Saturday, August 26, 2017

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Aug 28 - Sept 3)

Wow, what a week!  We have been so busy adjusting to be back to school plus all of our extracurriculars.  But I did a great job of sticking to my menu plan last week.  We had awesome meals each day and I feel fantastic after a week of eating healthy again.  It is a lot of work sticking to it and it takes a lot of planning ahead on my part.  But with all three kids in school, it's a little bit easier to get things done during the day.  Here was one of my favorite meals from last week, even though I had a boil over when making the quinoa and Zak stole my corn!
This week we don't slow down, we have just as many extracurriculars.  But I am determined to stick to healthy eating and my plan.  My mother in law brought us a bunch of fruit and vegetables from her local church last week so that is what is inspiring most of my meals this week.  She volunteers at the food pantry at church and then can take home whatever isn't picked up at the end of the day.  She brought my cantaloupe, peppers, purple cabbage, strawberries (we've already eaten or frozen all of those), potatoes and pears.  Plus some bread which went right in the freezer for us to use as we need it.  I'm not worrying about the potatoes or pears right now, they will keep for a little while.

Here's what we're eating this week:
Monday - Turkey Rubens and Caesar Salads
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday!
Wednesday - Stuffed Peppers
Thursday - Thai Chicken Salad
Friday - Egg Rolls in Bowls
Saturday - Garlic Alfredo Tilapia over Zoodles
Sunday - Grilled Steak with Cabbage Salad

I'm also making this salad for myself for lunches this week to use up some of the cantaloupe.  And Daniel asked for "chocolate chip bread" for breakfast so I'm making that this weekend as well.  Plus we're out of rice krispy treats for snacks so I'll be making those too.  I'm going to be busy in the kitchen this week for sure!

Water Flavor - Grapefruit (I still have a few of these to use up)

Overnight Oats - We got back on track eating them this week.  I've already set up Banana Chocolate Chip for the week.  And I created my own mix by using the original recipe and adding pureed cantaloupe and basil essential oil.  I didn't do a lot this week because I made a double batch of the Ham and Cheese Quiche on Friday so we're also eating those for breakfasts this week too.

Use It Up Challenge - I did great with this last week using up a bunch of open stuff in the fridges.  This week I'm focusing on using up all of the fruits and veggies that I got this week.  I'm also trying to use up the meat I have in the freezer so I don't have a very large grocery bill this week.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 8/18 - 8/24)

Friday (8/18) Felt like the first real day of school for me since all three were in school on a regular schedule.  I am thankful that Adrian is up with us in the morning to help get AJ up and on the bus, it's nice to have the extra pair of hands.  After AJ left for school & Adrian for work, I got the other two ready for school and went in with them to volunteer again.  I did much better today, no tears for me!  When all the students got safely to their classes, I headed out to run some errands - ALONE!  It was wonderful to just run in and out of stores and get everything done so quickly.  I got back home, had a nice hot lunch alone and got a bunch done before headed out to pick up AJ from school.  He will usually ride the bus, but I'll pick him up once in a while so he gets home earlier.

AJ and I got home and he wanted to show me how he learned to use Google Hangouts today at school.  He played around on that for a while and then I had to leave to go pick up Daniel and Zak.  We walked back home while they told me all about their days.  Everyone had a great first few days of school and I'm so thankful for that.  We didn't do a whole lot the rest of the night - watched TV, played video games, played Life, ate Jets pizza and relaxed.  We were going to do a family movie night but the boys were really tired and asked to wait until tomorrow.  Daniel actually fell asleep on the couch while they were watching TV.  Early bedtimes for all and lots of relaxing on the agenda this weekend for sure.

Saturday (8/19) We all got to sleep in a little before having to get up and get AJ ready for his first soccer practice.  Adrian took him there while I stayed home with Daniel and Zak to get started on our to do list for the weekend.  AJ did really well at practice and said he had a good time.  They came home, we all grabbed lunch and then I took Daniel to his first soccer practice.  He also did really well, if a little timid, and said he likes it.  It's a big change for all three boys this year going from Lil Kickers which was mostly drills to playing on an actual team, in actual games and having real practices as well.  I think it's going to be a great season for all three of them though!
The rest of the day we pretty much just worked around the house trying to catch up on stuff we've let slip the past few weeks.  We got a lot done and I think we'll be just about caught up after tomorrow.  I'm going to have a busy week though, lots of errands to run!  The boys each played a board game with Adrian, played some video games and watched TV.  I think we all needed a low key weekend, it's been a busy summer for us.  Adrian and I finished up the night watching the start of the Cowboys preseason game, but didn't make it very far because we were both exhausted.  Thankful for our DVR!

Sunday (8/20) Daniel had a bad dream last night so he slept with me and Adrian slept downstairs.  Thankfully I sleep pretty good with him, I was only up a few times over night.  I got up and moving pretty early and was able to make it to the first service at church, which I loved.  The message is about being busy and who doesn't need to hear about that and how to prevent it?  Then I volunteered in childcare for the second service where I had all three boys in my class while Adrian went to service.  After church we rushed home for a quick lunch and then Adrian took the boys to the Y for their new session of swim lessons.  All three boys did fantastic at swimming, especially AJ who dove in the deep end off the high board and swam the whole length of the pool!!
While they were at swim lessons, I stayed home and got some things done around here.  I had to run thru all of my Zumba songs since I haven't really taught in 3 weeks I needed a refresher.  I think I'm ready to go tomorrow.  When they got home, we finished up what we needed to do for the weekend, had family dinner and got to bed early so we're ready for the week.  We continued our normal Sunday night of Adrian watching Game of Thrones while I watch something else upstairs.  Tonight I finished Dallas Buyers Club, it was a really good movie!

Monday (8/21) Happy Eclipse Day!!  The boys were so excited to get to school and watch it this afternoon.  Adrian decided to work from home today so he helped get everyone out and then settled down to work while I went to a Barre class & grocery shopping.  Then he and I were totally unproductive and watched the whole eclipse on TV.  It was cloudy here and we couldn't really see it and were super upset for the boys, especially AJ who was SO excited about it.
My view was obscured by the clouds
AJ got home a few minutes early and we asked if he saw it and he excitedly told us "YES!"  What?  With the glasses, you could see it!  He let Adrian and I borrow them to look at it.  So cool!  I left to pick up Daniel and Zak and I took the glasses with me so I kept stopping and looking at it.  Daniel and Zak also got to see it and thought it was awesome.  I'm really glad our schools took care of glasses and let everyone go outside to see it today.
After everyone got home, we had a quick dinner before our busy night.  Daniel had soccer practice so Adrian took him there while I took Zak to his first Cub Scout meeting of the year.  He is so excited to be a Lion!  I'm bummed that our pack decided not to have the lions this year, but I'm glad that my friend and her son are doing one that is very close and we can join them!  We all got home and were exhausted so it was snack, show and bedtime!

Tuesday (8/22) Today was the first day of the school year that felt like a normal day for us.  Adrian got up with AJ and got him on the bus.  I got Daniel and Zak up and out to school then finished up my grocery shopping for the week.  I taught my Silver Sneakers class and then came home and got a few things done around the house.  I picked everyone up and they had a little downtime before a quick dinner and off to AJ's soccer practice.  Again when we got home everyone was exhausted so it was time for snack, show and bed. 

Wednesday (8/23) Today was another normal day for us, I think we are finally finding a routine.  Everyone got off to school on time and I went and ran a few errands before going to the Y for an Aqua Zumba class and then to observe a Silver Sneakers class.  I loved the Aqua Zumba class, it was so fun!  I'm glad I registered for this session, it will help keep me accountable to go to at least one class each week.  I came home, did a few things around the house, then picked everyone up from school.  Everyone was super excited about lunch today because in addition to Donato's pizza, they also got a cookie.  They all said it was the best lunch ever!

We had to hurry to get back to the Y for my Zumba class, which went awesome.  Then I dropped the boys off at home while I went to a meeting about AJ going to 5th grade camp.  I'm not sure if he will go or not, but I wanted to make sure I had all of the information.  It sounds like a lot of fun, but I'm not sure AJ is ready to be away from us for a few days.  We'll wait a few weeks and make our decision.  After I got home, we had dinner, hung out and then it was time for snack, show & bed.  Adrian and I are binge watching "Silicon Valley" since none of our prime-time shows are on right now.  It's a really funny show, we're enjoying it! 

Thursday (8/24) Today was a rough start for me because Zak came in and woke us up around 3:30am.  Thankfully we all went back to sleep for a while, but I slept horribly in the spare room.  I did manage to get everyone to school on time and get to my Silver Sneakers class.  After class I got the oil in my van changed finally and then came home and was very productive around the house.  Before I knew it, it was time for everyone to get home from school.  AJ wanted his buddy who rides the bus with him to come over but unfortunately we didn't make the plan in time so he couldn't get off at our stop today.  There was lots of bike riding this afternoon, all three boys are really enjoying it.  I think part of it is the cool weather.

After a delicious dinner, Adrian took Daniel to soccer practice.  He did great, his coach is really good with the kids and Daniel is doing a really good job.  I stayed home with Zak and AJ who played outside for a while and then played together in the play room.  It was weird to have almost the whole day to myself.  I got everything done for the day before 8pm and started to work on things for tomorrow.  When Adrian and Daniel got home, we got the boys to bed and then enjoyed more Silicon Valley. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 8/11 - 8/17 - Part 2)

Monday (8/14) We were supposed to head to Zoombezi Bay for one last fun day of vacation, but we were all exhausted after the weekend!  We decided to just hang out at home and relax.  The boys played a ton of board games with me and Nana.  They also played some video games while we unpacked and cleaned up a bit.  We headed out in the afternoon for a few errands and a trip to Graeter's for a special treat from Nana.  We had a nice family dinner when Adrian got home and played some more board games at night.  We tried to head to bed early (it didn't really work) to try to get ready for school later this week.
Tuesday (8/15) Today was our last official day of summer break and also the day Nana left to go back to Florida.  We got AJ up early (although not as early as he'll have to get up tomorrow morning) to get in the groove of back to school.  We spent a few hours with Nana before Adrian took her to the airport on his way to work.  We're always sad to say "see you later" but we're very happy she was able to come and spend some time with us this summer!  After they left, we got ready and headed out to Harcum for my Silver Sneakers class.  The boys are upset they won't be coming to class with me anymore since they get extra video game time there.  I told them they can come for Christmas break, LOL!

After class, we ran to Great Clips to get haircuts for school.  All three boys did great and we were in and out in less than 20 minutes.  Of course then we had to make a stop at Krispy Kreme for donuts for our first day of school.  We quickly came home, had lunch and headed out to meet the teachers.  We started at AJ's new school, where he will be only this year since it is only 5th grade.  He will have three teachers and all of them seemed great!  He is super excited his BFF Brooks is in his class again and that he saw a few other boys that he knows.  When we finished there, we headed to the school where Daniel and Zak will go.  Daniel is returning for his 4th year there & of course it's Zak's first (of 5 years) there.  They were all excited to meet their teachers and are ready to go for a great school year!
After running around, we were all pretty tired so we came home, played some video games, watched some TV, had taco Tuesday and a family game of Life.  It was a very relaxing night for all of us and an early bedtime for all as well.  AJ has an early wake up call so Adrian and I will both be getting up super early as well.  Hoping we all sleep well tonight!!

Wednesday (8/16) First day of school!!  AJ has to get up really early this year to catch the bus and he got up on his own this morning.  He's very excited for the new school year and we're very proud of him.  Adrian and I got him out the door together and then I hung with Zak (who also got up at 5:30 for no reason) until it was time to get Daniel up and ready for school.  After we dropped him off, Zak and I were going to go out and do something but we decided we'd rather hang out at home.  We played Life, Sorry and he played Minecraft while I did a few things around the house.
Before we knew it, it was time for the older boys to get home.  We waited for AJ's bus as long as we could but it didn't get here before we had to leave to pick up Daniel.  So Zak and I walked up to pick up Daniel and came home to AJ in the house already.  Both boys had a great first day at school!  AJ loves his new school and also riding the bus.  Daniel was excited to see friends at recess and that he knows a few people in his class as well.  They were both tired and hungry when they got home so after they told me about their days, they watched TV, snacked and relaxed.  We had dinner together and then it was more TV, a quick game of Life and early bed time again.  The days feel long when you're up so early!!

Thursday (8/17)  First day of school for Zachary!!  AJ struggled a little bit more to get up this morning, but we managed to get him on the bus in time.  Then I focused on getting Daniel and Zak up and ready.  We got to school a little early because I was helping in the hallways to direct students.  I did great dropping Zak off and saying Goodbye and went about my business of volunteering.  Then I had to go to his hallway, and I peaked in his class.  He was sitting with about 5 other kids, eating his breakfast & having a great time!  I lost it in the hallway and hurried to the bathroom so none of the kids would see me crying.  I didn't think I would be this emotional about sending him to kindergarten but I was.
I pulled myself together and went to teach my Silver Sneakers class, which was a welcome distraction.  After class I headed back to school to help out in the cafeteria for lunchtime.  It was exhausting but rewarding.  I got to hang with both Daniel and Zak for a little while so that was a nice bonus.  I was glad to see Zak and have him tell me he was having a great day!  I got home, had a quick lunch and was surprised by Adrian coming home from work early.  He wanted to surprise Zak on his first day of kindergarten.  We waited for AJ to get off the bus and then walked up together to pick up Daniel and Zak.  It was fun to walk home together.

When we got home, Zak was exhausted.  He dropped his stuff on the floor, grabbed a Gatorade & laid down on the floor.  It was pretty funny looking at him.  He rested for about 30-40 minutes and then he was up and running again!  Daniel was supposed to have his first soccer practice tonight but it cancelled due to bad weather.  So we had a nice relaxing family night at home with some games, magnet blocks & TV time.  Early bed time again for us, hoping we can stick to the early bed time all year because this Momma is tired!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 8/11 - 8/17 - Part 1)

Friday (8/11) We got up and got moving to enjoy our last few days of summer vacation.  The boys had been asking to go to a trampoline place this summer so I found a Groupon and we headed to Trampoline Xtreme.  They got to bounce for just over an hour and had a blast!  The place was really nice, very wide open with lots of different options for the boys to jump and play on.  When our time was up, everyone was upset and wanted to keep jumping so we'll be picking another day to head out there soon.

We got home and met Adrian at home for a quick lunch before finishing packing up the car for our weekend camping trip.  We got on the road a little later than we wanted to but still with plenty of daylight to get to Dayton and set up our tent.  We drove thru a little rain on our way out to our campground but it was gorgeous when we got there.  We sent the boys to the play ground and set up our tent pretty quickly.  When we were all settled, we all headed to the pool to cool off a bit before enjoying some pizza for dinner.  AJ, Daniel & Adrian decided to watch the movie the campground was showing "Night at the Museum" while Zak played on the playground and I sat and relaxed and read my book.
After the movie was over, everyone headed back to our site for a fire and some smores.  We enjoyed a few smores and then all of a sudden we started to feel rain drops and see lightening flashes.  We toughed it out for a bit before it started to rain harder so we headed to the tent.  Thankfully it was bedtime anyway so the boys fell asleep.  I had a hard time sleeping thru the rain and thunder overnight but thankfully I did get some rest.
Saturday (8/12) Zak, Daniel and Adrian were up very early and headed over to the lake to see if they could catch any fish.  By the time AJ and I woke up, they were done fishing and hadn't caught any fish.  We had a yummy breakfast of freshly baked donuts and then got ready to start our day.  We played some mini golf and then headed to the pool to cool off.  It was "Wet N Wild" weekend so the camp ground had a large water slide and bubble fun area for the boys to play in.  They had a blast!  We finally had to make them stop to go grill some hot dogs and sausages for lunch over the fire.

After lunch, we loaded up in the car to head to Sarah's parents house to spend the day with them.  It was a fun day with family and lots of pool time for the kids.  They enjoyed swimming, playing in the yard, riding bikes and eating hamburgers and hot dogs off the grill for dinner.  After dinner, there was more swimming for Daniel and Zak and the girls.  I don't know how Zak kept going, he must have been exhausted!  We finally pulled them out of the pool when it started to get dark & we were honestly afraid Zak was going to fall asleep in the water.
We headed back to our camp ground and got our fire going so we could enjoy some smores and some quiet time around the fire.  There was a 10 year old boy on the site next to us and they had a color changing fire so they invited us over to watch it and make smores with them.  It was really fun to watch their fire.  The 4 boys then sat around the picnic table playing video games while we enjoyed some adult down time watching the fire, reading and sipping wine until it was time for bed for all of us.

Sunday (8/13) After all of the activity yesterday, we all slept in until close to 9am this morning!  By the time we got up and moving it was time to break down camp.  The boy on the next camp sight wanted to hang out with our boys this morning, so they went and played mini golf and then rented bikes to explore the camp ground.  It was nice to have them occupied while Adrian and I broke camp and packed up.  We grabbed pizza one more time for lunch and then hit the road back home.
We got home, quickly unpacked and showered and then headed up to see Carl's new house.  Their new place is gorgeous, we wish them luck with their new adventure!  Although we will miss them being right down the road.  We had a nice visit there, just relaxing, chatting and spending time together.  We left and brought Nana back to our house for the rest of her time here in Ohio.  It was another fairly early bedtime for us since we were all still pretty tired.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Aug 21 - Aug 27)

I unintentionally took a three week break from menu planning.  The past three weeks have been crazy between our staycation, camping trip and getting ready to go back to school (and our busy fall schedule).  We have mostly been eating whatever we have around and my waist line is showing that.  I need to get back to eating well and that starts this week.  I have a few vegetables that I need to use up and they are the cornerstones of my meals this week.

I will be mostly trying to eat healthy for the next six weeks (minimum).  I will also be re-focusing on eating what we already have and also what's in season.  We are super busy right now with all three boys in school, soccer and swimming.  Plus two of them are doing Cub Scouts in two different packs.  Add in my classes bumping back up to my regular schedule and we have a jam packed calendar.  I will be using the crock pot weekly I'm sure.  Plus I plan to always have stuff on hand to make sandwiches, salads & omelettes so that if when thing go awry, I'm prepared.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday - Zucchini Soup and Green Bean Salad
Tuesday - Pork with Apples & Mushrooms
Wednesday - Shrimp Alfredo
Thursday - Honey-Garlic Chicken Thighs with Couscous & Corn
Friday - Ham and Cheese Quiche with Sausage & Fruit
Saturday - Steak and Corn on the Cob on the Grill
Sunday - Meatball Subs

Water Flavor - Apple/Grapefruit - I have a few grapefruits that are past their prime so they are going to be my water flavor for the next few weeks.

Overnight Oats - We've been hit or miss about eating these, Adrian more so than me.  I have mostly continued to eat them every morning, unless we have donuts.  I'm back to it for breakfast every morning.  I will also be having a glass of juice since we have tomato, orange & cranberry juice all opened.  I have three bananas to use up so I will be setting up Banana Chocolate Chip to start the week.  If I need more later in the week I will probably do Chocolate Peanut Butter or Peach Pie to use up some of the peaches we picked two weeks ago.

Use it Up Challenge - I am getting back to this challenge this week.  My main focus is to use up the vegetables I have which are zucchini, celery, mushrooms, green beans & corn on the cob.  I'm also planning on having one peach and one apple everyday because we picked a ton of them.  And I'm planning to drink one 8 ounce glass of juice to finish that up as well.  I also found egg beaters that are only good thru the end of this month so I'm using those in the quiche on Friday.  Hopefully this will help get a handle on the refrigerators, then I will move on to the freezers.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 8/4 - 8/10)

Friday (8/4) The weather forecast was for strong storms today so we decided not to do our trip to the Wilds and instead focus on things closer to home.  We also decided to cook a big turkey dinner tonight and are hosting dinner tomorrow night so we have a few errands to run as well.  We got ready and headed out to the new natural play area at Blendon Woods metro park.  It was so cool!  The boys enjoyed climbing on the rope structure, balancing on the logs, exploring the trails and using the old fashioned teeter totter.  But their favorite part was using the zipline swing.  They each rode it 5 times & wanted to do it even more!!  It was a great way to burn off some energy.
Our next stop was Kohl's for some tax free shopping.  Nana bought a birthday gift for Vinnie and the boys each got a new pair of sneakers and some socks for school.  It was a little hectic, shopping with them always is, but we survived.  After that, we were all hungry so Nana treated us to lunch at Red Robin, yumm!  The food was great as usual, but the service was very slow today for some reason.  When we finally finished up there, we headed back towards home to drop off Adrian and the boys before Nana & I went back out to do the grocery shopping.

After we stocked up on what we needed, we came home and finished cooking the sides for the turkey dinner.  Everything came out great!  We finished the night with a family movie night watching "Pete's Dragon" which was a fantastic movie.  I don't really remember the original but this version was great.  We all headed to bed shortly after the movie, it's been a long and tiring week!

Saturday (8/5) Once again, everyone was up bright and early.  I really hope this trend continues into the school year when I need them up bight and early.  The boys were signed up to go to a Home Depot workshop but then everyone decided they didn't want to go.  So they ran to Target to get a present for their friend who has a birthday party tomorrow and then spent the rest of the morning playing with Nana.  Sarah dropped off Isabelle and Vincent so the big kids played together while we watched Vinnie.  Carl and Sarah did some packing for their move, then came over to hang out for the day.  We just relaxed, chatted and ate home made pizza and crumble (crumb) cake.  Everyone had a great day together!
Sunday (8/6) was the official end of our staycation and back to reality.  I volunteered in childcare at church this morning.  Adrian and I did some work around the house, including a mound of dishes from yesterday.  AJ and Daniel went to Keaton's birthday party and had a blast playing laser tag.  Everyone played outside in the yard since all of our water toys are still set up and the rain held off.  We aimed for an early bedtime for the kids to try to get them more towards that schedule for school.  Adrian watched "Game of Thrones" and I started watching "Dallas Buyers Club."  All in all a good day back to our normal routine.  One more week of summer vacation & then we go back to school!

Monday (8/7) We woke up to a rainy, cold morning.  Our plans to go to Zoombezi Bay were canceled so I tried to find something else to do.  But the boys just wanted to "stay home" so I decided to let them just do that.  They had fun playing video games, watching TV and chilling around the house.  Then in the afternoon, I was back to work so we headed to the Y so I could teach my Zumba class.  We are celebrating my anniversary of teaching (4 years - wow!) so we're doing a shuffle of my favorite songs this week.  It was a fun class.

After class, we headed across town to meet Adrian for a movie at the cheap movie theater.  I wanted to go see "Sing" but no one else did so we decided to go see "Boss Baby" instead.  There was no traffic so we got there really quick.  We decided to stop in to Graeter's first for some ice cream - yum!  Then it was time for the movie so we got our popcorn and found our seats in the almost empty theater.  The movie was pretty good, way better than I thought it would be.  Everyone liked it, even Zak who sat still for most of it.  It was a great family night & we'll be keeping it in mind for something to do in the future.
Tuesday (8/8) We got up and moving so I could get to my Silver Sneakers class in the morning.  After class, we ran a quick errand to Aldi and then came home to eat lunch and get ready to head to AJ's next Brain Balance follow up assessment.  He continues to make improvements and they are really pleased with his development.  We will continue doing exercises at home and see how he does when school starts.  After his assessment, we went across the street to Highbanks Metro Park for some playing and some Pokemon Go.  Little did we know there was a raid on a gym where we were and the boys got to help about 30 other people defeat a Zaptos.  I'm not sure what that all means, but they were super excited about it!
We stayed at the park way longer than I expected to, which was fine with me.  It was a gorgeous day with low humidity so I did not mind being outside.  We got home and were all pretty worn out.  I used our leftover turkey and fresh broth to make an amazing turkey soup for dinner.  We had a relaxing night of watching TV, playing in our yard and playing video games. 

Wednesday (8/9) We had another lazy start to our morning and didn't get out quite as early as I wanted to.  We had a bunch of errands to run since we didn't do them earlier this week.  So we headed out and ran as many as the boys would tolerate before coming home to have lunch.  They had most of the afternoon free to play while I got ready to teach my class at the Y in the afternoon.  We did a random playlist of songs again and one of my students gave me a gift of notebooks with Zumba logos on them.  They are so cute!!  We had planned to have a movie night but everyone went outside to play and we just never got to the movie.  It wasn't a super fun day but it was productive and relaxing.

Thursday (8/10) We got up and moving so I could teach my Silver Sneakers class this morning.  After class we ran to Half Price Books to turn in our summer reading logs and buy new books and toys then we ran to Meijer to finish our grocery shopping for the week.  It was a rough stretch at Meijer and I found myself very thankful that this was probably the last time I need to shop with the children since they go back to school next week.  When we got home, Zak and Daniel had their teacher assignments for this year.  Daniel placed into the gifted class and we're super proud of him!  Zak got the one K teacher I didn't want him to have.  I was super upset and after chatting with a few trusted friends I decided to ask for a switch.  Now he has one of my favorite teachers & I couldn't be happier!

In the afternoon, one of the boys' friends came over to play while his mom and I got a few things done and then had some time to catch up.  The boys had a great time playing outside, with their toys & video games together.  When they left, it was time for us to start packing up for our camping trip this weekend.  It was an exhausting day with a busy weekend ahead so it was early bedtime for all of us tonight.  We're ready for a weekend of fun!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Keeping Up With...Family Goals (July Recap & Aug Goals)

 July was another awesome month around here!  AJ turned to me the other day and said he was having the "best summer of his life."  I would definitely agree with him!  As I mentioned in my fitness goals recap, I haven't been very focused on those.  But I've been kicking butt on the family goals.  We had so much fun in July, hopefully you were able to read all of my weekly recaps of what we've been doing.  The month started with a long weekend for 4th of July and ended with a week long staycation.  Top to bottom, awesome month.
Again this month I didn't really think too much about my goals or focus specifically on them for any amount of time.  They all just happened organically.  I achieved just about all of them, and if I didn't I made good progress on them all.  I know with school starting in August I won't be having as much "fun" with the kids so my goals will be shifting more to focus on the house.  And back to my neglected fitness goals of course.  I do plan to keep some of these goals for the family going thru the school year.  I feel some of them will become even more important as we become busier.

Here's how I did on my July goals:
1.  Finish "The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland" and start another book (TBD) (2 of my 14 books for the year) - I did not achieve this goal due to the timing of books coming in from the library.  I finally was able to check out "Bad Feminist" after being on the wait list for months so I read that for the three weeks I had it and finished about 45% of it.  Then I got "The Bean Trees" and have finished 17% of it.  I read "The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland" once or twice and am finished 27% of it.  I hate having three books that I'm reading so you can guess what this month's goal will be.
2.  Have family dinner every Sunday night and use AJ's conversation starters during it (5 dinners for the month) - We've been kicking butt on this goal!  We had dinner together every Sunday night and actually a few nights a week as well.  We have been talking a lot, but the five official family dinner topics were:  something funny that happened to us, what we want to do this week/weekend, something we're proud of, what we want to do for staycation week and the best part of our summer this far.
3.  Continue doing my week in review blog (4 new posts for the month) plus catch up on all of the June ones that I am behind on - I caught up on all of the recaps I was behind and ended up doing 16 blog posts in July.  Busy month!
4.  Continue taking one picture each day and posting on Facebook (31 pictures for the month)  - Continued to do this and took pictures every day, 31 for the month.
5.  Watch a movie every Friday night (4 movies for the month) - We did this and actually ended up with an extra movie because I took the boys to see a movie in the theater.  This month we saw "Finding Dory," "Iron Giant," "Wanderlust," "Megamind," and "We're Back: A Dinosaur Story."
6.  Have one family board game night (1 special night for the month) - We played a ton of board games this month!!  We did way more than one night.
7.  Do one activity each week that AJ picks (4 special activities) - I achieved this and then some, we did 5 things this month that AJ wanted to do:  a family game night, downtown fountains, World of Bounce, a playdate with David and a Minecraft playdate with Daniel and Michael.
8.  Do one activity each week that Daniel picks (3 special activities) - We did this one as well, Daniel's 3 picks this month were:  Fun in the Jungle, a family game night and the Easton fountains.
9.  Do one activity each week that Zak picks (4 special activities) - And we did all four things that Zak picked this month as well:  McDonald's play place, Glow Putt mini golf, Blacklick metro park and Zoombeezi Bay.
10. Have fun on our camping trip in the middle of the month - This was the only downside to the fantastic month, we had to cancel this due to rain.  We still had a great family weekend and we rescheduled our camping trip to August.  So it's still a win in my book!
11. Go see "Despicable Me 3" together as a family - We did this over 4th of July and it wasn't our best outing to the movies.  But those of us who saw it really liked it.
12. Have a fun long weekend for the 4th of July - Done!  You can check out my weekly recap from that weekend to see exactly what we did.

And here are my goals for August:
1.  Finish two of the three books I'm reading (2 of my 14 books for the year)
2.  Have family dinner every Sunday night and use AJ's conversation starters during it (4 dinners for the month)
3.  Continue doing my week in review blog (4 new posts for the month)
4.  Continue taking one picture each day and posting on Facebook (31 pictures for the month)
5.  Watch a movie every Friday night (4 movies for the month)
6.  Have one family board game night (1 special night for the month)
7.  Start deep cleaning the house (3 rooms this month)

8.  Have fun on our camping weekend
9.  Have a successful transition from summer back to school
10.  Have a fun staycation week

I realize the last three goals go against one of the things I was trying to do this year which was having measurable goals.  But I don't think there really is a way to measure those things.  And they are very important to our month so I wanted to document them in here as well.  Stay tuned to see how it goes!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 7/28 - 8/3 - Part 2)

Monday (7/31) After a great night of sleep for most of us (Adrian still struggled) we had a lazy start to our day by enjoying coffee and donuts together.  Then we had an early lunch and got ready to head downtown to COSI.  We wanted to do the traveling exhibit, Become an Astronaut and go to a planetarium show.  The boys loved the Astronaut exhibit!  You could do all different simulations of going to the moon, Mars & Jupiter.  We spent almost all of our time there, except for the 30 minutes we were at the planetarium for a space treasure hunt.  It was a fun afternoon at COSI and AJ wants to go back before the exhibit closes because he only did everything on the moon & Mars, not Jupiter.
After we finished up at COSI we headed home for some down time of board games and video games while we waited for my mom's plane to land.  She is coming to OH for the next two weeks and will be spending her time with both us and my brother's family.  We're excited she will be joining us for our staycation activities this week.  She landed right around 6pm so Zak and I went to pick her up.  We got home, had a quick dinner of pasta alfredo and then all three boys pounced on Nana to play with them.  We took turns so they could all have some time with her.  They are so excited to have her here to play with them!

Tuesday (8/1)  Our staycation continued today, but it wasn't the day we had planned.  We were going to go to the Olentangy Caverens, but since the rest of the week has rain in the forecast, we decided to go pick some fruit today.  We started at Blue Frog Farms and picked 4 quarts of blackberries.  They are delicious!  Then we headed to Legend Hills Orchard and Farm Market and picked 2 pecks of peaches and 2 bags of apples.  It was hot in the fields, but we survived.  

We finished up heading over to the Ole Mill Inn, home of Velvet ice cream, for a picnic lunch, some play ground time and of course ice cream!  They make AJ's favorite ice cream there, Buckeye Classic, and he was very excited to get it in a waffle cone.  We also decided to do a tour of the factory while we were there.  It was interesting to hear some of the history of the ice cream and how they make it.  The boys got a little antsy, but they really just wanted their ice cream.  After all of that, we were wiped out and decided to head home for a relaxing afternoon.
We got home and reorganized the fridges so we could fit all of our fruit in them.  Then it was AJ's turn to play with Nana, so he taught her how to play the Pokemon Trainer board game while Adrian and I got dinner together.  We grilled chicken and it was a gorgeous night so we decided to eat outside.  But of course as soon as we got our food, it started to rain on us so we headed inside.  After dinner, Daniel played Flick 'em Up with Nana, Adrian and Zak played Splendor and AJ and I play Valeria.  It was a fun night of board games!  We all headed to bed early to get an early start tomorrow for the fair!

Wednesday (8/2) Today was state fair day!!  We had SO much fun at the fair together.  We were there for about 5 hours and we rode rides, ate food, rode more rides and ate more food.  We got there and the boys wanted to head straight to the rides.  Zak wanted to ride everything in Kiddieland, which we pretty much did.  After a few hours of rides, we were all hungry so we stopped by Schmidt's for lunch - fried bologna, Bahama Mamas & hot dogs.  It was delicious!  We also got some fries to munch on while we were walking around.
After lunch, we ran into one of AJ's friends from school so they rode a few rides together and then we headed to the midway for the bigger rides.  We did just about every ride we could do over there as well.  Zak and Daniel loved "Crazy Mouse" and they rode it about 10 times.  AJ loved "Pharoah's Revenge" and he kept dragging us adults on with him.  He thankfully met another boy who was riding by himself so he rode a few times with him.  We also did the tilt a whirl, scrambler, a bunch of fun houses and my favorite, the "Rock N Roll Express."  After a few hours over here, we needed a break again, so we went to find some shade, some fried buckeyes, fried oreos and funnel cake and rested for a while.
This is AJ & his buddy in the back row 40 feet up in the air

After we filled up and rehydrated, we asked the boys what they wanted to do.  They only wanted to ride the giant slide a few more times and then they were ready to go home.  We headed to the slide, where they rode 5 or 6 times each.  Then we let them each pick one souvenir to take home, got one more order of fried buckeyes and headed for the exit to beat the rain storm that looked like it was approaching.  On the way out, I finally found the fried cookie dough so of course I had to get some of that too!  We finally made it to the car and headed home.  We were all exhausted so we just relaxed for a bit and all headed to bed early.  Super fun day!!

Thursday (8/3) I thought everyone would sleep in after the busy day yesterday but no such luck.  We again were up against some possible bad weather so we decided to get moving and head up to the Olentangy Indian Caverns as soon as we could.  We got there, signed up for a tour and started playing a round of mini golf.  After the first 9 holes, it was time for our tour of the caverns.  It was a little steep going down the first two sets of stairs, but after that, I really enjoyed the tour.  We went thru some narrow passages and learned some cool things about the caves and the Indians who lived there.  Daniel was really interested in the whole experience.  AJ was a little freaked out by the close spaces but otherwise enjoyed it.  Zak got bored at points, but was happy splashing in all of the mud puddles down there.  At the deepest, we were 150 feet below ground - pretty cool experience!
After our tour and a quick trip thru the museum, we went back to the golf course to finish our other 9 holes.  The course was cute, all Indian themed with a bunch of easy holes and a few more challenging ones.  When we finished up, the boys played on the small play ground for a little bit before we headed home to beat rush hour traffic.  When we got home, the boys played with Nana with Adrian and I got a few things done then got ready to head out for a date night.  We went to Cooper's Hawk to use our member appreciation credit, plus pick up some of our bottles of wine.  Since we upgraded our membership, we now can go for monthly wine tastings, so we did that as well.  It was a fun night out and we were thankful to sneak away for a few hours.