There is Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

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We took a little family field trip today.

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Gabriel performed with the Honor Choir at the State Capitol.  We went back and forth about taking Summer and Ethan.  But, there were two factors that played into our decision to take them.  First of all, they have both been sick, and I did not want to be so far away from them. Secondly, they really want to go support their brother.  When given the choice, they both overwhelmingly wanted to go.

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It is the first field trip that we have all attended together.  And, I must admit, I was so happy that we were all there, as a family, to support one of our own.

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I was also proud to be at a school that supports the arts, even in elementary school.  The music teacher does this on her own time, and the teachers who help her also donate their time.  They practice after school once a week for about 10 weeks, and then their reward is that they get to sing for about 30 minutes in the rotunda at the State Capitol.

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Looking down at Gabriel, my heart swelled with pride.  I could still picture his sweet little face from when he shyly waved at me when had had his first performance, when he was 4.  He waved with more confidence today, and I could not be happier that, 6 years later, he still lit up when he saw my face in the crowd.

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It has been a rough few weeks with illnesses continuing to hit our home, so the choir performance was exactly what we all needed today.  It was a reminder that there is still sunshine on a cloudy day, and there is always a rainbow after a rain.  I must admit that I have not seen the rainbows lately because I have been so busy and functioning on way less sleep than I need.  The truth, though, is that I know that I have not seen them because I have not been looking hard enough.  Today, at the Capitol, I saw the rainbows…and a few unicorns jumping over them, too.

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Weekend Things

We had a productive but also relaxing weekend.  It was only near the end when I had a small panic attack about everything that I need to accomplish before school is out for summer break.  But, I know that I can do anything these next two weeks because then I will have all of my babies at home with me for the following twelve weeks.

1.  The weekend started on Friday with Gabriel’s 3rd grade field trip.  Sean has never attended a field trip, and I had a substitute teaching opportunity, which would allow me to be at school with Ethan.  So, Sean, Summer, and Gabriel attended the field trip, and Ethan and I were at school.

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2. On Friday night, it was pizza and movie night followed by a very early bedtime.  We were all exhausted from our busy day.

3.  Saturday started with our new tradition of having breakfast pizza.  I changed this one up a little by using bacon instead of sausage.  We liked the bacon version even more.

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4.  I am taking my oldest niece to school this week because my brother-in-law has had a change in his schedule. To thank me, my sister, my youngest niece, and I all had pedicures on Saturday afternoon.  I seldom ever treat myself to a pedicure, so I enjoyed the little afternoon of pampering.

5.  Gabriel wanted to get some additional, bright fish for his tank, so the littles and Sean took off to the pet store to purchase some fish.  They came back all smiles, ready to introduce the new fish to their family.

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6.  We had our new Saturday night dinner of hamburgers and onion rings.  I failed to take a picture of the onion rings yet again, and they did not turn out as pretty this time.  When they are pretty and I am not starving, I will take a picture and share the recipe.

7.  After dinner, I finished a project that I had been working on all day.  I made our 2012 Summer Fun List.  When I read it to the littles, they were literally squealing, clapping, and naming their favorite things from the list.  The excitement level has hit an all time high.

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8.  I had my sweet husband help me with some lawn work, and then I got a terrible headache and left him to finish.  He not only finished that project but continued to work on beautifying our lawn by completing some other projects, as well.   I am a lucky, blessed lady.

9.  I finished the day on the couch, and the littles eventually all joined in on the lazy night by watching a movie together.  This picture was not posed.  I walked in and found them on the couch, all cuddled up together. They truly do love each other so much.

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I am not sure if the weekend truly prepared me for what lies ahead this week.  It will be busy but fun, and we will continue to count down the days until 2012 Summer Fun begins!

 

Field Trip Fun – Recipe: Taco Soup

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After a busy, fun weekend, I was not ready to see the weekend come to a close.  Fortunately, my mother stayed with us an extra day and did not leave until Monday.

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Ethan had his field trip on Monday, and, even though siblings were allowed to attend, my mother offered to keep Summer so that I could enjoy the day with Ethan.  Since the littles started school, I have never had the opportunity to have a one-on-one field trip.  I usually have at least two, if not all three, littles with me.  As wonderful as those memories have been, I was very happy to have the special time with Ethan yesterday.

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We went to Inner Space Caverns, and it was so much fun to explore the cave through Ethan’s eyes.  He had apparently listened to the other children, so he was a bit frightened at first to head down into the dark.  But, he quickly became fascinated with all of the formations that surrounded us.

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It was quite a hike down into the cave, which made the journey back up all up hill, with the final stretch being quite steep.  It was good physical and occupational therapy for Ethan, so I considered it a very well-rounded day.

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After meeting up with his class for some pictures, we left early to meet my mother and Summer for lunch before my mom had to head back out of town.  Then, I did something that I hardly ever do.  I put a movie on for Summer and Ethan and took a nap.  I was just exhausted, and I knew that I still had to make it through a busy evening that included soccer practice.

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Since we are not big on fast food or dining out, when we have busy days, I always try to plan ahead so that we still have a hot dinner on the table.  While we did not have this Taco Soup for dinner last night, it is a perfect soup for busy days that start with a field trip and end with evening soccer practice.  It is so easy to put together, and it can easily heat up on the stove while everyone is grabbing those last minute pre-dinner showers.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Ingredients

1-2 pounds hamburger meat

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 can Bush's Chili Beans, with juice

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 12 ounce package frozen corn

16 ounces beef broth

1 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes, blended

2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes, blended

Shredded cheese, optional

Cilantro, optional

Sour cream, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large cooking pan, brown the ground beef.
  2. Drain and return to the pan.
  3. Add all of the seasonings, mixing together until just combined.
  4. Pour in both cans of beans, the corn, the beef broth, and the blended tomatoes.
  5. Stir together, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Test to see if you want to add additional spices. This one is mild so that the littles can eat it.
  7. Spoon into bowls, and top with shredded cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/04/03/field-trip-fun-recipe-taco-soup-2/

Enjoy!

I linked up at the following:

BruCrew Life for Trick or Treat Tuesday

Naptime Creations for Tasty Tuesday Party

Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Mandy’s Recipe Box for Totally Tasty Tuesdays

Chef in Training for Tuesday Talent Show

33 Shades of Green for Tasty Tuesdays