Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kid Tested and Approved Healthy Smoothie

kale and fruit smoothie

After a couple years of experimenting and lots of "ewws" and "what is this?" I finally created a healthy smoothie that ALL FOUR of my kiddos gobble up! They even ask for more. Seriously, I have tried so many combinations over the past years but this is the winner! So without further ado here is our favorite recipe...

1 banana
1 large handful of kale 
(spinach is always an option, but kale doesn't leave that gritty taste in your mouth)
1 peeled and sliced apple 
(optional: sometimes we throw one in, other times not, but the kids don't taste a difference)
1 cup of frozen berries 
(I prefer Costco's organic frozen berry mix of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries however any kind would work. I like the frozen ones because you don't have to worry about ice or washing and cutting strawberries. But of course, fresh berries and ice would be just as good!
1 large tablespoon of flax seed
1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt or vanilla flavored yogurt
1 tablespoon of honey
(I prefer Greek or organic)

Blend well and enjoy!

Do you have any tried and true smoothie recipes? I would love to hear them!

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Exciting news and Holiday House Tour

This post is a little late to the party, but better late than never. If you have read any of my prior posts you know how much I love to decorate for the holidays, especially Christmas. And the past couple years I've had a whole new template to work with since we moved to a new house. The set up is much different than our old house so it has taken some time to get it just right, but this past year I feel like I got it right. In fact, the exciting news that I wanted to share is that I was featured in a local lifestyle magazine for my holiday decorating this past December! It was no Better Homes and Gardens, but I was very honored and happy with the article and pictures.And with that I would like to welcome you to our house during the holidays...

part of the front entryway (sorry for the blurry picture)

Dining room table

Side table in dining room

living room
another angle of living room

tree and living room

cascading greenery is from Grandin Road

kitchen table
The table runner came from Pottery Barn Kids and I made the centerpiece. The tray was from Target and I added greenery, some holly branches from our yard, pine cones, and candles with Epsom salts in Mason Jars.

view into living room from hearth room and kitchen
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Last Splash- an outdoor summer party

The sad, but exciting time had come for us to say goodbye to our first house and move away from family and friends to a new town. A new town and a new house to make a home. However, being the sentimental type that I am, it was hard to leave this house. At one time this was the "perfect" house for us and we were so excited to find it and then call it our home. We brought all our children home from the hospital to this house, had many great parties and celebrated many holidays here with family and friends. So it was only right that we said good bye with one final BIG party...The Last Splash.

When I first began planning this party I knew right away I wanted a big water slide! This was the BIG attraction that I kept secret from everyone. Note: if this is something you are considering renting for your party, I highly recommend paying extra for the company to set up and take down! These things are extremely heavy and hard to roll back up. However, it was so fun and worth it in my opinion. Kids and adults had a weekend of fun on this! It was the highlight of the party and as one of my best friends put it, "we knew you had something big planned but pulling up the street and seeing this and the look on the kid's have really outdone yourself". A fun party with all our family and friends is all I wanted, and we certainly got it!

One of my guys wasn't so sure about this at first!
After the first time, they lined right back up for more

Because the main attraction was pricey we kept the rest of the party fairly simple. A few snacks, drinks, and the use of our outdoor toys and some of our neighbors kept everyone happy for hours.

However, I did incorporate the "messy play" theme to this outdoor party with:

 Shaving Cream Slip n' Slide

Homemade Obleck and homemade side walk paint 

Obleck recipe: 1 cup corn starch
                  1/2 cup water
                  food coloring 
Side walk paint recipe: 1 cup of corn starch
                           1 cup of water
                          food coloring
I mixed the corn starch and water first then put into muffin pans where I added a few squirts of food coloring to the individual cups. Dollar Tree paintbrushes were used to paint the driveway.

I also made a batch of chocolate pudding that the kids used to paint a large piece of paper I taped onto the driveway.

Water tables, digging for bugs in the sand box full of dirt, a kiddie pool full of blue shark balloons for kids to pop, a giant G-Bop ball you can climb inside and roll around the yard in (this is one of our favorite outdoor toys!), and a temporary tattoo station run by my sister were also available.

Kids everywhere!

hmmm, which tattoo to pick?

Since we also had a fairly large number of babies/toddlers I set up a designated area for them marked with a "little kids:" sign. The Little Tykes bounce house was blown up, a kiddie pool, the DIY water blob (click on my Fun in the Sun Party to see more on the water blob) and blankets laid out with toys. In all the craziness I forgot to get pictures of this area.

I also planned a couple group activities. We had an obstacle course where the kids had to walk the plank, jump in the hoops laid on the ground, crawl through the tunnel, weave in and out of cones and finally jump in a kiddie pool of shaving cream to find a flag (if you grew up in the 80's and watched Nickelodeon you know what I am talking about ;). The shaving cream was from the Dollar Tree and I bought a dollar banner and just cut the pennants off for the flags. Again, I didn't get any pictures of the kids going through the obstacle course, but I did get a couple of them finding the flags.

end of the obstacle course
The water balloon "toss" turned into a free for all water balloon fight but that was okay! The smiles and squeals of delight were worth it!

I just love this picture. After running around and playing these hungry boys devoured what was left of the food!

In the end, I would say we went out with a bang! The Last Splash was another successful party; the rain held off, we all had fun, and I will always cherish the memories of our time in that house, in the neighborhood, and in one of my favorite cities with some of my favorite people.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

St. Patty's Day Fun

This year I was caught up on sleep and ready for a little fun on St. Patrick's Day. I planned a couple corned beef meals, green lunches, and fun things for the kids to do, because aren't we all Irish on St. Patrick's Day!?

My oldest are at the age where "toilet humor" is just hilarious so when I came across this pin on Pinterest with green toilet water and leprechaun feet I knew that was a must do! This awaited them first thing in the morning. 
They laughed as hard as I thought they would!

 This year that sneaky little leprechaun left some rainbow colored candy in their shoes.

A St. Patrick's Day tradition here is to have Lucky Charms cereal with green milk. This is the only time of year I buy this cereal so they love it!

I also packed the boys' lunches with as much green as I could and a sad attempt at a leprechaun sandwich. I love all those cute bento creations but I just don't have the patience or time for most of those so I do what I can. And of course, the kids love it no matter how they turn out.

It's the thought that counts, right!?

My youngest are learning their colors right now so today was the perfect day to get out the Do A Dot markers and make rainbows. We also used our fruit pie sorter and grabbers to make a rainbow with the colored fruit. These are great for working on fine motor skills and can all be purchased on Amazon.

After painting it was time for a bath so I added a little green food coloring to the water. I swear it doesn't stain your bathtub, or kids! One of our favorite bath time activities is mixing shaving cream and food coloring to make "paint" and letting the kids paint the tub. They love this and no mess is left behind! Again, the dollar store carries shaving cream, paint brushes, and holiday decorations. I found the foam shamrocks there.

St. Patrick's Day bath
For lunch, the girls had turkey roll ups with kiwi, cucumbers, and avocado on the side. The "Yoda Soda" I made for the boy's Star Wars birthday party would be a great drink for today too. It's Sierra Mist and lime sherbet.
Since I wasn't going make the kids eat corned beef and cabbage just yet, they had shamrock shaped grilled ham and cheese. Yes, a  simple grilled sandwich cut out with a shamrock shaped cookie cuter.

The adult's dinner simmered away in slow cookers all day.  In one, I had corned beef and cabbage
and in another, just corned beef which I used to make rueben sandwiches. Low maintenance and delicious!

corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker
After homework and our daily reading was complete we did one last fun activity. I hid the dollar store shamrocks all over the house and the kids went on a mission to find them. While the boys were in a fierce competition to find the most, the girls were delighted to find one or two. Simple and fun!

I hope you all had a great St. Patrick's Day too. Here's an Irish blessing I wanted to share...

May your troubles be less
and your 
blessings be more
and nothing but
come through your door

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

DIY magnet board

DIY magnet board

First of all, I'm (hopefully) back from another blogging hiatus! The kiddos and family come first and with four kids in school, sports, play dates, and working on getting back in shape there isn't much time left at the end of the day. I still have many parties, kids activities, and more to post, so here goes!

We have lots of alphabet magnets and had no place to put them with stainless steel appliances. So I made our own magnet board with three different materials that cost less than $20. Here is how you can make one too.

The board itself is an oil drip pan that I found at Walmart in the automotive section for about $12. I also picked up black spray paint ($4) and Command Damage-Free Hanging strips ($3-4) since I wanted to attach it to the wall.

Spray paint the pan, let dry, attach to the wall and there you go! It's that easy. My oldest like to form words and sentences with the magnets and my youngest love playing with this too.

It's hard to see from the pictures, but our magnetic board is on top of our DIY play loft. Instructions and blog post on that to follow in future.

Part of our play loft
To see more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.