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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ain't easy being green.

Poor Kermie. What a rough plight.
Fortunately... you don't have to suffer the same. With that upcoming green holiday and the interwebs at your disposal, you've got about every idea imaginable at at your fingertips making it (wait for it...) easy for you to be green.
Okay. Done being corny.
We don't get crazy into every little holiday, but with St. Patrick's day coming up I thought it was a great time to share one of our favorite breakfast treats around here.
Green Smoothies!
What's that? You don't struggle to get enough healthy, leafy greens in yourself and your family? Well then, I guess you can stop reading. This post is not for you. (And I am rolling my eyes in your general direction-- healthy over achiever. No one likes people like that, you know?)
I do struggle... also it's hard to convince my toddler to chow down on some spinach, no matter how I try to convince him of it's health and Pop-eye benefits. But he enjoys sluuuuurrrping down a smoothie in the morning.
I know the green smoothie thing is not a new craze by any means, and I probably don't make mine healthy-to-the-max like some people do... but I feel like even a little green is a big win where it would otherwise not be consumed. So here are my fav recipes.
Pineapple Mango Greenie
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup cucumber pieces
1/2 cup pineapple pieces (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup mango pieces (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 cup orange (or mango, or pineapple if you have it!) juice
Stick it all in your blender and blend. Make sure you have enough liquid to cover all your fruit/veggies... you can add water if you need to.

Yummy and adding green to our diets. Win win. Sam took a sip and said "Mmmmmmm!" which is his new trick-- he also said that about a cheerio he found in the couch cushion-- but don't let that taint your opinion. It really was delicious.

I also use THIS GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE I got from my friend Danielle, over a year ago. It's very similar... just with berries. Plus she adds flax seed because she is so smart and always thinking a step ahead to fill her family with healthy stuff. Over achiever.
And I'm like a half achiever.
But I consumed a cup of leafy greens for breakfast today... sooo... beat that, toaster waffles!

And... one other little green thing we did to 'celebrate' St.P's day.
I am assuming you have gathered from these posts that I am a little into nail art these days. So when I saw this on pinterest, I knew I needed to put together a cute little gift for my Mani-Buddy, Amy Lee! (Ooh! Shameless plug: Amy started a nail blog. You should check it out. fancyside.blogspot.com)
I definitely had to get myself some of this awesome sparkly green-ness. I was wearing it earlier this week and I love the deep emerald shimmer.
...but we also went to go see the new OZ movie this weekend (it was cute, but probably a little intense for kiddos...?) and this polish made me feel very 'wicked witch'. Which I kind of loved. Dark and green and magical. (The color is Revlon:Rain Forest)

So there you have it. Not much of a celebration for St.P's around here, but enjoying the day's favored color. What kind of green things have you been doing? Been eating (drinking?) your veggies? Painting your nails? Indulging in fantasies of witches and wonder and the emerald city?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pink and Sandy

Oh my goodness! It's time for snow to be gone. I am not even kidding.
The cold and the snow have kept us stuck inside the house for a couple weeks now, and we are starting to get sick of the house and sick of our toys and sick of each other. (Besides the fact that we were all sick for a while. sigh) 
So yesterday I was sitting there trying to get Sam interested in some trucks that he was like, SO over, and I al of a sudden thought about the bag of play sand I had sitting in my basement (left over from this project like... 4 years ago), and thought that might be just the thing to liven our afternoon and refresh our bored little pickle.
So I grabbed a shallow tub, the bag of sand, a large plastic table cloth, and a couple toys. We didn't have much in the way of sand toys, but you don't need much, do you?
We'd been playing with cotton balls in his dump truck (we play with cotton balls a lot. Good, cheap, easy to clean up sensory fun) so those, along with his trucks made it to the sand box.
This was the first time Sam had ever played in the sand and he was mesmerized just plunging his hands in and wigging his fingers around in it. He never got much into driving his trucks through the sand...
But I did get out the stacking measuring cups, and he LOVED digging with those.
I bet you are dying to know if my one year old could control his compulsion to put handfuls of this funny new substance in his mouth???
Nope. He couldn't. He sampled two handfuls before deciding it wasn't yummy. Which you are probably thinking I should be more upset about. But here's my thought. The kid is going to sample sand at some point in his life. I'd rather it be relatively 'clean' sand in a tub in my kitchen than at a park that stray cats are pooping in, am I right? So he came to his own conclusions (Sand is not tasty) and he survived (no noticeable physical repercussions to the small amount of ingested sand). So we got that childhood milestone out of the way. Yay eating sand.
When he got bored scooping up sand and cotton balls with the measuring cups, I got a water spray bottle and wet down the sand a little and we built sand castles...
(I grabbed a leftover paper straw from his birthday party to make it look legit... Sam liked poking that in the sand too.) I showed him how the sand sticks together when it's wet. He liked spraying it with the bottle too, because the water would bead on the surface, then soak in. We talked about how different it feels. I tried to come up with different adjectives to describe it for him. Think, Mama think!
Wet/dry, cool, grainy, firm, squooshy, sticky, pink, bright, colorful, sandy (duh), smooth, bumpy/hilly, pliable, gritty... Not Tasty. haha
When he was starting to get bored with the water and building things, I just picked him up and plopped him down in the tub of sand. It's funny how a different perspective (sitting IN and not BESIDE the sand) made the same object so much more interesting!
Look at those happy little toes kicking around in the sand! Love it.
When he was finally done playing (we got about 30 minutes of sand play before he was tired of it-- impressive attention span for my little pickle!) we stood him up on the plastic table cloth and brushed the sand from his clothes. Then I put him in his seat, and I was able to fold the table cloth so all the sand fell to the middle, then funneled it back into the tub, put the lid on, and put it all away for another afternoon of play.  Relatively easy clean up for what could have been a huge crazy mess.
Okay, yes, I still had to sweep up some pick sand from the kitchen floor, but it wasn't horrible. I really really think he had fun.
I think next time we play sand I might make it a discovery box for him... burying small toys in the sand for him to find. Or mixing in pasta shapes? (wheels, bowties, etc) There is no limit to the interesting things we can bury and play with in the sand. Anyway, we had a fun.
What are you doing to bust the indoor blues with your kiddos? Any other ideas to keep a wiggly toddler busy?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sam turns 1!!!

...three months ago!
I know, I'm tardy to the party for this one. Sam's Birthday was way back in December and it's now March. But I couldn't let the whole things pass by without showing you how amazing it was. Because it was amazing. (And I can say that now because all I have are pictures and no recollection of the stress and exhaustion of putting on a much-too-extravagant-for-a-1-year-old party.)
The good times started a couple weeks before when party guests recieved this invite in the mail:
I designed this fun invite to excitedly announce the upcoming birthday of our little man, and establish our MONSTER theme from the start! (Don't worry, these weren't mean or scary or gross monsters, just friendly fun monsters at our party!)
We ended up using a room at our church for the party. While I would have loved to have the party in our own home... our tiny house limits us to about 4 guests. Also... it was december, and we already had Christmas decor up, and I didn't want his party to compete with Christmas in anyway... So we used a big empty room at the church to fill with friends and celebration. It worked perfectly.
I did my best to keep things simple (HA!) and revised the menu about 14 times... but in the end I decided easy snack foods (fruits, veggies, and crackers) were the way to go.
I made small 'tents' to label the foods, get more monsters at the party, and added fun facts about Sam on them. For instance this one says: Even monsters eat their vegetables! ...And carrots are Sam's favorite veggie!
We also had limeade, water, and fun straws! (kids like drinking from straws...)
And a hot chocolate bar... with a fun surprise! The hot chocolate was monster chocolate... it was ORANGE! And guests had marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed peppermint, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel syrups, and cookies to top their drinks with. It was a big hit.
Oh, also check out the cute monster cups with google eyes on them! My sweet MIL sat there all morning gluing google eyes onto things for the party. Thanks Linda, you are awesome!
And what party is complete without a cake? This awesome Monster Cake was made by our good friend Donna (of DonnaCakes) And I loved it so much! It was absolutely adorable and perfect and delicious! Thanks so much Donna!
I debated about games/activities for a 1 year old's party. I mean, obviously the guest of honor won't be able to participate in much... but I didn't want everyone bored either. And since we had 13 guests under the age of 7, I knew SOMETHING was necessary.
This was the popular Slime monster table, set up with a slime monster for every kiddo!
 I made these guys using this tutorial... and all the kiddos (and adults!) had so much fun playing with them. After the party, each kid got to take their Slime monster (housed in a re-purposed baby food jar) home with them. Party activity and favor in one. Inexpensive, and SO MUCH FUN.
Even the birthday boy got a little Slime time in!
 I also had a table with coloring sheets (that I got HERE) but I think more adults colored than kiddos!
And with all that fun stuff going on... the favorite activity for the under 4 ft crowd?
BALLOONS. I purchased a couple packages of balloons to blow up and toss about the room for colorful decor... I had no idea how much the kids would love balloons. They chased them, kicked them, threw them, hit them, stomped them, and had such a grand time. Sam loved them too... pretty sure that was the first time he ever saw a balloon. He was a big fan.
SO in conclusion: have Balloons at your next kids party. You're welcome.
I also made paper party hats for each kiddo at the party, which also served as table decor until they all snatched them up to wear them. Also on the tables were the 'favors'. I found mini bottles of hand sanitizer in green, blue, and orange (perfect!) that had a germ-monster thing on the front them (more perfect!). Each one got a note tied on thanking his guests for coming and celebrating with us! So each kiddo took home a slime monster, a hand sanitizer, and a handmade paper party hat for favors. (several of them also snagged a balloon or two on their way out the door!) Not extravagant, but useful, reminiscent of the party... and not candy. (You're welcome, parents!)

So there was hat wearing (even by the little littles)

There was singing and cake eating...
There were lots of pictures taken...
 Lots of playing with friends and family...
There were even a few gifts... (though we requested no gifts... our friends are obviously lousy at following directions. ha!)

...And maybe trying to sneak extra sweets out of the cooler.
But all the necessary fun stuff for a successful 1st birthday party. Sam had a great time playing with the kiddos and eating cake and carrots like it was his job.
If you want to see more ideas and inspiration for a monster party you can check out my One Monstrous Party Pinterest Board. (Do you follow me on pinterest? You should. I pin cool stuff. Just a side note.)
 Happy Birthday to our sweet baby boy! Every new day with you is an adventure and a joy. I love you, big 1 year old Sam!

Friday, March 1, 2013

OSH Revisited: Swingin'

This is the second installment of One Sassy Housewife Revisited! I decided to go back through some of most popular posts and update, address issues, or expand on the concept. You can see the first OSH Revisited here.

Posted last July, Swingin' has been-- by far-- my most popular post, largely thanks to Pinterest. I mean, you people go crazy pinning that thing! (I am so glad you like it!)
We still love ours. It gets used often... and taken all over the place too! My mom had one of those cheapy nylon draw string backpacks that she had gotten free somewhere, and we discovered the whole thing fit easily inside. An unexpected bonus to the swing? Easy to transport.
A few weeks after completing the swing we took a trip to Iowa, and took the swing along. Here Sam is swinging on his other grandparent's deck.
And then a few months later we took a trip to CO. We rented a cabin there for the week, and we threw in the swing because we thought it would be fun for Sam-- it was!
My dad was able to tie some rope around a large beam in the ceiling of the cabin, and Sam got to swing INSIDE. He loved having the prime spot in the middle of the room where he could watch everyone doing whatever they were doing. (Don't panic... I know he looks close-ish but he came no where near that fire. He was an extra-safe distance away at all times.)
So Sam's swing is great for travel. 
Sam has developed a love for being and playing outside, and this winter has been killing him. He stands at the window pointing outside and looking hopeful. I tell him it's too cold to be outside, but he doesn't under stand, he just wants to play! There have been some milder weeks, and so we bundle the little dude, and he gets all excited to be outside playing and swinging, even if it is chilly.
This one was on super bowl Sunday. (Look how big he is!) Anyway, all that to say that we have and still are thoroughly enjoying the swing.
And if my site stats are telling the truth-- so are you! I have heard from so many of you that you made one for your kiddo, grandkids, niece, friend... I am so glad so many kiddos are enjoying these beautiful handmade swings. You all are awesome! (Haven't seen the original post? Check it out here-- handmade swing with full tutorial!) That is the reason I wanted to revisit this post (it was not JUST about more gratuitous pictures of my kid-- though isn't he the cutest?) I really really would LOVE to see what you have made.
So I recently made a flickr group called 'You Got Sassy'. This is a group where you guys can upload and share Swings or any One Sassy Housewife inspired projects you have created! I hope hope hope a lot of you will participate, because I am dying to see what you have made!
If you go to the top of the page under the header, there is a new tab called "You Got Sassy". Clicking that tab will take you directly to the Flickr group page and photo pool. Or you can get to the page with this link: www.flickr.com/groups/1sassyhousewife
You will need to sign in to flickr, you can do that with a yahoo, facebook, or google account, or you can create an account. Then you will need to become a member of the group, do that by clicking the blue 'Join this Group' link under the group name. You will have to agree to the rules (no biggie-- just keep it clean, guys. Respect your work an other people's work by only posting photos you own), then once you are a member, click the 'add photos' link under the group name... and you're in business!
I know many of you are familiar with flickr, but I thought I'd quickly run through that, because some people (Hi, Mom!) give up if they don't have step-by-step instructions. :)

So there's that.
I am excited to see the swings you have made! I am excited to see the other things you have made! Anyone doing fancy Mani's? Did you make Abominable Snowman Cookies? Did your grandkids love playing with Sponge Bombs? I know some of your little men are sporting Bowties.  I want to see what you're up to... so come jump in the (photo) pool with me!