Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Kid-Friendly Acai Bowl

One of our kids' most favorite things to do when we're in New Jersey is to go to the Saturday Farmer's Market. Where they eat EVERYTHING. They start out with an enormous egg sandwich from the local bakery, hit up the crepe cart for a Nutella and marshmallow crepe, and then insist they are still hungry enough to eat an "Aloha bowl" from another stand. The Aloha bowl is essentially an acai smoothie bowl, but it happens to cost $9 at the Farmer's Market. So I've been waiting to make one at home for less and when they picked all the fruit at Larriland Farm last week, I knew now was the time!

And it's become our favorite breakfast. It's easy to customize, including keeping it clean for Joel and I who are back on the Paleo bandwagon. Our kiddos like fruit, but this is jam-packed with it. Plus, our version has several superfoods in it, which makes me even happier.

Here's what you'll need for our Acai Bowl (Makes 4 servings):
- 2 tsp Acai powder (it's not cheap, but you use just a little in each batch)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
- 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 16 ounces frozen fruit (we use Trader Joe's Organic Tropical Fruit Blend)
- toppings: we used fresh sliced fruit and berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, chia seeds, granola (the kids), and a drizzle of honey.

Blend all of the ingredients except for the toppings in a blender. Pour into a bowl and add whatever toppings you like. Chow!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Scotland + Ireland: Scottish Highlands Day 3

The third day of our vacation in Scotland was definitely one of our favorites! In contrast to our days in Ireland, we spent most of our time in Scotland in just one place. But we all really wanted to get up to see the highlands at least one day. So I booked a private driver and guide through Rick Steves recommended Timberbush Tours. Our guide Gillian picked us up right at our apartment and we spent a few minutes planning our itinerary with her, which was key. We wanted to see as much of the highlands as we could without making the kids spend the entire day in the car. So Gillian suggested skipping some of the more well known sights for closer but still fabulous places. And she didn't disappoint.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Friday Five!

Ooof. It's been a rough week back from vacaye. We're in the weird end-of-summer where many other kids are back in school, but our guys still have another week and change off. We are craving a schedule, but our house is under construction. And frankly we could all use some time away from each other. But we're doing our best to remember that soon the kids will be in school and we'll all miss each other and the carefree days of the season. On that note, here's what's what this week.

Reading -- a few weeks the Cozy Reader Club asked whether I'd like to give their subscription a try for a month. The club is a clever service that delivers a curated box with a book, a new coffee or tea, and a handmade gift—all designed to help you give yourself a little "me time." Part of my problem in reading is that I get hung up picking out new books, so I really liked the idea of someone picking for me! This month's pick is Truly Madly Guilty and it arrived yesterday with a cute tin of ice tea pods, some sweet snacks, and a pretty handmade scarf. I can't wait to dig in and I love the idea of gifting the box to a new mama or friend!

Making -- Cam has been art and crafting up a STORM this week. She seems so happy to be back with full access to supplies after being on vacation so long. She seems especially glad to be able to paint again and has come up with project after project on her own with our fave liquid watercolors (the most brilliant colors and they last forever). I love seeing what she dreams up—"shaving cream painting" was probably my favorite from this week in which she basically painted on top of a container of shaving cream and shouted "beautiful!" over and over again.

Cooking -- if Cam is happy to have her art supplies back, I'm over the moon about having access to a kitchen and grill again. I love the vacation from cooking, but I miss making healthy meals for everyone. This Grilled Potato, Lemon + Zucchini with Romesco was one of my faves this week.

Wanting -- I've been back to school shopping for the kids which has been wanting to fall shop for myself. My fave grey booties are on their last leg, so I've got my eye on these (love the little flash of metallic!)

Playing -- in addition to the art closet access, both kids have just been happy to putter around the neighborhood playing all manner of pretend games this week. Cam declared herself a barista the other morning and set up a "coffee cart" on the front porch with water and our all purpose rainbow glasses (we have a set of each color way). You can see we've reached the point of summer where I direct: just go outside!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Scotland + Ireland: Edinburgh Days 1 + 2

We've just returned from our fabulous 12-day #greensgogreen trip to Scotland and Ireland! Everyone is struggling a little with getting over jet lag and getting back on a normal schedule, but while we are glad to be home, we were also all incredibly sad to end our trip. We moved around a lot more than our trip to Italy last year and I have mixed feelings about our approach to trying to see a little bit of everything. On one hand, we got to see a lot of both countries. On the other, I felt like we didn't get to spend much time in any one place and I left each city and area of the countries feeling like we needed at least an additional day there. I guess we'll just have to go back!

Monday, August 22, 2016

DIY Tiedye Playdough Bath Soap

Our kids can smell the bathstore LUSH from miles away (who can't, really) and they are obsessed with their moldable soap. Its fantastic, but, like everything else in there, it's expensive. Now being a DIY veteran, I'm fully aware that "doing it yourself" often ends up costing far more in money and effort than simply sucking it up and buying it. BUT we found an incredibly easy recipe for playdough bath soap. Then we tie dyed it. BOOM. It's a snap to customize and you probably have all the ingredients all ready!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Friday Five!

We are still on vacation (having a fabulous time exploring Scotland + Ireland), so I'll keep this Friday Five short.

Reading -- our late nights out on this trip means we haven't had tons of time to read before bed. But the kids have been happy to go to sleep with an audiobook on and Philippa Fisher and the Fairy Godsister has done the trick every night.

Cooking -- I have cooked nothing, but have eaten (and imbibed) plenty (SUCH a cleanse is needed when we get home!). We've eaten all sorts of delicious things, but I think last night's Dublin dinner at The Pig's Ear might have been my fave. The Tartare of Irish Beef Brisket, Picked Onion + Seeds, Smoked Cheddar.

Making -- we haven't done a whole lot of crafting on the road, but we made some cool origami on our visit to the Scottish Museum of Modern Art. So I think I'll pick this up for the kids to try out when we get back!

Wanting -- I blew out my hairdryer in Scotland, so now I need to replace my fave! I've had to dry my hair and then braid both sides into a low bun the entire vacation to deal with the weather over here.

Playing -- the kids have been working their way through all the Travel Games + Activities I brought and I've been very happy with my choices. BUT their Nonna also brought along one of these pinball arcades for each of them and they've been obsessed. They've also been loving this Cranium Brain Breaks Game, which has kept them busy while we've planned and prepped during vacaye.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

DIY Outdoor Obstacle Course

A few years ago we ran an obstacle course race together as a family and it was a HUGE hit. Since we've moved across the street from a giant park, the kids have been after me to put our own course together. So I hit up our local dollar store and with the help of a few additional doodads, set up a super fun course that is also easy to break down and re-use. Head over to Z Living to get the goods!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Interview the Kiddos -- August 2016

Even though I constantly chronicle the kids' lives on the blog and in our book, I am the WORST at printing out photos, keeping baby books, and the like. One of my most favorite family activities we did was the Q+A a Day we kept up for a while -- it was such a great way to document the kids' personalities. But, alas, I failed at doing the daily task. We originally borrowed that idea from our friends at No Monsters in My Bed, so I decided to borrow another from them! A regular interview of the kiddos. I'm going to try and do them every three months, but we'll see how it goes! Thanks No Monsters!!

Cameron -- age 6 years, 3 months
FAVORITE COLOR - rainbow, and green, gold, and silver. and multicolored.
FAVORITE BOOK - Mercy Watson 
FAVORITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL - reading, art, and writing
FAVORITE SONG - Barbara Streisand/Llorenzo Llama version
FAVORITE FOOD - mom’s lamb meatballs
FAVORITE MOVIE - Jem and the Holograms
FAVORITE TV SHOW - Wizards of Waverly Place
FAVORITE TOY/GAME - Penguin game 
WHAT ARE YOU SAVING YOUR ALLOWANCE FOR? - buying stuff like for art and books for the poor.
FAMOUS PERSON YOU'D LIKE TO MEET - Mommy — you’re famous!
BEST FRIEND - mommy, Kane, daddy, Zoe, Uncle Steve, my cousins. I have lots of best friends.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY - sidewalk chalk paint
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO AS A FAMILY - Ireland + Scotland — I bet it will be fun.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AFTER SCHOOL - hang out and relax with my family.
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH KANE - me and Kane do like playing Artemis and Apollo with pretend arrows and swords.
DREAM VACATION - Ireland + Scotland. And Hawaii.
FAVORITE MUSEUM - The Renwick and History Museum Innovation gallery (National Museum of American History).
FAVORITE SEASON - Winter because I love snow.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER? - kiss the Blarney Stone.
FAVORITE MEMORY FROM THIS SPRING - playing with my friends.
FAVORITE SPORT - oooh, that’s a hard one. Basketball.

Kane -- age 7 years, 9 months 
FAVORITE BOOK - The Unwanteds (audiobook)
FAVORITE SONG - Shut Up and Dance 
FAVORITE MOVIE - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 and 2 
FAVORITE TV SHOW - Just Add Magic 
WHAT ARE YOU SAVING YOUR ALLOWANCE FOR? - most recently, Pokemon cards. 
FAMOUS PERSON YOU'D LIKE TO MEET - That’s physically impossible, but it’s Benjamin Franklin.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? - A billionaire. Someone who owns a lot of businesses. No, the president. 
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY - Spend time together — I don't care, as long as we’re together. 
FAVORITE THING TO DO AFTER SCHOOL - It depends on the season. In winter it's having a snow ball fight. 
DREAM VACATION - Going to the moon. 
FAVORITE MUSEUM - Museum of Natural History (National Museum of Natural History) 
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER? - go to Jamaica again
FAVORITE SPORT - wrestling 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Balloon Stamp Painting

At this point in the summer, the kids are sort of over trying new things. They are over each other. They are frankly over me (how dare they!). But they both donned immediate huge smiles, laughed, and had a total blast when I broke out this balloon stamp painting project last week. I honestly can't remember where I spotted this project first—somewhere in the depths of Pinterest, probably. It's not an original idea, but it's a truly fabulous outdoor paint project. I highly recommend giving it a try to get you through these dog days of summer!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Friday Five!

We are on vacaye so this week has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of activities. The kids had lots of downtime at home while we prepped to leave so they had plenty of play time, but we haven't had much homemaking. Here's what we've managed ....

p.s. I LOVE vacation.

*Amazon links are affiliate links.

Reading -- we are working our way through several non-fiction books about Scotland and Ireland on vacation. I also started Loving Frank after our trip to the Pope-Leigh House last week.

Making -- Cam took an arts class at summer camp this year and learned several weaving techniques. I put together a cardboard loom using Art Bar's tutorial and she made weaving after weaving.

Cooking -- everyone loved this Brisket Barbacoa Beef.

Wanting -- I've had my snakeskin clutch for forever and it's in need of replacing. I like the little splashes of color for fall in this Brahmin.

Playing -- we played lots of Outfoxed before leaving at vacation. It's like a cooperative game of Clue and the kids love it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Olives, and Lemon + 30 Days of Dinner!

I can hardly believe I waited so long to work lamb in to our dinner rotation at home. Everyone was completely gaga over these meatballs from Smitten Kitchen—Cam asks for them at nearly every meal (no matter where we are). They are absolutely delish, so I get it. Next time I'll be making a double batch!

The rest of these 30 Days are also a mix of clean and not-exactly-clean eating. I was about 12 days in to my Whole 30 when the storm from hell hit and required a bunch of work at home. Hence, pizza and beer. Plus since we're on vacation it just seemed silly to try another stint before we're back. So, everything here is still healthy, just not 100% clean. I'm psyched for all we have planned for August, but also looking forward to getting the kids back in school and everyone on a more consistent schedule. Till then!!

Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Olives, and Lemon
(slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

- 8 tbsp water
- 2 lbs ground lamb
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- zest of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- a few slugs of red wine
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed or pureed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- zest of half a lemon
- 3/4 to 1 tsp table salt
- pinches of red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1/3 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta, for garnish

1. Make meatballs: in a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except oil. Using wet hands, form mixture into small meatballs (1 1/2 - 2-inch diameter).

2. Brown meatballs: heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat it through. Evenly space meatballs in pan and very carefully turn and roll them so that all sides become brown. Don't worry if they don't stay perfectly round or if some pieces stick to the pain. Drain meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Make sauce and finish cooking meatballs: pour all but 1 tablespoon fat out from skillet and return to medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add wine and scape up any bits stuck to the pan. Cook until the liquid almost disappears. Add tomatoes, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper flakes, olives, mint, and parsley. Bring mixture to a simmer and return meatballs to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook at the lowest simmer for 20 - 24 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Squeeze lemon juice over meatballs and sauce.

Sprinkle with additional olives, feta, and herbs. We had ours over orzo pasta.

*          *          *

30 Days of Dinner

Day 1 (W) -- Brinner of omelets, bacon, and our new favorite Breakfast Potatoes.
Day 2 (Th) -- dinner out
Day 3 (F) -- grilled barbecue chicken on strawberry salad.
Day 4 (Sat) -- leftovers/kids pizza 
Day 5 (Sun) -- dinner out 

Day 6 (M) -- Chicken Fajita Cheeseburgers; sweet potato french fries
Day 7 (T) -- Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
Day 8 (W) -- post storm pizza + beer night
Day 9 (Th) -- grilled flank steak, Breakfast Potatoes, salad
Day 10 (F) -- Lemon Chicken with Red Onion; cauliflower rice
Day 11 (Sat) -- dinner out at a friends -- we brought this Chinatown Sling cocktail and ordered in Chinese food
Day 12 (Sun) -- BBQ at friends -- we brought this deeelish Classic Potato Salad and Pineapple Sangria 

Day 13 (M) -- Nectarine Mustard Glazed Salmon with Grilled Stone Fruit; Easy Lemon Roasted Potatoes; green beans
Day 14 (T) -- Moroccan Pita Sandwiches; leftover potatoes
Day 15 (W) -- leftovers 
Day 16 (Th) -- Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Olives + Lemon; orzo pasta
Day 17 (F) -- dinner out
Day 18 (Sat) -- dinner out 
Day 19 (Sun) -- Paleo Crockpot Chili (STILL a huge fam favorite) 
Day 26 (Sun) -- BBQ at friends

Day 27 (M) -- Lemon Chicken with Red Onion (also added spinach -- cleaning out fridge before vacaye!); leftover breakfast potatoes; green beans
Day 28 (T) -- brinner 
Day 29 (W) -- dinner out while traveling
Day 30 (Th) -- dinner out tonight in Scotland!! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

2016 Summer Bucket List Update #2

We had a good Summer Bucket List haul in July. Between our beach trip and a lot of downtime at home, we were busy bees!! We are up to 60 things at the end of the month ... BUT we have 59 more left on our list so we best keep after it. How's your summer going so far!?

23. - 38. Fifteen geocaches -- I'll admit it. We are Pokemon Go obsessed in our house. I do like that it's a fun new form of geocaching and we had no problem catching fifteen fairly quickly.

Monday, August 8, 2016

DIY Mirror Painting

I have been carting around a set of mirrors for several years with the goal of using them in a painting project. And we finally made it happen! Head over to Honest to Nod to see how we used them to paint the sky!

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Friday Five!

Reading -- We've been loving Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library so much that we checked out another Chris Grabenstein (with James Patterson) audiobook this week: I Totally Funniest. It's the third in the series, but we've had no trouble jumping in. Kane thinks it's hysterical. We also started the Ireland book of one of our favorite series that my mom started the kids on. We love all of them!

Cooking -- this roasted chicken recipe from Martha was DELISH. Next time I'd do all bone-in chicken breasts because not one Green likes the rest of the bird.

Making -- it's been a loooong time since we made a batch of homemade playdough because our Gingerbread batch has lasted since last fall. It's probably time to make something new, but we broke that back out this week and Cam made some playdough portraits with it using googly eyes, buttons, and sequins.

Playing -- we keep trying to deal with the heat by hitting up pool after pool. These dive sticks have lasted for several years and now that the kids can actually dive down to the bottom to retrieve them, they've become obsessed.

Wanting -- The only reason I've don't have any tattoos is because I could never decide what to get. In addition to her entire wardrobe on Odd Mom Out, I love Jill Kargman's wrist bow tattoo (and her general obsession with bows and goth meets preppy fashion sense). But, now that I know someone else has it, I can't get it!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Olympics Viewing Party!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Olympics. It's something about all those young hopes and dreams, perseverance, hard work. It's incredibly impressive and drives our household into Olympic obsession every time they roll around. Joel and I actually went to the last Olympic summer games in London and we originally planned on attending Rio this year with our whole family. Alas, we are not. BUT we will be watching the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night with fanfare and you can too! Even if you didn't plan ahead (like us), you can pull together an easy fun evening with these ideas. Go for it.

 1 / printable world flags 2 / Olympic bingo 3 / easy Olympic cookies  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

25 MORE Fave Travel Activities, Games + Toys

Back before the holidays last year, I posted on our favorite travel activities, games, and toys. And we've used those for traveling all year long with serious success. But we're about to embark on a new trip and our supplies needed some refreshing. I've scoured the interwebs and stores to put together fun new items that should keep the kiddos happily occupied (fingers crossed!). I've found that it really helps bringing some activities to break out once we arrive at our destination in addition to the actual travel part. And that small sets of building manipulative and art projects are absolutely worth tucking in your suitcase. Some of these I've tested already, others I plan on breaking out on this next trip. Either way, since August seems to be the summer month for travel, I thought I'd share!!

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1 | 2 | 3 

4 | 5 | 6 | 7 

8 | 9 | 10 | 11

12 | 13 | 1415 

16 | 17 | 18 | 19 

20 | 21 | 22

23 | 24 25 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Whale (Dolphin) Watching off the Jersey Shore

The kids' grandparents booked an amazing whale watching tour over our July trip to the Jersey Shore. I've seen killer whales once on a Seattle ferry ride, but the kids never have. And with all our recent watching of Shark Week, they were pumped to get out on the water and put their newfound marine explorer skills to work. We didn't spot any whales, but we saw a TON of dolphins and had a beautiful (and much cooler) ride along the shore.