Friday, June 29, 2012

Foodie Friday: Strawberry Banana Chocolate Kale Smoothie



This Friday I thought I'd share something my family has for breakfast every morning, a strawberry banana chocolate kale smoothie. It's packed full of goodness and is tasty too!




Here's what you need:

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 stalks kale leaves
  • 1-2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • about 2 cups rice milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • blender

 Here's what to do:
  • First cut the bananas into small pieces, place in blender. 
  • Add the rolled oats on top.
  • Next tear the leaves off of the kale stalk, place in blender.
  • Put the chocolate protein powder on top of the kale.
  • Throw the frozen strawberries on top of that.
  • Lastly, add the milk. I put about 2 cups in. This gives me my desired consistency. Add as much, or as little, milk as you prefer.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a cup and enjoy!


Here you can see all of the ingredients layered and ready to blend.


 Here is the smoothie blending. I always let the bottom ingredients mix together very well, then I have to push the strawberries down a bit to get into the mix. Sometimes, after everything is mixed together, I add a bit more milk if I have not yet reached my desired consistency.

Have a blessed & healthy weekend y'all!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

4th of July Craft Ideas

It's been a long week, yet I have a hard time believing it is already Thursday. Wow! Time sure does fly.

Last week I missed Foodie Friday, and it seems I haven't been making good on my claim that I would be doing summer art projects with my kids. We have done only one so far. I suppose I should give myself some credit, we have at least done one, right? I think the two baby showers in one month is what has been keeping me from other things. Everything should be returning to 'normal' soon. Whatever that means.

Of course, with summer comes a little bit of family vacation time. We are looking forward to a week with Daddy very much! With that said, it will be pretty silent here next week (as if hasn't been already. lol!). We hope to relax a bit, and enjoy the time together.

I had hoped to do a craft or two for Independence Day but right now the chances of that happening are slim. So, I thought I'd leave you all with a few fun ideas I saw on Pinterest.  =)


4th of July Yarn Wreath from Sugar Tot Designs

A festive way to greet visitors!



Fourth of July Stars Garland from Madigan Made

A great way to hang the festivities inside.

4th of July Luminaries by Four Flights of Fancy. A fun project for the kiddos.










Fruit Flag from Party City. Looks super yummy!!















Patriotic Ice Cream Cupcakes from Taste of Home. These sound delightful!













Hooray for vacations and Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rainbow Themed Baby Shower


Last Sunday a friend and I hosted a rainbow themed baby shower. It was a lot of fun! Here is the shower in pictures...

Here is the gift table. As you can see, I had to attach the banner to the table. The pavilion was huge! So the banner wasn't able to hang that way. It was quite cute on the table though! This table also held the sign in sheet for the baby book. Somehow I missed taking a picture of that all together. It was so cute! There was also a game - How Many Skittles Makes A Tasty Rainbow? Basically, there is a bottle filled with Skittles. Whoever guesses the closest to the correct amount in the bottle wins! Our winner guessed just one off from the actual amount!

 These are the prize bags for the games played during the shower. Each one contained a rainbow key fob, a bag of Skittles, and some Starbursts.
 I just love these! (I may be making more of these for a future fundraising project. So, stay tuned for that!)
 The scratch off's were one of the games we played. Simple but fun! I used THIS tutorial to make them.
 Somehow, I forgot to take photos of the favor boxes while at the party. Here is a picture of the two lonely ones leftover. Below you can see all of them. I took that picture on my cell phone to show the co-host. Please forgive me, the picture quality is horrid, but you can see all of the pretty colors, not just yellow and white.  =)
(You can get the favor box template we used HERE.)

A baby shower just isn't complete without the food table! I had big thoughts and high hopes for this table. We went a simpler route though. ;) Still full of yummy rainbow inspired delights!
 A mouth watering fruit salad. God's rainbow!
 The veggie tray isn't as colorful but a must for all parties!
 Rainbow Twizzlers. The heat wasn't good to them.
 Rainbow cake pops! This was a fun challenge to make. Not the prettiest things to look at but they sure were tasty!
And then the Texas heat got to them. 


We also had Rainbow Krispie Treats. Not sure why we didn't get a picture of those! They were delightfully delicious!!

There you have it! I would definitely do the rainbow theme again for a shower. Maybe with a few different other great ideas that I found.

Have a blessed day friends!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baby Showers Galore!

In a post last week, I mentioned hosting a baby shower for a friend of mine, and showed you the pennant banner I made. I even shared the gluten-free cake recipe I used for her cupcakes on Foodie Friday. It was so much fun preparing for that party! It was a great, low-key get together.

Well, since then I have been preparing for another baby shower (with the help of a dear friend!). It is this weekend, and I am equally excited about this one! It will be a bit more formal than the last one but not like, super formal. It will include the mom-to-be's friends and family. To me, that is formal!  =)

It is a super fun rainbow theme with hints of Noah's Ark. The rainbows are in honor of Reece's Rainbow, which, if you know me even a little bit, I am quite fond of. The couple is expecting their 3rd child, so they have asked the guests to make a donation to Reece's Rainbow, instead of a gift for baby, if they feel led to. Like myself, they have met several families adopting through the organization, so it is something dear to their hearts as well!


Isn't it amazing how God works?!

So, I just wanted to share a few things I have been working on for the shower. A sneak peek, if you will. I got a lot of inspiration from browsing the internet, and pinned much of it, and then some but not even everything that I loved. Ha ha! There was just so much!

I will post more on the rainbow themed baby shower next week, including details on each. Until then...

Have a blessed day friends!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Foodie Friday: Green Sauce

There is nothing like dipping a tortilla chip into some smooth and creamy green sauce! So deliciously tasty!

I have a serious addiction to this stuff. There's a local Mexican restaurant here that has oh-so-wonderful green sauce. I wanted to make my own at home though. So, I searched the net for the perfect recipe.


I found a recipe I liked HERE. I did make a few minor changes to it but nothing that would really make it 'mine'. I really love how it turns out every time. I make this about twice a month, no joke.

Let's get started!

Ingredients:
  • 3 ripe avocados (they really need to be ripe!), skin and seed removed
  • 8 tomatillos, husks removed, halved
  • 2 jalapenos, halved, seeds removed
  • clove of garlic
  • 5-6 fresh cilantro sprigs, sometimes I use more I love cilantro!
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

How to make it:
  1. Place tomatillos, jalapenos, and garlic into a pot with just enough water to cover. Boil until tender. Drain water and let cool.
  2. Place avocado, cream cheese, cilantro, cooked, cooled veggies, and salt to taste into a food processor, OR a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Enjoy!
A few things I have learned while making this ultra yummy dip - The avocados need to be ripe. If they aren't, it's just not as yummy but still good. Also, it tastes best once you have let it cool down in the fridge for a bit, and it sort of 'sets'.

I hope you enjoy the green sauce, and have a blessed weekend friends!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DIY 'Celebrate' Banner

PHOTO SOURCE
I have seen these pennant banners all over Pinterest. I love the simplicity of them, and the fun they add to any gathering.

I knew the basic concept of how these were put together. But, I wanted some pointers on a way that would make them cut up quickly and efficiently. I found this blog post that gave wonderful directions on how to cut out, and even sew together your own personal banner.

While I do like the simplicity, and the look of the banners, I did want something with a more finished look, and a little bit of a personal touch. Here is what I made.


As you can see, I decided to put the word 'celebrate' across it, and I finished the edges instead of leaving them undone. I don't know, maybe it is just me, but I prefer a finished look to the unfinished.  =)

For the lettering I used freezer paper stenciling. It was only my second time to use this method, so it certainly isn't perfect but it did turn out wonderfully. At least I think so!

I am going to share with you my step by step process of doing the freezer paper stenciling and finishing the edges. For a complete tutorial on cutting the pennants for the banner please either visit the above mentioned blog, or any of the other great ones out there!  ;)

First, I cut the freezer paper to fit into my printer (8.5"x11"). I printed the letters directly onto the NON-shiny side of the freezer paper. I proceeded to cut around the letters to get the first picture you see above. Next, I used an exacto knife to cut out the letters. I just discarded the inside parts and kept the outer. These are my stencils. The far right picture is where I adhered the stencil to my fabric pennant. Place the stencil where you want it, and press a warm dry iron over it, SHINY side down. Make sure the edges are nicely adhered so that paint doesn't drip where you don't want it.
Once you have finished all of the letters, it is time to paint! As you can see in the far left picture, I used a white matte fabric paint and small flat bristled brush. Next I just painted the inside of the stencils until covered, being careful not to get any paint where I didn't want it. (Next time I print letters onto the freezer paper, I will leave more space. =] ) I put 2 coats letting them dry in between. Lastly, I *carefully* peeled the freezer paper off of the fabric.
Once they were all dry, I took some pre-made white bias and added it to the 2 sides of the pennant, not the top though. I continued this on all of the pennants.
Once I had each one completed, it was time to put them all together. I did this by taking a very long piece of white bias and sewing each pennant individually together. This is where you attach the bias to the top. For my banner I left 1 blank pennant on each side.


Speaking from experience, make sure you have enough bias on the ends of the banner so that you can tie it securely to a tree, or post, or whatever you may be tying it to! My ends were a bit short for the 2 trees I tied it to at a baby shower last week. Oops! It all worked out though. =)


Have a blessed day friends!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foodie Friday: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes


Are you ready for round two of Foodie Friday?

I hope so!

This week we have a tasty treat! Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes. YUM!


This recipe is a modified version of one my mother gave to me years ago. I made a few modifications to the original. I subbed a gluten free baking mix for the flour, coconut sugar for the white sugar, and instead of using shortening, I used olive oil. These bake up nice and moist!

Here's what you need:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten free baking mix
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, I just eye ball it
  • 1 3/4 cup rice milk, you could use regular

Here's what to do:
  • Preheat your oven to 350*.  Place baking cups in cupcake pans.
  • Cream butter, olive oil, coconut sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy; blend in eggs.
  • Combine baking soda, cocoa, gluten free baking mix, , baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Add alternately with milk to batter, blending well.
  • Pour evenly into cupcake liners; bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from center.
  • Cool completely before frosting.
  • Enjoy!
I am bringing these sweet treats to a baby shower today. The Momma-to-be can't have gluten or regular sugar. That is why I had to whip up something super special for her!

If you give it a try, let me know how yours turned out, or if you tried something different.   =)

Have a blessed day friends!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reece's Rainbow

As some of you know, my heart breaks for orphans. Especially orphans with Down Syndrome.

In the past I have participated in quite a few fundraisers for families adopting through Reece's Rainbow. It is a cause that is very dear to my heart. These children live in other countries where they are often rejected by their parents at birth. Or, which seems to be the case often, their parents make the decision to leave them at the hospital because if they bring home these precious little ones, they will be looked down upon in society. Most likely losing their jobs, leaving them with no way to take car of other children they may have at home already. I'm not here to judge them in their decision, I'm sure it was a hard one to make. All I want to do is spread the word about these children, in hopes that they will find a family to bring them home.


There is a ray of hope for each one of them. While they are subjected to an orphanage, there is an organization out there who is fighting for them. Probably more than one. The group I am familiar with is Reece's Rainbow. I have known several families who have adopted through them, or is currently going through the process now.

They need your help!

Rescuing these children can be financially strenuous, to say the least. There are, what seems like, endless costs involved in saving these children. Children that have been cast out, and rejected. I know though, that our Father in heaven loves them. He has called families to step up and take these special children in as their own. No matter the cost, or sacrifice they need to make.

So, why the post? My family has not been called to adopt any of these precious little ones. At least not yet. That doesn't mean that I can not help by spreading the word about this organization, and these children.

I have no fundraiser going on currently but I do know of a few ways you can help:

Denny is 6 years old and facing the institution soon.

  1. Right now you can attend a Virtual Baby Shower "Sydney" and "Lucien" Jenks over at Saving One Child at a Time.
  2. You can purchase a t-shirt through Adoption Bug to assist the Sheffield family in bringing Vinnie home. You can visit their blog at  Help Vinnie Home.
  3. Denny is facing the institution soon. You can donate money towards his adoption at Reece's Rainbow by clicking HERE.
  4. Another way to help save these orphans is to spread the word to others and to pray about them. Pray that these children find their forever families before it is too late.



None of these things is too small. No amount of money is too little. All of it CAN make a difference!

Thank you for reading, and have a blessed day friends!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Art Projects: Batik with Kids

We finished our first summer art project, and it was FUN!


I found this fun project over at That Artist Woman. She has a wonderful step by step on how to do Batik with Kids. I knew my boys would enjoy this, so we just had to give it a try for our first summer art project!

First, they enjoyed painting on the fabric with glue.



We had to wait a day for the glue to dry before we could actually do the painting. I obviously don't let them paint enough around here because they really enjoyed it! (Pay no attention to the 4th, half painted piece of fabric. I was trying to do one for the toddler but found I really need to help the 5 y/o instead!)



Once we finished painting, we had to wait another day for them to dry. This certainly isn't a quick project but worth the patience!

The next step involved soaking the fabric in warm, almost hot, water. I figured the bathtub was the easiest place, and that is what was used in the tutorial, so I did it there.


I left them there for about an hour. Not because they needed to be in there that long, just because that's when I got back to them.  =)

I did have to scrub them a bit to get the glue off. As you can see from the photo there were quite a few paint flakes. Way more than I was expecting. Clean up was not a breeze. I recommend using a large tub outside.


Next the fabric needed to dry. This is where things got out of hand. I drained the tub, cleaned up the paint flakes, and laid the fabrics on the side of the tub to dry. Who knew that the wet paint would seep through the fabric onto the tub? This lady right here gave no thought to that AT ALL. Honestly, I really wish I had. I still need to get in there and scrub it down. Hopefully it will come off. Suggestions welcome if you have one!


Even with the unexpected mess, this was a great project! The kids had fun working on it, it kept them out of trouble (hee hee), and they turned out wonderfully!

The 5 y/o did this one. You can see some letters. He attempted to write his name but ran out of space!
 
My 8 y/o isn't really into art/painting. So for him to do this, I was impressed.

Oh my 10 y/o LOVES art! He was quite excited I was giving them the opportunity to paint. He was going for a rainbow here.
Well, there you have it! Our first summer art project completed. I survived, and actually enjoyed it! In case you haven't read THIS post, I'm not big on doing artsy things with the kids. It tends to be messy and I guess I get to be crabby about it. BUT, I am working on that by planning and doing fun art projects all summer long! I hope you will continue to stop on by and see what we are up to! Who knows? Maybe you'll find a little inspiration along the way!

Have a blessed day friends!

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