Five Senses Saturday

I’ve missed doing these posts.  I’ve found I really enjoy writing them and sharing a sense of my week as it makes me slow down and think a bit.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.  I also hope they make you slow down and think about your week a bit as well.

This week went by at a faster pace than I expected but at the same time was full of blissfully slow days.  Here is a sense of it all:


The sun!  And then, the clouds!  And then, the sun again!  Last night I saw the prettiest wall cloud as I was driving to the grocery store.  I really wanted to get my camera out and take a photo but opted to drive safely instead.

Note all the pictures in this post are from my phone because I can’t find an easy and decent way to edit my photos on Windows 7.  Open to suggestions on that one.

On days when the sun was shining, I saw the following things:

These lovely purple flowers springing up all over the yard!

These lovely purple flowers springing up all over the yard!

Green growth on our rose bush.

Green growth on our rose-bush.



Can you stand one more “music appreciation with mom” story?

I had to turn off Your Lips Are Moving because my teenager despises the song and it is on the radio all the time.  (Don’t tell but I think it is kind of catchy and may or may not sing along to it when I’m alone in the car.)  I Miss The Rains Down In Africa was playing on our new station.

I don’t know if it was polite commentary on my singing but shortly after that, J requested no music since they play the same things every day.  So we hear silence for the rest of the commute to the schools.


My teenager’s room.  This was incidentally followed by a trip to Target where I purchased some Febreeze.  I picked out a Gain scented one.  I applied very liberally to his room.  Twice.

Did you know that Boxwood bushes bloom?  And that they smell delightful?  They smell much better than a teenager’s bedroom.

I wish I could share this smell through the computer!

I wish I could share this smell through the computer!


Starburst jellybeans.  You know I had to check and make sure they hadn’t changed the formula from last year.  Good news, they taste the same.  So do the mini-robin eggs.

On a somewhat healthier note, I discovered this stuff:

Great on bagels!

Great on bagels!


I’m not completely dairy-free but I seldom indulge in cream cheese.  I decided to try this when I noticed it on sale and I’m definitely sold on it!


A lot of laundry!  The good news is that I am completely caught up on that chore.

This thing that J brought home from school on Friday.

This is not a mutant stick bug.

This is not a mutant stick bug.

It’s a red oak tree that we apparently now need to find a place in our yard to plant.


A bit of frustration when my Tuesday morning didn’t go as planned.  Excitement and anticipation over the boys’ spring break and a trip we are taking to see relatives.  (I may snap some pictures for Instagram during our road trip.) Relaxed during most of the week since I wasn’t at work.  However, I kind of missed being there so much.  It was nice to get somewhat caught up though…

What things set your senses off this week?




Easter Basket Ideas: My Basic Baskets for the Boys

I’ve seen a few posts about Easter Basket ideas popping up around the blogging world this week.  Christine from So Domestically Challenged had great stuff in her post titled 10+ Non-Traditional Easter Basket Ideas and I want some of the things Keri over at One Mama’s Daily Drama suggests for the Easter Baskets For Geeks.  I decided to hop (ha! get it? HOP!) on the bunny basket bandwagon with my own post of Easter basket ideas.

I should probably confess to a few things first:

  1. I give them candy!  Candy is relatively cheap, it fills the basket, and when Easter is over, it is (mostly) gone.  I’m all about keeping it as clutter-free as possible.
  2. I have a tendency to forget the baskets until the last-minute.  I host Easter brunch here each year and my focus is usually on the food and cleaning the house.  Sometime the Friday or Saturday before Easter, I lament to my husband that I’m afraid I don’t have enough stuff to fill the baskets.  I usually do have more than enough.
  3. I don’t remember getting anything but candy and then, maybe a card once I hit the ages my kids are now.

If you wait until the last-minute like me, here are a few Easter Basket ideas and tips to help keep the panic at bay.

My Basic Easter Basket Building Tips:

  • Use the same baskets each year!  This saves time, money, and headaches.  Just remember to keep track of where you store them.  Luckily for me, keeping the Easter baskets stored is my husband’s job.   By the way, we re-use the plastic eggs each year as well.

    Easter basket ideas

    Easter baskets waiting in the basement.

  • Just say no to that shiny Easter grass.  Please, do it for me.  I can’t stand that stuff.  It is not good for pets and it gets everywhere.  I think I’m still finding it from 2002 before I knew better.  I’ve filled baskets without any Easter grass and my kids didn’t care.  I’ve also used tissue paper with regular paper wadded under it.  If you must use Easter grass, get the paper kind.  I found some at the Dollar Tree today!

    Easter Basket Ideas

    Paper shred grass. I should have saved all that junk mail I shredded last summer.

  • We set our baskets out the night before Easter, kind of like Christmas stockings.  It just adds an element of fun plus saves us from an extra midnight task.

Wait, I was supposed to share Easter basket ideas in this post wasn’t I?  Because I do tend to forget the baskets as I’m worrying about how many billions of varieties of muffins to make and in what quantity, I actually have a simple system for filling the baskets.  I recycle the Easter basket ideas each year so they mostly get the same stuff as the previous year.

Basic Easter Basket Ideas:

  • They each get a movie.  This started when they were small and I needed them occupied while we finished getting ready for brunch.  It was in the days before smartphones and Netflix and tablets. They are old enough now to help with the last-minute cleaning tasks but I still give them movies because it is fun, easy, and has become a tradition.

    Easter Basket Ideas

    This is a fun one for Easter!

  • A bag of their favorite candy bar miniatures.  G will probably get a bag of KitKats  and J will get Three Musketeers.  The bags fill up space, are easy to find at the last-minute, and I can dole them out as lunchbox dessert treats in a pinch.

    Easter Basket Ideas

    Treats I can put in the lunch boxes and wouldn’t normally buy are also on my go-to list.

  •  Bubblegum and/or regular gum in their favorite flavors.  They both really like the Wrigley’s dessert flavored gum.

    Easter Basket Ideas

    I’m hoping the bunny scores a hit with these Gum ball baseball bats.

  • Something related to the outdoors:  I’ve done kites, balls, badminton, chalk, and bubbles in the past.  I’m not sure what I’ll do this year but here is my easy cheap thing to start since they like to play some weird tag game at night called Werewolf when they have many friends sleepover.

    Easter Basket Ideas

    These light sticks looked handy.

  • I usually break my own rule and add some junky clutter from The Dollar Tree to the baskets in the end.

    Easter Bakset Ideas.

    I imagine these will be lost or in the trash before the month ends.

  • Salty snacks!  This usually comes in the form of small cans of Pringles potato chips or snack sized bags of their favorite chips.  If you are going to have sweets, then you may as well have some salt to go with it.
  • Sometimes clothes in the form of t-shirts.  This was more for when they were younger and would get excited about character clothing.  I’m fairly certain a Spiderman shirt would no longer thrill my teenager but he might wear an understated gaming shirt of some type.

In addition to the above, we simply put candy and money (change usually not huge amounts)  in plastic eggs and sometimes I go ahead and buy the bigger candy filled eggs (like the SpongeBob ones).  I also try to put at least one religious-themed item in the baskets because it is Easter after all.  I’ve done this by tying in the movie selections, giving them bibles, and/or Easter word search tablet things.  I haven’t quite got it figured out for this year yet.

What does the bunny leave in the kids’ baskets at your house?


Small Project Day

It’s Wednesday (already?) and so that means around here it is time for small project day!  smallprojectday


I was really hoping to share a project about how I finally conquered my boys’ card collections with a great container I picked up at Target yesterday.  However, it was not meant to be.  I will have an upcoming post about my defeat and what I learned from it.

While I was busy with work and not blogging, my small projects seemed to create a new mountainous landscape of clutter in our home.  It’s not really a good look.  I do know that if I try to clean and clear it all at once, I’m doomed to burn out and simply stop and find a new Netflix show to marathon watch.  That’s what made me decide to go with a super simple and quick small project today.

This pile of preschool stuff has been sitting in the living room for over a month now:

I should probably pick this up off the living room floor.

I should probably pick this up off the living room floor.

I started by tossing my color in the rainbow game in the recycle bin.  It would be easy enough to make another one some time and really, I would want to start over if I did it with a new group.  If you are wondering, it is just a circle time game that I made where the kids took turns rolling the dice and shading in the corresponding color on the rainbow I drew.  We went ahead and called indigo blue again since the markers didn’t exactly come with an indigo shade.  I had to give a few explanations of shading for some of the more careful and detailed artists in the group.

My color the rainbow game.

My color the rainbow game.

Part of the pile was my husband’s fishing lures from a circle time activity way back in the beginning of February….did I mention how long this stuff has been sitting on the living room floor?  I’ll let him  deal with putting that stuff away.  I moved on to the fun part of my small project:

Our plastic animal bin.

Our plastic animal bin.

Cleaning and sorting all the plastic animals that the boys have collected over the years.  I actually started this collection for G when he was only 1 or 2 years old.  We’ve had great fun playing with the animals over the years and I’ve never been able to part with them.  They’ve come in very handing in this new preschool substitute teacher venture of mine!

Since I have used some of them at preschool previously and I thought it would be a good idea in general, I grabbed this stuff to give all the animals a “bath”:

I love these!

I love these!

Then, I started sorting the animals into another love of mine, Ziploc storage bags.  I sorted out the insects (wow, we had lots of those), amphibians, reptiles, sea creatures and sharks, fish, and birds.  I left the mammals free in the container.  I choose not to label them as I trust I’ll be able to tell the plastic animals classifications by looking at them.

My Ziploc bag classification system.

My Ziploc bag classification system.

I left the mixed up mammals alone.  They should be easy enough to sort further if I decide to do it.

I left the mixed up mammals alone. They should be easy enough to sort further if I decide to do it.

I also found some money!  Sometimes these small projects really pay.

The financial gain wasn't great but it was something.

The financial gain wasn’t great but it was something.

What small projects are you working on today?

Cranky Morning Confessions

I had  a bit of a cranky morning today.  It wasn’t awful and could have been worse but we certainly didn’t all leave the house whistling away.
If you need to know you aren’t alone in mornings that don’t run smoothly or just need a good laugh at someone else’s crazy cranky mornings, this post is for you.  Of course, I wasn’t laughing most of the morning.

My day didn’t start off terribly.  I woke up to the sound of rain and realized I didn’t have to get out of bed right away (probably where I went wrong) and so flipped on the news.  Then, I actually had to get up and get myself and the boys ready for the day.  Here are the things that happened after my day started:

  • For the first time in over a month, I spilled coffee on the front of my shirt.  It was dark green so I am actually still wearing it.  Neither of the boys wanted to get out bed.  I’m certain this was because I was a lazy parent last night who let them both stay up past 10p.m.  They were reading (so was I) and the countdown to spring break is on…I paid the price this morning.

  • The phone rang.  I braced myself for a request to work today but it was simply the mom of one of G’s friends wanting to know if we could give her son a ride to school today.  Relief.

  • As I was digging in the clean laundry baskets in the basement to find J some pants, my husband decided to ask me why I never gave him the property tax receipts.  Note:  Asking a non-morning person about tax-related documents prior to them consuming at least one-half a cup of coffee could be hazardous to the morning mood.  This really started my cranky mood and unfortunately, crankiness like other things tends to run downhill.

  • I fought with J to put down his dad’s phone and actually get ready for school.  I may or may not have said that if he wanted to wear the same clothes as yesterday and risk people looking at him funny, it was his choice.  He wore new clothes today.  However, he had to wear shorts as I never did find any clean pants for him.

  • I grumbled at J about tying his shoes and then felt bad when I remembered he hurt his thumb at baseball practice on Sunday.  I tied his shoes for him.

  • Managed to get lunches made for the boys.  G is having a pizza party for attendance in one of his classes so he didn’t want a lunch but I sent some celery and peanut butter and brownie with him just in case.  Fed them both Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast and still didn’t manage to drink a complete cup of coffee.

  • We walked out the door 5 minutes later than usual.  However, we made decent time once we picked up G’s friend and using a new alternate route another friend shared with me, were there in good time.  I grumbled as the person in front of me insisted on sitting and watching their child walk all the way into the middle school building.  Seriously, once they hit 7th and 8th grades, they can walk 200 feet of sidewalk into a building unsupervised.  Move along!

  • Dropped J off at his school where I do sit and wait to see that he gets inside but it is elementary school and he has to push the buzzer for them to unlock the door (because we’re rule breakers who don’t go through the official car line).  Decided the only thing left to do was to go to Target for some retail therapy.  I attempted Target yesterday morning but they were stocking the shelves and I refused shop around all those boxes.

  • Made the turn into Target and had to drive around a Canada Snow Goose that was simply standing in the middle of the entrance road.  I admit it made me laugh.  If I had not had a driver behind me, I certainly would have stopped to take a picture.

  • By the time I arrived at Target, I really needed to use the bathroom.  The bathroom was closed for cleaning!  Thankfully, it opened very soon or this would have been an entirely different post.

    Retail Therapy Results

    Retail Therapy Results

I spent way too much money enjoyed a good dose of retail therapy at Target, came home and ate breakfast plus finally finished my coffee.  Now, I’m about to finish this post, leave the cranky morning behind, and plan for a great afternoon.
How did your morning go?



Happy Homemaker Monday

I think I may actually be back to blogging this week!  I’m definitely in awe of those of you who work full-time away from home and still maintain your blogs.  I couldn’t quite manage it.

I’m excited to be able to post again and maybe have a few minutes to figure out a few things about this new computer.  It’s the week before my boys’ spring break from school so I definitely need a plan for the week.   Even the weeks I didn’t post a weekly plan, I did make rough outlines that just didn’t quite make it to the publish button.  It really does help to have a plan!

I’m so grateful that Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts the Happy Homemaker Mondays to inspire me to make these weekly plans even if I don’t always get around to hitting the publish button.  I’m also grateful for Laura over at I’m An Organizing Junkie because I absolutely would not have made it through the past few weeks without menu plans that also didn’t quite make it to the publish button.

The Weather Outside

Spring has sprung!  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the air smells of flowers, and jackets were a mere suggestion this morning.  I am sunburned from sitting at J’s baseball practice yesterday.  It do think it is supposed to cool down a bit and possibly storm tomorrow but just with rain not with any of that fluffy, white stuff.


I am enjoying the peace and quiet of an empty house while working on this blog post.  I just finished my breakfast of a scrambled egg mixed with diced red peppers and am still savoring the elixir of energy known as coffee. I’m trying to not to think about the disaster of house around me or the errands I should be running and hoping very much that I don’t get called into work.

To-Do List Items

  1. Clean the house.  Every single room is borderline disgusting and I’m afraid a few have actually crossed that line and are disgusting.
  2. Call and reschedule my hair appointment
  3. Lovely laundry plus put away the heavy winter clothes.  I’m not brave enough to put them all away but the heavy-duty items can go back to the recesses of the closets.
  4. Pay bills
  5. Go to Target for household stuff
  6. Send a card to a friend
  7. Start gathering ideas for Easter Brunch and doing the early preparations (Basically, I’m giving myself to permission to play on Pinterest this week.  I have lots of great ideas pinned on my Easter Brunch Ideas board if you are also looking for ideas.)
  8. Get G signed up for high school (!) summer school as the new in thing to do is apparently to take PE during the summer.  Plus find some ideas for keeping J occupied during the same time frame.
  9. Figure out a time that might work to take a family vacation this summer since G’s schedule is so full with high school summer school and marching band practices.
  10. Send J’s baseball coach a text with shirt size and what number he was last year or wants to be this year.

*I know that list is long but a few items should just take a few seconds if I can remember to just get them done.

Menu Plan

I’ve decided to try to double our more popular meals this month (and in April) since baseball practice season has arrived and I’ll need quick meals for Thursdays.

Monday:  Ham and Oven Roasted Candied Sweet Potatoes (I saw this on a television show and want to try them)

Tuesday:  Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic toast, and salad (doubling this meal)

Wednesday:  Chicken strips, French fries, broccoli, and watermelon

Thursday: Hickory smoked turkey wings (pre-cooked), dinner rolls, watermelon (I found the turkey wings at Hy-Vee and we had them about 2 weeks ago but I had trouble getting the meat off the wings.  I’m hoping if I heat them in the crock-pot all day that I won’t have the same problem this week)

Friday:  Frozen pizza, salad

Books and Television

I’m currently reading The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar which I “stole” from my teenager’s room.  His grandparents gave him the book for his birthday a couple of years ago.  I’m not sure he ever read it but I am enjoying it.

Not really watching much on television lately.  I didn’t plan my time well yesterday and so I missed last night’s episode of Once Upon A Time.  My husband picked a Netflix show for us to watch together called Helix but it is just okay and he’s already lost interest.  I’ll probably finish the series by myself.  He was watching Justified on Amazon Prime and seemed to really be enjoying it.  I liked it when I watched it with him but not enough to get caught up and watch it on my own.

We also forced our kids to watch Jurassic Park with us over the weekend just because we like to be mean and make them spend time with us sometimes.  I keep telling G that he’d really enjoy Michael Crighton’s books.  I may have to see if I can find him a few.

Blog Posts and Plans

I’ve learned my lesson not to make any promises in this space.  However, I do hope to post more this week.

From the Camera

Um.  I haven’t been very good about taking pictures this week.  Here are some from last week when we went and enjoyed the great weather exploring a place called William M. Klein Park (it used to be called Cave Spring).   They are not edited as I still need to find that option on this computer.

The small cave opening

The small cave opening

Inside the cave opening

Inside the cave opening

We had to circle back after we were done for J to see Eagle's Landing.  It was worth the extra time.

We had to circle back after we were done for J to see Eagle’s Landing. It was worth the extra time.

I was so happy to see some GREEN among all the brown!

I was so happy to see some GREEN among all the brown!

Thoughts for the week

This one seemed great for spring:

Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and the shadows will fall behind you.  (Walt Whitman)

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  (Psalm 118:24)


Whew!  I guess I had a lot to say after being silent for so long around here.  Thank you if you are still reading.  What kind of week do you have planned?

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