Friday, October 22, 2010

October Updates

We are sure enjoying fall at the Denkins. The weather has been unseasonable warm. We have had lots of sunshine and time outside.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- September 20

I love fall. The start of fall brings out recipes I haven't used over the summer. Warm meals, apple pie, pumpkin, soups and harvest from the garden. Yum! 

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie
Monday: Lasagna
Tuesday:  Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Kids Choice
Friday: Mexican

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all."
-   Stanley Horowitz

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to School at the Denkins

The first part of September has flew by. We enjoyed one last swim in Lake Michigan over Labor Day weekend. The days now are getting shorter. It is hard to believe last month we were outside at this time. The weather has been about 60 degrees and very rainy. We had a frost on Wednesday morning, Sept. 15th. 
First Day of Kindergarten Big Bay de Noc 

The biggest news is Derek started Kindergarten. He woke up the first morning ready to go. Derek is adjusting well to school. He quickly found out why everyone enjoys  Saturday and Sunday so much.   Today, he had his first Spelling test! 

Life at home is very quiet with the two youngest. Jenna enjoys playing with her toys. We have been practicing writing her name.  Dylan loved to paint with pudding this week at playgroup. 

Dustin and I played golf on Sunday. This was the first time I had played this year. We started out the round great. Dustin had pared the first two holes. Then came the third hole and things took a "hit" for the worst. We were about 200 yards out and I hit the ball. The shot was horrible, I am still unsure how I even hit it "that bad". Needless to say Dustin was 6 feet in front of me on the cart and the ball hit into the side of his neck. It is very sore still. He is never going to let me live this one down. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy September

Summer is winding down. The leaves are starting to turn colors and the days are getting shorter.
The biggest change is Dustin is back at MTU for his last semester of grad school. He will only be gone 2 days this semester.
Derek starts kindergarten in less than a week. He is very exciting and is starting to read. No more skipping pages or words in his books. Jenna loves to play dress up, talk and ride her bike. Dylan follows his siblings and feels he should be included too.
Today, the kids went to the dentist and got their teeth cleaned. It was Jenna's 1st visit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Boating Fun

We enjoyed an afternoon on the lake today on the boat. Derek and Jenna both road in the tube we pulled behind the boat. We were going maybe 4 miles per hour. They loved it. Dylan even caught a few cat naps in the boat. The weather was amazing.  After we spent some time in the boat we played in the water. Derek was swimming like a fish. He was using this really strange punching action with his arms but he got where he wanted to go. Days like this make me love living in the UP a little more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Family Trip 2010

Top 10 Great Memories from Chicago 

1. Spending time as a family. It was wonderful to spend the day enjoying each other and not worrying about all the other jobs around the house. 
2. The Kids Questions. One of my favorite questions was when we got to Chicago, Derek asked "Is this the real Chicago?"
3. Being in the City. After spending almost 7 years in the UP, I always find it a nice treat to be in the city. Dustin's great at city driving, so traffic was not a concern. 
4. The Attractions. We visited the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.  My favorite was the Shedd Aquarium. The kids loved each of them. The hands on exhibit at the museum and the planetarium were wonderful. 
5. New Experience for the Kids. The highlights included a taxi ride and seeing skyscrapers, as well as parking underground. Jenna thought that was really neat. 
6. Reading. I finished a complete novel. It was lovely not to have to do the dishes after a fun filled day and enjoy a book instead. 
7. Shopping. Trader Joes and Ikea. My husband is super. He spent 3 hours lost in Ikea with the kids. 
8. Safe and Happy Travels. Overall the kids did great on the 7 hour drive. 
9.  Eating out. Not having to cook was a nice little break from the normal routine. 
10. Memories to last a lifetime. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Fun

Summer Memories of 2010 

The weather has been perfect for the garden but has been causing us to mow a little more than normal for the time of the year. We been able to have lots of beach days. The water temperature is much warmer than normal. 

The kids have been taking swim lessons at the Y. The difference is wonderful to see. Derek and Jenna are both jumping off the side and swimming with the noodles. Next step is going under the water.
The blueberries are simply amazing this year. We have picked about 4 gallons. Blueberry picking is one of my favorite summer night activities. We have 5 small patches on the property which are great for picking berries for breakfast or for a snack. 

We had a wonderful visit with our good friends Andrew and Becky. The kids really enjoyed having company. The guys got to golf a couple rounds, we took them to Pictured Rocks and enjoyed catching up after 4 years. 
They brought there dog Dexter along for the visit. Hopefully we will be able to visit them again soon. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- July 19th, 2010

Monday: Blue Cheese Burgers
Tuesday: Our 8 year Anniversary
Wednesday: Chicken Chimichangas
Thursday: Grilled Whitefish
Friday:  Out for Dinner

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top 10 Tuesdays

Top 10 Things Green Heart Mom Says Daily 
This post was inspired from listening to myself say "leave your sister alone" 10 times in a row. 

1. "Leave Your Sister Alone" 
2. "Leave Your Brother Alone"
3. "Eat Your Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner"
4. "Do you want a timeout"
5. "Go in Timeout"
6. "Jenna"
7. "Dylan"
8. "Derek"
9. "Stop"
10. "I Love You"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- July 5, 2010

Menu Plan at the Denkins
Monday-  Lo Mein and Ragoons with Spinach Strawberry Salad
Tuesday-  White Chili with Cornbread
Wednesday-  Taco Ring
Thursday-  Grilled Salmon
Friday- BBQ Ribs with Potato Salad  and Corn on the Cob

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July 2010

Happy Birthday USA. We had a wonderful weekend- family time, parade AND beautiful weather.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer List of Fun

 2010 Summer Fun List of Ideas 

Denkins Family Reunion

Have a Lemonade Stand 
Make and Use Solar Oven 
Pick Cherries 
Go Camping 
Plant and Enjoy Food From Garden 
Play Golf 
Ride Bike
Lego Day

Places to Visit:
Tahquamenon Falls State Park- Complete 5/2010 
Big Springs 
Pictured Rocks 
Backpacking Sleeping Bear Dunes: Completed 5/31/10 

Skills to be Practiced:
Tying Shoes- Derek
Address- Derek
Phone number- Jenna
Birthday's- Derek and Jenna
Writing Name
How to Set the Table
Colors- Jenna 
Riding Bikes
Make Your Own Bed 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Trip Backpacking

I did it! A new adventure. Dustin took me on a honeymoon weekend. We had a blast. It was so nice to spend the whole weekend with him without worrying about anything. We hiked, talked, laughed, and enjoyed the outdoors. We hiked in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The weather was beautiful. I learned a little about hiking as well; let Dustin lead encase of spider webs and tying the bear bag in the tree. Though I was skeptical at the beginning this weekend away was just what we needed. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Dylan James!

Our baby is a year old. He is such a joy. He can bring a smile to anyones face. For his first birthday we had an underwater adventure party. Fun was had by all those who attended. We had a scavenger hunt, a fishing game, and yummy snacks. Dylan loved his fishy cake. 
Happy Birthday Dylan. We love you. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Random Thoughts of the Day

9:30 pm. first break of the day. The kids were great today though so it made it not incredibly horrid. Derek climbed up a tree tonight to get the tent worms, Jenna is in love with her new Barbie and Dylan smile could change someones mood instantly.

We really enjoyed Dustin's break from school last. He said it seemed like he was home for a month. It was so nice to plan a menu for the week and have help putting the kids to bed. Something Dustin is much better at than I am.

Derek only has 4 days of Pre-K left. We are still debating the best choice for him next year. It is such a hard choice. Today, I did a little research regarding the cut offs by state. In only 7 of the 50 states he would be going to school next year. The trouble is there would be other options.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Menu Plan for Week

Monday: Fajitas
Tuesday: Stir Fry
Wednesday: Taco Night
Thursday: Spinach Lasagna
Friday: Grill Night
Saturday: Meatloaf and Garlic Potatoes

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Works for me Wednesdays- Pre-scooped Ice Cream

For months I have been reading Works for me Wednesday's blog. Great tips!

My tip is to pre-scoop ice cream for birthday parties. I simply scoop a couple scoops into cupcake papers before the party, put them on cookie sheets, and the place back in the freezer. When the cake is ready everyone can choose their own ice cream. If you want more take two. Works for me!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Miss. Jenna

Miss. Jenna turns 3 tomorrow. She is a beautiful little girl with a wonderful personality and lots of joy. Her favorite word seems to be "lotsamore" when she wants more. She can say her ABC's and count to 10.

Here are a couple of photos from the party.

Happy Birthday Jenna!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- April 26th

I haven't done a menu plan since January. I can sure tell. We seem to be eating the same simple foods over and over. It's hard when Dustin is gone to cook something special for me and the kids. In honor of him only being gone one day this week. I thought I would plan a menu.

Monday : Lemon Herb Pork Chops, Potatoes, Corn, and Melon

Tuesday: Dustin at Tech

Wednesday: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing and Muffins

Thursday: Spinach Feta Cheese

Friday: Whitefish and Homemade Fries, Coleslaw and Key Lime Pie

Friday, April 23, 2010

This week at our house

The trees are beginning to have a beautiful change of color to them this week. The allergies are high and we have found a couple ticks and the tent worms have reappeared. We ate rhubarb from Grandma Helen's this week, which was very delicious.
Dylan is now taking lots of steps daily. He is busy all the time. Jenna and Derek have been enjoying playing outside. I have not done too many crafty projects this month and it is hard to keep up with menu planning when Dustin is gone.
This week was the last week of aqua fitness. I really enjoyed getting back in the pool and getting some exercise as well.
Dustin had exciting news this week. He won the business plan competition at Michigan Tech. We are all very excited to get the new business started.
I did a presentation for the Great Start Parent Organization for Earth Day.
After a month of not taking many pictures because my camera's shutter was held open with tape. I finally bought a new one, a Canon Powershot. It seems to be taking good pictures so far.

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I love to party!

I'm Jill, author of Green Heart Mom. I began blogging in 2005, when we found out we were pregnant with my son Derek to keep everyone up to date on the pregnancy. I love blogging as a way to keep track of what we did.

I am a stay at home mom, when I am not sorting the mail at the local post office a couple days a month. I have three children. Derek who is a 4 1/2, Jenna who is 3, and Dylan who is 10 months. My husband is a software engineer and a full time grad student.

We have three children. Derek who is a 4 1/2 , Jenna who is 3, and Dylan who is 10 months.

Our goal is to keep life simple. We love the outdoors, gardening, camping, and enjoy learning. We live in an off-grid home in Northern Michigan.

I would love to meet people with similar interest.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Year Busy Times

After the holidays, life has not slowed down too much. We spent new years at home with the kids, which is out normal tradition. We played games and enjoyed some yummy food. New Years Day we went to Houghton Lake and stayed at a hotel with a pool/water slide. The kids had a great time. It was a mini Markel reunion. Grandma Markel spent three weeks here in January. Last weekend we had a party at the Thunder Bowel for Keegan (Dustin's cousin) who is being deployed in March.

Our biggest news is Dustin is back at Michigan Tech for grad school. He started 4 years ago and really needs to get it done. He will be up there 3 days this semester and continues to work full-time. It's challenging to say the least.

The kids are doing great. We have been making art projects and learning new songs. Derek is starting to write his name and loves to be creative. We are working on learning measurements. He knows most of the o'clocks (example: 5:00). Jenna is a busy girl. Her vocabulary is amazing compared to 6 months ago. Dylan is starting to crawl, watch out world here he comes. He continues to be such a joy. His bright blue eyes and smile could melt anyones heart.

The wood stove is keeping us nice and warm. The sun is a wonderful addition as well. We have a new sink in our bathroom, James carved it out of cherry. It's pretty neat. I can't wait until we have time to work on some more projects around here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- Week of Jaunary 4th, 2010

Cooking Goals for the New Year!
Spend less time in the kitchen
Enjoy more fruits and veggies

I hope to achieve my spending less time in the kitchen goal by preparing more and cooking more of the same foods we enjoy. I like to use too much variety which takes alot of time and energy.

My mom also got me a subscription to Clean Eating and I am currently in the process of reading Eat to Live. Both of which I hope to take something from and incorporate them into our menus and lifestyle.

Sunday: Chicken Penne Pasta with Salad
Monday: Maple Pecan Chicken with Brussels Sprouts
Tuesday: Veggie Bean Soup