Saturday, September 29, 2012

Monthly wrap up???

Ok, so I’m a little behind on my weekly wrap-ups.  Perhaps monthly or even seasonal wrap ups may be in order???  HA!

So, this month we survived our first month of homeschooling!!!  We’ve been home for 4 weeks and A) my children are still alive and B) I still love them!!!  Overall, it’s going very well.  I admit I had pretty low expectations. Over the past 6 mos. I’ve had numerous people look at me in shock and say “ALL FIVE???”  “I will pray for you!”.  This left me thinking “what are all the homeschool moms online not telling me, because they seem to love it?”.  Well, for now I can say that I love it. (this may change mid-February)  These are my top 5 reasons

5)  Flexibility – Both in academics and in life.  Joe was struggling with the math program so we switched it and said goodbye to the frustration.  We can drop everything for a last minute field trip.

4)  NO homework in the evenings -  This was a huge stress for us for the last two years. Joe has practice 2 nights a week and the girls have games 2 nights a week but there’s no worries about when they’re going to get their work done. (this is Matt’s top reason)

3)  Time (see #4) - I feel like I’ve been given the gift of time with the kids.  Yes, what everyone has been telling me for the last 14 years is true – It goes SO fast! Hannah is going to be leaving us in 5 short years, and I am loving the ages the girls are right now.  So I am enjoying just being with them.

2) Lesson Planning  - I love all the organization of planning.  I love the books and getting things ready for the week.  Most weeks I don’t get through 1/2 of what I planned but I still enjoy doing it.  I’m sure I’ll get tired of it eventually but for now I really like it.

1) Less stress!! – Our days are so much more relaxed.  This has been the biggest blessing. It just seems to be a more relaxed lifestyle.  The mornings are quiet and relaxed, and the day just seems to have a nice flow.

The kids are adjusting better than I thought they would.  There are things they really like about it.  Getting up later, finishing by 1:00, no homework seem to be the top three.  They miss their friends a lot but they have made some new friends through sports and homeschool group.  I am so proud of them for their good attitudes and effort to meet new people. Volleyball has been wonderful for the girls.  The girls enjoy having my mom for History and English.  She comes here one day and we go there one day.  It seems to be a pretty good balance. 

Here are some pics of our first month


We went to the beach when everyone else was having their first day of school.  I knew the older three would struggle not going to school to see their friends so we enjoyed the empty beach for the afternoon and then got ice cream on the way home.


Our first field trip was to the Renaissance Festival with Grandma & Grandpa Nicola. 


  Joe is in the homeschool beginning band.  He is playing the saxophone.  He really looks forward to Tuesdays because his good friend Joe is also in the band.  Isn’t he cute in his shirt? Smile






Fifi loves homeschooling because she gets to spend more time with Hannah. 


I can’t believe how fast the weeks are flying by.  I’m still welcoming those prayers because even though things are going surprising well it’s still not easy.  There are daily struggles with getting along, lack of motivation, (by both kids and mom) and bad attitudes.  There are days when I doubt myself and whether or not I can/should be doing this. I am finding that at the end of the day God has given me just enough grace to get through it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

But I had a plan….

I had a plan.  It was a great plan.  I even announced how wonderful my plan was to the world on my blog.  I couldn’t wait for summer vacation!  The kids would sleep in, I would have 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time to exercise, shower, pray, blog and get a head start to the day.  I had grand plans for the kids each morning to do a little chores, and schoolwork.  I made schedules. Laminated schedules.  We made a bucket list.  This was to be the summer I was proactive! No more “I’m bored”.  Then,

  1. Ben decided that during his summer vacation he was going to get up at 6 a.m. every day to not waste one minute of his summer vacation.  Which makes for a very. long. day. for mom. 
  2. The older kids rebelled against the 8:30 to bed, asleep by 9 plan which means unless mom and dad stay up until 11 there is zero alone/adult time.
  3. It has been an all out mutiny against me and my plan to have them do ONE math assignment per day.  Well, except for Ben, he likes having his morning folder to do each day.
  4. Screens. iPad, wii, Netflix, computer  It didn’t occur to me that my children had their own plan of moving from one source of technology to the other to fill up their summer.  Which has turned my summer into a full time job of Screen Police. 

So with these disruptions to my plans I’ve had arguing, grumpiness, whining and complaining.  Which means by 9:00 every morning I’m already irritated, frustrated, mad at my kids and bedtime is 12 hours away!  But I had a plan!!!  After calling and venting to a wonderful friend who is in the same trenches as me, she gave me some wise, encouraging  counsel.  First – Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint.  Raising my children to be productive, responsible adults will not happen in one week of summer vacation. Second – my kids are kids.  When I was thirteen would I have been jumping for joy at doing schoolwork  during my summer break? Um, no. 

So, it’s time to regroup.  I am going to stick with my original plan because I think it’s what’s best for my kids, but I’m not going to expect them to be excited about their laminated to- do list (even though they make my heart go pitter patter).  Instead of getting angry at them I’m going to use it as an opportunity to mold their and my character.  I really dislike it when I pray and ask God to change my children and the answer I consistently get is that I need to change :-/ 

Philippians 3:13   But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind me and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

Galatians 6:9   Let us not become weary of doing good.  For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Summer vacation is finally here!   Now that everyone is out of school I feel like we can officially start our summer. Yay! 

The day after Hannah, Rachel & Joe’s last day of school they set off to Florida with my dad and Mary.  Mary’s brother lives in Pensacola so they stayed with him.  They saw the ocean for the first time, went on a dolphin cruise and swam a lot in the pool. (the ocean had red flags so they could only wade)  They were gone a whole week and I was very ready for them to be home.  They were very happy today to not be going anywhere in the car after the 14 hour drive to and from Florida!

Ben finished up his last week of school.  He was already showing signs of anxiety knowing his schedule was about to change.  He wanted to know “when can we start homeschool?”.  We celebrated his last day with a picnic lunch at a new park, ice cream and then a trip to the library to pick out some new books to start the summer.


On Thursday we started demolition of the kitchen.  New appliances are coming this week so we needed to tear out some cabinets and Matt is going to work on some electrical so we can plug them in when they arrive.  I feel like a 6 year old on Christmas Eve!  I can’t wait to get my new stove!!!  We’ve got the countertop and flooring ordered so now we just have to do the yucky stuff like drywall and tearing up ceramic tile. YUCK!  It’ll be worth it though!  I can’t wait.  I’m hoping to be mostly done by Jacob’s birthday party.

Ben had his first “friends” birthday party on Saturday.  He requested an Angry Birds cake so of course I went right to Pinterest to get some ideas.  He loved it and was a very happy boy for the day.  It was very different having a party for kids with Autism, they all had fun but didn’t interact too much together.  Which of course is natural for them, I just had to work at it not bothering me.  I enjoyed meeting the moms of his friends and you can almost feel this instant connection with them knowing what it’s like having a special needs child. Ben had a great time and that was the most important thing.  We had a great day celebrating him.

IMG_9500IMG_9501 We couldn’t find the 8 candle so I asked him if we could just do 4+4.  Of course since he is obsessed with math facts he was very excited to use the addition problem.

On Sunday we had a very special breakfast with my dad.  I made waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.  They were heavenly!  We had a relaxing morning and then headed to my mom and Art’s to spend the afternoon with my grandparents.  We ate and then sat in the shade watching the chickens and goats for entertainment.  Aaaaahhhhhhh,  Welcome Summer!!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Every summer I start out with such ambition and good intentions and I end the summer discouraged because the time went so fast and I didn’t do half of the things I wanted with the kids. SO, this year I am being more thoughtful, intentional and proactive with our summer goals.  Thanks to a little help from Pinterest I have a ton of ideas and even help to see those ideas through to completion!!  Behold our Summer Bucket List!


Did you notice which ones are already checked off??? 

This poster could also be titled Mom’s Accountability Chart.

I am hoping that at the end of the summer the kids will be able to look at all the things we checked off and have happy memories of the time we spent together.  


This is me. I easily go back and forth between being super organized and on top of things until I get bored and need some excitement but then it seems like things fall apart and I have to cling to my schedule again.

Every summer I struggle with how scheduled we should be.  Of course our vacations are scheduled but I’m talking about scheduling our every day.  I want the kids to be able to relax and enjoy their summer break but it seems like if I don’t have some structure to the day the kids spend way to much time staring at screens and are “bored” by 10 a.m.  Now that we are a homeschool family I’ve decided to work on some subjects during the summer, hoping to allow us to be flexible around the holidays and be able to take time off whenever we’d like.  (see above pic)  Ben has already been asking about school at home this summer and I know he will benefit from having a set routine.  He gets anxious when he doesn’t know what to do or what’s coming up next.  So even though I know there will be some “but it’s our summer vacation” (insert whiney voice) I’m going to force myself to be the bad guy that will be seen as the good guy in the end.  Hopefully. 

Of course I’ll be sharing what we’ve been checking off our bucket list (hopefully) each week in my weekly wrap up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spring Wrap-Up

Thursday is our official start to summer vacation!  Jacob was done with school on May 31st, HCA was done June 7 and Ben’s last day is today!  It was kind of annoying having them all finish at different times. 

Seeing that I’m a little really behind on my weekly updates I’ll do a recap of our spring.  The last 8 weeks have flown by but have been so much fun. I am just loving the ages that the kids are at right now. 

  • We had a nice relaxing spring break with a visit from cousins then we went to Rockville for Easter.  We took the boys to an Egg Hunt and learned that when someone says you are only allowed to get 10 eggs that a boy with Autism will interpret that as he HAS to get 10 eggs and will have a complete meltdown when he only finds 7.  Thankfully the egg hunt at home went much smoother. 




  • Hannah played Middle School Soccer which she loved.  She played really well and liked getting to know the girls on the team.  After spending hours on the team bus she also learned how to french braid and then came home and taught me!
  • May was packed full of concerts and field trips.  I got to go to Lansing with Joe to see the capital.  Hannah, Rachel and Joe all had choir concerts and Rachel had a band concert. 
  • My mom and I started a HUGE garden.  I should have enough tomatoes to make enough pasta sauce to last the whole year.  I planted some pumpkins and celery just for fun.
  • To end the school year we had a pool party for the kids and some friends.  It was a lot of fun. The weather was perfect and the kids all got along really well.

I’m hoping now that school is over I’ll be able to keep up with my weekly wrap ups a little better.    We’ve got some fun plans for the summer.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Moms (at least this mom) LOVE Summer!

10.  Sleeping in!  Now that the kiddos are older I don’t have to get up at 5 to enjoy some quiet time to myself.

9.  Sandles/Flip Flops/Bare Feet = Less socks to wash and sort!

8.  Kids play outside more  = a cleaner house inside!

7.  Kids eat snacks and lunch outside = see #8

6.  Being able to just walk out the door when it’s time to go without having to first locate all hats and gloves then spend 15 minutes bundling up everyone. 

5. Not making lunches!!  Even better this summer I’m putting the three oldest in charge of lunch making and cleanup.  (insert heavenly Hallelujah here)

4.  More time for reading – this goes for both mom and kids.  About 4 months ago I grounded myself from all fiction until summer because I have a serious lack of self control. Once I start a book I neglect my children, my home and my own personal hygiene for 36-48 hours until I finish. 

3.  No more carpool!!!  My heart goes pitter patter at just the thought of not having to sit in the parking lot from 3:10 (when HCA ends) until 3:50 (when Prairie Ridge ends) five days a week with 6 kids. 

2.  More time for exercise, Bible study, prayer, blogging! See #10 

And the number one reasons moms love summer break?  Spending more time with our kids!   We have lots of fun plans for the summer.  (more on that later)

We are counting down the days here until summer break.  Especially now that the pool is up, the days are longer, and the weather is warmer.  Every day Jacob wakes up and says “Is today my last day of school?”  Lucky for him he’s the first to be done on May 31st. 

(Stay tuned for my August post on the Top Ten Reasons Moms Love Back to School Time!) 



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Taking the Plunge

Well, it’s official.  We’re homeschooling for the 2012-2013 school year.  Last summer Matt and I started discussions about plans for our family.  First it was a financial decision, then as I prayed and prayed and prayed some more it became a heart decision.  For many years I was very content with sending the kids to school everyday.  I was not a homeschooling mom.  We have a wonderful Christian school to send our kids to and I’ve been so thankful for that blessing in our lives.  BUT, God has been tugging at my heart strings for a few years and as my youngest headed off to school my heart is aching for my kids to be at home.  Matt said it best when he said “You’ve finally got the kids gone and have time to yourself and now you want to bring them all back home???”  Um, yes?  As this school year progressed God made it clearer and clearer that this is what we’re supposed to be doing.  What kept coming to my mind was “My heart’s at home” with my kids.  Does that mean that my kids don’t drive me crazy and they don’t ever force me to lock myself in my bathroom for 2 minutes of alone time? Um, no.  It means that at this point in our lives with our family my heart wants what we think is best for our kids.  So we’re giving it a year and see how it goes.  I don’t want to look back and wonder what if and feel like I missed an opportunity with my kids. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes…..

This weekend we had our first opportunity to talk with Joe about protecting his mind and heart from things that he sees.  Last week Matt was at our neighbors house with Joe and noticed the latest copy of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition laying on a table in the basement.  He came home and let me know and we have been talking about how we were going to handle this.  Joe’s friend  is a great kid and a wonderful friend to Joe, BUT we don’t believe his parents are Christians and they allow him to watch movies and play video games that we would not allow our kids.  They have been very respectful of our values and always call to see if we think a movie/game is appropriate for Joe and there have been times we’ve had to say no. Gulp.  Joe spent the afternoon on Sunday at his friends house.  With much encouragement from myself Matt sat down to talk with Joe to see if he’s ever seen a picture/magazine/website that made him feel uncomfortable.  Joe answered, “Yes, today.”  (and this is where my heart stops beating and all I can see is my perfect, tiny, 6lb 11oz, innocent baby boy sleeping in my arms)  He went on to say that his friend and cousin were looking at a magazine with a bunch of women in swimsuits and that he did not look at it and told on the two boys. Whew!!   This led to a really great discussion between a boy and his dad.

  1. Matt explained why boys/men need to protect their hearts and mind from those kinds of images. And how wrong it is to disrespect women by looking at them in that way. 
  2. How BRAVE he was for standing up for what was right! 
  3. This was an excellent lesson in how the Holy Spirit works in our lives.  We had not talked to Joe previously about looking at pictures or magazines, he’s only 10 years old!  We told him because Jesus lives in him the Holy Spirit nudged him to let him know that’s not something God would want him looking at.  How amazing it was that Joe listened and obeyed! Not because mom and dad told him not to but because he felt that nudge from God. 

Just Sunday morning I had to tell Joe that he couldn’t download a certain game for his iPod due to the violent nature of the game.  I explained to him how viewing those images over and over again cause us to see life as something not to value and it’s no big deal to see someone shot, blown up or decapitated.  I told him about the school shooting in Ohio and how that boy didn’t see the value in the lives that he took.   It all starts with a look.  Whether it’s violence or nudity, these boys are being bombarded with images that will be etched in their hearts forever.  May God protect our boys and may he continue to give us as parents the opportunities to put truth into their hearts!!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentines, Food, Basketball, and Parenting

We had a very full and busy week!  The title pretty much sums it up.   Matt was invited to a Dutch Farms food show in Chicago on Valentines Day, and since we are never ones to pass on a free hotel and night away we graciously accepted.  Grandma Carr came and stayed with the kids overnight so we could enjoy a night away.  A long time ago Matt and I gave up celebrating just the two of us on Valentines day.  I started a tradition of having a very special dinner for Valentines.  I decorated and the kids dressed up for dinner (it was convenient following Christmas that they always had red to wear).  We’ve been doing this for the last 10 years so I was a little sad to be leaving my little “valentines” so we celebrated on Sunday.  The kids have given up on dressing up but they still enjoy the special dinner.


We had steak, (kids choice), RED skin potatoes, RED pop, and RED jell-o for desert.  We invited Grandma and Papa Carr and had a nice Sunday dinner together.


Matt and I enjoyed our quick trip to Chicago.  We stopped at IKEA to buy some things I’ve had my eye on for some organization projects then had dinner at the show place with dueling pianos for entertainment.  We ate WAY too much food at the show.  There were 50 different booths all serving samples!!  Everything from pies, cheeses to Chicago style hot dogs. It was a lot of fun.  Dutch Farms is a Christian owned company and it was awesome to hear the owner ask God to bless the day and their business before the show started.  We had a wonderful time together and I am so thankful for little perks like this that come with Matt’s job.

On Friday we took the older kids to HCA’s Homecoming Basketball game.  Again, grandma came to the rescue and let Ben and Jacob stay the night with her.  I love high school basketball games!  We played the homeschoolers and it was a great game.

Both teams joined in prayer before the game.  This was not something I ever saw at my high school games!  It was a very sweet moment when they dedicated the game to God and asked to glorify him with their talent and abilities.

homecoming game

hca dancing

To celebrate their victory the students danced in the middle of the court.  What was awesome is that there were kids from other schools and homeschoolers who joined in to support their friends. 

On Saturday Matt and I attended a Parenting workshop through a local church.  Here are some key points that I took away from the workshops.

  • We will all go through a wilderness period (like God’s people on their way to the promised land) both in our marriages and with our children.  God is using this time to bring us closer to him.
  • Too much screen time causes us to miss out on emotional connections with our children.
  • Bring them away from the TV (to do something together)-Don’t send them away. 
  • James 1:20  The wrath of man (or mom) does not accomplish the righteousness of God.  This goes perfectly with my gentleness challenge! 
  • If you can’t handle your own emotions your child will not give you theirs. 
  • Establish House Rules – “In this house we do… and we don’t…” 
  • We attended a Love and Logic workshop and I really want to read more about it.  She had some very simple and practical strategies.  My favorite was for dinnertime battles.  Her suggestion was to offer them what was served for free but if they wanted something else from the kitchen they had to pay for it!  I love it and I’m going to use it! 
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

Favorite pics of the week

I asked Jacob if he made this snowman at school and he replied “No, I made a snowdude!” HA!!


Ben wore this sweater to church on Sunday, he looked so handsome in it I had to take his picture.  Nana Bonenfant knitted it for Joe and now it fits Ben.  It looked amazing with his blue eyes. 


I think it’s so sweet how Jacob has his arm around his brother.  These moments make a mama’s heart happy.  I’m so glad they have each other. 



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Welcome Back Winter

We knew it would happen.    Of course the snow isn’t going to stop coming in February. The warmer weather and break from the snow was wonderful.   With the colder weather and snow came the colds.  We had been sick free since Thanksgiving!  Then I jinxed it.  I said out loud that “the kids haven’t been sick since before Thanksgiving”.  I should know better.  Within 24 hours Jacob started sniffling, then coughing.  Only Rachel has managed to escape.  I really can’t complain.  It was only a few years ago I was ready to set up a tent in the pediatricians parking lot because I felt like we spent more time there than healthy at home.  Now we are rarely at the doctors anymore.   A few stuffy noses don’t really seem too big of a deal.   


I love this picture.  I had walked into the kitchen and found Joe helping Jacob put on all his snow gear. (without being told to)  I love catching the older kids helping, playing with or sharing a special moment with their younger brothers.  Joseph struggles sometimes to understand why his brothers aren’t  “normal” or why they “don’t play right”.  I try to encourage him by reminding him that he was hand picked by God to be their big brother and that every time he spends time with, or helps them he is building up treasures in heaven.  So when I walk into a situation like this it makes me so happy to see Joe storing up his treasures in heaven. 


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fit Friday

Hannah and I are on week two of our challenge.  We weighed in this week and there was no change for either of us.  We were both  a little disappointed but I knew the reason why, we’ve both been struggling to give 100%.  We were good enough for the scale to not go up but not good enough for it to go down.  So we are both trying to kick it up a notch this week. 

I decided to give Matt permission to be my Jillian. (Michaels from the Biggest Loser)  I need someone to push me to work harder and keep me accountable.  So, I promised not to get mad or um, tell him where to go…and let him be my conscious and personal motivator.  So, when 5 a.m. came this morning, Matt as instructed asked “So when are you going to exercise today?” I so, in my flesh, wanted to say “when are you going to exercise today” but instead laced up my shoes and headed downstairs.  Which of course I was glad I did when it was over.  I think this will be good for me because I’ve really been struggling with motivation to workout consistently. 

Goal for this week:  Exercise 6 days and not wish bad things upon Matt when he encourages me to exercise.

Bathroom Scale Bliss (n):  1) standing on a bathroom scale and smiling; 2) the absence of the urge to throw your bathroom scale out the window or against the wall; 3) an impossible dream

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Easy Lunchboxes

Last year I found online and purchased Easy Lunchboxes.  They are the BEST!!  They’re great for school lunches, picnics, traveling, the beach and more.


(yes, that is Joe’s  lunch on the right and he still gets in the van “starving” after school)

They have three compartments.  The larger compartment is big enough for a sandwich, string cheese and granola bar.  The other two compartments are perfect for fruit, nuts, crackers, etc.  This has saved us A LOT of money on baggies!  They are also great for traveling.  I just stack them in a cooler and hand out everyone’s box.  They have different colored lids so each kid has their own.  I also purchased the cooler bags that coordinate with the lid color so I know which one belongs to who.  I strongly recommend these, you won’t be disappointed! 

Here is the link if you want to check them out.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

It Feels like Spring Break Week

We had a wonderful week.  How could you not with the sun shining and spring like weather?!!  I didn’t have to clean this week and got a lot of things done around the house that I’ve been wanting to do.  I have a list of things I want to get done before school is out and this week I got to check  quite a few things off that list. YAY! 

Hannah had her second and final week of J-term.  On Tuesday she surprised Rachel with a pillow.  During Rachel’s recess Hannah left it on her chair for her to find when she came back inside.


On Friday she came home with her finished Rag Quilt. 



The picture doesn’t really do it justice.  The colors are much more vibrant in person.  She did a great job and had so much fun sewing it.  Of course she had to let Fifi have the first cuddle in it.  It looks perfect in her room! 





The kids enjoyed the weather so much this week.  Joe played basketball everyday after school.  It’s going to be very hard to go back to winter weather.


Here are a few random pics of our week….

After 4 years of watching the big kids, Jacob finally figured out how to do MarioKart by himself. He is so excited. If you spend more than 10 min. with Jacob you know how much he loves Mario!


Here’s an action shot of Joe’s basketball game on Saturday.


I came upstairs one morning after my workout and found this. Apparently it’s not necessarily mom and dad but our bed that they enjoy. Joe always gets in and cranks up the electric blanket.


I was folding laundry one day and Fifi jumped into the dryer and just had herself a seat.  She must’ve been pretty desperate for attention.  She’s so funny!


Ben wanted me to take a picture of his angry bird setup.  This has been by far his favorite Christmas gift and he plays it all the time.  He uses my ipod and tries to set them up just like on the game. 


On Friday night we went to an event at the YMCA for families of special needs children.  The kids did crafts, played in the gym and swam.  I’d like to say that this was such a special family time but it was more like a two hour nightmare.  The gym was way too loud which sent Ben into a tailspin.  We forgot Jacobs life jacket and he refused to have the floaties  strapped around his middle.  When we found a life jacket he was angry that he couldn’t go under the water.  It was so loud in the pool area that we had to scream for the kids to hear us.  Then we lost Jacobs sock in the family locker room which turned into an absolute meltdown for him because he has a big thing about his shoes and socks therefore making it unbearable for him to put his shoe on without his sock. Joe and Rachel had a great time so of course they were mad that we had to leave so early. Oh. My. Word.!! We left with headaches and were completely exhausted! It all ended with a stop at the bake sale to buy cupcakes for everyone so they all  left happy.   

I hope you got to enjoy the nice weather and sunshine this week! 


Monday, January 30, 2012

Monthly Meal Planner

About a year ago I started planning my meals a month at a time.  It sounds like a lot more work than it is.  It actually makes things so much easier.  First I sat down with all my cookbooks and wrote down 20-30 of our favorite meals plus a few new ones to try.  I also surfed the internet for a few new recipes. (this took less than an hour, give or take some minor interruptions!)   I used to just use a printable calendar from Word but I recently found a cute downloadable one here and the cuter it is the more fun I have using it.  You can save it and edit it.  I love it! 

monthly meal plan calendar[6]

After I have the whole month planned it’s so easy to sit down and write out my meals and grocery list for the week.   Then it’s simple to sit down the next month and plug in the meals or you could just rotate through the last months again.  I usually do one breakfast for dinner once per week because it’s cheap and everyone will eat it.  A lot of times if the meal is geared more for the kids, like hot dogs, Matt and I will have salads.   Of course then I found a great printable grocery list on Pinterest that you can get here.  This is what it looks like…

grocery list

A friend of mine always say “If you fail to plan then you are just planning to fail”  Winking smile You know who are! 

Hope this helps make meal planning easier for you!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Week In Review

We started out our week spending Sunday afternoon at my mom’s.  They are starting to remodel their kitchen and Matt was helping Art remove a very heavy and large desk.  Of course when we got there grandma had Sunday dinner ready for us.  While Matt and Art worked in the kitchen the kids enjoyed playing outside in all the outbuildings and then watching some episodes of Andy Griffiths!  Yep, they loved it even though it was in black and white! They think it’s hilarious!  Joe giggles through every episode.  It was so relaxing and a great way to start the week. (And I didn’t have to cook! Yay!)


Over Christmas break Matt taught the kids how to play Stratego.  This was a big deal because it is a Bonenfant favorite and the kids remember their uncles playing it for years at Houghton Lake.  DSC04431





For two weeks at Heritage they have what’s called J-Term.  The kids get to pick from a variety of special interest classes and for two weeks learn a new skill and get a break from their regular academics.  Hannah picked two sewing classes.  One is called clothing construction and the other is a rag quilt class. We had fun going to Jo-Anns and  I “helped” her choose the material for her quilt. I can’t wait to see it finished and of course I’ll post a picture of it for you to see.  She is loving her classes and even more is enjoying NO homework for two weeks. 


  Here is her first clothing construction.  She also made a few pillows and this week she’s making pajama pants.  By the end of the week I’m sure she’ll be able to teach me a few things.