Friday, June 27, 2014

Five Family Summertime Favorites

After an extra long, extra snowy, and extra cold winter, we have been enjoying every bit of this beautiful summer!  We've packed in a lot so far, and these are our faves:

I think the water might be a tad bit chilly...

1.  Splashing around.  The kids have been having a blast playing in the little kiddie pool at home and running through the sprinklers at the local splash park.  We've also made a day trip to a local beach - it was James's first time at the lake!  He wasn't sure about the waves, but he loved the sand!  Josie (and Jim and I too!) loved building sandcastles. 

There's something about playing in the sand that turns you into a kid again!

2.  On the trail.  Taking walks, biking, and hiking - these are everyday events at our house.  We love nature and (this kind of) exercising - what a way to combine the two!

The bike carrier has been clutch this summer

3.  Sidewalk chalk.  At least every other day, we've gone out to our driveway to color with sidewalk chalk.  Shapes, outlines, numbers, hopscotch, doodling...we love to draw!

Driveway artists


State park family picnic

4.  Fun with food.  We've been picnicking a lot in our backyard, at family cookouts, and at the local state park.  We've also been making fun little meals for the kids - making shapes and characters out of their food.  It's been quite the hit!

Pancakes are more fun if they're shaped like flowers, butterflies, and ducks

The four baby swans we named Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail

5.  Visiting animals.  Going to the zoo is one of our all-time summer favorites.  Every time we go, it's a different experience.  And we even have a "zoo" in our own backyard.  Our neighborhood lake has swans, turtles, ducks, geese, frogs, and fish.  The kids love getting to see all the animals!

Mesmerized by the sea lions

We have had an amazing summer together so far.  I'm so excited to see what's in store for July and August!  What have been your family favorites this summer?

Sharing my Five on Friday along with Lauren Elizabeth and Thoughts for Thursday with Natalie and Annie.  Join the fun!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken

When I first found this chicken recipe on Pinterest, and I thought it looked too good to be true.  Fifteen minute prep and 4 ingredients?  And it's good?  I had to try it, and it really was that easy and that good!  Everyone - including my picky 3 year old - loves it.  This is now a go-to recipe for our family!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
(This easy chicken dinner recipe has been modified from the original recipe by Hellman's)

Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken


3 chicken breasts
1 cup Mayo
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup crushed Triscuits


Preheat oven to 425°.  Spray a 9x13 with cooking spray.

Butterfly chicken breasts so they are thinner.  Lay chicken breasts in baking dish.

Put mayo and cheese in a bowl and mix.  Spread mixture evenly over chicken.

Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken

Sprinkle crushed Triscuits evenly on top.

Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is thoroughly cooked and crust has been browned to your desire.


In this recipe, I doubled the mayo/cheese mixture from the original recipe because we like more "sauce".

I like to sprinkle a little Italian seasoning and fresh cracked pepper over the top of the crushed Triscuits.

Breadcrumbs can be substituted for crushed Triscuits.  I use Triscuits because I love a crunchy crust!

Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken

This chicken is wonderful when served alongside - or in! - a salad.

I made this easy chicken dinner for my family last night...mmmmmm, it was so delicious!  I sure am looking forward to leftovers tonight!  Hope your family enjoys this meal as much as ours.

Please share your favorite recipe board from Pinterest!  I'm always looking for new recipes to try.  Here is our dinner board!

Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken

Linked up with Anne for Pin to Present

and with Andrea for:
Easy Dinner Recipe - Chicken

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rainy Monday Fun

Today was a rainy day, full of lots of thunder and hail storms to close out our evening. My original plan was to take the kids to Target to get diapers (and maybe a few other things ;)), but we decided to stay home and have lots of fun instead!

This morning, Abby decided we were going to the 'zoo' and proceeded to turn our living room into an African adventure. She even packed a picnic for us, and some food for the animals. She loves going to zoos, and has even fed a giraffe 'salad' (aka lettuce) before - highlight of her life! :)
Abby feeding the animals...Tim is just along for the ride! :)

Abby really likes showing Tim black and white books and animals because his eyes get so big when he looks at them. She thinks it's hilarious. So Tim got to play with the zebras a lot today! :)

Right before nap time, it started to lightly rain and it was still really warm outside. Tim was sleeping, so we got to go outside for a bit and dance in the rain. Abby kept spinning around, giggling and touching the rain drops on the cement. It is so much fun watching kids play and explore! :)

So, what could have been a boring, dreary day ended up being lots of fun! Now we are roasting marshmallows over tea lights to make smores, our family favorite. :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five for Friday

Another week has flown by and we're already to Friday again! We've had an exciting week here, and I thought I'd share my favorite moments from the week.

1. Every night this week, we had a friend bring us over dinner and celebrate Tim's birth with us. It has been so nice not having to prepare meals as we're trying to get our new routine under control. It is also really fun to have company over and get to see all of our friends and their kids! And the fact they are all really good cooks is an added bonus! ;)

2. I'm really enjoying staying at home with the kids, and it's hitting me now that I'm not going back to work. The kids are both testing me on mom life with 2 under 2 - we've only had a few moments where I had to call my mom for advice ... like does shoving a sticker up your nose require a call to the doctor's office? Never a dull moment with a toddler!

3. It's also been like Christmas around here with all the fun mail we've been getting. I ordered a few things online while I was pregnant, and now they are coming in. I got some new dresses from Old Navy to try on for Tim's baptism, some cute headbands from Oh, Sweet Joy's shop, and The Kindness Box. Loving all my new goodies!

4. The weather around here has been fabulous and we've enjoyed taking lots of walks, playing with a 'homemade water table' (aka pots of water on a table), and our DIY sidewalk paint. We are loving summertime!

5. The World Cup games have been on nonstop at our house, and my husband has really gotten our daughter into watching soccer. I'm glad the US won, but I have to say, I love America's version of football so much more than futbol! I really can't handle all the acting and lying on the ground like your leg got chopped off when you were barely touched. Is anyone else annoyed by this? At least the commentators and crazy fans are entertaining! OLE OLE OLE OLE! ;)

Hope you all had a fabulous week! Cheers to the weekend!

Sharing my Five on Friday along with Darci, Natasha, Christina, April, and Lauren Elizabeth.  Join the fun!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

DIY Sidewalk Paint

This week is my first week completely home alone with the kids, and so far it is going good! It's been pretty hot outside, but Abby loves being in her 'swimmy suit', so we are just going out in the morning during Tim's nap. Today we had fun being artistic! It is probably one of my favorite Pinterest finds from last year - DIY sidewalk paint. It is super easy to make, cleaned off easily with water, and entertained Abby (and John ;)) for a long time.

Here's the recipe:
2 T corn starch
4 T water
Food coloring (however many drops you want)

I made a couple of batches, and put different colors into a muffin pan. The foam brushes worked really well, and she went to town coloring our back patio. We also did this last year when she was about 15 months old. I love this recipe because if it goes in their mouth, you don't have to worry! :)

Last summer's painting extravaganza! :)

Enjoy the sunshine! Happy Tuesday!

Linking up with Abby, Christy, Krista, Mandy, and April for Get Your DIY On!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Resolution Check-In: Take 1 Hour a Week to Do Something Fun for Yourself

Resolution Check-In:  Take 1 hour a week to do something fun for yourself.

The hobby that I chose to do was read, which is something that I love that I haven't done much of lately.  I didn't realize how much I missed it!  I'm so glad I've been setting aside time for reading again!

Here's what worked for me:

I have been reading during my kids' naps in the early afternoon.  That's the best time for me.  And I have been using bigger chunks of time a couple times a week instead of smaller amounts of time several times.  (Probably because the book I'm reading is too good to put down!)  So this month's Game Plan worked very well, but what really helped me the most wasn't actually in it at all...

Here's what I struggled with:

The first week, I didn't get started reading til late in the week....mostly because I forgot about it until it was too late in the day.  So I actually had to set out my book in plain view in the kitchen so the sight of it would remind me when I had that quiet time during the day.  After the first day or two, I remembered on my I said - it's a great book!  So I will probably have to do this whenever I start a new book or craft so I remember to actually get started.  Then, once I'm hooked, I'm good!

I am loving this resolution.  I had been putting all of my hobbies aside for awhile.  I just brushed them off with the excuse of "there isn't enough time".  But really, setting aside some time doing something I love was what I needed to relax and unwind.  My reading time is something I look forward to, and I'm glad it's back in my life!

What hobby did you choose, and how has this resolution been going for you?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!  It's been a slow and steady week around here.  I'm really looking forward to this weekend so we can spend some family time together!

Here are my five highlights from the week:

1.  We broke out the kiddie pool for the first time.  I wasn't sure how James would like it since he didn't like it last year.  But he loved it!  He actually stayed in it for over an hour playing.  I think that might be the longest he's stayed in one place playing at a single stretch.  I think they'll be "swimming" a lot this summer! ;)

 2.  It was just the 3 of us most of the week.  My husband rarely has business trips, but he did this week.  Geez, does this make me grateful that he is in town for work most of the time.  We sure missed him.  We're so glad to have him home now!

3.  We started potty training Josie.  Again.  But I think she's actually starting to get it!  Whew.  I'm very proud of her!  I hope she keeps it up!

4.  I just realized on Wednesday that Father's Day is this Sunday and not next Sunday.  (We're nearly halfway through June!  How did that happen?!)  So we've been scrambling a little getting something around for Jim, our dads, and grandpas!  Thank goodness for Pinterest.

5.  The rose bushes in our yard are looking so beautiful.  Nothing like a pretty flower in the summertime to perk you right up!

What are your favorites for the week?

Sharing my Five on Friday along with Darci, Natasha, Christina, April, and Lauren Elizabeth.  Join the fun!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Welcome Timothy!

Sorry for the lack of posts, but there is a good reason! Having a baby and all is quite a lot of work. ;)

Our son, Timothy Francis, was born June 3rd at 4:38 am, after only five hours of labor (thank goodness!). He was 8 lbs even and 21 inches long - I think he's going to be tall just like his Daddy! :)

Tim, you are such a precious boy! We love how snuggly and sweet you are already. Mommy is really enjoying the fact that you are not only a good eater, but an excellent sleeper. I wouldn't mind if this continued! ;)  Abby loves to hold you and giggle whenever you start squirming around - I think you two will be great buddies!

We love you little man :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Monthly Resolution: Take 1 Hour a Week to Do Something Fun for Yourself

Resolution:  Take 1 hour a week to do something fun for yourself.

Ok, I’m getting up earlier, and (for the most part) I’m using that time to put myself together in the morning.  It has been so rejuvenating and has made me feel so much better about myself.  Now, I would like to take that a little further and do a hobby or something fun for myself during the week – for me, this would be crafting, decorating, reading, studying the Bible, or just sitting outside enjoying the sunshine with nothing to do.  I think 1 hour a week is a good place to start.  It’s a manageable amount of time that can easily be broken into little chunks throughout the week: 20 minutes 3 times a week, 15 minutes 4 times, or 10 minutes 6 times.

My hopes and goals for this resolution:  Like last month’s, I’m hoping that making time for myself will make me a better person, wife, and mother because I will feel refreshed and accomplished.  I hope you'll join us in this resolution!

Here’s the game plan:

  1. Like last month’s resolution: don’t feel guilty about taking the time to do something that is just for you.  You are important too.  Remember that when you take care of yourself, your inner and outer beauty will shine brighter, and it will make you a better person for everyone in your life.
  1. Find a time when you can do it.  My perfect time is in the afternoon when both my kids are napping.  If you work full-time, or your kids don’t nap, are just starting summer break, etc. then do it before they get up in the morning or after everyone’s in bed, or set up a “quiet time” during the day when everyone reads, does puzzles, etc.  Make time for it – it’s important because you’re important! 
  1. Make a simple schedule for yourself.  I’m a list person, so I’m going to make a simple little time card to write down how much time I devote to my hobby each day to make sure I at least do 1 hour per week.  If I see the list, then I’m more likely to remember!
What are you planning on doing for this resolution?  I’m looking forward to hearing about what hobby or fun thing you’re going to do for yourself this month!

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