Monday, February 29, 2016

Dark Chocolate Superfood Bites

I mentioned in our last 30 Days of Dinner that part of my efforts to keep the kids on track for eating healthy foods has been to cut out dessert on weekdays. But when they are allowed a sweet treat on the weekends, I've been trying to keep it on the healthier side too. And one of the things I've worked back into my own diet, now that our Whole30 is done, is a bit of dark chocolate. When I spotted The View from Great Island's combo of good dark chocolate and healthy bits, I knew we had to try them. She calls them "detox bites," but since it's still sugar, I'm not exactly sure what is detox about them. So we're going with Superfood Bites -- they are chock full of good-for-you superfoods and the kids will still eat them because they are on top of dark chocolate. Plus, they are actually super easy and fun to make. And so pretty!

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Friday Five!

Instead of feeling elated that the weekend had arrived, for the past few months, Fridays have felt like the start of a cascade of activities. Always fun, but just so numerous that our weekends have been entirely overwhelmed. We are reclaiming this weekend! Yes, we have a few scheduled things. But, I'm still looking at least a few lazy hours each morning with the fam. Yasssssss.

While I'm attempting to sleep in and let our kids have at the technology, I'm sure I'll be comforted by all we actually did this week ....

Making -- these DIY Tassel Necklaces are so incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. Guaranteed to brighten up your day (or at least your wardrobe).

Wanting -- I've just decided that it's spring and am planning my wardrobe accordingly.

Playing -- made by the same company as Rat-A-Tat-Cat, Kane loves any way to loop in Greek mythology.

Cooking -- These Chicken Tinga Tacos were spicy! Even when I left out some of the chipotle peppers. But everyone loved them and they were a different addition to Taco night.

Reading -- I stuck Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the World in my bag for carpool pickup and couldn't stop reading it. I read Darcy's review of it a while ago, but kind of forgot. Reading it was like stepping back into our Rome vacation last summer. So much familiarity in the street names, history, sensory experiences, exploring the city with children. I want to go back! We finally finished Queste after a month of serious cartime play -- it's a LOOOOONG book. Only Kane was super into it, and because it's the fourth in the series, he has started back at the beginning and is listening to the first three books (he's on the second) himself. Nevertheless, we just started The Island of Dr. Libris, which seems promising.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Project 52 -- Week 8 + DIY Tassel Necklaces!

We've got a twofer for you today. Cam and I spent some time this week stringing together super bright DIY Tassel Necklaces and we couldn't stop making tassels. Seriously. The fringe, the faceted beads, the poms on our inspirational garland. All super fun tactile materials perfect for a Project 52 focused on texture. So, here's Cam working hard.

PLUS you can see how to make these simple beauties yourself over at The Land of Nod today. Get thee to the craft store and spread the tassel love.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Look for Less!

I'm sure that I'm about to jinx us all, but I swear I can feel spring on its way. Sure, the temperatures are still swinging wildly about; but, the sun has been rising earlier and setting later, the birds are back, and the air smells different. So of course spring clothes shopping is on my mind. A few weeks ago, I shared our first Look for Less with a warmer weather sporty look for the boys. So now it's the girls' turn!

This is a classic look for Cam -- especially since she has to wear gym shoes in school now. She loves skirts and a little special detail, but has to be able to book it in gym class and the playground still. Cami has lots of these jeweled shirts from J.Crew, but you have to be really careful washing them and a white shirt is sure to get stained. So the "For Less" recreates this with a similar silhouette top and an inexpensive necklace that can be re-used in more than one outfit. I love the limited edition New Balance shoes, but the less expensive pair from Zara gives a similar feel with a pastel/bright combo. I think Cam would approve.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Friday Five!

This week's weather has vacillated between below freezing with snow to sunny skies and forecast 60-degree days this weekend. It's doing a number on my sinuses, but giving me hope (perhaps falsely) that spring might be on its way! Here's how we kept ourselves busy ....

Cooking -- I almost always increase a dinner recipe so that we have leftovers, but even doing that still didn't leave much left of this Shawarma-Spiced Chicken Pita with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce. Now that we're not on Whole30, I am adding a bit of dairy back into our diet, but I try to stick with goat's milk -- I find it less irritable to my stomach. So I subbed goat's milk yogurt in for the sauce. I also tried out this Paleo Naan instead of pita for the adults -- it wasn't quite naan, but it worked wonders for two peeps who haven't had anything breadlike in more than 6 weeks. The Shawarma recipe also comes together so quickly -- it's perfect for a weeknight meal!

Playing -- We gave Cam Rat-A-Tat-Cat as one of her Hanukkah presents and she LOVES it. It's a great memory and math building game and she frequently beats me even when I'm trying.

Wanting -- I'm starting to feel bratty posting new things that I want every week. But I actually haven't bought any of them yet, so I'll carry on. I recently organized my jewelry, so I fully understand that I have about a gazillion pairs of mini gold stud earrings. Nevertheless, I'm wanting this pair of shark teeth earrings.

Making -- we saved our extra Matisse cut-outs and have been working with them all week. I can't overemphasize how relaxing it is to cut the shapes -- to fit one inside the shadow of another to maximize a piece of paper. I'm definitely obsessed with this project. Cam is also into working with clay lately and this 6-piece set has been getting a lot of use in the house this week.

Reading -- My library hold list has had me shuffling books around a bit this week. I finally finished Americanah (love, love, loved it! I could hardly wait to get to the end of it -- I kept having to stop myself from jumping ahead), and I've still got A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert as my carpool line read. But I finally got off the waitlist for All the Light We Cannot See, so I started that yesterday too. We are still working our way through Pieces and Players, but Kane also started being able to check out chapter books from his school library this week. So we are also reading one of the A to Z Mystery series -- The Kidnapped King

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Project 52 -- Week 7

Cam blows Kane a kiss to end a fight over who was reading their juice glass best. Love.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Healthy Banana Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie

Yes, you read that right. It's banana coconut cream, but it's healthy. Promise.

Cam and I have been watching a lot of Top Chef together while I cook dinner and she's been begging me to help make a kid-friendly snack that won't send her packing with her knives. We've also all been nursing sore throats, so I thought a cold smoothie might help everyone out. Here's how to make our deeeelish (and sneaky) Healthy Banana Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Matisse Paper Cut-Outs

Most of the art projects we do really give the kids an opportunity to use their own creativity. That's sort of the point, right? But now that they are getting older, I wanted to start to use some projects as a little art history lesson. We've done a bit of this in the past (like our Father's Day Pop Art prints), but I generally try not to give too many restrictions to a particular art project. So this was really something different for them.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Friday Five!

We've had a busy week! How about you? We're about to get another dose of super cold weather, so I'm looking forward to bundling everyone up and staying inside. We have a few lingering bugs to shake off and a lot of projects on our lists. So bring it, winter. But before we move on, here's what we were up to this week ....

Playing -- Kane received this awesome beginning programming board game over the holidays, but we just finally got to it this week. There are several different levels of play and the kids picked it up quickly. They love that the parent has to participate, but as the "computer" -- following each direction the kids come up with. Finally, they get to tell me what to do :)

Wanting -- I tried to hate on the Apple Watch. But now I just want one.

Cooking -- I had a few really successful dinners this week with the kids, but this Ginger Chicken with Green Onions was tops. Kane told me it was the best "unprofessional Chinese food" he'd ever had. I'll take that.

Reading -- We got into our next Blue Balliet book, but I got it wrong last week. We actually picked up Pieces and Players and the kids (especially Kane) are happy to be back into the mystery-solving kids and pentominoes. I'm still reading Americanah, but it's giant and I hate lugging it around with me. So I also started A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert -- a more reasonable size to toss in my bag!

Making -- we are kind of obsessed with the Strawberry Sugar Scrub we made this week.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Project 52 -- Week 6

The devil is in the details ... or so they say. I love this photo (a rare one of the two yahoos together) because of all the details I see. Cami trying to stand as close to Kane without touching him as possible (and announcing that that is exactly what she's doing), because she's obsessed with him and he wanted a photo by himself. The checkered shirt Kane rocks because it's the closest to "daddy's." All of the changes in our living room since we moved in less than a year ago and how much happier (and bigger!) these two look in front of the fireplace than they did the night before our move. The details are all there, you just have to know where to look.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day Strawberry Sugar Scrub

We already checked off a new DIY Bath Product from our Winter Bucket List when we made a Salty Brown Sugar + Vanilla Body Scrub, but this winter weather is still doing a number on our skin. When Kane used up our last batch of body scrub this weekend, all H broke lose. Fortunately, they're incredibly easy to whip up and we decided to go with a fun Valentine's Day batch this time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Look for Less!

Always a big fan of faux shopping, I just started surfing around online for the kids' spring clothes. And every time I've added something to my shopping cart (just to save for later, of course!), my jaw drops a bit at the price total. I usually wait for sales to stock up, but what if you can't?! I want them to look cute and they want to look cute, but come on. So I thought I'd try out a semi-regular feature -- the well-known "look for less" post!

First up, a fab boys look from J.Crew (a definite favorite of all of ours). Most of these pieces are pretty basic, which makes me hate spending a lot of money on them. I might splurge on the shoes, because they are bright and different, but you can see it's not too hard to find something similar that is much less. It's like a sporty, slightly dressed up, casual look that I know Kane would wear!

"The Look"                                           

Monday, February 8, 2016

Squeaky Clean Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon + 30 Days of Dinner

I'm dreaming of the weather being just slightly warmer so that I can stand to stay outside and grill something for din. But until that happens, we'll keep cranking through slow cooked comfort foods. The kids LOVED this Bourguignon -- they chowed it down without noticing (or at least not caring) about all the veggies inside. I skipped thickening the broth (because I can't really stand many of the Paleo-friendly cooking starches) and just ladeled some of the broth over the meat when I served it. No complaints.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Friday Five!

Yay for the first full week back to school! Here's what we were up to in between repeatedly putting on, taking off, drying, and redressing everyone in their snow gear.

Cooking -- whenever things get busy around dinnertime, I pull up this great Food52 non-recipe for breakfast hash. It's a good checklist to use to pull ingredients you already have together to make a delish meal. Plus, I'd eat eggs all day long.

Playing -- we had a super fun time at our recent family game night in. A win for new games!

Wanting -- I have not been able to find someone to give me the hair color I want for at least the past 7 years. I don't know if it's them, if it's my hair, or what. But I hate golden blonde on me and it seems to be all anyone will do. The last time I had it colored, I just said don't even bother trying. Just make it dark. But I'm itching to get it lighter and this is what I want. Anyone? Anyone know a good blonde highlights stylist in the DC area?!?

Making -- after we tried out Little Loving Hands in December, the kids' Uncle Steve purchased a yearly subscription for them for the holidays. We've fallen a little behind, but are working on two new crafts to donate to kids in need. Possibly my favorite craft subscription for kids ever.

Reading -- We FINALLY finished Magnus Chase and are about to start a new Blue Balliet book (we loved the Wright 3 series and even took a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Chicago a few years back because of it). I just started Americanah and am already hooked a few chapters in -- if you're ever looking for good book recommendations, my friend Darcy reads more than any other person I know and always shares her reviews!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

DIY Snow Putty

Almost all of the 2+ feet of snow dumped on D.C. a few weeks ago has disappeared. So we decided to make our own! Head over to The Land of Nod's blog to check out our DIY Snow Putty. Part science, part art, part sensory fun. And all much easier to deal with than the real deal.

2016 Project 52 -- Week 5

We've cut back considerably on the kids' sugar intake recently, but for our recent game night, I put together several sweet treats for them. I love this picture of Cam -- her sweet eyes are always bigger than her tummy. She took down a few pieces of candy and one bite of Mochi and decided it was "too many sweets." No idea where she gets that from!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Winter Game Night In!

Ol' Punxsutawney Phil may not have seen his shadow yesterday, but we suspect there are still a few chilly weeks ahead of us. And that means it's time to think outside the box a little. Head over to the P.S. Blog to see how we kept our family time fresh with a fun winter game night in!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Favorite Valentine's Tops

Our guys love to spread the love on Valentine's Day and that includes sporting something special. From hearts to holiday colors to graphic good vibes, here are our fave Valentine's tops that you can still wear long after the day passes!

For the ladies ....

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /

For the fellas ....

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9