Zoo Day

It has been about 4 years since I took my family to the Woodland Park Zoo. They had so much fun. I think we saw just about every animal there. We went for most of the day, and only had one minor meltdown. Overall the kids really enjoyed it, although I think the playground may have been the biggest hit for all but the oldest.

Budgie on a stick



holding a bird

big bear head

hanging out on a hippo

african animals

big cat

gorilla in thought crocodile looking at me



Lights of Christmas


We are lucky to live close enough to visit The Lights of Christmas every year. They have millions of lights, a train ride, petting zoo, light maze, crafts, performances, and don’t forget Santa! My oldest has performed here several times, as did I when I was in high school. Visiting the Lights of Christmas is a great family Christmas tradition we look forward to every year.




Butterfly Birthday Party

My 5 year old had her first ‘friend’ birthday party last month. She decided she wanted a butterfly theme. So, I made a chocolate cake with frosting flowers and white chocolate butterflies. We colored butterfly (and dragonfly) pictures while waiting for everyone to arrive. Then we made butterflies out of coffee filters, played pin the butterfly on the flower, danced around to pretty classical music, and played duck duck goose. The party was in the middle of the day, so there was butterfly themed lunch food. We had butterfly shaped sandwiches, butterfly shaped crackers and pretzels (pepperidge farm), and lots of yummy fruit. Then we opened presents and played until parents arrived to pick up their kids. It was lots of fun. But, I’m glad birthdays are done in our house until spring.

Once a Month Cooking

Have you ever done Once-a-Month cooking? The idea is that you do all your dinner cooking/prepping in one day and freeze it all. Then you have ready-to-go meals the rest of the month. It saves time and money, and it’s healthier than store-bought freezer meals. I’ve decided to give it a try. During winter I do a lot of crock pot cooking anyway.

I’m kind of a picky eater (thankfully my kids aren’t), and can’t always find recipes we will all like. Over on Pinterest I have pinned a bunch of crock-pot and freezer meal sites and recipes. I sifted through them and found 24 recipes that I wanted to do, including ones I do already. 2 of the recipes even made double, so at the end of the day I had 26 meals ready to go.

On Friday, with only 2 of my kids shopping with me, I bought what I needed. And on Saturday I prepped and cooked. I spent about 2 hours prepping/cooking and $180 on ingredients (thank you Winco). I got freezer bags and pans at our local dollar store, and labeled them with masking tape and a sharpie. The labels have the recipe name and cooking instructions.

Here is what I made (recipes linked):

For crockpot

Honey Sesame Chicken

Curry (mine)…no link yet

For Oven
Cheese Lasagna (basic)…no link
Baked Macaroni & Cheese (mine)…no link yet

And a bonus link! There are a few recipes in here that call for a ‘cream of –‘ soup. Instead of using a canned soup, I used this recipe, and will add water at the time of cooking.

Cream of “something” soup recipe

Home Organization – Playroom

For this weeks organization challenge on A Bowl Full of Lemons we are doing the playroom. I do not have a separate play room. What I do have is a large family room where all the toys have an area. We don’t yet have couches for our family room, so the play area is less contained than I’d like.

I admit that these are not current photos. They were taken in the summer. But things are pretty much still like this. Every few weeks things get really bad and the kids seem to dump out every toy they own. I gather them from all over the house (where they shouldn’t really be). And then we sit in the middle and sort and put away.
I have gotten rid of a bunch of toys. Everything broken, or puzzles with more than 3 missing pieces got tossed. A whole slew of toys got donated. And things got put away up in boxes in the tops of the kids’ closets to be rotated with the other toys later.
The bottom photo is how it’s generally supposed to look. And they do look that way about once a week or so. But it never lasts. When my kids clean up their toys it’s only about 2% cleaning and 98% playing with things they just found in the mess.

The train table is rarely used for train tracks, the floor just has so much more space to lay the tracks on. The drawers under the train table house the tracks and building blocks. The stuffed animals go in an old laundry basket. All the other toys are sorted into cloth bins. Each child has a color (purple, pink, blue or green) and has their toys in their bins. They have a matching bin with their other toys up in their closets. And some of the bigger toys go in the empty spaces of the shelf, or on top of it (or the train table apparently).
And please ignore the mess by the sewing machine…I haven’t gotten to organizing my craft area 🙂