Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Restaurant Review: Bay Naturals in Myrtle Beach, SC

One morning on our most recent trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, my husband and father-in-law made a trip Bay Naturals Healthy Market & Kitchen to pick up some vegan cinnamon rolls for breakfast. My father-in-law had discovered them by looking up vegan places to eat in Myrtle Beach (he's not a vegan but both he and my mother-in-law are always on the lookout for a new vegan restaurant for us to try). I was surprised that I had not heard of the place before!


These were the cinnamon rolls that they returned with. Based on taste, I thought they were good. However, they were a bit dry (I think they must have been made the day before). The appearance was not what I was used to, as these were very flat. My husband, being a bit of a cinnamon roll snob (these are the cinnamon rolls he makes), didn't care for them at all.

After coming home from our vacation, I was able to look at all that Bay Naturals had to offer, so that I could make a visit on our next Myrtle Beach trip. I was surprised at how many vegan items they had on their menu, and that all these years that we've been going to Myrtle Beach, they were only a few minutes away from the condo!

While the cinnamon rolls were not the best I have ever had, I am looking forward to stopping by for  visit in the future!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

June 2016 Menu

Now that everything has settled down after tax season and our vacation, it was time to get back into planning mode. I used to post weekly meal plans, but honestly, I got tired of doing that each week. It is much easier to plan an entire month and go from there! 

Posting a menu makes me feel more accountable and so that I don't get lazy and serve the children cereal every night for dinner. Besides, I love reading what other mom's have planned for meals, so why not share mine as well?

This month, we are headed into blueberry season. There is a blueberry farm near my in-laws house that we plan on going to in the early part of June. I've tried to incorporate blueberries into a couple of our Sunday breakfasts. My husband and son George do not care for blueberries, which is why I have not gone overboard. Bridget and Liam, however, would eat their weight in blueberries if I'd allow it. 



Note: You should be able to click on the menu to enlarge it, if you're really curious about what we'll be eating. 

Happy Planning! 



Friday, May 27, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #21

Where to begin?!? We were out of town last week so I was unable to post. We had a much-needed vacation to Myrtle Beach. It was very cloudy and chilly for most of our trip, though the sun did come out the day we were leaving. Go figure. We played on the beach, at the pool, went to Medieval Times, played miniature golf, and saw some alligators. I have too many pictures to show from the trip (over 200... eek), so I have been blogging about each activity separately, as my blog tends to be more of a journal than anything else. I have only gotten as far as our day on the beach, which you can read about here.

We arrived home on Saturday afternoon, made it to church on Sunday, and began our week with a end-of-year celebration at gymnastics where Bridget and George both received their medals. Every year, they give the little gymnasts medals. Not for anything specific, but just for having a fun year. It makes them feel special. The older kids, of course, receive medals for other reasons. 


These two have been asking about their medals since January. They were so excited. 

On the homeschool front, while most families seem to be wrapping things up for the school year, we're still moving right along. The activity of seeing the alligators in Myrtle Beach was a field trip for the kids and they actually learned quite a bit about all sorts of reptiles. Bridget and George both touched a turtle, and Bridget touched a snake and an alligator. George is terrified of snakes, and he was also afraid that the alligator was going to bite his finger off, so naturally he refused to touch either of them. He cautiously kept his eyes on the alligator while I snapped this picture.


My husband was nice enough to snap a picture of me and the children in front of the flamingos. The children were all fascinated by the them so it was the best opportunity to get them all smiling.

  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Chilly Day at the Beach!

Last week, we took a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It's an annual trip we go on at about the same time every year. My husband's boss has a condo there that he graciously allows his employees to stay at. We like to bring a set of grandparents along with us, and alternate each year. This year, we brought along my husband's parents. It is always nice to have the extra sets of eyes and hands for the children, not to mention two additional playmates to keep them occupied. We always have a great time together.

This year's trip was very unusual, as it was a chilly 68 degrees in the middle of May. The sky was very cloudy, rarely allowing the sun to peek through. We tried to make the most of it. We all went to the beach on our first full day of vacation, as rain was expected in the later part of the week. We knew we had to jump at the chance of going to beach before it started raining (which it never did). 

This was Liam's third trip to the beach, but the first trip that he was walking around and playing in the sand. He had so much fun digging in the sand and dumping it. 


Because it was not the most beautiful day for the beach, we had much of it to ourselves. Doesn't Liam look so tiny with all that empty beach around him?


After watching Bridget and George run to the water, Liam decided that he wanted to run down to the shore and stick his feet in the water too. He smiled and giggled the entire way down to the water as I ran along side him with the camera. He's rather quick for a 1-year-old.


Once we got to the water, Liam changed his mind. His toes barely got in before he was ready to be picked up and held. I held him briefly to console him, but as soon as I'd put him back down (even if it wasn't in the water), he'd start crying again. It might just be me, but I find him adorable even when he's having a meltdown.


I tried so very hard to get pictures of Bridget and George at the beach. Bridget is mostly cooperative, but George is nearly impossible. He has always been one to keep busy, even at the beach (he's just like his Daddy). He made many trips back and forth from the water to his play area in the sand, bringing this watering can with him. He'd fill it up, run to go dump it in his sand creations, and be back at the water again in no time. While he was aware that I was following him and calling out to him to stop for a second so I could take his picture, he simply wouldn't. Too much had to be done.


Bridget did some playing in the sand, but she was mostly having a good time down by the water. It was too cold to get all the way in, so she only got wet up to her knees.


Liam was very happy once he was far away from the water. He loved walking in the dry, soft sand. If we had come on a warm and sunny day, he would not have been able to enjoy the sand, as it would have burned his little feet.


This might be the only picture I have of George looking at the camera. The look on his face should tell you that I interrupted his play time.


Daddy had dug a big hole in the sand with the children when we first got to the beach. As we were packing up to leave, we filled in the hole with a Bridget. She thought it was the coolest thing ever.


We went straight from the beach to the pool (after rinsing the sand from our feet). I did not get any pictures at the pool because I was tending to a fussy, water-phobic toddler. Bridget and George had a fun time going down the slides and floating around in the lazy river with Daddy. Although the weather was not the most ideal for a beach trip, we still had a great time.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tap/Jazz 2016: "Danze Beatz"

We made it through the final performance of the season!! Bridget has finished her first year of Tap/Jazz and the day after her ballet performance, she was back on the stage doing something quite different. I was hesitant to enroll her in tap/jazz because I felt that some of the dance moves might be a bit risqué for my 6-year-old. But because Bridget wanted to learn to tap dance, I took that leap of faith and it all worked out. 

The tap and jazz classes are the same and they alternate the style of dance every two weeks. For the final performance, Bridget got to wear this super cute pink outfit (she loved it the moment she saw it) for both her tap and jazz performances. This made Daddy's wallet very happy, as dance costumes tend to be a bit pricey. 

First up was the jazz performance to Katy Perry's "California Girls". You have no idea how stressed I was when Bridget first started humming the tune to the song during the weeks leading up to the performance. If you've ever listened to the original, you'd know why. My prayers were answered and the girls danced to a kid-friendly version of the song. Bridget did great and for the first time, she smiled while on the stage!! Usually she is so focused on getting everything right that she appears very serious. It was only a small smile that lasted just a few seconds before she was back in serious mode. We all enjoyed the performance and I, of course, snapped way too many pictures. They're memories, folks.


After the jazz performance, the girls quickly went backstage to change into their tap shoes while we watched two other performances. Then they came back and tap danced to Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass". I had the same thoughts running through my mind with this song as I did with the first song. But again, it all worked out and the bad lyrics were edited to be family-friendly. 

For the entire dance routine, Bridget was behind one of the older girls and we were sitting at a bad angle so we could not see her well enough to get a good picture. We were so bummed! However, we were able to see her legs and feet and they seemed to keep up well with the older girl in front of her, so it's safe to say that she did just fine. I did manage to get one picture of her leaving the stage wearing her tap shoes.


It would not be an official performance if I did not keep up the tradition of taking her picture in front of the auditorium and the water fountain.


Because this year was the first year for her, and I considered it to be a trial run of tap/jazz, I asked Bridget after her performance if she still wanted to take tap and jazz again next year. She really wants to, so I guess we'll be back at it again next season!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Recipe: Scotcheroos

Every social function involving a potluck-style meal with desserts, it is very common to find this tasty treat! Scotcheroos have been around since the 1960s, the recipe first being published on the Rice Krispies box. Since then, many families have added it to their holiday traditions, changed it's name, and jazzed it up with a few extra ingredients. But they can all be traced back to the same old recipe

I recently began making these for my family after we eliminated dairy from our diets (the butterscotch chips that the recipe called for were no longer an option). I did need to make a few minor changes, but I have done my very best to stay true to the original recipe while keeping our dietary restrictions in mind.


Scotcheroos

Recipe Source: Kellogg's Rice Krispies, with modifications

Ingredients
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies Cereal

Directions
Place corn syrup into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13 x 9  2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

Melt chocolate chips in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly (or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl). Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars when cool.

If desired, top with festive sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.


Note: I felt that the entire package of chocolate chips was too much, but my children had no complaints. Personally, I' think that using half the back would be sufficient.



   

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Supportive Brothers

It seems that the month of May is all about Bridget, as we are busy, busy, busy driving her to and from dance rehearsals, trying on costumes, and getting ready for showtime. We are even busier when performance weekend is here, as the grandparents have come to watch her dance. My camera is often full of pictures of Bridget, and so are my Facebook posts. So I felt that I needed to take a break and share something of my sweet boys. 

They are not pushed aside and forgotten during the month of May. I do spend a lot of time with them (I am a stay-at-home mother, after all), though I admit that it is not always well documented. For example, during one of Bridget's dress-rehearsals, my husband and I took the boys to the Greenway where George was able to ride his bike as I pushed Liam in the stroller. We enjoyed the peace and quiet and a bit of nature in our very busy town. We had such a great time that I forgot to take any pictures. It happens. Especially with very active boys.

I love that my boys are also well-behaved enough that they were able to sit with us during each performance. George was most excited whenever Bridget was going to be coming on the stage. Once she was up there, he was proudly watching his big sister. Liam is too young to notice where Bridget is on the stage, but he did enjoy the entire show and applauded after each scene.


George had gathered a couple of leaves while I was taking Bridget's after-performance pictures. I put him up by the fountain to get some of him too. Unfortunately, most of the pictures were of the leaves in front of his face, as he was waving them around. He so badly wanted to throw them into the fountain and to gather more and do the same.

Liam had a grand time standing on a little patch of soft mondo grass in front of this tree. The sun was in his eyes, so it was difficult to get him to look up. But he was laughing every time he'd lift his foot up only to put it back down and watch it sink under the mondo. It's the simple things that bring him such joy.


The boys really do love and are proud of their big sister, even though it does not show in this picture. They were both distracted and wanted to play instead of pose for a picture, so this is the only half-decent shot I got of all three of my children.


My dear boys, I am so lucky to be your momma. Thanks for putting up with us girls during this hectic month.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ballet 2016: "Goldilocks"

Last weekend, we attended Bridget's ballet performance of Goldilocks. The entire performance covered various fairy tales, such as Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Thumbelina. Bridget's class performed Goldilocks. 

Each year, I take a picture of Bridget in front of the auditorium. 


Bridget and her friend skipping down to the front of the stage to dance with Goldilocks and Baby Bear.



Dancing with Baby Bear:



The performance was very sweet. I love seeing all those precious little ballerinas on stage, doing their very best. They spend months preparing each spring to show off all that they have learned.

Bridget is a very shy girl, but is surprisingly comfortable on the stage. We probably spoil her too much after her performances, but we are just so happy that she is doing something that she loves.



We were worried that Bridget's two front teeth would not make it to the performance. They have been very loose for weeks now. It has now been a week since the performance, but they are still hanging on!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New House Update #1

I am sure that this will be the first of many, many updates. A couple of weeks ago, we signed a contract to build our new home. This week, we met with the design center to finalize our floor plan modifications, light switches and receptacle placements, and house colors. 

The evening before our meeting, we loaded the van up after dinner and went to the new neighborhood to scope out possible house colors. The first stop we made was at our lot to see if they had cleared away any of the debris from a few weeks ago. As you can see, they had not. This is a picture I made from the back of the property looking towards the road. My husband was walking through the dirt/mud by the big mounds of dirt that will be getting hauled away. 

Back of the property facing the road

Our new backyard will be much larger than our current one. We're all very excited about that! The next picture is of the back of our new neighbors house to see about the size our backyard will be. 


The new neighbors are actually friends of ours. We had both been looking to build in this neighborhood around the same time. However, we were also looking at an older house in a neighborhood by our church but learned that the house had a bunch of mold and other issues (it was built in the 70's) and the owner was unwilling to lower the price of the house to account for the many repairs that would need to be made. So we came back to this neighborhood and had a lot picked out across the street from our friends. Because my husband and I were unable to get the details worked out until after tax season ended (his busiest time of the year), we lost our original lot to another buyer and went with our second choice next to our friends. The lot is a tiny bit smaller than our first choice, but actually works better for us because of the direction the house faces. Our backyard is facing the east, giving our future garden lot's of morning sun. It's really nice knowing at least one of our neighbors and that they're good folks.

This is the current state of the road. Both ends of the road are complete and the houses built, but this middle section is unfinished. With all of the rain we've been having, the crews have been unable to fill in the road. A huge puddle sits just beyond those barriers.


Our future home site from the neighbors driveway

This is the direction we would be driving to get to the house once the road is finished. For right now, we have to drive around the neighborhood to get to the back.


These are the colors we picked for our house. We had gone in thinking we wanted a dark blue or dark green color, but in the end decided on something light. The house will be "sterling gray" and vinyl siding (not the siding shown). The shutters will be a dark gray called "peppercorn". And of course, there is the brick foundation.


Now we wait for permits.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #18 and #19

In the months of January through April, I don't blog very much because nothing all that interesting is happenings. Once May rolls around, our schedules become busy and while I have things to blog about, I can never find the time! Here are the past couple of weeks in a nutshell.

George was able to attend the Father-Son campout with Daddy and Granddaddy. We missed our family camping trip due to rain and were worried the boys would miss out on this trip but it all worked out well and that had a great time. 


Bridget got her very first haircut. It was well below her waist and it was something I had been meaning to do for awhile but never set up the appointment to do so. She insisted that her hair still be long, so we only cut off about 5-6 inches. 



At the very beginning of May, I was diagnosed with strep throat. I limited my contact with the children as much as possible and they were able to avoid getting sick, or so I thought. Bridget woke up on Mother's Day with a fever. A couple of hours later, Liam had a fever. George was going to be attending church with Daddy and I took his temperature to be sure he was healthy before they got ready and he had a fever too! I spent Mother's Day at home with three sick children. The following Friday, after a week of fevers coming and going, all three children were diagnosed with strep throat (and George with an ear infection on top of that). The doctor and I were both shocked because they all acted fine, had no complaints of sore throats, and only had mildly runny noses! I had taken them in Friday morning as a precaution (due to the fevers coming and going throughout the week) with our upcoming busy weekend. Fortunately, they were started on antibiotics immediately and the contagious period of 24 hours after the start of the antibiotics passed before Bridget had to be on stage the following afternoon.

Bridget had a lovely performance on Saturday and is preparing for another performance this afternoon. I tried so hard to get a picture of the boys with their big sister, but this was as good as it was going to get. They had just sat through two hours of dancing, so I can't really blame them!



Linking Up With:


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Father-Son Campout

Each year, our church hosts a Father-Son Campout for the men in our church. It is a tradition that my husband had when he was a child, attending the campout with his father, and now George, Daddy, and Granddaddy all go together (Liam still needs his mommy, but he may be attending next year).

This was George's third year going and he has a blast every time. His favorite thing to do is to go out on the lake. There are canoes and paddleboats to use and George was able to go out on both. Here he is on one of his canoe rides. 

Canoeing at the lake
George ready to get back on the water

The boys opted for a cabin again this year (instead of using the tent) because it had rained a lot lately and more rain was expected that night. Later that evening, George's friend (and our future neighbor) arrived and I was told that they played all evening and did not go to bed until 10:30 that night. 

George and Granddaddy
While the boys were out camping, Bridget, Liam, my mother-in-law, and I spent Friday together, making a trip to the library and having dinner. That night, Bridget and I stayed up late reading the books we had borrowed from the library. It was nice spending some quality time with just her. I had intentions of going somewhere fun with Bridget on Saturday, but since we spent most of Friday out and about, and had been unproductive all week prior (I was diagnosed with strep last week Monday), we did some catching up on schoolwork and house cleaning. The house was very quiet with George being gone but we were happy to have our boys back home with us that evening. 

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