St. Patrick’s Day Green Smoothie Ideas

One day of Spring Break down, four to go.  Today the kids are begging to go to Chuck E Cheese (to be fair, the little guy ‘earned’ a trip for good behavior about 4 months ago and we have yet to fulfill our end of the bargain {to be fair, I’m kind of failing on the consistent discipline/reward system- there goes my mom of the year award}) and maybe hit up a park.  Anyone want to meet us at Chuck E Cheese??  We are only going to play games…. pizza is NOT part of the deal.

{insert witty transition to St. Patrick’s Day foods} {or not – day one of staycation spring break wore me out}

Here are some healthy and naturally green smoothie recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.  These are really year-round smoothies, as we can all use more greens in our daily diet.

Family Friendly Creamy Mojito Smoothie

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Creamy Key Lime Pie Smoothies

(these are my son’s very favorite smoothies and the only way I can get him to consume avocado)

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Shamrock SmoothiesIMG_6203

My favorite ‘starter’ green smoothie recipe for skeptics:

1 cup spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1 glob peanut butter, non-dairy milk and ice.
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Happy Spring Break to all the Texan readers!  Who else out there is spring break-ing?

Valentine’s Day 2013 – the recap

We had a rather fantastic Valentine’s Day last week.  I know I have said this before (so humor me), but Valentine’s Day is so much more fun for me now that we celebrate it as a fun family day.

We woke up the kids a little earlier than normal (just a little, as we knew they were in for a long day of sugar and excitement as were we) and had a special breakfast.

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Banana muffins (this recipe baked into heart shaped muffin tins), heart pancakes and strawberries.
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We made pancake batter using our usual C00king Light recipe (click for recipe) and I used fresh beet juice to color half the batter.  As a unintended bonus, I forgot to half the recipe like I normally do and we ended up with ample pancakes which the kids ate for breakfast for the next two days.  It was the gift that kept on giving.

A comedian that the husband and I both love, Demetri Martin, made a joke once about pancakes pulling a parachute on your day.  I find that to be so true, even though the same ingredients baked into, say, a muffin, have no impact.  If I eat pancakes I immediately want to sit on the couch and do nothing.  Which wasn’t exactly in the cards for the rest of the day, so I skipped the pancakes and had a green juice.  Interestingly enough, pancakes do nothing to damper my kid’s energy levels.

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I packed the kid’s lunches while they ate breakfast.

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The girl got heart shaped PB&J, heart shaped apples, a tube yogurt, some pretzels (including a  few with white chocolate and sprinkles) and heart shaped cucumbers and bell peppers.

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The boy got a sugar cookie (that he decorated the night before with our special beet colored frosting and,  yes, I am aware that is a wee bit hippie), cheese tortilla roll up, strawberries, pirate’s booty and heart shaped apples and cucumbers.

After depositing two very excited kids at their respective schools, I ate my breakfast in the car on the way to yoga.
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green jasmine tea, banana muffin and almonds

I had a post-yoga snack of beet + carrot+ apple + ginger juice and a raw brownie (this recipe from VegNews).  It was savored after a challenging class.  Can I also say again how much I love yoga?

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I am sure I had some lunch, but I don’t have any pictures nor any recollection of what it was I ate.  Guess it wasn’t that memorable.

Both kids left school seriously hyped up on sugar.  As in alternating between bouncing off walls and talking a mile a minute.  They had apples and almonds for a snack, making me the mean mom that didn’t let them dip into their Valentine’s Day candy just yet.  It was quite fun to look through their loot and cards.  There are some kids with uber-talented Pinterest-loving crafty moms in their classes.  I am emphatically not one of them.  But I love seeing their handiwork!

We had a family in our neighborhood over for our annual Valentine’s Day pasta dinner.  It got a bit chaotic with 4 kids in the house so I didn’t get a picture of our main course, but you can check out previous Valentine’s Day posts if you’d like to see tomato cream sauce over penne pasta.  We also had an unpictured salad with my favorite pink dressing, Oh She Glows Cranberry Vinaigrette.

The rest of our dinner spread:

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Heart shaped pineapple and cantaloupe (which turned out to be a great task for my 7 year old) and strawberries

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Chocolate covered strawberries, ‘pie crust + either chocolate chips or strawberry jam as filling’ tarts and sugar cookies that the kids and I did the night before.
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Veggies + hummus (in a heart tin, of course)

20130220-145137.jpgOur traditional heart-shaped foccacia bread (pardon the lighting as neither the bread or I are as anemic as the picture suggests)

There was also red wine, sparkling pink lemonade + sparkling water drinks for the kids and lots of noise.

It was a great day to celebrate love and eat good food!

linking up (for the first time in ages!) with the WIAW at Peas and Crayons

Daily Eats 2.12.13

 

According to a very extensive Facebook Poll (or question with 7 responses – one of the two) the daily eats posts have been dearly missed.  (Or just barely missed – one of the two).

Here is a day of food from a pretty normal Tuesday.

Woke up and made the kid’s breakfast:

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oatmeal with cinnamon sugar (and horrible lighting)

and packed their lunches while they were eating.

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the girl: carrots + snap peas + cucumbers, yogurt + blueberries, granola, clementine, leftover pizza

the boy: clementine, yogurt, pirate’s booty {cheese puffs}, snap peas + carrots+ cucumbers, cheese + tortilla

I had a cup of green jasmine tea on the way to school

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and then came home and juiced.

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I almost always make enough for two days.  This combo was cucumber + celery + kale + parsley + apple + lemon.  I cleaned up the juicer (the only downside of juicing) and took the boy to preschool with a second cup of tea.

I went to Bible Study and enjoyed some snacks with a side of conviction.

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berries + grapes, pita chips + hummus, cup of tea (yes, I bring my favorite mug) and a cute little bookmark gift

After Bible study I came home and did a rousing round of laundry, sweeping and de-cluttering.  I had a lunch made entirely of leftovers and enjoyed it surrounded by action figures and magna tiles.  Clearly I didn’t get to de-cluttering the coffee table.

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blueberries, boiled egg, roasted butternut squash, quinoa crunch salad and a kale salad

On the way to pick up the little guy I had a cranberry kombucha.

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Once all the children were collected (including a neighbor) we had some Blender Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies,

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and I had some unpictured almonds, dark chocolate square and some popcorn.

For dinner we took advantage of a BOGO coupon at Pei Wei and had a rare weeknight dinner out.  The husband and I split the Pad Thai,

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and the kids split the Lo Mein.  It was an all around win – we ate for under $10 and there were no dishes to do.

Valentine’s Day preparations are in full force over here!  I’ll try to post our day of heart shaped, pink and red foods on Friday.  After I take the ninja turtles off the coffee table.

 

*I stole borrowed was inspired by the ‘Daily Eats with date format’ from Emily at A Nutritionist Eats.  Hi Emily!  :)

Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

Hello internet!  The sporadic blogging continues….

I love Valentine’s Day now that we celebrate it as a day of love instead of a day of (forced IMHO) romance.  For your reading pleasure, here are some of the recaps of our past Valentine’s Days.

Valentines Day 2012

Valentines Day 2011

Valentines Day 2010

For this year I’m thinking these pancakes (source) with our regular pancake recipe and beet juice for color for breakfast.

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The kid’s lunch will look something like last year’s heart themed bento boxes:

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(my lunch will be something a little less festive and a little less time consuming)

Our annual pink & red dinner menu is pretty set.  We have heart shaped focaccia bread (recipe from the Betty Crocker Red Cookbook), Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce (it’s pink-ish), red vegetables and fruits and some pink sugar cookies (from the Eat Drink and Be Vegan cookbook).

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Since the 14th falls on a school night, I’m thinking the red wine will wait until the 15th.  :)  Along with some dark chocolate.  If we are celebrating love, goodness knows I love dark chocolate.

Ode to Bac-Out

 

bac-out-32ozBioKleen Bac Out stain eliminator.

 

I first discovered this product back in my cloth diapering days.  (If you are a cloth diaperer, it’s a must.)  It works wonderfully on stains of the non-diaper variety too.  It’s honestly magical in its ability to get out food and plant stains.

Both my kids have inherited my knack for spilling food and I spill hot tea with embarrasing frequency.  Spray a little Bac Out on the stain, let it sit, blot and rub the stained area with a damp towel and  viola,stain disappears like magic.  I was just reminded of its awesomeness when I used it to clean a week old tea stain out of my car floorboard.  It looks a good as new.  At least until I spill tea again on it tomorrow.  Can purchase at some health stores or on amazon or vitacost.

speaking of BioKleen….

produce_liq_16BioKleen Produce Wash.  I use this product daily.  Truthfully, I don’t have concrete data that it actually cleans the produce, but it can’t hurt, right?  I like to think it does a little better job than plain water.  I do notice that when I put a few squirts in a bowl of water and soak grapes in it, the water is pretty murky and dirty after sitting for a few minutes.  I’m glad it gets thrown down the drain instead of left on my grapes.  I do the ‘squirts in a bowl of water’ cleaning method for berries too.  I use it undiluted on bell peppers, apples, pears and cucumbers and then rinse it off.  Can purchase at some health stores or on amazon or vitacost.

 

Disclosure – I’ve been a loyal BioKleen customer for 5 years.  They have absolutely no idea who I am or that I am writing this post.  

Little Bits from my brain

  • We just started reading Little House in the Big Woods (confession: I was a LOYAL Little House on the Prairie TV show watcher, but I never read the books.  Even though I had the whole series on my shelf my entire childhood.  For what it’s worth, I’m now reading the actual books that were once on my childhood bookshelf to my daughter now.  Complete with some drawings and designs my tween self made inside the covers that my daughter thinks are hilarious – she still doesn’t comprehend that I was young once) and wasnt’ I surprised to find the entire first chapter about butchering various animals in preparation for the upcoming winter.  My girl asked ‘is the whole book going to be about killing animals?’  Did anyone know that little kids used to play with the pig bladder LIKE A BALLOON after slaughtering?  I’m thinking I’m okay with missing out on that experience.
  • Also on the Little House subject: I would survive all of 2 days as a pioneer.
  • Speaking of surviving, I just finished Wild by C. Strayed.  I would survive less than 2 days on a solo backpacking trip.

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  • My little guy is really into World Records lately.  Each time he does something new, he asks ‘is this a world record?’  Like the other day when he pulled his shirt up over his eyes and walked around and said ‘I’m walking with my eyes covered up.  Is this a world record?’  Or when he said from the backseat “I just cracked a pistachio shell with my hands.  Is that a world record?’
  • We saw a 17 year old uber-talented musician (Ruby Jane) in concert this past weekend and have been listening to her CD a lot lately.  I would survive all of 2 hours as a career musician, especially as a teenager.  Check her out if you need some new music in your life.

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  • I asked my little guy if he wanted to try soccer this season, as he has yet to play on an organized sports team.  His answer: “I don’t think so because I get really angry when people try to take away my soccer ball.”
  • The husband and I watched Pitch Perfect this weekend.  I pretty much loved it.  It was much funnier than expected and I have a giant crush on Skylar Astin, even though I could probably be his mother.  I already had a girl-crush on Anna Kendrick and this movie only strengthened it.  Oddly, both the husband and I have heard several of the songs from the movie on different radio stations in the last few days.  I sent him a text yesterday saying that the movie soundtrack was radio stalking me.  I mean, honestly, in one 30 minute car ride it’s a bit odd to hear Don’t You (Forget About Me), Just The Way You Are, Price Tag and The Sign.  Stalking me, I tell you.

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  • Kinda like when you learn a new word and then you hear it frequently and you wonder if people were always saying that word and you were just clueless.  Does that happen to anyone else?

Currently I Am….

  • Eating vegetables.  After not eating too many for the month of December in lieu of Christmas cookies.
  • Joining Good Reads. Here’s me: http://www.goodreads.com/livelyshell
  • Drinking Republic of Tea Honey Ginseng Green Tea.
  • Disappointed with the post Christmas mail box.  Getting the mail is one of my favorite parts of December.
  • Practicing yoga (and visiting the gym) this week again after an unplanned 3 week break.  On the first day back on the mat my body went from Augh to Ahhhh after a few sun salutations.  In related news, I’m awfully sore. Hello torso – nice to feel you again.
  • Thankful for very accommodating in-laws.
  • Watching The Good Wife.  Love.That.Show.  Except for the Nick storyline.  Eww.
  • Slowly de-Christmising the house.  My goal is everything packed away by the end of the weekend.  It’s a slow job with little helpers around.
  • Reading Cleaning House, a mom’s 12 month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement.
  • Needing to get going on some photo-book making.
  • Crossing my fingers that illness doesn’t strike twice in our home.  That flu spell was a doozy.
  • Missing girlfriend time.  December craziness limited coffee and dinner dates.
  • Crowning the Magna-Tiles as the most played with Christmas gift so far.  Those things are cool.
  • Anticipating spending my lululemon gift cards soon.  Granted they will only pay for one shirt, but I’ll love that one shirt.  :)
  • Pondering the future of this blog.  To be or not to be, that is my question.

What are you up to?

Goals for the Year

My 2013 List of Thing I Hope to Accomplish:

  1.  Visit either Colorado or Minnesota or both.
  2. Make the 2011 and 2012 family photo books.
  3. Take a trip with just the husband.
  4. Practice yoga at least 3 times a week.  Stretch goal (pun intended) – be able stand up out of a backbend and/or go to backbend from standing.
  5. Try making sauerkraut or something fermented.
  6. Be able to do at least 2 pull-ups.
  7. Read some of the Little House on the Prairie series to my girl.
  8. Take advantage of this last spring with my boy at home and do more fun outings than errand running.
  9. Take a picture a day, even if it’s with my phone.
  10. Be consistent with the kid’s chore chart and allowance.
  11. Learn to use my camera better.
  12. Send a real letters/card to friends or family at least once a month.
  13. Read 36 books this year (or more).

2012 Goals with Results:

  1. Go to a beach and watch my kids see the ocean for the first time. Yes!  And it was awesome.
  2. Be able to do a head stand in yoga. Yes!  And it took most of the year to get the traditional headstand.  The tripod headstand came much faster. I’m no where near the ‘holding it for 20 breaths part.’  I’m good for at most 10 and sometimes only 2-3.
  3. Make the 2010 and 2011 family photobooks, as well as my kid’s annual photo books.  I’m way behind. Made 2010, the boy’s age 3 and 4 book and the girl’s age 5 book.  Still need to make girl’s age 6 as well as family 2011 and now 2012.
  4. Run a couple of 5Ks if my knees will allow it. Not even close.  I think running and me broke up. It was mutual.
  5. Get a better handle on the grocery budget. Comes and goes.  Always room for improvement.
  6. Go camping. Kinda.  We took a fun trip with friends and stayed in some cabins.  There were the perks of camping, like roasting marshmallows, hiking, fishing, bug catching and exploring nature, but there were also beds, showers and electricity.  
  7. Organize my blog recipes better. Oops.  Should get on that.
  8. Sit down and do art with my daughter more.  We definitely did some art, but I told her ‘not now’ more times that not.  Ugh.
  9. Finish the living room/dining room remodel.  90% done and through in a major bathroom overhaul too.
  10. Go to one of those painting places where you drink wine and leave with a painted picture.  Didn’t happen.
  11. Leave the state at least once.  We went to Florida in December.
  12. Read the following books, just for starters
  • The Hunger Games Series - yes!! and loved them!
  • Mindset - not yet
  • One Thousand Gifts – not yet
  • Loving The Little Years - not yet
  • Parenting with Love and Logic – not in its entirety.

Wish me luck!

This was the year…

  • I finally understood what the fuss was all about with The Hunger Games. As well as the fuss about Veronica Roth, Gillian Flynn, Jen Hatmaker and John Green.

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  • I got to celebrate 10 years with my perfect partner at a winery.  Bliss.

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  • We started our biggest remodeling project as homeowners and spent too much time (and money) in tile stores, appliance showrooms and hardware stores.  Notice I didn’t say we finished our project.  Here’s hoping for that sentence to appear in the 2013 write-up.

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  • They boy visited the dentist for the first time.

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  • The girl lost her first tooth.

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  • I got to share coffee dates, dinner dates, play dates and wine nights with a much appreciated group of girlfriends.
  • I also got to see both my undergrad and grad school roommates this year.  I love that we are still friends.
  • American Girl dolls and stories came into our lives in a big way.

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  • I finally joined Pinterest and my project loving daughter rejoiced.

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  • We took another trip to the Frio River with some fun families and made some fantastic memories complete with catching fireflies, fish, butterflies and a tadpole.  They were all released, but I’m 99% sure the tadpole didn’t make it.  oops.
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  • The girl learned how to play Uno and we played it several times a day for months.

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  • She became a fanatical reader and my heart smiled.

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  • She rode the bus for the first time.  The proud smile on her face matched mine.ye IMG_2735
  • We took our first family trip to the beach.  The kids smiled for two days straight.  Except when their mouths were full of smores and even then, I’m pretty sure you could detect a smile.

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  • I found my peace (and abs) on the yoga mat.

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  • I finally got my act together and let the kids have a lemonade stand.  They’ve only been asking for 2 years. It was a success.ye IMG_7203
  • We went to Disney World with a group of 8 and even with the girl coming down with the flu on day 2 of the trip had a ‘magical’ time.  Disney approves of the word magical.  

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Cheers to a pretty great 2012 and hopes for an equally eventful 2013!

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The Sick House

All my best laid plans for super efficiency during this final week before Christmas went out the door on Sunday night when my little guy came down with a fever. We are going on 3 days of what I assume is the flu and he and I have been holed up at home for most of that time.

My mental to-do list is growing, but I also am cherishing the time to just be present with him. The teacher gifts only contain one baked good, instead of the tray of goodies I had planned, but I’m thinking that will have to suffice (as will the Starbucks gift card and Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels). I haven’t cooked much of a dinner in 3 days; mac & cheese from a box and scrambled eggs is as fancy as we’ve eaten. I haven’t fixed my hair and I may have both scared and scarred my neighbor with my bare face and messy hair when she stopped by today.

I have gone through an entire box of tissues wiping my little guy’s nose and cleaning up from his projectile sneezing. I have watched more NickJr and PBSkids than I thought possible (as an advantage, my counting to ten and shape recognitions skills have never been better). I have drank at least 6 cups of tea a day. I have made 2-3 smoothies a day for my little sick one. I have washed my hands obsessively (I’m hoping Santa brings hand lotion). I have been so grateful for a husband who takes such good care of all of us, even after a long day in the corporate world.

The boy has had spurts of feeling normal and then spurts of feeling awful (especially at night). In his well moments, he’s been ablaze with questions. Here are a few from this week:

  • {seeing leaves falling outside} How is it fall and Christmas at the same time?
  • Why does the grumpy old troll live under the bridge? {from Dora the Explorer}. How does he eat under there?
  • How can whales drink salt water if they are mammals?
  • What is snot made out of?
  • Did they give you medicine to make you sleep when they pierced your ears?
  • How does your body fight germs? Like a ninja kick?
  • What are eyeballs made of?
  • What do hippopotamuses eat?
  • How come you can’t hang on to ceiling fans and swing around? What if you wore a seat belt when you tried?
  • What does ‘mean it’ mean?
  • What happens if Rudolph’s red nose runs out of electricity?

I am knocking on wood that the husband and I stay well. Our girl had the flu last week (while at Disney world of all places), so we are certainly testing our immune systems. We’ve been taking probiotics, vitamin C, oregano oil and multivitamins diligently.

Still, in light of recent events, I’m thankful to have the flu be our biggest problem right now.

Off to wash my hands and make some tea…..

 

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