Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 26

Do you realize the year is half over?  26 weeks!  Half over!  Crazy!  Our summer is also almost half over!  Man how time flies.  So this week we had the younger 2's first swim meet of the summer.  Those are always fun.  Miss O finished up driver's ed which she has been doing for the last month--class time and driving time. and Miss E did a quilt with my mom.  Take a look. . .
I think Skip-Bo is my favorite card game.  I love it.  Tonight I got these 3 to play with me.  Lots of fun!

Miss O at the wheel on her final day of driver's ed.  That has been really time consuming so far this summer.  She will be glad it is over!  Today she was driving to the big city!

Swim meet!  Miss E did awesome!  She has improved so much since last year!

This is Mr J's first year doing it and first meet ever.  He hasn't figured out the diving in part yet :)  But he did awesome!

After over 3 hours and 15 races between the two of them--it was a long night, but they did great!

This is a project we have been working on for a while and finally got all the medals in one place and a board to pin them on.  These are Miss O medals from 7th and 8th grade track.

Miss E and my mom have been making this quilt together for the last few months.  They are almost done.  Isn't it beautiful?  Love the colors.   Miss E just needs to blind stitch the border.  It is her first Young Women's value project to be finished for church.  Yeah!

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday thoughts--Our Home and first swim meet

My random Friday thoughts. . .
My weekly bathroom mirror inspirational quote.  Gratitude is so important.  I once read that the two most important words in the English language were "Thank you."

Saw this video and loved it.  I love the quote, "We are stewards not owners" of the earth.  

Enjoy the beauty of the earth.

Had our first swim team meet this week for Mr J and Miss E
This is his first season, and it was his first meet ever, and we still need to work on learning how to dive in :)

Miss E did awesome in her races.  Such an improvement over last year.  She got 2nd or 3rd in all 7 races she swam.

Mr J doing great on his breast stroke.  He was soooo nervous before the meet, but then once it got started and he realized he wasn't going to be minutes behind everyone and dead last he had a lot of fun :)

Miss E and her cute swim team friend.

Our swimmer Mr J

They worked really hard and did great!

But man, it was a long night and they were sure tired at the end after over 3 hours and 7 races each!  We were happy to take advantage of Sonic's half-price shakes after 8 p.m. deal :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's up Wednesday--grape salad

Had a get-together with some girlfriends last week and was assigned to bring a "summer side."  Well, this grape salad just fit the bill for me.  It is a perfect summer salad, and everyone at the party loved it.  Thanks to my friend Angie who gave me the recipe.  I had thought I had it written down, but couldn't find it, so am putting it here so I never lose it :) and you can benefit too.
Grape Salad

about 2 lbs of grapes washed and dried--I used one big bag

After you wash the grapes and while they are drying, mix together
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add cream cheese mix to grapes.  You can make this way ahead of time and then right before serving--or about 20-30 minutes before sprinkle top with 1/4 cup brown sugar and chopped pecans.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 25

Another fun week of summer.  Great to celebrate Father's day.  My kids are lucky to have the best Dad ever!  Had a lot of summer fun this week.  Take a look. . .
Sunday--Father's Day. These kids are super blessed with the Best Dad Ever!

Miss E and Mr J having fun on the trampoline.

Played the "thrift store game" with my sister and her husband while they were in town.  We had to find things in certain categories.  Miss A found the "ugliest" item :)

Had the youth from church out for volleyball and a bonfire to roast hot dogs and make s'mores.  It was a beautiful evening, and the kids had a lot of fun.

Mr J and I took advantage of Sonic's half price shakes today.  Yum!

Miss E and Miss O working hard in the garden.  The sticks with plastic Wal-mart bags on them keep the deer away.  They aren't the most attractive, but they work very well and are cheap :) otherwise the deer eat everything in the garden.

Fun in the pool--Miss E and her little friend.

Thanks for visiting.  Have a great week and come back often!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday thoughts

 My random Friday thoughts. . .
My weekly bathroom mirror inspirational quote.  So true, although I have no problem with ease, luxury, or constant thrills :) Okay, maybe I do.  They might get a little boring.  Maybe. . . :)  Maybe if I had the chance to try them out I could tell you for sure. . . ha, ha, ha.

Got my 4th of July theme going on the fireplace mantel in the family room.  Love it.  Got most of these off eighteen25  Love their subway art which can be found under their "Printables" button on the top menu on the site.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's up Wednesday--Hawaiian haystacks

Hawaiian haystacks is another of our favorites to have for dinner--especially in the summer.  You basically just cook rice, make a chicken gravy, and then top it with lots of good stuff.  I make this two different ways depending upon how much time I have.  There is the super easy way, which is good, or the little longer way which is way better :)

So to make these you just cook some rice, our family loves this
Good Rice I posted a few months ago.
While the rice is cooking you make the chicken sauce.  The super easy way is just to mix one can cream of chicken soup with one can of canned chicken.  Don't drain the chicken because that broth in the can needs to mix with the cream of chicken soup to help it be less thick.  That is it.  Mix those two cans, break up your chicken chunks and heat.  

Now if you want the really good chicken sauce then you need to make
And this sauce really doesn't take that long to make either.

So either way you now have your rice and sauce.  Then you top these with any number of things, but our favorites are

-chunk pineapple
-frozen peas, thawed
-sliced olives
-chopped tomatoes
-chow mein noodles
-chopped green onions

Other suggestions would be shredded coconut, mandarin oranges, and the list can go on.  It is a fun dinner that the kids can help a lot with because of all the extra things that need to be chopped and such to go on top.


Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 24

A nice week of summer this week.  Nothing major happened, no big activities.  Just enjoying our summer days.  Here is a look at our week. . .
Our family and one of the cute sister missionaries serving in our area from our church.  She is from Tonga, and we love her!

Paracord or survival bracelets are the big thing in our house right now.  Mr J has quite a collection of colors which he has all laid out on the floor, and Ben helped him make this handy wooden stand to make the bracelets on.  

Ben experimented with a cookie recipe tonight.  He crushed up candy canes and put them in our regular chocolate chip recipe with dark chocolate chips.  They were pretty good!

For the past 2 weeks this cute girl has been staying with us.  She is Miss O's best friend who moved a long ways away last year.  This summer we made a plan to get them together.  So she stayed at our house for a while and went to girls' camp with us and then today I drove these 2 many hours to meet her dad so Miss O could spend some time at her house.  It has been so fun to have these two together again!  We have sure missed her!

A beautiful, calm summer's evening and Mr J got out the bubbles for fun.

Miss E got to learn how to mow the lawn all by herself.

Ben and I had a date night and went to an outdoor summer band concert.  The weather was beautiful--actually bordering on cold and I needed a jacket.  We enjoyed an ice cream social, the music, and just being together.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!  Come back often!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday thoughts

My traditional random Friday thoughts. . .
My weekly bathroom mirror inspirational quote.

Spent a lot of time driving this week--like 10 hours straight in one day.  It was a beautiful day to drive, though.  I drove by this huge are of these wind generators.  I just think they are awesome looking.  They impress me.  I had no idea how huge they were until one day we were in the city and they had one wing on display.  It was amazingly huge.  

So grateful that I can just get in my car and drive where ever I want.  We have the freedom in this country to go, and that is a blessing I think we take for granted too much.  No papers, no guards, as you go from one part of the country to the other.  Thank you to the men and women who gave us that freedom and continue to work and sacrifice so we still do.  

Read this book recently.  I am a huge Jane Austen fan.  Love, love, love all her stuff.  This was a fun read.  Jane Austen was a prolific letter writer, and we assume journal writer although sadly none of these exits anymore and few of her letters also, and this fiction book is written as if it was Austen herself writing her own journal about her love affair.  I think any fan of Jane Austen really wishes Jane could have had a love like Mr Darcy or Mr Knightly, married and had a family.  It is one of literature's great loses that she died so young.  Anyway, a fun, fiction read that any fan of Austen would like.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's up Wednesday--Crock pot Italian Chicken

This is one of our family's all-time favorite meals.  We make it about once a month, and I make it often when we have company.  I love it because it is a crock pot meal.  We serve it over rice, but you can do noodles also.  Enjoy!
Crock Pot Italian Chicken

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and I always put mine in frozen
1/4 cup butter, but into 1" cubes
1 pkg dry Italian salad dressing
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese, cut into 1" cubes
1 Tab minced onion, I use the dehydrated chopped onion

Place chicken in crock pot.  Place butter and cream cheese cubes on top of chicken.  Mix together soup, onions, and dressing.  Spread over chicken.  Cook on low 6-8 hours. 

When ready to serve, take out chicken and shred, while chicken is out whisk together sauce so cream cheese chunks are mixed in.  Once sauce is smooth and mixed, add shredded chicken back in. Mix to combine and serve over rice or noddles. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 23

Girls' church camp week--what an adventure, no water, no showers, port-a-potties, no electricity, no buildings, and over 225 girls ages 12-18, but it was beautiful, lots of fun, and I got to enjoy it with my 3 girls.  Though I must admit I was very glad to be in my own bed and take a shower at the end of the week!  Here is a look at our week. . .
Sunday evening reading time--the kids love listening to Ben read.  He is reading the Boston Jane #2:  Wilderness Days by Jennifer Holm.  A good series to check out if you haven't read them.  Love Miss E's funny curled up position.  Does that look comfortable to you?

The library is the place to be in the summer.  Mr J gets to do a cool experiment at ours for reading so many books so far this summer.  Love our library!  And our Children's librarian with Mr J is the best!!!!

The 'before' picture for girls' camp.  All packed up and ready to leave. . . adventure here we come!

"I have to get up now?"  Miss O asks on one foggy morning at camp.  It was a beautiful spot we were in.

We camped near a historical monument for our Church, and it was neat to go visit the area with the girls.

This cool swing bridge was on the trail to the camp.  It was fun to go, but also very nice to go home!

This cute sister missionary from our church has been here for several months, and it was time for her to move to another area, so we got a picture before she left.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a good week!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday thoughts

This was my weekly inspirational bathroom mirror quote for this week.  I thought it was especially appropriate as we just had a sweet neighbor lady pass away.  She and her husband are the best neighbors.  She had been battling cancer and was a great example.  She will be greatly missed!  I thought of this quote often as I thought of her and how we just never know what life is going to throw at us.  This is a great reminder to cherish every day.  Each day is a treasured gift from heaven when we get to be with those we love.  We need to remember that and celebrate and commemorate each day--that doesn't mean there needs to be big, dramatic things--just little things--an extra hug or kiss, cuddling on the couch, saying "I love you so much!" or "I am so grateful for you!"  We need to appreciate these days--our treasured gifts from heaven.

Enjoy the weekend with your loves ones--cherish and commemorate your time together!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What's up Wednesday--blueberry white chocolate chip cookies

My 16-year-old found this recipe on pinterest somewhere and made them this week for our family night treat.  They were so good!  Not a single one was left.  I love anything with blueberries, and with the white chocolate these are just divine--and they have some whole wheat flour in them, so blueberries and whole wheat flour basically make them a health food :)  We made these with fresh blueberries, so I don't know how frozen would work, but I am sure they would--just pat them dry as much as you can.  Enjoy!
Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups blueberries, washed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add in dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips into dough, then carefully fold in blueberries trying not to mash them too much.

Scoop dough onto baking sheets--we used medium cookie scoop, and bake for about 12 mintues or until lightly browned on edges.


Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 22

A fun week--we had a birthday, enjoyed Memorial day, had fun with new legos, tennis camp, and just life in general.  Here is a look at our week. . .
Happy Birthday Mr J!!!  My baby is getting so big!

It is tradition to visit the old cemetery in town on Memorial day.  They have a special Civil War memorial we like to visit.

Ben and Miss E help Mr J with his new Lego set he got for his birthday.  Lots of fun!

The kids were super excited to get a new art kit from their aunt and uncle.  Mr J got right to work on a new masterpiece.

Mr J and I got his 3rd grade school scrapbook done today.  I try to get those done at the beginning of the summer when everyone can still remember what happened during the school year.

Miss E had tennis camp this week.  This is her cute coach.

Saturday night the girls had a group over to play volleyball and enjoy a bonfire with s'mores.  It was the perfect night for it.  They sure had fun.  Mr J was their referee :)

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a good week!

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