December 27, 2012

Siestas! (Scripture Memory Team, 2013)

Can you believe all this snow, North Texans?!!!?!?  I feel like I am back in Vermont as a kid, getting to make my kids Maple Snow Ice Cream and attempt a snowman together.  Hot chocolate and warm blankets.  Something about snow is so magical.  My second baby asked me "Why did God make snow so beautiful?" I told her, "He must have just thought it was something extra special."  And can you imagine how much more He thinks about you and me?!  

What a wonderful week of celebrating and making memories, I pray you were greatly blessed this Christmas.  And now we look ahead to a New Year!!!


This time, two years ago, I posted about Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team (SSMT)...It's an every other year, challenge/accountability, so here we go again!  I only made it through a few months, then I got pregnant with my fourth, very unexpectedly and it took me way off a lot of ways! =)
But this time, no excuses and no distractions!  Of ALL the New Year challenges, and ways to better yourself, this is the absolute BEST! 

Go here to read all the details and "rules," and join me next week on January 1st, as we memorize 1 Scripture verse (of your choice) every 2 weeks!!!  I can't wait!  Let me know if you're going to join me in the comments!

December 26, 2012

We Snack (mostly) Raw Wednesdays: Holidays

Also possbile with just apples, which is sometimes all I have!

Apples/Bananas and PB (*favorite)
What a pretty way to make them!!! These would be so cute on the 4th of July!

Veggies and Hummus (easy party snack)

Kale Chips and Guacamole (another easy party snack)

December 24, 2012

Priorities and Poinsettias

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!  I can hardly believe it.  Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down, breathe for a minute and take everything in.  It's easy to start living a few days ahead of myself, knowing all that I need to do for the coming weekend or event...that I quickly miss my opportunities today!
So I decided to focus my priorities this holiday season.  Instead of getting caught up in all the craziness of preparing for Christmas we kept our decorations pretty simple, and I gave up on a few crafts so I could keep my smile.  We limited our parties and hosting and set budgets for all our gift giving.  Then I cut out everything else that I could so I could have more time for...
Cocoa Sipping... Tree Decorating...Ornament Making..."Light Seeing"...Song Singing...Cookie Baking...Story Telling...Friend Visiting...Sleepovers...SHARING...Movie Watching...nail painting...Gift Shopping and Crafting...Tradition Setting and Memory Making...
I'm sure everyone is busy with their own friends and family, I hope so!  Anytime that it is a bit quiet around here PLEASE feel free to scour the archives for green living tips, recipes, fitness inspirations, and more!  Happy Holidays!!!!!

December 22, 2012

Christmas Crafts & Gifts (My Favorites!)

This year I was only able to do a few of the really cool crafts, treats and gifts that I wanted to try, but they all turned out great and were so much fun!! Here are some of my favorites, you can pull these together for quick, last minute Holiday cheer or stock up and prepare for next year!

**Countdown To Christmas**

This started out as a "12 Days of Christmas countdown....with Books," that I read about here.  And then I started adding my own things I wanted to make sure we did before the busyness took over and the holidays were through.  I wrapped a gingerbread making kit, a few of our favorite Christmas movies, recipe for sugar cookies and hot chocolate, "looking at lights" events and others like it, giving back ideas, ornament making directions, etc.  It was fun sitting down and thinking ahead about what we would like to do, and then I tried to plan around our schedule as best I could, movies for weekends, books for school nights, and the rest spread out throughout December.  We will DEFINITELY be doing this again!

"Merry Kissmas and Chappy New Year" - Great Teacher Gifts!

I saw this cute idea on pinterest!  But I took it a step further and put a chapstick and lotion in a cute christmasy bag (I also threw in some chocolate kisses and tea bags) and put the cute saying on a tag, tied it on and gifted it to my girls teachers (also great for Sunday school workers, coworkers, etc).

Energy Sticks - Simple and Sweet

My two youngest are in Parents Day Out, and they have two teachers to each class, since I just didn't have enough materials to fill that many bags so I came up with this little gift.  Tied a sample stick of coffee (I had gotten for free!) to a tag that said "Thank you for all the energy you've invested in me, here's just a little bit back" ;)  Short and Sweet, and very small...but cute I think!

Make-Shift Mantle Place (I am soooo excited about this Pinterest Idea)

I love that we still get to "hang our stockings" even though we don't have a mantle!  We used the easy to remove hooks (you know, the stick and peel away later, spray painted) and a curtain rod.  It was so easy and looks so cute!! 

Tasty Treats!!!

Santa Hat Snack (Easy for serving a crowd - or taking to school!)

I used this recipe, found here and put these together for my daughter's Kindergarten class snack.  So festive, tasty and not to hard either!  I would have made the hats red, but I didn't have food coloring.

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate
I used this recipe to help us make our own hot chocolate, that all my babies can enjoy.  We have been drinking it all winter long!

2 3/4 cup Almond Milk (or dairy free milk)
1/3 cup baking cocoa (unsweetened)
1/3 cup organic sugar (or other sweetener)
Marshmellows/Candy Canes (optional)

Pour 3/4 cup milk in saucepan and whisk in the cocoa and sugar until blended, add remaining milk and heat until desired temperature.  Add toppings and even a little mint, almond or vanilla extract if you'd like.  Enjoy and stay warm!

Peppermint Bark
I just made these today, and everyone loved them!  I got them from Tone It Up, and I hope I can share them with you!  It is so simple, and easy to make allergy-free!

Chocolate (regular, white or dairy free)
Peppermint Extract (optional)
Crushed Candy Canes (or peppermints)

Mix (dairy free) Chocolate in a glass bowl, over a pot of boiling water.  When melted, mix in some peppermint extract.  Then pour in a glass dish, top with coconut shreds and crushed candy cane.  Freeze for an hour, and cut in small pieces!  It's delicious!

For all my Christmas inspirations check out my Christmas Pinterest Board.

And for LOADS of frugal gifts and craft ideas check out Hip2Save Holiday Series!

November 21, 2012

*Gobble Gobble* Turkey Day Recipes

Honestly, I can't believe we are just hours away from Thanksgiving Day! What a speed this year is going at! But I am so excited, I loooooove Thanksgiving.  Once we get past the preparations (which are actually enjoyable sometimes), I love everyone coming together in thanksgiving, the food, the football, and the naps.  And this year, the beautiful Texas weather (crazy)!

So this year we are hosting Thanksgiving again at our house (second annual I think).  We are doing things a little different though, trying to accomodate all our guests diets, we are making 1/2 traditional dishes and 1/2 Gluten, Soy, Dairy and Egg free!  Googling other blogs is what made it possible for me. There are plenty of families living without these allergens in their food and they can get pretty creative! So after organizing the menu and events for the day, I delegated as much as I could and focused on my allergen-free versions of these tasty foods:

Gluten, Soy, Dairy and Egg Free Pumpkin Pie

My first ever homemade-from-scratch pie crust! I pretty much used these two recipes, Pie Crust and Allergen-free Pumpkin Pie. I haven't had a chance to taste the final product of course, but during the process the taste-tests were GRRREAT! Can't wait to try it and watch my babies and sister's faces when they get to enjoy a sweet dessert! And to top it off...

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

These are great little added details to your thanksgiving table. I took this really great recipe off of pinterest from this blog, and changed the ingredients to taylor our allergy needs.  I used EnerG to replace the eggs, almond milk to replace regular milk, EarthBalance Soy free butter, and I used Pamela's Bread Mix for flour, includes the yeast packet and salt already.  I then baked them and froze them to be reheated.

Maple (or Honey) Brussel Sprouts

Here is a similar recipe from Tone It Up. This specific recipe is in their food plan.  But also check out some of their healthy Thanksgiving alternatives here.

I also melted down some butter and froze it in a maple leaf shape. I added cinnamon to them, and hope they hold up well when I lay them out on plates on the dinner table.

I used our large pumpkin as a flower "vase" and cut off the top, hollowed it out and filled it with (fake) fall flowers. I am so excited to set the table tomorrow morning!  I'll have to snap some shots and update this post after tomorrow.  I guess I should get some sleep now, a big day ahead of us all.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Please share some of your favorite recipes and traditions!

October 18, 2012

Mustache Bash and More

What a month already!  It's hard to believe we are in the middle of October...holidays are JUST around the corner! After my final "Summer Photos and Favorites" I started working on Kailyn's 6th birthday party.  A cat theme of course, with a few friends, fun, games, allergen-free cupcakes, snacks and meow-y music!  We had so much fun planning all the little details and goody bags.  We topped the birthday weekend off with her first sleepover ever!

Well, just two weeks after her birthday is my husbands, and this is year is the big 3-0!  So I decided on a mustache theme, which is SO cute and kind of everywhere right now (I got some great ideas from pinterest).  The only bummer is that after planning, decorating, and executing I only snapped about 10 pictures =(.  I am hoping some of our friends will send me some of their best pictures too.  So here is a little taste of what I've been up to these past few weeks:

I literally snapped this shot while running to the door to welcome guests, it's a card holder where everyone could pin up their cards and "words of wisdom" notecards for the birthday boy. (Thanks goes to two friends for making this idea and "stringing" it all together ;)

We set up seating outside with beautiful fall-ish centerpieces. I used as many candles as I could since the sun set just about 30 minutes after we got started.  Each table has a candle and fall flowers or leaves around it.  I also snuck some jars with mustache stickers on them around the yard, filled with lit tealights. (Thanks to my friend Eileen for coming up with that idea, and making it happen, as well as helping with sooo many things!)  Plus a few hanging lanterns and strung outdoor christmas lights overhead!  This party was a group effort!

Our friend John made the best BBQ Brisket!  We had a BBQ style buffet with a BBQ Fountain! It was gooooood.

Sad it's so blurry, but this is how we spent most of the night, enjoying the warm weather outside with beautiful lights, food, drinks, music, conversation and even a little dancing.

I didn't get pictures of some of the cute decorations inside, we had posters for the bathroom that looked like this:

But with BATHROOM THIS WAY underneath.
Also some cute little labels for the food "Wet Your Whiskers" and "Tickle Your Lip Tickler." Made the stick mustaches with some free templates online and bought cute little mustache stickers to put on photos around the house and found some furry mustaches at the dollar store I stuck around and used on the prize bags.

We gave out a prize for best real and fake mustaches and a third for "honorable mention."  I found some cute mustache erasers at my daughters book fair at school, bought $.97 shaving cream and stuck it in there with a cute find at walmart (pictured below) and some chocolates.

Name that Stash Game, with magazine cut outs of mustaches, and I put a flap of posterboard over the face so you could find the answer underneath.  A few picture frames with cute mustache sayings...and we did two cookie cakes "3-0" with ice cream and toppings for sundaes.  It was a blast, and a good thing we got in a little dancing to burn those extra calories. ;)

And now, we are nearing November, holidays and my big 2-8! I'm so excited to have my family nearby, healthy children and already stocking up on cheap Christmas gifts!  What are some of your favorite things to do for the holidays?  For some GREAT Holiday ideas check out Hip2Save's Holiday Series!!!
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