John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dinner Around the World--Greece

This past week's Dinner Around the World country was Greece.

John made Chicken Piccata and Greek Potatoes.

IT WAS DELICIOUS! Everyone cleaned their plates! I even hid some of the potatoes in the microwave so I could snack on them later!!

I also want to share something that always gets me tickled. John has taken on a more "active" role in our home lately. He has been helping make the menu and cooking more and cleaning up more. I am really happy about all of that but the thing that makes me the happiest? The fact that he has begun making a weekly trip with me to Publix! I used to like going to the grocery store all by myself. It was my "quiet time" for the week. BUT ever since he started coming with me... I LOVE IT! Sometimes we take the kids and sometimes we don't... either way... I love having him there (even if he does act like a big old kid in the store sometimes!). The funny part is, every single week when we go he will walk to the kitchen utensils and tools and look around and walk away with 2 or 3 new little gadgets. He always says, "I get a prize because I have been good"! It tickles me each week. I really do love that time with him and look forward to it every single week!

Chicken Piccata and  Greek Potatoes served with a lemon wedge to add extra flavor...YUMMY!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dinner Around the World

A little while ago John and I began talking about having some traditions and memory making times with our families. Something that they will have to look back upon and remember and share with their kids one day.

John came up with a brilliant idea! He decided to host "Dinner Around the World" each Thursday night.

John picks a country, makes a menu, cooks the dinner, and even cleans it up! While we eat our dinner, we listen to music native to that country and I read fun and interesting facts about the country to the kids. It is a blast! I look forward to Thursdays just as much as the kids do!

I will do a post each week for these so that the kids (and I) have something to look back upon and remember!

Dinner Around the World: New Zealand
 Meat Pie, Potatoes, and Down Under Cheese Puffs

Dinner Around the World: Germany
Bavarian Pork Chops, fried whole green beans, potatoes

Dinner Around the World: Israel
Latakes and Moroccan Shabbat Fish with peppers on the side

Dinner Around the World: Egypt
Koshka and Koshari

Dinner Around the World: Romania
Snitel (Pork wrapped in ham and Swiss cheese) and Cartofi cu mirodenii (Potatoes with all sorts of good stuff!)
**Our favorite so far**

Dinner Around the World: Iceland
Viestad's Cinnamon Saffron Chicken, Icelandic Carmalized Potatoes, Quinoa with red bell peppers

Last week John chose Russia. We failed to get a picture but we had Beef Stroganoff and some sort of egg salad type of side dish. It was delicious!

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Field Trip with Daddy

I typically go on field trips with Sam, but they had one scheduled in April and I had taken some days the week prior so John signed up as a chaperone!

Sam was SO excited!

They went to see a play, Ivy Green, and to the park for a picnic and to play!

Playing Catch Up!

I just now realized that it has been almost a YEAR since I last blogged!

I guess I needed a break!

We have obviously done A LOT since last June so I will try my best to hit the highlights!

Translation = A LOT OF PICTURES!

July of last year... I turned 32 in about 6 weeks, I will be turning 33 and I'm not mad about it! John had a "guys night" with the kids...

Yep, he is AWESOME!

August of last year was a new beginning for everyone! John got a promotion at work and Callum entered his Junior year of high school, Haley her sophomore year of high school, Kobe into MIDDLE school {6th grade}, and Samuel into first grade!

First Day of 11th grade

First Day of 6th grade

First Day of 1st grade

Kilby {Sam's School} celebrated with a big pool party to kick off the beginning of a brand new school year!

Sam and Mrs. Wicks

We also got this BRAND new Social Security card with Kobe's adopted last name on it:

YAY FOR RAINEY! The final step!!

In September we added a new addition to our family:
Meet Mister Meowgi Cat Rainey
Love at First Sight
AND...Sam joined the Boy Scouts:

Which led Sam to learn how to make "camping eggs" (as he calls them) while out on a scouting adventure. He came home and taught me how to make them too!

And Kobe played football again:
#1 on the field but most importantly, #1 in our hearts!

In October I ventured out of my comfort zone and went on a beach trip with Kobe and Sam without John! I was so proud of them. We had a great time and made PLENTY of memories...just us! A mom and her boys! {Not completely parents were there but we ventured off on our own every day}
We stopped to eat at Lambert's so they could catch their rolls in the air but as soon as we got to our condo...we didn't change clothes or anything...we went straight to the beach!

My heart!

Sam wanted to catch our "dinner"

Dinner picnics on the beach

My view most days...that is Sam running with his little towel flowing in the wind like a cape


Kobe LOVED this!

My favorite picture from the whole week!
Still in October:

John and Sam went on "Camp Haunted" with the boys scouts! Sam was the youngest scout there and he lasted all night long and it was so cold that he earned his Polar Bear Badge!

They went on a haunted trail ride, spook house, and spent the night in a tent in temperatures below 30 degrees!

Then it was time for Halloween!

Halloween breakfast

All of our Halloween plans got rained I quickly thought of the scariest place on earth...and this is where we ended up!

At the fall festival at church

Samuel and his buddy Piers
In November, Sam finally had a Tympanoplasty to his right ear drum. The surgery was a success and wasn't as bad as they thought originally. There were able to go in through the ear canal instead of cutting the back of the ear and laying it open. He recovered well and in April was released to full activities! We are so grateful!
His teacher, school office worker, classmates, and grandparents sent him PLENTY of goodies to keep him occupied while he was recovering.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving or as some like to call it, Turkey Day:

In December, I was ready for some time off from work, shopping, decorating, wrapping, field trips, and hanging out with family, friends, and especially my boys!

Here we are at Santa's Village! Funny story: While we were there the "elf" that was our tour guide was talking to Sam (he was in the front of the line) when all of a sudden he interrupted her and said, "Hey look mom! There is Buffalo Rock (the company John works for)!! The "elf" asked Sam how he knew what that emblem was and he replied, "Oh! My dad...he owns Buffalo Rock. Needless to say we got the royal treatment since Buffalo Rock is a main sponsor for this event...even though I did correct him and say that he didn't own it!

Samuel and his buddy, Alexander in the elf toy inspection shop at Santa's Village

Santa's Reindeer at Santa's Village
We also got another new member of our family... Rudy Rainey. An Elf of the Shelf from The North Pole! I swore we wouldn't do this...UNTIL...that field trip to Santa's Village. I rode the bus with Sam along with a few other moms and the teacher. While we were in route, the teacher and other moms began talking about their elves at home. They decided it would be a fun idea for each child to bring their elf to school so they could see what all the kids do each day. Believe it or NOT...Sam was the ONLY child without an elf. I felt terrible! SO, under peer pressure, my friend, Amber, and I set out for the perfect elf. I couldn't let Sam NOT have an elf for "bring your elf to school day"! Late that Friday evening we headed out to Target and there I found the MOST PERFECT elf. I live with all boys so I chose a girl elf. I named her Sugarplum on the way home. I was so excited! I got home and made her a little skirt and everything. I was ready to show her to John and prepare her grand entrance for our household. UNTIL...John said Sam couldn't have a GIRL elf. I had to take my sweet little Sugarplum back and get a boy elf and the kids named him, Rudy!

That Rudy was a mess!

He even snuck in the car to go with us to see Christmas lights!
See? He was a little rascal!
John and I host a life group for our church. We decided to have an ugly Christmas sweater party this year. It was FUN!

The boys in front of the tree upstairs in the children's wing at church.

Sweet !

We ventured out again all by ourselves one night and went to see The Wright's Lights which kind of reminds you of the Griswald's house in Christmas Vacation... 

Christmas Eve

Our Living Room tree

We made goody bags for our neighbors and put them on the front porch or by their door and left them for them to find the next morning!

Dining Room tree with everything the kids have ever made me!

Sam and John playing Christmas music with my grandmother on Christmas Eve.
Because of all that Sam had to go through with his ears and surgeries, he got the COURAGE award at school 

Our church puts on a big service each year for Christmas. Kobe was asked to participate this time. There were 6 painters and each of them painted their own "part" of the picture. When it was all done they brought them all to the center and placed them together to form one big final picture:

The "final" picture at the Christmas program!

January took us back to school and back to work! We weren't ready at all! We enjoyed our time together so much! Going back to school meant field trips and getting back in the swing of things with homework and reading.

Sam started reading his weekly story to our bearded dragon, Skittles.

This came to my text messages one day while Callum was babysitting:
I couldn't help but laugh! And to explain....when one of the boys is getting on the other's nerves too much they can "take a vacation" before they say or do something they regret. They are entitled to as much time in our bedroom as they need until they are ready to come out and not lose it. So that's what he is talking about. The last part literally has me DYING laughing! Although with the time line....I wonder if they may have gotten into a tussle and knocked a hole in the wall. They all three tell the same story...

February came and brought us Valentine's Day and SNOW DAYS!!

Mommy/Son Date Night...waiting for time to go into the movies!


This is how I "broke" the news that school was cancelled due to snow!
I love them!

Mister wasn't really happy about not getting any bacon that day either!

We made Valentine's cookies!

Every single February 13th when the kids go to bed, I put up all kinds of Valentine's decorations for them to wake up to and sit out little bags of goodies for them!

I get up extra early and make them their favorite breakfast!

Sam and me at his Valentine's Day party at school...SO much fun!

Sam had been eyeing this little lion for quite some time!

For as long as I can remember, my daddy always gets me roses for Valentine's Day!

MARCH! The beginning signs of Spring!

In March, Kobe changed Exploratory class to Art and made me this potholder! 

Samuel and Kobe picked buttercups out of our backyard one day for us and it was cloudy and it made me start singing, "I've got sunshine...on a cloudy day"!

FIRST "real" project! A story board! Sam did all of the writing and cutting out but my mom and  I did help him with the title being centered and lined up. This story board eventually made its way to the public library for display!
St. Patrick's Day...we weren't getting pinched!

My cutie patooties!
April brought outside playing time and birthdays!

Red cheeks: A sign of warmer weather and playground time! This smile makes ANY day better!

I just found this funny! "Easiest Thing Ever"! This is Kobe's homework planner.

Good old Chief! Ready for a walk! He loves warmer weather too!

April 14th...we celebrated John with a date night for his birthday!

After working the inflatables for the Easter Color Bash at church

Handsome guys on Easter morning!

The Raineys!

What Sam wants to be when he grows up!

Sam earned his "foot" charm from PE for doing 60 laps on the track at school!

Couldn't leave this one out! Poor Mister!

Kobe decided to go out for the middle school football team and the picture on the right is him the morning of their Spring training scrimmage game! Top left: First year playing rec league football, bottom left, last year of rec league football.


We celebrated Kobe at UMI, a hibachi restaurant and we had the *best* time!

No special occasion...just that Kobe told us that we look like we were 25 years old again!! HAD to document that!

First walk to the playground for the year!
May brought music, birthdays, Mother's Day, and SUMMER vacation from school!

Helen Keller Hospital Benefit Dinner: Me, John, Josh, Binah, and Caleb {family isn't always by blood...sometimes it is by hearts}

This silly boy said he was SICK TO DEATH of never getting to celebrate his birthday at school because school lets out before his birthday. His teacher let him celebrate his birthday early! John and I showed up to eat lunch and buy the class ice cream for Sam's birthday!

Oh Kobe, please slow down growing up son! This was right after Kobe's awards day at school! On to the 7th grade!

Each year our church has professional photographers on site and set up to take each mom's picture with her children. This year I asked if John could get into the picture too! The next Sunday when we get to church, they have them framed for us and ready for us to take home.

John and two friends, Caleb and Josh, started a progressive folk band called The Mayflys! They had their first "gig" at Starbucks for our local First Fridays event! They are awesome! Go check them out on Facebook or go follow them on Instagram at THE_MAYFLYS

We celebrated THIS guy turning 17!! 

John and I at the Helen Keller hospital benefit dinner

My sweet friend Amber took some photos of The Mayflys one evening and they turned out great!


We also celebrated this little Sam man turning SEVEN! We had his party at the Planetarium! He LOVED it. His friends came and watched a show and heard a talk about constellations and planets and then we had birthday cake and opened presents. After that, we all went up to the observatory to look at Jupiter!

Kobe and his faces!

Sam on his actual birthday! 

THE CAKE! It matched his invitations perfectly!

PawPaw and Nana Diane even came for a visit to help us celebrate!

At the end of the school year several of the students in Sam's class were having their parents do special things for the class. One of the little girl's dad did a Chemistry lab lesson and they made slime and another little girl's dad gave a talk about their native Africa, another friend's mom took the class on a tour of the band room and they got to play the drums and gong! So... if you know know he couldn't be outdone! He asked his dad if The Mayflys could come play on the playground at his school. They all quickly agreed and the kids had an amazing time!

We have had an amazing year and I can't wait to see what the rest of this holds for us and I plan to keep up a little better on my blog! I love being able to go back and look over all the memories!