August 30, 2013

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Bars

It had been awhile since we had a family dinner so we invited them all over for an impromptu cookout on Sunday night. Nothing fancy, just burgers, dogs, and the fixings.

But dessert is very important. There must always be dessert. And chocolate.


My son said it looked like a giant poptart. Which it did!

If it gets a thumbs up from my picky pick 11 year old, you know it's good!


You can find the recipe here:

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Bars


Enjoy!


August 29, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

I actually cooked this weekend and hosted my family for dinner on Sunday night. This is a news worthy event with the football and soccer schedules in full swing plus working a full time job.

I came across a recipe on Pinterest using Manwich as the main ingredient and it didn't involve ground beef.  Intriguing, right?

I used the regular Manwich not the "bold" because spicy recipes never go over well in my house. The recipe was really simple and I thought everyone would like it ... but my 8-almost-9 year old declared it disgusting.  Thanks, kid.

Child #1 is still on his chicken nugget diet. Eleven and a half years strong.

Child # 2 called it disgusting.

The husband ate it without complaint. But since he hasn't even attempted to eat the leftovers, that's usually a sign he wasn't a fan.

I liked it enough to probably make it again, however, it was strange eating the Manwich flavor as a pasta and chicken dish! 



You can find the recipe here:

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

(I only used 1 cup of shredded cheese - 2 cups is overkill, in my opinion!)


FOOTNOTE!  Strangely enough, both the husband and I enjoyed this more as leftovers than we did fresh. I guess it gave the flavor some more time to gel together? Anyway, loved it as leftovers!

 

August 28, 2013

Summer Hellwork

Not a fan. At all. I understand the purpose, I can even appreciate the purpose, but I don't think it should be "required."  The kids work so hard all year, fulfilling all the requirements for schoolwork, homework, tests, reports, projects ... they need a break. Parents need a break. And I don't see anything wrong with needing a break.  Kids dream of summer break ... no school, no homework, staying up late, and sleeping in. And they should. It's the only time of your life you can get away with it!

I carry around enough guilt about (needing) to work full time that my children don't enjoy the lazy carefree summers that I enjoyed as a kid, I don't need more stress of making sure they complete the summer reading they have no interest in completing.

I wish they enjoyed reading, I really do.  I read to them all the time when they were younger and loved when my older son enjoyed reading to his younger brother. But as his reading level increased, his desire to read greatly decreased. The same thing happened to my other son too. Chapter books can be very daunting to a kid.  I can't count how many times I've heard, "It has how many pages?? I'll never finish!"  

I have yet to figure out a way around this ... even reading on a Kindle hasn't lessened the task of reading a grade-level book.  "If you read a chapter a day, you'll be done in 12 days! Or two chapters a day, you'll be done in 6 days!"  And they stare at me, eyes glazed over.

I've heard many people say you're failing at parenting if you don't force your child to do the summer homework because there are many things in life that aren't fun that you have to do and other arguments along those lines ... okay true but you know what? If not completing the summer homework is the only thing I don't force them to do during their schooling years, is that really a parenting fail?

No, it's not.  

My boys both read and completed the report on 1 book this summer, which was half of the required reading.  It was such a struggle just to finish that.  It will have to suffice. I'm betting I won't hear one word about it!


August 27, 2013

Almost That Time!

And in honor of back to school, I did a quick redecoration of the mantle and table in the foyer. Nothing fancy, as you will see.  I have to be a minimalist when it comes to the mantle now that we hung the TV above it. It's all good though - makes dusting easier!

The mantle had been redecorated for well over 24 hours when my very observant 11 year old says,

"Um, Mom? When did you put this stuff up? TAKE IT DOWN!"



Guess it's safe to say he's not looking forward to September 5th!

You can find the links to the free printables here:

Back to School Subway Art

and here:

Dr. Seuss Quote

Enjoy!

August 23, 2013

Lunch Break Friday #4

So I have a question.

How can New Balance justify the $38 price on ONE pair of boy's mesh athletic pants? I mean really, they aren't even lined!

But here's the good news. I purchased 6 pairs, 3 for each boy, for a total of $32.00

SCORE!

Thank you, Marshalls!


August 22, 2013

Evening Scenes, Part 1

This evening scene was at Boo's scrimmage the other night. They played well, despite only having a few practices behind them.

We're looking forward to a great season with the new team!


August 21, 2013

20 Pounds of Fur

Gunner had his yearly check-up at the Vet earlier this week. He was loved by all, especially when he jumped up with his front paws on the receptionist desk to greet the girls behind the counter. He's almost as tall as me when he does that ... it's crazy!

He's weighing in a hefty 99 pounds and officially weighs more than my 11 year old.

He was very well behaved and took his shots like a champ. He didn't even flinch.

He's still going to training and we got word this past weekend that he's being "released" soon, only 2-3 more sessions. I couldn't be happier b/c while the training has done wonders for him, I'm really tired of going every Saturday morning!

Now, if we can just cure all the insane shedding he'd be the perfect dog!



August 20, 2013

Bummer Summer

There was only one thing I wanted to do get done this summer but it didn't happen. Life happened and so did the great basement clean-out. Then of course there are the ongoing pool issues. And weeds. God I hate weeds. 

Then I blinked and August and football arrived and for added fun, there's soccer too. 

I'm not complaining, I'm truly not. I suppose I'm just frustrated with the lack of hours in a day and my husband's lack of drive to get anything done. 

If I want to get anything extra done, it means other things are let go ... like laundry and general cleaning. I can't let the cleaning go because the beloved pup is still shedding fiercely. It's like a sheep was sheered in my house every day. Crazy amounts of hair, no matter how much we brush him.

So because the dog hair drives me more crazy than the unfinished bathroom, cleaning wins.  And so does watching Mistresses - love that show!


August 16, 2013

Yard Sale Success

Last Friday I packed up my car full - literally full - of stuff to sell at my mother-in-law's community yard sale scheduled for Saturday.  It was a lovely day, a little warm but nothing unbearable. And hey, it's August, it's supposed to be warm!

I'm happy to report the yard sale was a big success. I sold pretty much everything I had brought and in the end netted $230. Not bad at all!  A few of the leftovers went right to the curb, a few things went to a local mission, and only three things came back home with me, destined to be eBay'd.

I'd call that a successful day!

My house feels a ton lighter.  It's a good feeling.

I'm also happy to report I still possess mad packing-the-car skills .... which brought me back to my college days and jam-packing that car every August and May for four years! Ah, memories ...


August 15, 2013

3 Weeks

Three weeks from today, school starts. I'd like to say I'm happy about this so I can stop paying for summer camp but I'm really not looking forward to monitoring homework and helping with projects yet again and dealing with the TONS of paper that comes from school. This summer went by really fast.

The boys got the all important letters earlier this week saying which teacher they would have for the year. So now it's REAL. Neither were overly excited with who they got but they didn't grumble either so I'll take that as a win.  Since Bud is the firstborn, all the teachers in his upcoming grade are always new to me. Boo did not get the teacher Bud had for 4th grade and that's fine by me. I'd rather him not get the teachers his brother had.

I need to take one last look at the supply lists but I think we have everything covered. The little one needs new sneakers but other than that, we're all set.

Bring on the 2013-2014 school year?!  Ugh, okay, if I have to ... and I will enjoy having the boys on the same bus and at the same school for one whole year!


August 14, 2013

Goodbye, Verizon Internet

Ever have one of those periods of time when technology just continually pisses you off? I'm there. Between phone issues, wifi issues, and a new computer, it makes me wish it was 1990 all over again. Life was simple back then, it really was. The only distraction in your car was loud children or friends or the radio.

We've been having home phone and wifi issues for quite some time and Verizon said they would come take a look but I'd have to pay a $95 service fee just to have the technician come in my front door and $50 an hour for every hour he had to stay. Really? I pay a monthly bill for YOUR services, isn't that enough? Two years ago when I subscribed to your service all you did was send a box in the mail with instructions that said "plug it in" and you're telling me that in two years, I can't get 1 "free" service call to correct a problem YOU acknowledge when a "line test" is performed on a line you didn't install from the start?

I hate the game, I really do.

No amount of phone calls and arguments with Verizon Customer Service did anything to fix the ongoing problem because I refused to agree to the service appointment fees. But then a funny thing happened. On Monday I called to cancel our account and now they offered to waive the service fees. Are you freaking kidding me? After calls and calls and calls reporting service issues and you wait until I actually contact the cancellation department to do something about it?!

Too late. You're a day late and a dollar short. Comcast came on Sunday and installed a CABLE line for our wifi internet access.

Maybe if Verizon concentrated more on actually providing customers with the services they pay for instead of farming out line issues to customer service agents located abroad, maybe I'd still be a customer today.

August 9, 2013

Yard Sale!

Since my brain isn't working well at all this summer, I can't remember if I mentioned the massive basement cleanout I started a few weeks ago. My mother-in-law had called to tell me that her neighborhood was having a giant yard sale on August 10th in case I wanted to get rid of anything.

Umm, hells yeah!

And lucky for me, this phone call took place on an early Friday evening when it POURING outside and I had nothing better to do.  So I started pulling anything and everything out, going through it - what to keep, what to toss, and what to sell. The rest of the weekend I was holed up in the basement and by the time Sunday evening came around, I was done. 

In a word? It was liberating.

All the toys that my kids were no longer playing with - gone.

A few baby gear-items I had kept - gone.

Toy boxes - gone.

Books - gone

Puzzles - gone

Stuffed animals - gone

Bags and purses - gone

Games - gone

Sheets - gone

I went through e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, almost as if we were moving.  All that's left is a chest full of legos, 2 toy boxes (one full of nerf guns and the other with some random Hess trucks) and a bin of hot wheels cars.  

Now, before you freak and think I'm heartless ... the boys were involved in this process and on board with it. They are too involved with their ipods, sports, friends, and playing outside to be bothered with toys anymore.  I have kept some toys that were meaningful to them and they've been packed away in a few totes for awhile now.  Bud was heavy into Toy Story when you couldn't find Toy Story stuff in every store so I refuse to get rid of that stuff, along with the Scooby Doo toys.  I hunted long and hard for those toys! I also have a tote with some stuffed animals too.

The basement is like a dream now and I no longer have to worry about my (young) nieces and nephews making a giant mess down there anymore. There's enough to give them something to do but not enough to make a huge mess (which they have done in the past), a mess that we're left to clean up.

I have a decent amount of stuff I hope will sell at the yard sale. It took quite a bit of time to put some "sets" together with all the right pieces but I was successful, for the most part.  Whatever doesn't sell will be donated. It's not coming back into my house!

Wish me luck!



August 7, 2013

The Crazy Has Started

Did I mention? My son who swore he wasn't playing football this year decided at the last minute to play. So now he's playing, even though practice actually started last week (which was too early, in my opinion.)

5 nights a week from 6-8pm 

Next week, soccer kicks off 4 nights a week from 5:30-7pm for the other one.

'Tis our life.

One day I'll miss it.

August 6, 2013

Pool Ownership Sucks

I'm ready to just tear down our above ground pool.  The liner patches aren't holding so we have no choice but to drain the pool and pray a "professional" can fix it. The sand underneath the liner is all rippled so the bottom of the pool is now bumpy. It's a mess. A giant mess.

I hate pools, I really do.

On the bright side, The Cape May Zoo is really nice. We spent the day there yesterday with some family members. We had never been there before but I was pleasantly surprised!  It was very clean and didn't smell much like a zoo at all. And you can't beat the free admission and free parking!  We made a donation of course, but it didn't cost any where near as much as it would have if we spent the day at the Philadelphia Zoo!

So if you've never been there and you're within a reasonable driving distance, it's worth visiting
 

August 2, 2013

IlovemyhusbandIlovemyhusband

I keep hoping that if I keep saying Ilovemyhusband over and over that I won't be featured on an upcoming episode of Snapped.

What's the problem?

The problem is our pool has 2 small tears in the bottom on the liner and it's been slowly leaking for over two weeks. We discovered the tears two weeks ago and went to a pool store for a kit to fix it.  But he hasn't fixed it yet, giving one excuse after another.

Meanwhile, you saw the "lake" photos I posted yesterday, right? Well, that isn't helping with the WATER ISSUE in my yard right now ... so I've about had it.

WHY DO MEN PROCRASTINATE?!

ugh.

August 1, 2013

Wettest Summer Ever

I don't know for sure, but I'm almost certain the Summer of 2013 has to be the wettest summer on record for the Philadelphia region.  We've had days and days of soaking heavy rain. It's depressing and frustrating, especially when your yard pretty much looks like this all the time:



Handsome boy alert! When it's the weekend, it's summer, and it rains a lot, you'll do anything to entertain yourself ... including standing outside in the pouring rain with an umbrella.  What wasn't captured in this photo was the torrents of rain water rushing down the street.

Good times.

When a few friends saw these photos, one said, "I didn't know you had lakefront property!" and I replied, "Well pretty soon I may have an indoor pool too so I'm turning my home into a resort!"

Good times.