Friday, April 29, 2016

The Friday Five!

What the what!? I blinked and it's Friday again. Our week was a full one. I've been doing a lot of writing -- I had two more pieces up on HuffPo this week: one with some great ideas for finding QT time with the family this spring and another on how I organize all our crazy. Check 'em out and share and comment if you're comfortable doing so! We also celebrated Cam's SIXTH birthday yesterday and are prepping for a little partay for her this weekend. And we're getting ready for some family coming into town, too. Woo hoo!

This is what else we did in between all of that ....

*Amazon links are affiliate links.

Reading -- we are headed to Scotland + Ireland this summer! We've all picked areas to research (like we did when we took our Italy trip last summer) and these awesomely illustrated Sasek classics for both Scotland and Ireland are getting us started.

Cooking -- I am all about finding easy recipes that are full of flavor and this Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes does just that. Plus the kids cleaned their plates!

Wanting -- I'm almost always a year-round dark nails gal, but every now and then I like a little pop of color. Essie's Mint Candy Apple is the perfect shade!

Making -- between making some decorations for an outdoor art studio in the works and a accessories for Cam's party, our Pom Pom makers have been working overtime. I'm making medium ones for the outdoor studio and teeny ones for the party. You can make poms without a tool, but it's SO much easier and consistent with. *photo from A Lovely Lark.

Playing -- a quick trip to IKEA this week reminded me of the Jenga-like set I got the kids over the holidays. Love it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lemon Coconut Baked Oatmeal Cups

We've been doing a great job of reducing the amount of processed foods we eat, but one area is still slaying us: snacks. I cart around what must be a 10-lb snack bag to school pickup, sports activities, and anywhere the kids might decide they can't go on without a snack. So, yeah, anywhere.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Friday Five!

Here's what's what this week!
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Making -- the sensory fun continued this week with our easy DIY Potions Station.

Cooking -- with the final arrival of spring, I've been grilling a TON. But we all had a hankering for this Maple Dijon Pot Roast this week.

Reading -- I just started Chocolate Wars this week and it's fascinating. It traces back the rivalry among English chocolatiers to the early 19th century highlighting not only the competition among themselves, but the internal struggles all had reconciling their Quaker values (they were ALL Quaker) with eventually operating in a capitalistic corporate world. Perhaps it's because I love chocolate, or because our kids attend a Quaker school, but I'm finding it incredibly interesting. On the kiddo side of things, Cam picked out this audiobook for older kids based on the cover art (she'll learn). But turns out they both love it and want to listen to it to and from school (usually we just do audiobooks in the morning). It's funny and even though they're a little young for it, it's not at all inappropriate.

Wanting -- I've been jonesing for a dress up event lately and eyeing these statement beauties.

Playing -- Zeus on the Loose is a great math game, but requires kids to keep track in their head of numbers adding up to 100. So the math is a little above both our kids, but they've had no problem picking up the strategy of the game.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

DIY Potions Station

As our kids get older and able to undertake more complicated projects, I tend to forget about how much fun they have just simply puttering around. Cami has been asking for lots of sensory play lately (not her words, but those are the activities she means) and both kids have been interested in Harry Potter again, so they asked for a Potions Station on a recent playdate. As we'd never put one of those together, I just kind of went with whatever we had at home, giving some thought to the kinds of materials that would work well together and provide some sensory fun.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

DIY Birthday Party Garlands

Cam's 6th (SIXTH!!) birthday is almost upon us and although we are sticking with our trend of keeping parties more on the simple side of things, I can't help but oogle at all the fabulous DIY celebratory decor popping around out there. Garlands are one of my most favorite ways to decorate for a party and I always find a great way to reuse them afterwards. I don't even need to make garlands for Cam this year, but if I did, I'd have a hard time picking from this set! Some require more DIY than others (one is even just a DIY arrangement, really), but I love them all.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12

p.s. I also love these simple and free printable party banners, which would be super easy to jazz up!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Friday Five!

It's been a really funny week, and I am SO glad it's Friday! We've got family in town for the weekend and a million extracurricular things scheduled, but I'll still take it. We spent a lot of time this week reading and playing games (I was completely intrigued by this article's idea of Mind, Body, and Soul Time with your kids, so we're trying it), but read on to find out what else kept us busy this week.

Reading -- I haven't found a lot of time for my own reading lately, but we started a great new family read this week: Peter Nimble and the Fantastic Eyes. Cami has lots of ideas about the book, which she likes to interject as we're reading it. So I'm guessing it will take some time to get through. But it's pulled everyone in immediately. We also started a new audiobook, A Week in the Woods, written by the author of one of our all-time favorite books: Frindle. We've just really begun, but it seems promising!

Playing -- This game is suggested for kids slightly older than ours, but I'm so glad we went ahead and tried it anyways. They are OBSESSED. It's a great game of strategy and even Cam picked up on it immediately. Plus, it cracked me up to watch them shake the dice like they were prepping to roll a craps point.

Making -- We all loved making our Pop Art Portraits earlier this week.

Wanting -- I'll admit it. I long scoffed at luxury-priced athletic wear, but now that I've dabbled, I'm addicted. If you've ever done [solidcore], of which I'm also an addict, you'll know that even the perspiration-light folk sweat like a you know what in church. I've always had to wear a headband to keep my hair back, and to help keep sweat out of my eyes. But as I watched sweat pour off my head this week, and then onto my feet in a carriage lunge which is hard enough to hold without a slippery surface, I realized I needed to get some more serious headgear. I need a wide headband and this is what I want.

Cooking -- I'm pretty sure I've included this in a previous Friday Five, but we all are loving on this easy One Skillet Mediterranean Chicken recipe this week.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry + 30 Days of Dinner!!

I am life cranky right now. I've tried to blame it on post-vacation blues, but spring break has been over for a few weeks. It could be the fact that I've restarted a Whole30 three times in the last several weeks (I'm on Day 3 this round, so fingers crossed!). But I think it's more just a funk about everything and nothing in particular. But, in any event, it's making me sort of blah about blogging right now. I'm not planning anything drastic, but I did decide to stop our Project 52. Nothing about that excites me at the moment and I felt like I was phoning it in. So today, instead of a weekly photo, I've got our next 30 Days of Dinner.

I love cooking and the spring weather that finally seems to be on its way is full of promises for great produce, seasonal recipes, and lots of grilling. This bright Lemony Chicken Stir Fry was a huge win with everyone in the fam. I served the kids' portions with regular rice, but even Cam was tempted by the purple cauliflower "rice." It's a great go-to weekday meal that doesn't scream Paleo, but is Whole30 compliant. And I'll pretend that I'm not cranky about the glass of wine I can't have with it.

As I mentioned, I'm in the middle of restarting a Whole30, so the 30 Days of Dinner are a mix bag of clean eating, Paleo compliant, and Whole30-approved recipes.

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry
(slightly adapted from Food + Wine)

- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos  
- 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil 
- Kosher salt 
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced 
cauliflower rice (I used a purple cauliflower, which was visually so much fun)

- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes. 
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 3 minutes. 
- Stir in the coconut aminos and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, 3 minutes longer. 
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and coconut aminos. Transfer the chicken to a platter, top with the sliced scallions and serve with cauliflower rice.

*          *          *

30 Days of Dinner

Day 1 (Sun) -- dinner out

Day 2 (M) -- Avocado Turkey Burgers; sweet potato fries; Cauliflower Kale Salad (used dried cherries instead of pomegranates)
Day 3(T) -- Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce and Paleo Naan
Day 4 (W) -- Grilled Turkey Kofta Skewers with Yogurt Sauce (used goat's milk yogurt); roasted potatoes; leftover kale salad
Day 5 (Th) -- Korean Steak and Vegetable Noodle Bowls (use coconut aminos and leave out honey for Whole30)
Day 6 (F) -- Soy-Lime Broiled Tilapia with Kale-Spinach (use coconut aminos); cauliflower rice. Pizza for kids. Also, I still hate cooked fish.
Day 7 (Sat) -- dinner out
Day 8 (Sun) -- Food52 Breakfast Hash using turkey sausage, sweet potato red onion, red pepper, kale, cabbage, mushrooms, and eggs. 

Day 9 (M) -- Honey Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salad (Paleo, not Whole30 compliant); roasted potatoes
Day 10 (T) -- Easy Bibimbap Bowls with cauliflower rice
Day 11 (W) -- leftovers
Day 12 (Th) -- dinner out
Day 13 (F) -- dinner out
Day 14 (Sat) -- dinner out
Day 15 (Sun) -- dinner out (we were getting ready to go on vacation, thus lots of dining out) 

Day 16 (M) -- Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry
Day 17 (T) -- Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak (no Worcestershire); Spring Cleaning Detox Kale Salad (no honey); roasted potatoes
Day 18 (W) -- Food52 Breakfast Hash; green salad
Day 19 (Th) -- Persian-Spiced Chicken with Spaghetti Squash (everyone LOVED this)
Day 20 (F) -- One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet (doubled recipe and made 1/2 without cheese); cauliflower rice
Day 21 (Sat) -- leftovers
Day 22 (Sun) -- dinner out 

Day 23 (M) -- Italian Baked Eggs (sans cheese and bread); zoodles.
 Day 24 (T) -- Cajun Burgers with Caramelized Onions; sweet potato fries.
Day 25 (W) -- dinner out 
Day 26 (Th) -- Grilled Chicken Tacos (without tortilla); grilled vegetable kebabs.
Day 27 (F) -- leftovers 
Day 28 (Sat) -- dinner out 
Day 29 (Sun) -- dinner out 

Day 30 (M) -- grilled vegetable kebabs (skewer cut up veggies, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other seasoning); roasted potatoes; fried eggs