Monday, January 14, 2013

Michael Jackson

Douglas turned 5 in November. 5 guys! 5!

I was planning a small birthday party for him. Nothing big, just a few kids playing video games. We told him that his party wouldn't be on his birthday [a Tuesday] but that following Saturday. He was cool with that.

But Douglas is obsessed with Michael Jackson.

A week before his birthday Douglas asked for a Michael Jackson party.

I had no clue what to do... but I did it.

The day before his birthday we gave him an early present.. Sparkly gloves, a fedora [thank you walmart little girls section] AND The Michael Jackson Experience game for the Wii. We played a bajillion times, my legs hurt.

The next day I let him wear his Adidas track suit to school, and let him take his hat. Then grandma picked him up from school for a fun birthday treat!

[top left: star confetti in clear ballons, top right: foam Michael Jackson gloves for balloon ping pong, bottom right: Michael Jackson Experience on the Wii.. Dace floor ready, bottom left: Michael Jackson hats with rock star stickers  to decorate them with. They were actually top hats from the New Year's section in the party store]
 The waiting drove Isabella nuts.

His delighted face was priceless... priceless I tell you.

The kids danced, played, had a blast.

The cake stumped me. But some silver sugar sprinkles fixed that. Glittery glove on the top.

Presents galore.

And that, ladies & gentlemen, is how you throw a last minute, small budget Michael Jackson party.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Homemade Ice Cream

So, you know I love pinterest. I'm sure you do too. I found a recipe for ice cream in a bag on there. I gave it a go and it worked fabulously! I wish I could give you the link to the pin and give the poster credit for it, but when I went to it again an error message popped up saying that someone had reported it as spam and the link has been removed. BUMMER!

Lucky for you, I wrote down the recipe! + even did a little experimenting. Which means that now I get to share it with you! And pinterest again.. 

You don't need an ice cream machine/maker thing... you just need 2 different sized zipper storage bags.

I use the Walmart brand freezer kind because they have the double zipper. If you're doing this with kids, you may want to label the smaller bags... "which one's mine?... are you sure?.. I don't think that one is mine! His looks better.." Annoying huh?

[Yes! Douglas likes to go by Michael Jackson.]

As part of trying to be healthier around here I think if we're going to have ice cream, even if it does have some sugar in it,the 3 ingredient kind is better for you than some of the ones you can buy in the store. You know, with all those chemicals that you can't even pronounce in them. This recipe yields about 1/2 a cup of ice cream. Perfect for a toddler or young child. Not perfect for a mom or dad who loves ice cream, so you may want to double it if you're making some for yourself. [I regretted not having made some for myself the first time. Don't repeat my mistake...] I also think that making it together is a special treat that we can have once in a while.. maybe once a week?!

Here is what you'll need:

[I'm not trying to promote Walmart here, I'm just cheap and buy their brand on things that don't really make a difference.]
1/2 cup of half + half
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The salt is for later... But you'll need about an 1/8 of a cup of it.

If you want to be a little wild and REALLY pack in some delicious nastiness like my kids did, then you can add about a teaspoon of flavored syrup. Chocolate to make chocolate ice cream OR strawberry syrup to make strawberry ice cream. I'm sure throwing in some mini chocolate chips or some small cut up pieces of strawberries would be delicious. Just don't go crazy on that though, a little goes a long way. We did NOT omit the vanilla when we did this, so I'm not sure how it would go without it.

When working with littles, I use a cup for the bag with the ingredients..

[like this!]
Because they want to do everything themselves and this keeps it confined and easier for them to work with.

Put the half + half, vanilla, and sugar in the small bag. Seal it up, and mix it up.

I didn't take my chances, I folded down the bag + taped it.

Set that aside for a bit and fill your big bag about half way with ice [you want to leave room for the ice cream bag]. Pour the salt in there and shake it up a bit.

[*The salt causes the ice to melt faster but also causes a lower freezing point... giving your ice cream a nice consistency, not just like frozen milk.]

Place the small bag with the ice cream mixture in the bigger bag with the ice in it.

I would recommend wrapping it with a dish towel so that your fingers don't freeze off AND so that the sweat from the ice melting doesn't fly everywhere... or get on the children's shirts and make Isabella freak out screaming that she needs her shirt off. Diva.

Set a timer for 5 minutes and let the kids shake it up.
Be warned: they will get tired after about 1 minute.
Hope you've been doing your kettle bell exercises. 
Ha! an easy way to do this without your arms getting tired is to place it on the counter or a table and shake it.
It should be done by the time your timer goes off and look something like this.

Cut the corner off of the bag and squeeze it into a bowl.

Or do like I do and eat it straight out of the bag.

The original post for this said that regular milk works also, but I have not tried that. I don't see why whole milk wouldn't work. Let me know if you try it with milk instead of half + half and how it goes... and if you come up with any recipes I MUST try!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 will be

The year I actually set some goals and actively try to accomplish them.

While growing up, my resolutions were always to do better in school, read more etc. Then when I "grew up" + got married they changed to things like don't waste so much money, budget, utilize my time wisely, be a better wife... Now that I'm a mom I honestly cannot remember what I've said the last few years, I haven't really made over it. But in my mind I have thought, "I'm going to do better. take better care of the house, just do more."

That's all fine + dandy, but I need to be more specific. So a few days ago I sat down and wrote 5 things that I wanted to do this year. Not just something I want to experience, but things that I want to change in myself. In my way of living, in my personality, in my daily life. While doing this I thought about how I might be able to actually get with it and get things together IF I took the time to make a timeline, put baby steps down below my BIG things that would help me get there. I've had this blog as a draft for about a week, just mulling it over.. With just my short list.

Last night one of my favorite people in the world, Susan Petersen posted her New Year's post- "on goal setting - five steps to take control of 2013". On how to actually keep your goals and accomplish them. It's like she read my mind. It was like she was talking specifically to me. If you haven't checked her out yet, you should. She's a celebrity you know.

Susan is also giving away a year of her fab baby moccasins to a lucky Instagramer. If you're not on there.. do it. New Year's Day is the last day to enter. Here are the details.

So here are my big goals. I have a whole separate list for Created, and a few personal goals that include my guy, my kids & my God, but I'm going to keep that private for now. I can't tell you guys everything! Sheesh.

»get healthy
»stay home more
»get organized
»make our house a home
»save/stop wasting money

And this is how I'm going to accomplish them.

»Get healthy + workout.
I put those 2 together because they go hand in hand. But how? What steps will I take to make this happen?

1. I'm going to try and cut as much sugar out of our diet as I can. We will be using natural stevia powder [no, not truvia] to sweeten most of what we will need sweetened. I'll mix it with apple fiber to use it in baking, and make liquid sweetener from it for our coffee & drinks.
2. I also have this love affair with pizza. ANY pizza. If it's pizza, I'll eat it. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, + dinner.. on special occasions I do. Little Caesar's has it for $5 something. And it's right by Walmart  So get groceries but buy pizza to eat... That's dumb. But I do it. Not all the time, but embarrassingly more than I should. I won't do that anymore. Unless it's my birthday.
3. More water. No soda. [I also love pepsi.] and my children love apple juice, LOVE it. but I'm hoping more natural teas sweetened with honey or stevia. But definitely more water.
4. Very little fast food. Except for our yearly Sonic corn dogs on Halloween, or maybe alot ourselves 1 fast food meal a month. This will save money AND help us get healthy.
5. Eat homemade. Not just less fast food, but make our own granola bars instead of buying the packaged ones, make our own taco seasoning instead of buying the one with all the chemicals in it. Make our own ice cream as a special treat. Since I love pizza so much, maybe have our own pizza night where all of us make individual pizzas, on homemade crust with homemade pizza sauce, maybe even homemade mozzarella.Things like that.
6. workout. Take the time to do it. I love yoga. love. it. But I can't be all namaste with kids yelling at me. So I'll GO to yoga class once a week. AND work out at home at least 2 -3 days a week. I have a hard time with that. Like I should be doing dishes or vacuuming instead. It's that friggen mommy-guilt.

»Stay home more.
This will help me with getting organized, making our house a home, AND getting healthy. I'll have time to make mozzarella, and granola bars.

1.Get organized. I'll make shopping lists and meal lists and activity lists so that when D has school I'll get everything I need while I'm out instead of having to go back to the store because I forgot something.
2.Allot time for activities + play dates. Just not too many, it is ok to say no. Have friends over more often.
3.Stop instant gratification. Sometimes I see something on tv or have an idea and have to have it right away. Mathew + I are both like that. He's was worse than me, but now we just met somewhere in the middle. You're not going to die if you don't get it right away, just wait til the next time you're in town Emma. Wait.

»Get organized.
1.Plan our meals. I used to do this and it's amazing.
2.Keep a laundry schedule and actually stick to it! I have one already made up, when I stick with it, it works like a charm. A load a day except sunday, some days 2 loads.
3. Stick with a cleaning schedule. An area a day type thing.
4. Declutter.

»Make our house a home.
I feel complimented when most of my friends say that they feel so at home at our house. We must too because this place is usually a pit. There's clothes and toys everywhere. The kids are often seen wearing clothes then just underwear, then a different set of clothes... later I find clothes under the couch cushions and just strewn on the floor. And I'm sad to admit that the kids are not the only ones.

1.Accomplish previous resolution. That would help a lot, specially the decluttering part.
2.Put things where they go RIGHT AWAY. Sometimes I open a package in the living room and set the trash on the coffee table instead of walking over to the trashcan and throwing it away. When I get up I forget to take it with me. Later I find it on the floor in pieces. I could get upset at the kids or the dog, but it's my fault. Same with dishes. I have a drink while I'm crocheting on the couch. I finish my drink but don't take it to the kitchen, then forget about it. Next time I do the same thing, now 2 cups on the end table. LAZY. That's what it is. No way around it. Stop doing that.
3.Fatigue doesn't last forever. If you need to stay up an extra 30 minutes to do dishes + clean the counters, do it! It's better to wake up tired to a clean kitchen and picked up house than to wake up tired to a messy and dirty house.
4.Paint. Sew. Make.

»Save/stop waiting money.

They all flow together don't they. Getting organized will help us get healthy by planning meals and giving us a schedule. It will also help me keep up with things around the house, which will make us happier at home and help me have time to take out to work out. Doing all of that will require me to be home more... which I'll want to be because I'll love it here. I'll want to make it prettier, make it ours. I'll have more time to sew, make pillow covers, curtains.. eek! Bake more food! Cook more, which goes back to the healthy thing. The possibilities are endless. All of this will help save money. No more wasting it on crappy food. I'd rather spend more on good food. No more wasting it on gas running around after crap either!

I know that some people would look at staying home more as a sucky thing, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm excited. 2013 will be a good year. What are some of the things you hope to accomplish + change this year?! I'd love to hear about them!