Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Keeping Up With...Family (Daniel's Field Trip)

Last week I got to go on a field trip with Daniel's class.  We went to Lynd's Fruit Farm, a local farm where they grow mostly apples and pumpkins.  We go every year as a family but this was my first time doing the field trip and the tour.

We started with a lesson on how there are some good bugs for the fruit and plants, namely bees.  The kids enjoyed seeing a bunch of bees...behind a very thick glass.  After that we learned about how the apples grow and how they are picked and sorted to be sold.

When we were done learning about apples, we went into the field to pick some apples.  We each got to fill a small bag with pixie crisp apples.  The kids really loved doing this!  They all kept bringing me the apples they picked to show me how awesome they were.  We all followed the instructions & filled our bag then picked one more to enjoy in the field.

After we had our bags full we headed back inside to learn about how the farm functions during each season.  The kids got to try apple cider while one of the workers talked about the farm and the trees.  I was shocked to see Daniel drink his entire glass of cider!  He said he really liked it and would drink more.

We ended our field trip with a picnic lunch that we had all brought from school.  The kids were all talking about their apples and who they were going to share them with.  When we got too hot at the picnic tables in the sun we moved to a shady spot on the grass which the kids really loved!

Daniel was so excited and proud to have me be there with his class.  And I was thrilled to be there as well.  We had a great time spending some one on one time and I also got to know some of the kids in his class as well as a few of their parents.  I'm so thankful I'm able to volunteer in the schools!!

Here is a photo dump of our day:

The group of kids I was responsible for during the trip

And then some other kids wanted to join in

Learning about Lynds

Learning about bugs that are good & bad for the plants

Learning how apples are weighed and sorted

Apple Picking!!

Daniel's class after a successful field trip

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 9/28 - 10/4)

Every week seems to get busier and busier.  This week is no exception with book fair going on at one of the boys' schools and us heading out of town this weekend for a quick camping trip.  And ironically this is our last "light" week before hockey starts up next week.

I did pretty well sticking to my plan last week.  I missed one day so there is one carryover meal to this week.  On busy nights I cook the meal for my lunch then Adrian just has to heat it up for him and the boys for dinner.  Then I can have leftovers or a nice big salad.  It's been working pretty well for us.

This week is a light week, not doing much cooking and away for part of the week.  But here's what we are eating this week:
Monday - Pork Burgers with kale chips
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday
Wednesday - Butternut & Apple Harvest Soup with Caesar salads
Thursday - Leftovers or a freezer meal
Friday - Camping
Saturday - Camping
Sunday - We will probably pick something up on our way home, or just throw together some leftovers

I'm also helping out to feed the teachers at both boys' schools for parent teacher conferences.  I am making cookies for AJ's school on Tuesday, I think peanut butter.  And since I'm baking anyway, I picked up ghost sugar cookies that I'll bake up for us to bring camping.  Then on Thursday I'm making beer bread for Daniel's school.  I also ordered one package of the gluten free beer bread to accommodate those teachers. 

Water Flavor - Last week I wasn't sure what I had so I didn't know what I would set up.  I ended up doing pear infuser water.  It was delicious!!  Another favorite for sure.  This week I'm doing my absolute favorite flavor, mango
As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!  Have a great week!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 9/21 - 9/27)

I accidentally took last week off from menu planning.  Things have been really crazy and I was away from Thurs night thru Sunday.  We survived last week on leftovers, minimal cooking and takeout.  Not my favorite week of eating, but sometimes you just have to do it.

After a weekend away of relaxing and not having to cook anything (all my meals were prepared for me - awesome!) I am refreshed and ready to cook on my own again.  I need to do some serious shopping the beginning of the week but I think we will be OK.

Our schedule continues to get busier and crazier so I really need to start doing more prep over the weekend.  I also would really like to get back to doing some freezer cooking to restock my freezer for the nights that are super busy.  I think I'm going to research some recipes this week and then start cooking one freezer meal every weekend.

Here's what we're eating this week:
Monday - Coconut Chicken Stir Fry over Cauliflower Rice
Tuesday - Teriyaki Pineapple Pork with Couscous and homemade applesauce
Wednesday - Taco Soup with leftover cornbread
Thursday - Peppered Shrimp Alfredo
Friday - Steak Salads with garlic bread
Saturday - Brussels Sprouts Spaghetti Carbonara with salad
Sunday - Pork Burgers with kale chips

Water Flavor - I'm writing this while I'm away so I'm not entirely sure what I have at home.  I'm thinking I'll do peach because I know I still have a bunch of those at home.
As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!  Have a great week!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Keeping Up With...Family (Zak's First Days of School)

Zak finally started school this past week!  He has been waiting to go to school since his big brothers started almost a month ago.  We went in last Friday to meet his teacher and see his classroom and then on Monday he went by himself.
Listening to a story at Meet the Teacher
Checking out the playground
He did great the first week!!  No tears from him (or from me!)  His teachers said he is extremely well behaved and is a great listener.  He enjoys recess (same as his big brothers!) and also really enjoys the crafts that they do.  He is excited to have his own wall in the house now to display all of his art work.
This book bag is almost as big as me!

I thought I would be sad when my baby started going to school, but I'm honestly kind of loving it.  I feel like I've had the most one on one time with Zak.  We spent a lot of mornings together last year while the big boys were in school and even some afternoons when Daniel went to friends' houses.  He is also only gone 2 days/week for 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon so we still have a lot of time together, including weekly ice skating and soccer.

I am also enjoying the fact that I can now go into AJ and Daniel's schools to volunteer more without having to rely on babysitters all the time.  I was in Daniel's class this past Weds doing sight words with the class and next Weds I'll be in AJ's class.  I'm also volunteering at the book fair at both schools in the next month.  Honestly I am probably overbooked while Zak is at school, I should probably take a minute (or hour!) for myself one of these weeks.
Sight words with Daniel's class

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Keeping Up With...Family (Quick Hits)

So there's been a lot going on here the past two weeks since summer ended and the boys went back to school.  Most of it is the daily grind of school, homework, Zumba and sports.  Not anything really news/blog worthy but nothing to be forgotten either.  Here are some quick hits on what's been going on.

 AJ continues to play ice hockey.  He has been going to hockey camp all summer to improve his skills and is currently taking two skill sessions with his coach to improve before he has tryouts in a few weeks.  Everyone will make a team, but they like to split the kids up evenly since a majority of our games are against the other 6 teams in our league.  AJ and Daniel will start bowling league again next week.  They are both such great bowlers and I'm glad they decided to join again.  Daniel will be starting boy scouts soon (not really a sport, but extra curricular so I'm putting it here).  He will be with a few of his buddies and is very excited.  Zak is taking ice skating lessons with me and will start soccer classes this week.  He is super excited!   Finally all 3 boys are continuing swim lessons.  They are all improving and I'm hoping by next summer to have at least one of them actually swimming!

I spent all of last weekend in training with the YMCA called Strength and Muscle Conditioning.  I passed the test and am now certified as an instructor in this.  I really enjoyed the class and am already using some of what I learned for my Zumba Toning classes.  I won't be teaching this class any time soon, but I'm trying to take it as much as possible so I can get a class together.  I will start subbing occasionally and then maybe at some point teach my own class.  I hope to continue taking training from the Y to improve my skills as a fitness professional.
Labor Day Weekend
We had a good balance of fun and work over Labor Day weekend.  We went on a bunch of walks around our neighborhood, despite the fact that it was super hot all weekend.  We also went swimming at the y pool for a while on Sunday.  And we had my brother, sister in law and niece over for dinner on Sunday.  The kids had a great time running around while the adults caught up and ate delicious food!
Family walk
Daniel & Isabelle after a lot of fun playing
Diet & Exercise
Both Adrian and I are back to eating right and working out.  He recently joined the YMCA and has been going 3 mornings before work and then once over the weekend with me.  I am trying to branch out from only teaching Zumba every week.  My goal is to get to one other class each week and do as much strength training as I can.  I'm thinking about starting to blog about my workouts again, we'll see.
Zak getting into the exercise spirit
Both boys are coming home with homework each night.  AJ has at least an hour every night, sometimes more because he has a hard time focusing on what he's supposed to be doing.  Each night AJ has reading, writing, spelling and math and Daniel has reading, spelling and math.  This is keeping us very busy, especially since our schedule is full.  We are trying to find a routine to do this but it's hard since every night is different.  I'm sure we'll find our way soon!
Daniel's homework for week 1 of school
AJ's spelling homework last week
 I think that's about all from over here.  Hope you enjoyed catching up on what we've been doing!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 9/7 - 9/13)

For the first time in a long time I kept exactly to my meal plan last week and we ate everything when we planned it.  And everything was delicious!!  The Thai Chicken in the crock pot and the Mongolian Beef were 2 of my favorites for sure.  And the boys ate everything I made this week, except the Mongolian Beef which I am fine with.  I like to give them a day to pick their own dinner, they seem to fight less if once a week they get to pick whatever they want.  I'll take it!
Thai Chicken over Zoodles
The only change to my plan for last week is that we aren't heading to my brother's house for dinner tonight, they are coming here.  Adrian & I got a menu together and I went shopping (alone!!!) yesterday for that a the first few nights of this week so I'm a little ahead of the game.  Now I just have to prep all these veggies I'm making tonight.

I also decided it was time to upgrade my food scale.  I use it all the time, at least once a day.  The old was is so many years old I have no idea when I bought it.  It was cracked and beat up, but it worked.  I finally decided to splurge and get a new one.  I wanted a digital one but the price difference was too huge for me to justify so I got another manual one.  Used it yesterday and it is great!
New (left) & Old (right) food scales

Here's what we're eating this week:
Monday - Probably Pizza.  Ohio State kicks off the season tomorrow night & our goal is to cross off everything on our to do list before the game!  I decided to have a "cheat" day and order out.  Or maybe BibiBop, my new favorite place to eat!
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday!
Wednesday - Turkey & Peppers Soup with Salad
Thursday - White Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Buttermilk Cornbread (still trying to finish up the buttermilk.  This will be it, anything left will be trashed)
Friday - Coconut Chicken Stir Fry over Cauliflower Rice
Saturday - Teriyaki Pineapple Pork with Couscous and homemade applesauce
Sunday - Bacon Wrapped Filets on the grill with potatoes & veggies

Water Flavor - Strawberry Peach with some of our hand picked peaches, yum.

As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!  Have a great week!!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Keeping Up With...Family (Summer Week 12 - Aug 15 thru Aug 23)

I just realized I never finished summarizing our summer.  We got busy with the school and fall calendar starting.

When I left off, our family visitors had all just left and we were playing with friends and getting ready for school.  We spent this weekend catching up on stuff around the house and relaxing.  I was also covering for all of my Zumba instructor friends who went to convention so I taught a bunch of classes that weekend.  I also finished off our school shopping and got everything together and ready to go for the week.

Monday was our last full day of summer vacation so we headed to Zoombeezi Bay for one more time.  We had a blast playing in the wave pool (I finally braved it by myself with all 3 boys!), lazy river and tipping bucket play area.  It was pretty crowded, everyone had the same idea as we did so after a few hours everyone was done in the water.  We quickly dried off and headed to Jungle Jack's Landing to ride some of the dry rides.  We did that for about an hour & I saw the storm clouds rolling in so I decided to call it a day.  We no sooner got in the car and the rain started, great job Mom!!
Selfie on the Whirlie Gigs

Swinging Daniel & Zak!
Tuesday was meet the teacher for both boys.  I was at the school the whole day volunteering for the PTO, helping feed the teachers lunch, passing out welcome back to school gifts and manning our table.  I was able to sneak off for a while to go meet Daniel's teacher with him and we are both very excited about this school year.  Adrian took AJ over to his new school to meet his teacher and get the lay of the land.  Everyone enjoyed the day and was ready to start on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the first day of school for AJ & Daniel, you can read all about it here.  Zak and I spent the rest of the week running around trying to make sure everyone got where they needed to be and trying to find our groove.  We failed miserably and ended up just flying by the seat of our pants.  It is a big adjustment to have Daniel be gone all day!

After surviving the first week of school Daniel really wanted a family day on Saturday, so we let him plan a day out for us.  We started the day at the Y with the boys having swimming lessons & me teaching a Zumba class.  Then we all changed clothes and headed to the Chiller to ice skate as a family.  AJ is super fast, he beat me every time we raced around the rink!  After all that activity we were all hungry so we headed to First Watch for an amazing lunch.

After lunch we headed to the dam park.  We played at the park for a while and then went on a 2 mile hike up the stairs and across the dam.  The boys were really enjoying watching everyone in their boats and kept begging to go out in a boat.  They also wanted to walk farther but we were low on time and were afraid they would run out of energy (Zak did about 100 feet from our car).  We felt like after how active we were all day we deserved a treat so we headed the Graeter's for some ice cream.  We finished the day with Adrian taking AJ and Daniel to the new Microsoft store for a hockey event.  They got to play the new XBox One NHL game with the kids in AJ's hockey league.  Zak and I stayed home and had an early bed time!  It was a fantastic family day, Daniel did a great job planning it all out for us!!