Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Vacation

Last week I told you I would post more about our vacation.  I finally uploaded all the photos and I'm now able to share our lovely adventure with you. We decided to do a road trip from Michigan all the way to Florida. I was a little nervous about the hours in the car because the only times we have been to Florida with the boys we flew. I made some travel kits to help with the long hours in the car.



We broke up the drive down to Florida by stopping at Mammoth Caves and Diamond Caverns in Kentucky.  A friend of ours told us about Diamond Caverns and we are so glad he did. We really enjoy the Caverns more than Mammoth Cave.  Mammoth Cave is huge but there is not much to look at. The Caverns are still living and growing, so you get all the wonderful stalagmites and stalactites.




The second day of our trip took us to Florida and the house we rented. We spent the evening just relaxing in the pool and lazy river at the house.  The following day we did what I call the obscure tourist attractions.   First up was the air boat rides to look at wild life.  We were able to see so many different types of birds and got some good looks at baby crocodiles.





Next us was Gatorland Zoo.  This was my lest favorite spot. I didn't really agree with the way they treated the animals, so it was not what I would call entertaining.

At least I got this great photo with a fake crocodile.

To top the day off we headed on over the Medival Times. The boys were excited about having to eat with their hands. The show was fun and our knight was the victor of the tournament. 


The next few days were what I would call the main tourist sites when visiting Florida.  Come back to see what adventures we had at Universal Studios and Disney World.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Books


I love books.

Give me drama, romance, young adult, mystery, sci-fi fantasy, self-help.

I just love them.

My problem is I don't have a lot of free time and I'm a slow read.

I realized when I was picking out a book to bring with me on our road trip that I have 9 books in the process of reading.


Fall of the Giants by Ken Follett
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
the Twilight Saga: the official illustrated guide by Stephanie Meyer
the Eat Clean Diet Stripped by Tosca Reno
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Michael Thompson, Phd
Finding Your Purpose as a Mom by Donna Otto
the Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson



Now some of these are audio and some are on my ipad, but most are just good old fashion books. After writing this list I'm wondering if I should cut back on the amount I read at one time.  That way I might actually finish a book in a timely manner.

Do you read more than one book at a time? What's your "must" read book right now? My next one is the Help by Kathryn Stockett.


I did finish two of these books on our road trip.  The twilight saga book. I could have saved my money. Some parts were interesting, but much of the information you would know if you read the books. It was a good book to bring on the road because I could put it down at any time and not worry about being lost when I picked it back up.

I also finished Organized Simplicity.  I really liked this book.  I plan on working through it this summer and use the ideas to clean up each room of our house.

Stop by on Wednesday June 1st for the next OLW bog hop.

  Xnomads' Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Decorating on a Budget

My son wanted a sports theme for his room and asked for some wallpaper. I hate wallpaper because it's a pain to get off, so I decided to take photos of his sports equipment and hang those on the wall.  Here are the photos I plan on using.  I changed them to sepia tone and added the old paper effect to the photos.




I plan on getting the Ribba frames from Ikea when I pick up his desk.  I'm just wondering if these photos are too dark.  Do you think they will look better in a white or black frame?

This room has been my decluttering project for the last month.  It's almost done and hopefully next week I will have some photos to share with everyone.  Check out Orgjunkie if you would like more ideas on organizing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

I know it's Wednesday, but it's better late then never.  Since we were on vacation I wasn't sure if I would do a plan this week, but I knew in the long run it would help me get back into our normal routine.

 


Tuesday: Egg McMuffin Sandwiches with Fruit Salad

Wednesday: Sandwiches with Fruit Salad

Thursday: Grilled Chicken, Salad, Grilled Carrots & Garlic Bread

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Steak, Potatoes, Salad

Sunday: Chicken Stir-fry, Salad

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Road Trip

I'm back!



We went on a much needed road trip down to Florida. We spent 11 days away from home. Four of those days were driving days with a few fun things tossed in to break up the long drives. The rest were spent in the Orlando area visiting the different parks in the area.

A big road trip like this takes a lot of planning. Not only do we have to wrry about the normal stuff, like do we have enough underwear, but I have to plan as much of our food as possible. Having a child that is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and corn makes eating out or grabbing a bite at the quickie mart difficult. Since we were driving the food choices were much more varied. I started baking a few days before our trip; cookies, muffins and granola bars. I also mixed a large batch of safe trail mix and cut up veggies and washed fruit. I tossed in some cooked chicken, cheese sticks and yogurt.

To help with the much dreaded question of Are we there yet? I packed a travel bin for each of my boys. The boxes included:


Snacks: grapes, fishy crackers, fruit snacks/leather, box of raisins.
Reading book
Pencils
Box of crayons
Kleenex
Chap stick
Brain Quest Cards
Doodle pad
Print outs - Map of US (for license plate game), car bingo, tic tac toe, dots, battle ship
DS/Leapster

We also told the boys for each 15 minutes they behavior they would earn $.50. They could earn up to $40, this would be their spending money for the trip. We agreed that we would buy them one trading pin a Disney and one item at Universal Studios, but anything else they would have to purchase themselves.

So at 5 am on Friday May 13th we packed up our crew in the minivan with our suitcases, cooler, travel bins and a variety of DVDs for our first leg of out trip.

Since we were gone for 11 days I have a huge pile of laundry, mail, emails, etc...  So I will post more about our wonderful family trip soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Clear the Clutter


I fell off the de-cluttering bandwagon.  I got sidetracked with the remodel of my son's room, which has taken longer then expected. I have a problem with starting a new project if the first is not complete.  Normally, that is very good, but when a project is delayed, I just sit and wait. Not the most productive use of my time. It's still going to be a few weeks before everything is in order and ready to be reveled, so I need to kick myself in the rear end and work on de-cluttering another area during this wake.

Luckily I signed up for what looks to be a fabulous class called Finding Photo Freedom. The class is over at Big Picture Classes and is being taught by Stacy Julian.  The preassignment for the class really got me working on organizing and de-cluttering my digital photos.

Big Picture ClassesI'm using iphoto on my mac for my photo organization. I've created smart folders for each of the four quarters of the years as I work on that year.  There are basically three steps.  1) purge - delete the really bad photos (i.e. blurry, someones head cut off) and only keep a few of multiple photos (i.e. the 20 photos you took of your child jumping rope).  2)rate - using the star system in iphoto I rate the photos with 1, 2 or 3 stars.  3 stars means - this picture is awesome, I need to scrapbook it.  2 stars means - these would be great for a supporting photos to that awesome photo. 1 star means - I would hate to see this photo disappear, but I probably will not print it out.


Not ever photo gets a star. My smart folders only show me the photos for that time period that received a 1,2 or 3 star. So I only need to looks through my best photos when I'm read to work with them.  So far, I'm really loving this system. I only work on it 4-5 times per week for 15-30 minutes. I started with the most current and I'm working my way back.

To make sure I keep up with this system, I put two reminders on my To Do list. The first is a reminder to download all my photos onto my computer.  The second is to organize and rate them.  Doing this task once a month will be much easy to handle.

It feels so good getting back to my de-cluttering. Do you have any digital clutter that you need to tackle?  I know I still have to de-clutter my hard drive and organize my digital scrapbooking supplies, which will be a huge job.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Old Fashion Fun

 
Remember as a child playing with a cootie catcher or a paper fortune teller. Now you might have a different name for this homemade toy, but I'm sure you have seen it. I came across the directions of how to make one over at mom's minivan and printed out her ready made one to show the boys.

My boys went crazy! They loved it so much that they each had to make their own with some more "boyish" fortunes. You know what I mean.  Things like You smell! or You are the President of boggerland.  Boy humor. You got to love it!

When their Dad got home they didn't even let him get his shoes off before asking him to do their cootie catcher.  This piece of paper entertained all three boys for close to an hour.  Now that is a huge accomplishment.

It was a lot of inexpensive fun and laughs. Keep this in mind when you have one of those rain days and need something to do.  Check out Mom's Minivan for instructions or here is a visual.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Organized Simplicity

I'm currently reading Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider.  I've been following Tsh's blog, Simple Mom, for a few years now and really enjoy it. I had her book on my To Read list for awhile and finally picked it up when a local bookstore closed.

When I was reading the chapter about creating a family purpose statement, a quote really opened my eyes to something. She quotes Chareles E. Hummel, "stating that the greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important." This statement really summed up so much of what's been going on with my life. I've been spending so much time and energy on the tasks that are time consuming but not important. At the end of the day I feel like nothing was accomplised and my list of projects kept growing.

So I decided to set some goals for this month to focus on the things I feel our important.

1. Exercise daily for 30 minutes 5x week.
2. Go to bed by 10:30 pm
3. Spend 30 minutes 3x week reading
4. Spend only 30 minutes daily on email & blog reading
5. Pick one challenge blog and particate weekly
6. Spend 15 minutes 4x week organizing digital photos
7. Have one game night each week with kids
8. Set date in June and prepare for garage sale & mom2mom sale

Most of my goals focus on how I spend my time during the day. I've been letting too much time get wasted away because I hear the "you got mail" dinger, or because I get sidetrack when looking up something on-line. I now have a kitchen timer by my computer and in my craft room. Some steps make a big difference and if I work on things in smaller doses then I will not neglect other areas of life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meal Plan Monday


It's was such a beautiful weekend around here. We have been waiting for Spring to come and I'm thinking it finally is here and it's going to stay. All the rain and cold weather was really getting me down and was not very motivating. My goal for the week is to look at my 52 days of organizing, which I've been slacking on, and make a realistic plan for the rest of my projects.  So come back on Friday to see what my plans are and to join in on the de-cluttering.

As for today, here is my menu for this week:

Monday: Salisbury Steak & Potatoes w/ Asparagus   (I didn't get to this last week)
Tuesday: Leftover
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Salad  (the weathers too nice not to grill)
Thursday: Hotdog & Alpha Tots (or Annie's Mac&Cheese)  and/or leftovers
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Sandwiches
Sunday: Eating Out

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My wish for you...



I wish for you a day of hugs and kisses.
I wish for you a day of clean kitchens and bathrooms.
I wish for you a day of no yelling, fighting or hitting.
I wish for you a day of sunshine and rainbows.
I wish for you a day of peace, simplicity and mindfulness. 
I wish for you a day of love, joy and happiness.

I wish for you a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

These moments...

You can not get these moments with video games and the television on.

Nope.

I'm glad we have stict limits on video time when these moments happen.


Today I got to enjoy the fruits of sticking to our rules. After school the boys went out and played in the warm sunny yard, without being told to go outside. When they came in they decided to create a book. They are both author and illustrator. It's wonderful to hear them working together and being creative.  I know if we didn't have the rules we have, these moments would not have happened and these moments are so awesome!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

1912

  • Woodrow Wilson is elected President of the United States
  • The republic of China is officially proclaimed
  • Carl Jung publishes his 'Theory of Psychoanalysis'
  • The "unsinkable" oceanliner Titanic sinks on maiden voyage after colliding with an iceberg; over 1,500 drown
  • Balkan Wars begin, resulting from territorial disputes: Turkey defeated by alliance of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro (Oct.).
  • New Mexico and Arizona are admitted as states No. 47 and 48.
  • Girl Scouts of America founded by Juliette Gordon Low.

US Population ............................................95,335,000
New Births...................................................2,855,000

Federal spending ....................................... $0.69 billion
Unemployment ...................................................... 4.6%
DOW Average ...................................................... 87.87

Average Income (year) ...................................... $1,033
New Home (median price)......................................2,750
New Car (average cost).........................................$941
Gas (gallon) .......................................................... 7¢
Stamp...................................................................2¢

Bacon (pound).....................................................24¢
Bread (loaf)...........................................................5¢
Butter (pound) .................................................... 37¢
Eggs (dozen)........................................................34¢
Milk (quart)............................................................9¢
Sugar (pound) ...................................................... 7¢
Steak (pound).......................................................23¢

New this year:

  • Universal Pictures 
  • Hellmann's Mayonnaise
  • Oreo & Lorna Doone cookies
  • parachuting from an airplane
  • Prizes in Cracker Jack boxes
  • L L Bean (Freeport, Mass)
  • self-service grocery stores (Ward's Groceteria and Alpha Beta Food Market, Ca)
  • First Keystone Cops film

This was the year my husbands grandmother was born.




We had the honor of celebrating her 99th birthday this past weekend. She is an amazing women. She lived on her own up until a few years ago. She has seen and been through so much. I can only hope to live such a full and wonderful life. Happy birthday grandma!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meal Plan Monday






I'm running late on the meal plan. We had an extremely busy weekend and I was just to tired to think about food last night.  So here is my quick put together meal plan for this week.

Monday: Pancakes & Fruit.

Tuesday: Soup & Sandwiches

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Hotdogs & Alpha tots

Friday: Egg "McMuffin" Sandwich  (need to use up the 10 dozen eggs I bought on Easter Week)

Saturday: Salisbury Steak & Mashed Pototoes

Sunday: Cottage Pie


Snacks: Itty Bitty Cinnamon Rolls, Granola Bars & Power Balls.

If you would like to see more meal plans check out Orgjunkie.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Little Word Blog Hop

Xnomads' Blog



Welcome back to the next One Little Word Blog Hop!

It's that time again. Time to check on the process of my One Little Word project.  I'm so grateful for this monthly blog hop and all of you that stop by, it really motivates me to keep working on my word - Ignite. If you would like to see what I've done already this year, check this out.

This month our assignment was to write a letter to our future self.  In this letter you were to describe yourself now and where you hope to be in one year. This letter was hard since part of what I've been working on is living in the moment, so thinking about where I would be in a year goes against that. I put that aside and started writing. I focused on my nine pictures from February as a guide.

Since the letter is personal I didn't take a photo of it, but here is the cover page for this month.  You might notice, if you are in the class, that I had to change my page design. I had to use a different page protector than the one Ali used in her class example. I already used the back of last months project for my "ignite" song lyrics, so I used another 5x7 page protector. My letter was two 5x7 pages, so now I should be back to the class "norm". 


One thing I will share about my letter is some of my hopes for a year from now. I hope to be back at school getting my Media Arts Degree, stepping up my health and fitness goals and being content with the simple everyday things of life.

Have you ever written a letter to your future self? If yes, what surprised you the most after rereading the letter?

Thank you for stopping by. Hope to see you next month. Your next stop on the blog hop is Chrissy over at Get Crafty with Chrissy.

If you get lost here is a complete list of the blog hop participants.

Margie    http://xnomads.typepad.com/blog
Lisa Allen    www.backtoallen.com/writers_blog

Abbey R    http://athomewiththerichardsfamily.blogspot.com/
Jill C.    http://jillconyers.typepad.com/
Sam    http://learncreatedo.wordpress.com/
Amanda K.    http://scrappnbee.blogspot.com
Cheri A.    http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com
Rebekah P.    http://istampscrapcraft.blogspot.com/
Lynn W.    http://crafty-creativity.blogspot.com
Nikki    http://www.inkyart.com.au
Monica B2    http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com/    <----- YOU ARE HERE
Chrissy    http://getcraftywithchrissy.blogspot.com/
Jen S.    www.byjen.com
Monica B1    http://www.Scraplifters.blogspot.com
Katrina    http://k84mansramblings.blogspot.com/
Julie Ann    http://julieannshahin.blogspot.com
Jenn    www.studiojenn.blogspot.com
Donna B    http://www.donnabryantdurand.blogspot.com
Cindy    http://seriousplay.typepad.com
Jamie    http://jmpgirl.blogspot.com/
Karen D    http://womenontractors.blogspot.com/