Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Favorites

This past weekend we went camping at Grandfather Mountain Campground.  As I walked to the bathhouse one morning, I was eating a banana.  Another camper said to me, "Aren't you eating a little too healthy on your camping trip?"  I joked that it was probably the only healthy thing I would eat all day!  Part of the fun of camping is eating food you wouldn't normally eat at home, so I guess most of our meals were "cheat" meals (to use some momsanity lingo).  But we did try not to go too overboard, and always served fruit and/or veggies with each meal.

The first night, we arrived around dinner time and Amber had the ingredients for these yummy treats waiting for us...

Justin loved holding these two little people while they ate their dinner.  Abby Laine and Camden were two peas in a pod on this trip!

Walking Tacos!  So yummy.  She had cooked the taco meat at home, and then reheated it in a big pot on our Coleman stove.  We crunched up a small bag of chips, added the meat, black beans, cheese, and salsa, and ate it with a fork right out of the bag.  The kids loved them so much they asked for them several times throughout the weekend!

Cinnamon rolls on the campfire!  Saturday morning we had breakfast cooked right over the campfire.  So delicious!  I cut oranges (the largest I could find) in half, scooped out the fruit, and put a half of a cinnamon roll inside (see here for complete directions).  I used Trader Joe's cinnamon rolls.  If I had used Pillsbury, I probably wouldn't have had to cut the rolls in half.  We ate the oranges, too. :)

The last night of our trip we had Grill Packets for dinner.  They were so delicious!  We had some meatballs left over so we made the packets again on our grill on Tuesday night.  My boys were so adventurous with the veggies.  Carson even ate mushrooms!  We served cucumbers and carrots with hummus with this meal.  It was a relatively healthy meal.

And two more favorites (that are not food related :)...

Jonah learned to build a fire.  

And we recreated this picture from our trip to Grandfather Mountain in 2009.  Since then, we've added a kid!  And we couldn't be happier. 

Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Meal Planning

Monday Meal Planning (on Tuesday)

Grill Packets!!!
Totally wish we could do these over a fire, but I guess they will work just as well on the grill.  We'll see.  We had these cooked over a fire this weekend on our camping trip and they were so delicious.

So easy!  I set out meatballs (TJ's fully cooked), peppers, red onions, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini.  We piled everything into foil (two pieces laid in the shape of a plus), sprinkled it with seasoning salt, threw it over the fire, and enjoyed it!  Even my picky eaters loved it.  They asked to have it again soon. :)

We borrowed the above idea from 100 Days of Real Food.


Sweet Potato Puffs (Alexia brand)

Jonah has a ball game on Friday, so we'll have to do a quick dinner.  I'm hoping this meal will give him lots of energy.

What are you eating this week?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favorites

Our week in pictures...

This week I feel like I've done nothing but get ready for our camping trip this weekend!  It's been fun, but I'm ready for the trip to get here already.  This will be Camden's first camping trip and I can't wait to watch him run around and play at our camp site.  He is going to love all the outdoor fun--I can hardly keep him inside these days.

I did manage to snap a few pics (other than preparation pics--a "prepping for camping" post is in the works), so here they are...

Jonah is very protective of his little brother.  He always makes sure to hold Camden's hand in the parking lot of our church.  This was such a sweet sight to walk behind, I couldn't resist capturing the moment.

We bought a new air mattress.  Each day this week, I had items to check off my list for camping.  I used paperless, of course.  Monday was "sleeping day."  If you don't sleep well when you're camping, it can be miserable!  I filled all the air mattresses, piled them with my weights and waited to see if they deflated.  They did.  Better to find out at home than on the rock hard floor of a campsite.  We splurged and got a "pillow-stop" queen air mattress.  We really like it, although the fact that my full size bed sheets fit doesn't convince me it's quite the size of a queen mattress.

We got out the ol' coffee pot and dusted it off.  I used this tutorial to make sure I got it nice and clean. I felt like I was in the dark ages, brewing my coffee in this pot I used before we bought the Keurig.  It did make me think how much money I'd save if I went back to the old way of making coffee.  And how much less waste I create using a filter instead of a K-cup.  Maybe I'll be motivated to go greener after this trip.  Maybe.  

And no, that roach is not real.  Somehow he appeared in my coffee pot while I was in the other room.  I think this guy may have had something to do with it.

Carson's Lego storage center got a quick clean up.  I wanted it to look organized for my Lego storage blog post.  Believe me, it doesn't always look so tidy.  

I had to dig this picture out of the archives.  I think this may have been the very beginning of Carson's obsession with Legos.

This is a more recent project.  Carson created a baseball field, complete with a dugout.  
It's still in the works.

Camden loves PBJ!!!  It used to be kind of hit or miss as to whether he'd eat PB&J sandwiches, but he's been enjoying them more and more lately.  If you're a mom, you know how priceless it is when your kid will eat the easiest sandwich on earth.  We split one today, and took a selfie while we ate.

And now I have to brag on my biggest boy.  Jonah has worked so hard and has earned the Academic Excellence Award for his grade level this year.  He earned this award last year, too.  We could not be more proud.  And we owe a lot of it to the support and encouragement he received from Mrs. Harris, his outstanding second and third grade teacher.  I mentioned Mrs. Harris in this post, when we put together a book for her.  She challenged Jonah, expected a lot from him, made up songs to help the kids remember things, and had tons of inside jokes with the class.  They trusted her and wanted to please her.  Whenever we see Mrs. Harris, she wants to know what book Jonah is reading and she always has new book suggestions for him.  

Fingers crossed we'll be so lucky to have her as Carson's teacher next year.

 That's it for us.  
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lego Storage

Last week, I talked a little about how we organize our toddler toys.  I also mentioned Lego organization.  Our eight year old LOVES building and creating with Legos.  He has a quite a stash.  One day, after sifting through boxes of random legos looking for that perfectly sized black wheel to complete a car we were building, we decided we needed a method for our madness.  And we knew just the place to find it...IKEA.

My inspiration came from Jen at iHeart Organizing.  You can read her post about Lego organization here.  We used the same furniture she used, but went about the labeling a little differently.  Actually, I should say Justin went about the labeling differently.  He was the man behind the plan on this project.


This is what the whole space looks like.  To the left of the Lego storage center is the boys' Eno hammock they got for Christmas.  We are planning to take it camping with us, but when we are home, they love reading and relaxing in their hammock right in the corner of our playroom!

Here is a breakdown of the storage center, piece by piece...

The top of the furniture holds finished projects.  The bins in this unit hold (from top to bottom) 2 bins of Mindstorm Legos and two bins of unfinished projects.  The larger bins work well for the unfinished projects because these projects tend to be big and bulky.

We recently added this cool tray table I also found at IKEA for projects.  Now Carson can just lift the tray table off the top of the storage center and work on his project, using the cup holders for stray Legos.  When he is finished he can simply put the tray table back.  No more Legos on the floor!

This tray table holds finished projects.

The storage center next to the tall one holds bins with individual colors and the top right one has minifigures.  The blue box holds minifigures separated by heads, shirts, pants, hair, etc.  The partitioned container is also from IKEA.

The white bins in the middle of this one hold less popular colors (purple and orange), wheels, tiny "gem-like" Legos, and windows.  

The three ring binders hold directions for the Lego sets we own.  They are in ABC order by the name of the set so they are easy to find.

This storage center works pretty well for us.  It allows for quick cleanup and Carson is more willing to build when he can locate the bricks he needs quickly.

How do you store Legos?  Got any helpful tips or tricks?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I have a whopping one whole outfit to show you today.  But I believe it's one that defines WIWW.  This is my uniform most days...

And while it is comfortable, I always feel better about myself when I wear something other than workout clothes when I leave my house.  So I took a quick shower--no time to wash my hair, so I just braided it) and put on something that made me feel good about how I looked.

{shirt Golden Tote, skirt Old Navy, purse The Pleated Poppy, earrings Nickel and Suede
shoes American Eagle}

I was more productive,  more careful about what I chose for lunch that day (elastic running shorts are more forgiving than a thin blouse tucked in to a skirt), and I felt confident.

What do you do to boost your confidence on a typical weekday?

I am linking up with The Pleated Poppy today.  Check out her WIWW and others for inspiration!!!

pleated poppy

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Favorite

Every year my family gathers together to select pictures from the previous year that best represent the exciting things that happened.

Camden's first birthday

Camden's first in a basket

Justin's Spartan Race--we were so proud of him!

Hawaii with amazing friends, Amber and Blake

Carson's Pinewood Derby Race--he won for his age group.

Jonah's awesome pitching--this is moments before the water balloon fun...

Meeting Baby Greta soon after she was born

Myrtle Beach with our family

 Abby and Christian (Justin's brother) tying the knot

Disney World with my parents

2014 was an amazing year.  We captured it all in this Top 14 in 2014 poster.  

This poster hangs in our kitchen, near our table.  I would really like to make some kind of frame to go around it.  Maybe I'll pick up some tips when I go to my blog conference this summer.  I made the poster at Costco.  $9.99 and it was ready the same day I created it online.  Can't beat that!

This has become a tradition of ours.  And I think our youngest family member kind of likes it...

Camden is standing in front of the poster, naming all of his favorite people between whistles on his duck whistle.

How do you remember the year?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Clever Toy Storage

Having the spread of ages that we do in our house makes toy storage tricky at times.  My big boys have toys they don't necessarily want their little brother getting into and Camden has toys that need to be accessible in any area of our home, especially since we are home together a lot of the day.  Camden also likes to help, which means having items he can safely "help" with at the ready.

So, I have created areas in each room of our house that are places Camden can play and learn, without me having to worry about him getting into something he shouldn't get into.  I wish I could say my organization of toys is foolproof, but he is still a toddler...

{Caught in the act!  He was being helpful, but
that's one of my good cloth napkins
he's using to mop the floor! ;)}

Below are three living spaces that have easy to access toys and activities for our little guy.


I spend a lot of time in here, having three little boys.  One is a baseball player, one changes his clothes about five times a day, and one is still mastering the spoon.  So, while I wash, dry, and fold, Camden can practice his "abcds" as he calls them.


I recently moved this bench from our upstairs hall to our living room, or den, as we call it.  So many names for this room, family room, den, common area.  Anywho, we have enjoyed having the bench here, in a more visible place in our house.   It is one of the first pieces of furniture we bought when we moved into our house and I have always loved it.  This comfy spot has something for everybody.  The tall basket contains Camden's toys, the shelf below the bench has the boys' laptop and a blanket for early morning cuddles, and the bench sits next to a lamp so it can be used as a cozy book corner.  Now all I need is a basket of books or magazines...


Also known as the formal living room, this room is where our keyboard, guitars, and other musical instruments live.  I added this basket to the bottom of this wire shelf from IKEA very recently.  I decided that if our games remained hidden in a cabinet upstairs, we'd never get them out to play.  So I chose a few of them and put them in plain view.

Moments after I placed the basket here, I found Camden "fishing" with his little magnetic fish game (pictured below the UNO game above).

Camden likes to practice his piano when the boys are doing their practicing.

Inside this storage ottoman from Target, we keep Camden's smaller musical instruments, like his drums, Elmo guitar, xylophone, and harmonicas.

How do you keep your toys organized?  I'd love to hear some feedback!

Stay tunes.  Next week I will share our solution for Lego storage.