Friday, June 23, 2017

Oh So Much Kale

I finally managed to get out to the garden to pick some veggies. Oh my goodness!! I ended up with so much kale my normal go to recipes just weren't enough. My husband and Lily are not a big fans of kale and will only eat it cooked certain ways. Hubby likes Zuppa Toscana soup and Lily adores lightly salted kale chips. So after making a batch of each I had to think of what to do with the rest! After searching the pantry I decided to go with Kale Pesto! Such an easy recipe. And so amazingly good on pasta! Lily even ate two whole servings! and if you know Lily or just have experience with toddlers, you know how picky these mini dictators can be! Asia even stopped by last night and had a big bowl of Toscana soup and then a heaping plate of my kale pesto pasta!
 *Final product shown on bottom!

 Ingredients:
  • Kale...I didn't measure but there was probably close to 3.5 cups once rinsed, destemmed , and cut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2Tbs minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper
*This is a very basic recipe. I usually like to add more spice (Red pepper flakes or Smoked Chipotle powder and salt) to food but for the kids this is perfect. Also if using a real lemon I would add about 1Tbs of lemon zest.

Directions:
  • Rinse, destem and cut kale.
  • Add kale and pine nuts to blender
  • Pulse till chopped (about 5 or 6 times)
  • Add olive oil and pulse another 5 times
  • Add rest of ingredients and pulse till blended
Use this on pasta, rice or on whatever else you use pesto on :D




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mickey Mouse Party!

Awhile back I mentioned my total lack of planning for Grayson's birthday party. I'm happy to say everything turned out great. I spent most of last week putting together all the last minute touches. Alright, alright....ALL the touches. I did everything last minute 😠. Luckily I had most everything purchased and only had to assemble all the DIYs. Yeah alright, that's a lie too. I had to run to the party store and Michael's more than I'd like to admit last week to get things I forgot to buy! I did however keep everything relatively simple and inexpensive. It's amazing what balloons, streamers and a few hours with scrapbook paper and a hole punch can accomplish! Add a few other "extras" and it all just comes together.

Read on below to see how I put together a budget friendly party!

Flag banners were all made out of heavy scrapbook paper. I simply measured out the length I wanted then cut, hole punched and then threaded with ribbon. I had these throughout the house. You can buy scrapbook paper usually between .25- .75. I believe my total cost for all the scrapbook paper I used was under $3.00!
 Goodie Bags: I used Black bags that I got from the local party store $1 each. I cut and glued on red construction paper and then added yellow circle stickers. I had girl bags and boy bags. The boy bags had a red Mickey sticker on the outside and a Mickey Mouse Coloring book. The girl bags had a pink Minnie sticker and a Minnie Mouse coloring book. Coloring Books were a $1 each and purchased at Five Below. Each bag of also contained a small box of crayons, a few pieces candy and had room for each child's art/activity projects that they could make.
Now for some reason I didn't take a picture of the crafts I bought for the kids to do. I will show you what I got though. I bought THESE amazing frames. They come 10 to a pack and there are just so many ways kids can decorate them! And they are only $1.99 a pack!! We used THESE foam stickers, currently on sale, to decorate our frames. Instead of your traditional party hats, I got super cute Minnie and Mickey foam visors! And last, we got little felt posters, HERE, for $1.79!
 Another simple item I made was the "Thanks For Popping By!!" popcorn bags. I made the labels on the computer, you could always order them on Etsy if you don't wish to make your own, and then printed, cut and attached to thick scrapbook paper. I made tons of popcorn with our air popper and placed in sandwich bags. Then simply stapled my labels to each bag. Cute, inexpensive and best of all easy!

For Grayson's chair I measured out ribbons that I bought from Michael's. Cut and then hot glued to a long rope. Once dry I used packing tape to attach to his highchair tray. After the party I removed each ribbon and kept the clean ones. I eventually plan on making hair ribbons for Lily with them....you know in all my spare time 😜

 Yes...we had beers. We also had water bottles, soda, and juice boxes.

For this display (below) I reused a mason jar from a different party. Painted half red and then added yellow circle stickers once it dried. Inside the jar is black fish tank rocks and yellow tissue paper. Both, also from a different party along with the red and white pompoms. *I have a huge Rubbermaid container full of different color balloons, streamers, mason jars and other reusable party supplies.* The Mickey felt shaped head, is taped to a wooden dowel rod. The number one I made out of scrapbook paper. The Mickey felt head was a $1.79. Total spent on two mason jar decorations, $3.58. Both jars are now back in the party container till I can reuse them. If you have the room, I can not tell you enough just how helpful it is to put aside a large container solely for decorations.

Below is a wooden frame that I got at Michael's for $1. I painted it red and black and hot glued some old buttons to it. I placed our menu inside and will later place a picture of Grayson eating his birthday cake. Something so simple and inexpensive is one of the little details I was talking about. It takes minutes to do but really makes a difference decorating wise.

A few Mickey themed condiments. Scrapbook paper and glue. That's it. This scrapbook paper was around .75 and has now been used multiply times. *Once again you can find more custom labels on Etsy and other places but I was going for low cost and well you really can't beat .75


The Cake: Made it myself. Cupcakes: Hubby decorated.

I hope you were able to get some decorating ideas from this post and able to see how easy it is to make the "extra" details yourself.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Before and After!

On this episode of "What Can I Do to Keep the 3yr Old Busy and Not Have a Tantrum" we worked on a little project outback. I am so proud of the progress we've made in our yard. Our yard is very slowly coming together and I am just so happy when I look out the slider. However, there was a big, green, sad looking thing that just drew your eye. This monstrosity just seemed to laugh at our progress and say "Nope, still not nice yet!" Well, today Miss Lily and I gave this eyesore some love and oh boy, what a difference!

*Before

Our two story castle/playground was just awful looking. The paint was awful. The trim was incomplete and some boards were loose. Now, it's not completely fixed up yet. I did only come up with this little project on the way back from picking Lily up from school, but for 3 glorious hours we went without having any meltdowns! Okay, that's a lie. There were maybe two but they were tiny and very quick and easy to redirect back to painting!
*After

Isn't it pretty!? I can't wait till we fix the drawbridge, add some trim on the bottom and one more small window box at the front window. I was thinking of having my husband add another window to the left side of the door, he's so handy, but I think we will decorate that side with some fun garden pictures. I think some small bushes are needed as well! Tomorrow I will have Lily sponge paint the plant boxes (above the door and under the window on the left side) pink and purple to make them pop a bit. So excited with what we able to do in just 3 hours! Looking forward to getting some more done tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spinach for the Win


After a day of going through the basement and pricing items for our upcoming yard sale, I realized that I never posted our second favorite smoothie recipe! I'm going to bet that if you are a fan of smoothies, you may actually already be making this one. However, if you are like my husband you are apparently frightened by, whoops! I mean don't like, spinach. 😉 Now don't be scared, crap I did it again.... Okay let me try that again. Be the brave person that you are and throw some spinach in that smoothie! The berries in this one completely cover the taste and you get an extra dose of iron!

 Ingredients:
  • 10oz of Almond milk 
  • 1/2 cups of frozen spinach 
  • 1/2 cups of mixed berries
  • 1Tbs of Chia seed
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Directions 
Add all ingredients into blender and blend 🙄

I love to keep a few bags of spinach and kale in my freezer for smoothies. Fresh is great but I know at my house if it's fresh it gets eaten right away. I never seem to have any left for smoothies so this works great.

I'd love to hear some of your favorites? How do you make your smoothies?
 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Dresses and Smoothies!

Dresses and smoothies, oh my! Even though it's not officially summer yet, it sure feels like it! I love that I can wear a dress everyday and not have to change or add layers because it's too cold. Dresses have a way of making you look pulled together but really it's the fastest fashion cheat. One simple option. No picking out tops to go with your jeans. Just add accessories and go! This soft maroon dress is from Francesca's. I bought it last year on clearance and literally took the price tags off this morning! You can find a similar style in white, HERE, at Francesca's and this adorable slip dress in coral, HERE, at Target!


Photobomb baby!

Smoothies? Well, I try to have one every night. As a busy mom it helps me get the nutrition I need because if I'm being totally honest there are times I forget to eat or I just grab a cereal bar and run out the door! I try to eat healthy but there are times that it just doesn't work out. Having a healthy smoothie each night makes me feel like I did a good job....even if it's the healthiest thing I had all day, lol!
These busy little ones sure keep me on my toes! They never seem to stop! With the warmer weather we've taken to grilling dinner and eating outside most nights. What better way to top off dinner on a warm night than to share some ice cold delicious smoothies! They love it and think they are getting a special treat (I don't believe in serving nightly deserts)!

If you are anything like me you worry about how much and what your kids are eating. Are they getting enough iron? Are they eating enough vegetables, getting enough calcium, and so on. And if your kiddos are picky eaters? Oh boy! My nightly smoothie has turned into "our" nightly smoothies for this reason. Though we have many different ones, we seem to stick to two favorites in particular. This one, that I'll be sharing with you today is packed with protein!
**I use almond milk because I'm lactose intolerant but you can use whatever milk you'd like. Also, I would usually add honey to this but I haven't introduced honey to my son yet.
This recipe makes enough for my two Littles and myself.

Ingredients:
  • 10oz of Almond milk 
  • About 1 cup of Ice
  • 1/3 cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1Tbs of Chia Seed
  • 1 Banana (sometimes I'll add 2)
  • 1 scoop of Chocolate Protein Powder

Directions: Add all ingredients into blender and blend 😉 

Please excuse the messy faces....they really enjoyed their pasta! 😉



Sunday, May 28, 2017

How To make Too Much Trifle in 20 Easy Steps

How to make too much trifle.

1. Search Pinterest for two hours to find the perfect, easy (because kids 🙄), yummiest Patriotic dessert ever! Also decide on 10 random different DIY must do ideas (because...Pinterest).

2. Awesome. Link doesn't work.

3. Select the next best dessert with working link.

4. Get pissed off princess dress wearing toddler and carseat hating baby into the van with bribes of cookies and puppies and rainbows, to go to the store.

5. Sit in holiday Cape Cod traffic because apparently the rotary is difficult **eyeroll**. While in traffic, cave to random request from toddler and go to the children's museum for two hours.

6. Go to the store. Decide to double the recipe because everyone knows that serving sizes are a lie. Spend more than you want because.....cookies. See #4. Toddler can remember cookie bribe from two hours before but can't remember where she put her shoe two seconds before.

7. Make it back home. Promise Husband that your magnificent trifle will only take 35 min. #totallie **Note to self: Don't trust the make times on recipes.

8. Apparently doubling the recipe is mathematically hard. Pack up super pissed off kids back into van. How dare you interrupt their game of "Who Can Scream Louder in the Empty Room?" Spoiler Alert....Mommy can. Now get your butt in the van!


9. Back home with 3 more pounds of strawberries. Cut them all pretty like. Eat the "ugly ones". Wait! Why are you crying? Omg, it's an hour passed dinner. Mom fail.

10. Ummmm here.... Strawberries for dinner. Just eat it. No, I can't make bacon. Cheese? Sure. Pickles??? Ummmm no. Eat this peanut butter toast it's delicious. Cucumbers and Ranch? No problem, here ya go.

11. Go back to cutting a million mother effing strawberries. Decide that you need to make a star pattern. #Patrioticasamofo

12. ***scratches head*** Why is this so heavy? Hmmmm, 2 angel food cakes, 4 pints of blueberries, 4.5 lbs of strawberries, 2 pounds of cream cheese, 4 cups of heavy cream, a ton of sugar.....


13. Why doesn't it fit in fridge!?!? AHHHHH! Head to basement fridge. Okay, we're good. Proudly head off to bed and dream of feeding people your glorious trifle.

14. Next day. Proudly pack and safely secure your 100 pound magical made with love Patriotic Trifle in the van while proudly showing it off to the neighbors. "Yes, yes I made this.", "Thank you, it is lovely" "Of course I'll bring some over....well if there's any left"

15. Unload your perfectly behaved toddler and baby at your destination and lovingly carry in giant ass trifle. Wait patiently 3 hours for dessert time so people can enjoy the love and magic that you've created with your culinary excellence.

16. Watch as only three people eat it. Including yourself. It's freaking magical. It's magnificent. Eat my trifle, dammit!
17. Pack sleepy screaming kids back in car while calling your bff to keep sanity and make plan to unload half of your uneaten trifle at her house.

18. Pull over in time to allow toddler to vomit all over herself because she only ate cheese and pickles. #shouldhaveatemommiestrifle #just saying

19. Call Husband to warn him he's on throw up duty while hanging head out of van window in sad attempt to breath

20. When kids finally for the love of God pass out 2.5 hours past bedtime, eat a giant bowl of your Patriotic as F@#$, delicious trifle by yourself for dinner because there's at least 80 pounds of it to go. Also, it's pretty. Oh and apparently the serving size didn't lie....



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Moving On

When is it time to part ways? Is this the right decision? How will this effect us? Is this a mistake? Is this the right thing to do? Over the last few months these questions have ran through my mind, over and over. There's been anger, annoyance, guilt and an anxiousness revolving around these questions. And then, one day you just know. Yes, it's time. I'm at a place in my life I never thought I would be at. No, I'm not talking about divorce. I'm talking about asking...no telling your adult child that it's time to move out.



When my daughter turned eighteen she stopped spending the night at our house. We barely ever saw her except when she needed a shower or a change of clothes. I started to feel like our home was nothing but a "storage unit", a saying that everyone in my family hates but it was how I felt nonetheless. I slowly became more annoyed and angry so my husband and I sat down and discussed what we wanted to do. "You're still the parent. What do you want to do? This is our house, our rules." I don't know, I would say.

As someone who had a horribly abusive childhood, was told all the time that she was hated, unloved and was kicked out finally for good at sixteen, I really struggled being able to let go of my own child. My job was to protect her, love her, keep for harm but at the same time prepare her to be confident, independent and ready to be on her own. I was at constant odds with myself over "letting" her go. I'm not doing this out of hate, or spite, or anger. I absolutely one hundred percent love my child. I would do anything for her. This includes allowing her the opportunities to grow up and be her own woman.

So, over the last yr my husband and I have sat down and come up with reasonable rules. Well, that proved to be too difficult. Reminders were said. Different rules and agreements were put together. Those didn't last either. And after months of this we were done. I said you need to go. There was no place for her to go. She's still here. Back and forth. Finally it's come to the point where enough is enough. It's eviction time.

How do you know it's time? When this happens. When you've given chances and tried different things. When they work and show they can keep a job. When they, forgive my wording, but treat your home like a storage unit or hotel. When they show and express how they don't want to contribute to the house or family. How do you know if this is a mistake? You don't. You look for the signs. You follow your feelings because you are still the adult, the parent and love her. It is still your home and your rules. Is this the right thing to do? Yes. When you've given chances, tried to set up different rules or ways to make it work together and those rules and ways are repeatedly broken...then yes it's the right thing to do. When contributing and being asked to help out is huffed at and used as a bargaining chip to change rules...then yes. When being part of the family is a bother, inconvenience....then yes. When entitlement behavior takes over....then yes. When overall you've been lucky with this child that has grown to be a smart, beautiful woman, who has worked since she was sixteen...then yes. When your child has paid their bills on their own and feels like they know everything and can do it on their own....then yes, it is time to take the next step.

I think as a parent you just know when it's time. When she first turned eighteen I hoped she'd stay forever. Now, just months away from nineteen, I'm ready to let go. Truthfully I should have pushed for this a few months ago. I should have said enough is enough but I wasn't ready to let go. I am ready to let go. I'm ready to nudge the little bird out of the nest.