!

We've had a crazy busy summer and it's only four weeks in.
Here's what we've been doing the past few weeks 
(and part of the reason that the blog has been MIA lately!)

Dance Shows - Midland Highland Festival and Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival

Dance Recitals - 2 different recitals - 3 different shows

Starting a new Business

Brother's Wedding

Sister-in-Law's baby shower

New niece on Mr. CrazyLife's side

Visit from CrazyLife Grandparents

And various other events that don't stand on there own.  And it's not even July yet!!!!


(pictures to follow as soon as my connection speeds up a wee bit.)
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My New Business Venture - So Excited!

For the past few years I've made special calendars for our family for Christmas.  I take all the photos from the year and digitally scrapbook them into a calendar using the Heritage Makers Studio program.  My MIL and her sisters have been consultants for Heritage Makers for years.  It's a lot of fun and super easy to do.

Recently, I decided to join the Heritage Makers team and become a consultant.  I've been making so many projects and I love to share them with everyone, so I thought it was the perfect "side" job for me.  And I've been having so much fun making new projects now as a consultant.  Besides the calendars, I've been making canvases, which are totally awesome!  And working on my poor neglected third and fourth children's 12x12 scrapbook pages.  And making flash cards.  And birthday cards.  And posters for my classroom.  The possibilities are endless!!!

Here are a couple of examples of my canvases.

This is a family picture from my brother-in-law's wedding last year.  I love, love, love the photo, but wasn't sure how to to present it.  Then I decided upon a canvas and I love the outcome!

One of the best things about Heritage Makers is this new opportunity they have called Club HM.  Basically, you subscribe to the Club and receive publishing points.  You get access to all their premier artwork.  Before this you had to purchase everything up front and pay extra for the premier artwork.  Now, you can still do it that way, but seriously, why?  Club HM is almost like a lay-away plan . . . you pay for the club, get points and work on a project.  When you have enough points, you publish and order your creation.  And it keeps on going.  It's perfect!

Now that I've gone on and on about how Great Heritage Makers is, let me tell you even more.  I don't know about anyone else, but I have a ton of digital pictures that are sitting around on my computer or a SD card or saved on disk somewhere.  Those pictures, those stories are never printed or told.  They're locked away.  With Heritage Makers, I'm able to use them - as many as I want - in great projects to share.  Storybooks, scrapbook pages, cards, calendars, posters, address labels, canvases, and more.  It's a great way to share our life stories and pass on our memories to our futures.

I love it!

If you want to know more, check out Heritage Makers. Ask me to set you up with a FREE account, activate it and start creating.  I guarentee you'll love it!
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Hogwart's Adventure and Frienly Wednesday

We started our adventures at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this week.  And it's been a blast so far!!!  If you're interested in following along, you can read moe here:

In honor of the Harry Potter adventures we're having, I'm post a recipe I came across while searching.  As all us Harry Potter fans know, Butterbeer is the premiere drink of the Wizarding world.  Mr. CrazyLife's cousin has a recipe for it that is quite good served warm or used as in a "Butterbeer" float (ala root beer float style). But this recipe incorporates the best of both worlds: Butterbeer and Cake. 
(amybites photo, not mine!)

Check it out here.

And it's Wednesday . . . . so here's to Friendly Wednesday over at Feeding Four!!!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

We're Going to Hogwarts!!!

Every summer I try to find something fun to do with the kids.  Something that wil keep us busy and also keep them reading and practicing "school" things.  Sometimes we've done summer camps.  One year we did a reading challenge.  We attend summer events at the library and parks.

But this summer . . . . . We're going to Hogwarts!!!!!

Thing #1 recently got into reading the Harry Potter books.  She's booked through them :) at a record pace.  And now Thing #2 and #3 are reading the first book out loud with me.  They love the magic and mystery of them.  And they thing (and I can't argue with this) that Hogwarts would be the coolest school ever to attend!

Later today, when the children come home from school, they will find a magic "Owl Post" tube containing acceptance letters for each of them to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Summer Correspondence School.  The letter details what they need to do as students and advises them to be on the lookout for more Owl Posts with their assignments.

The first assignment is also going to be in the container - a quiz to fill out so they can be sorted into Houses.  They will work to earn points for their Houses all summer and the house with the most points (or more likely all the children!) will earn a special House Prize at the end of the summer.

The second assignment will come later this week - a note from Hagrid asking them to "write him a lit'le note telling meh what kind o' animal yeh'd like to take care 'o."  They will have to detail howthey will take care of their animal and can choose from: an owl, a turtle, a rat, a cat or a frog.  A few days later (or whenever Momma can find stuffed animals of choice) Hagrid will send them some animals to take care of.

Assignments will follow over the course of the summer from various professors - all by Owl Post.  The letters will be on "parchment" (regular paper dyed light brown in a tea bath), rolled up and tied with a ribbon; different colors for different professors.  The class schedule allows for the study of the followin subjects: Astronomy, Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, Quill Writing, Spell Writing, and Herbology.  We might even have a game or two of Quiddich!

Mr. CrazyLife is as excited about this as I am.  He's going to help Mr. Ollivander and spin up a couple of magic wands for us.  :)

This is going to be fun!!!!!!

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Meal Plan Monday 6-5-11

It's June!! 
 Time for summer picnics at the park, playing in the pool, pond and at the splash park. 
 Time for potato salad and grilled hot dogs!  Yay!!!!

Meal Plans for the week of June 5, 2011

Lunches: School lunches/tuna salad on boston lettuce leaf/bologna, crackers, cheese, veggies
Dinner: Grilled hot dogs/brats, potato salad, jello w/pears, chips

Lunches: brown bag school lunches/mac n' cheese w sausages
Dinner: Fajitas or tacos for kids

Wednesday - Last day of school for the kids!!!!
Lunches: brown bag school lunches/PBJ sandwiches with fruit
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast sandwiches/chicken nuggets for kids with potato salad, baked beans and broccoli

Lunches: Ravoli w/bread and butter
Dinner: Do-Agins (we're out and about tonight!)

Friday - Last day of school for Mr. CrazyLife!!!!
Lunches: Bologna Sandwiches w/chips and cut veggies
Dinner: Pork Chops on the grill w/lettuce salad and jello

Saturday - Highland Festival Day (Thing #1 and Momma dancing!)
Lunches: Sandwiches at the park
Dinner: Catch as catch can (Mr. CrazyLife to Alumni Dinner Awards)

Lunches: Pancakes w/scrambled eggs
Dinner: Garlic Shrimp in noodles/fish sticks for kids

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Setting up a Household Notebook

As I'm ever on a path to a more simple, easy and organic lifestyle, I'm always trying new things to help organize myself (and the family) around the house.  A few years ago, I had a household notebook that contained the details of our life: menus, babysitter info, website/password info, phone numbers, cleaning schedule, calendar, etc.  I had a separate one for bills.  And life was good.

And then, as goes the way of all good things, life got in the way and my notebook was lost in the shuffle.

I miss it.  I want it back.  I NEED it back.

So I'm working on setting up a new household notebook.  I'll share as I go along.  Do any of you keep a household notebook?  What do you put in it and how do you organize it?  Do you have any websites/downloads you'd like to share?

I'm planning on having these sections for sure:
Babysitter Info
Important phone numbers
Kids' friends' info
Weekly cleaning schedule
Meal plans - weekly/monthly/recipes
Shopping lists/coupons (perhaps a second notebook?)
Website/password info
Family birthdays/anniversaries
Family info (birthday/ss#/insurance/allergies/etc)

I'm hoping to make this a working book - one that will live with us and grow and change as we do.  Something that I, Mr. CrazyLife and all the kids can use and understand.  I think that setting our daily lives and rhythms and schedules to paper should help with some of the craziness and confusion that sometimes rules our lives.  I want my children to get used to making lists and keeping track of life in general so that when they are older, they don't struggle the way I do.

I'm sure I'll tweek things as I go.  But my goal for the month of June is to get this notebook in order and get it working.  I've been browsing the web and there are SO many fantastic ideas out there on setting up a household notebook, so if you need inspiration, just google! 
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meal Plan Monday (or Tuesday!) 5-30-11

Meal Plans for the week of 5-30-11

At MIL's house: Memorial Day BBQ and leftovers for dinner

Lunches: brown bag school lunches/mac n' cheese & hot dogs
Dinner: BLT's (from last week), deviled eggs, pasta salad

Lunches: brown bag school lunches/PBJ w/cut fruit
Dinner: Soyed Chicken Wings (MIL's recipe), baked beans, cut veggies, salad

Lunches: brown bag shool lunches/bologna & cheese w/crackers, cut veggies, mini-marshmallows
Dinner: Speghetti w/red & white sauce, garlic bread, broccoli

Lunches: brown bag lunches/hot dogs w/chips and fruit
Dinner: Pioneer Woman Sour Cream Noodle Bake, french bread, green beans

Lunches: Do-Again's
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner!  Pancakes & bacon, scrambled eggs

Lunches: Do-Again's or Find it in the Fridge
Dinner: Pioneer Woman Beef with Snow Peas (from last week), rice, salad, rolls

Linking up to:  Menu Plan Monday
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Friday, May 27, 2011

School's Out! School's Out!!

As a kid, nothing was better than shouting, "School's Out! School's Out!  Teacher let the Fool's Out!" on the last day of school.

Let me tell you, as a teacher, there is still nothing better . . . only this time the fools' getting out ARE the teachers!

There is just something special about those last few days of school.  The lessons are pretty much done for the year.  Everyone is relaxed and looking forward to long summer days in the sun.  Kids are looking forward to a break from their teachers.  And let's face it, the teachers are looking forward to a break from the kids.

There has been a lot of bad press out there lately about teachers (especially if you live in my GREAT state).  And yes, sometimes the school system and teachers are in the wrong.  But sometimes we're in the right too.  And I can honestly say that I have never worked with a teacher who didn't care about her children or who didn't try their hardest to help a child learn.  Not all of them were warm, fuzzy, loving teachers.  Not all of them were unique or original in their teaching.  But all of them do their best to help each child succeed.

And at the end of the school year, as we're enjoying those long, hot days in the sun (or the long, rainy, chilly days in grey clouds if you're in my neck of the woods lately), we can look back with pride over how well our students achieved this year.  And smile.  And start thinking about next year . . . well, maybe in a day or two!

(Mr. CrazyLife and the munchkins still have about 10 days of school left though . . . so I'll enjoy those 10 days before totally allowing myself to get on to summer mode, I guess!)

Happy Summer Vacation!!!!

(and wait till you see what we have planned for this year . . . TONS of magical fun ahead . . . just wait for the OWL post and see!)
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 5-23-11

Meal Plans for the Week of 5-23-11

Lunch - brown bag school lunches
Dinner - Pork steaks w/honey and mustard sauce w/rice and broccoli

Lunch - brown bag school lunches
Dinner - Homemade Mac n' cheese with polish sausage/hot dogs and green beans

Lunch - brown bag school lunches
Dinner - Pioneer Woman's BBQ Meatballs w/rmashed potatoes and veggie

Lunch - brown bag school lunches
Dinner - BLT sandwiches w/chips and baked beans, potato salad

Lunch - brown bag school lunches
Dinner - Do-again's (leftovers)

Lunch - PBJ sandwiches w/cut veggies and yogurt
Dinner - Pioneer Woman's Beef with Snow Peas w/veggie and bread

Lunch - Do-again's or sandwiches
Dinner - Speghetti w/red and white sauces, garlic bread and corn

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy May!!!

Sorry I've been missing in action the past few weeks.  It's been totally crazy around the CrazyLife house and it doesn't look to be getting better anytime soon.  It's the end of the school year and well, crazy.  I'll be back in action soon . . . .
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Friday, April 29, 2011

I was a guest author!!!

Yesterday, I was a Guest Author at Serendipity Mommy.  I wrote about our garden, chickens and composting, specifically.  Hop on over and check it out!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taco Stuffed Shells

I'm not quite sure where I first saw this recipe.  TOH, perhaps?  Anyway, it's become a family-favorite here and while I don't make it often, when I do it is always enjoyed.  I wish I would have had pictures to share, but Mr. CrazyLife fed the children last night while I went for a run and that was something he wasn't going to do!

Taco-Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
1-2 lbs ground beef (or turkey or chicken or pork or whatever)
1 package taco seasoning (or homemade)
1 jar salsa con queso (cheese w/salsa)
1 can refried beans
1 jar salsa
shredded cheese
tortilla chips, plain or cheesy

Boil shells until tender.  Drain and rinse with cool water.
Brown ground meat.  Add taco seasoning.  Add 1/2-3/4 jar of salsa con queso and nux throughly.
Stuff shells with meat mixture.
In bottom of baking pan, spread refried beans and top with salsa.  Put stuffed shells on top.  Cover with shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until warmed through.

Linking up to What's Cooking Thursdays at Feeding Four and Buzz on By Thursday at Sunny Bug.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Wedding Fun

I don't know if anyone else out there is as excited about the upcoming Royal Wedding as I am, but boy am I ever excited!  I can totally remember getting up and watching Princess Diana's wedding, as well as Fergie's wedding with my mom.  Maybe it's because my family has always had an interest in British life and royalty.  Maybe it's just because it's cool to see a beautiful woman become a real-life princess.  Or maybe, just maybe it's because WAY WAY WAY WAY back in our family line, I had an ancestor with royal blood!  (Mom found that out once doing geneology - My gram wore a tiara for the rest of the week and proclaimed that she always knew she was royal!!!! )

But whatever the reason, I am beyond stoked to get up early and watch as Will and Kate take their vows this Friday.  I plan on taping the wedding as well, so whatever I miss while getting the kids ready for school, packing lunches and the like, I can see later.

In fact, Thing #1 and I are planning a Royal Tea Party and Wedding Watching Party for Friday night (or maybe Saturday morning, depending on how Mr. CrazyLife feels about it!)

We're going to dress up and wear hats.  Drink tea.  Have tea cakes and sandwiches.  Maybe we'll even make some "royal" cupcakes like these from the Disney Family Fun site.

On the Disney Family Fun site there are lots of other fun activities to do with your children to celebrate the Royal Wedding.  How about a Kate Middleton paper doll dress-up?  Or print out a tiara like the one Kate may wear in the wedding for your little princesses to wear at your celebration.  It's a definite must-see if you are planning a royal celebration!

There's fun stuff on there for us moms as well: Check out the fabulous headdresses and shoes.  Bake up some of the princess cookies and cakes.  Book a romantic get-away.  Learn how to feel like a princess every day.  It's all on there.  Plus, check out the Disney Princess inspired wedding dresses - they are to die for!!  If I was getting married again, I'd totally pick out the Belle dress.

Linking up to Friendly Wednesdays at Scraps of Life and Feeding Four

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 4/25/11

Meal Plans 4/25/11

Lunch: Ham, sweet potatos, rolls, potato salad, jello
Dinner: Mac n' Cheese, ham sandwiches, fruit pieces

Lunch: School lunches/brown bag lunches
Dinner: Take-out Pizza

Lunch: School lunches/brown bag lunches
Dinner: Taco stuffed shells

Lunch: School lunches/brown bag lunches
Dinner: Beef Fried Rice

Lunch: School lunches/brown bag lunches
Dinner: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Potato Salad, PBJ, chips, cut veggies

Lunch: School lunches/brown bag lunches
Dinner: Something on the grill (steak? hamburg?)

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!!!
May you and your families have a blessed, happy, and peaceful day.

He is risen!!

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