Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'Everything is Awesome' Smoothies : Kid's in the Kitchen

Smoothies are a very regular thing at our house.  We have them a few times a week after dinner or for a snack on the weekends.  The kids love to make them and to eat them.  They are super simple, delicious, and contain a lot of nutritious ingredients.  It is for those reasons that I add this recipe to Kid's In the Kitchen that I found over at Chaos & Kiddos and From ABCs to ATCs.  Hop on over and enjoy some kid-friendly recipes.
'Everything is Awesome' Smoothies

I start out with 1/4 - 1/3 of a bag of frozen fruit, maybe 2/3 container of greek yogurt (we use vanilla for extra sweetness sometimes), and about 1 1/2 cups of whatever juice we have on hand.  This time was our favorite organic, not-from concentrate apple juice.

Next, everything goes into the Ninja.

I also add in a teaspoon of flax seed, but the kiddos seem to notice it in the finished product whenever they see it go in.

Then we blend it all together.

After a minute or two, we have this! 

Then we use our Lego Movie cups and enjoy.  We usually end up singing "Every thing is Awesome!" while making and enjoying these treats and because we the Lego Movie cups are the perfect vessel for this awesomeness, they became our 'Everything is Awesome' smoothies.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Recipe: Asian Spiced Blueberry Pork Loin

A friend of mine sells Wild Tree products and I attended a freezer meal workshop where I fell in love with the products.  I attended another party where I was unable to get my prep work ready and decided to do it at home and just pick up my bundle of products.  I made all of the meals except for one.  I remember it had blackberry jam and balsamic vinegar...I think.  The baby was being entertained by Grandma for a few  minutes so I decided to get this going in the crock pot to go with the fresh sweet corn straight from Grandpa's garden.

But I couldn't find the recipe.  I felt a little pressed for time as baby was getting hungry, so I trusted my culinary instincts and went for it.  By the way, my chef boyfriend thinks I have awesome culinary instincts...especially for a "home cook".

I grabbed my products and realized we no longer have (or didn't buy) black berry preserves.  Or I will come across the jar in a few days...probably that.  So I decided to use blueberry jam.
I thawed out the pork loin and giggled as I placed it in the crock pot.  I am forever twelve and if a pork loin doesn't remind of male anatomy in my old age, I will have failed myself.  Anyway, I added the following to the crock pot:

1/2 cup blueberry preserves
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons  Garlic Galore blend (you can use whatever garlicky spices you have, I just LOVE this stuff)
1 tablespoon of Asian Blend (something with 5 Spice will work)
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

See.  A little giggle worthy, no?

I let this simmer on low about 4 hours.  It smelled delicious, but looked a little funny.

 I boiled a cup of rice or so and shredded the meat.  I poured a little of the sauce from the bottom of the crock pot on top and served.
 The kiddos are a little picky so they were served more of the middle of the loin which had less seasoning and skipped the sauce.  They gobbled down seconds and told me how delicious it was.

Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister

Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister
(because John suggested Train)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) The video was shot on a street corner in Echo Park in central Los Angeles. If you saw a film crew making a video in your neighborhood, would you stop to watch? Or would you just keep walking?
I am nosy.  I would totally hang out and watch for a bit.
2) The singer says he remembers his girl in every dream he dreams. Do you remember if you dreamed last night?
I have very vivid dreams every night and often have lucid dreams before waking up.  Last night I had a dream that I was at an ice cream shop with my kids and couldn't decide on a flavor.  Which is weird.  I don't really like ice cream and it is freezing today.
3) The band Train is from San Francisco. Have you ever visited The City by the Bay?
When I was eight I visited my Aunt on our  way to Disney Land.
4) Lead singer Pat Monahan got his start in a Led Zeppelin cover band. Can you name a Led Zeppelin song?
Stairway to Heaven, although I am not a fan.
5) In doing research for this week's Saturday 9, Crazy Sam discovered a publication called Trains, The Magazine of Railroading.What's the last magazine you flipped through? 
Taste of Home.  I was looking for the Dulce de Leche cheesecake recipe.  That blog post is coming soon...once we make it.
6) Do you consider yourself a leader or a follower?
Totally depends on the situation.  I will lead if a leader is needed. Or I will follow if there is a leader.  But I am not a follower in the sense of trends or doing what the cool kids do.  I just do my own thing don't care too much if people follow or not.
7) Scholars tell us that "To be or not to be" is Shakespeare's most quoted line. Give us another one.
"These words are razors to my wounded heart" Act I Scene I of my favorite Shakespeare play - Titus Andronicus 
8) How do you listen to music on the go? Car radio? CD changer? iPod/mp3 player? Your phone?
Usually just the radio or a mixed CD Steven has made.
9) Are you a convincing liar?
Nope.  I am a terrible liar.

Friday Four Fill In

Today is Friday and it is my only day off work this week.  I have been trying to catch up on laundry and get some baking and cleaning done, but Persephone has different ideas.  She wants to sit in my lap all day and not sleep.  I figured that I had so much fun hopping around for Friday Four Fill In last week at Feeling Beachy, and that I am chained to a chair with the baby, that I would go for it again.  So hop on over, check it out, and let me see your answers!
Feeling Beachie

The statements:
  1. The beach is _____
  2. Smartphones are ____
  3. I like to ____
  4. My dream ______________ would be _____________

1. The beach is no where near me.  Unless you count the few bodies of water with a "beach" where the teenagers get drunk, have sex, and leave the garbage from those activities on the beach.

2. Smartphones are turning people into zombies.

3. I like to be crafty.  I am currently working on a mermaid doll and a crafty Harry Potter swap package.

4. My dream job would be researching and implementing ways to save our planet.  I really want to focus on the soil and how to grow organic foods while nourishing the earth  -- on a LARGE scale.  That is if I ever finish school.

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Check Out Her Beautiful Smile: That's What She Said

I am so happy to be apart of the first even That's What She Said link up.  Our lovely hosts - Dean from Mrs. AOK A work in Progress,  Courtney from What's Up with the Wilhelms, and Katy from Chaos and Kiddos choose a quote and every month on the 10th you can chime in with your thoughts and visit what others have to say about the quote.

This month's quote was too good to pass up.  It hits home on a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I tend to soapbox about a lot.

I am so tired of a world that holds outer beauty in such high regards.  We see it everyday.  We watch award shows where the big deal is the not the talent displayed, but what the actors are wearing.  And it isn't even just pointing out the positive things.  We pick on actresses for not having all their baby fat tucked away or for their baby bump they show off proudly (and should) not being in the type of dress that we deem perfect.

What is up with this?

Young girls are STARVING them selves so that their skin tight jeans will look like the models on the runway.  They are wearing shorts that are too short, shirts that show more skin than they cover, and more make-up than Bobo the Clown all in efforts to be "beautiful."

It is sickening.

And needs to stop.

The most beautiful women in the world have kind eyes and a warm smile.  They have the desire to take care of others.  They want to play with their children, bake a friend a cake, or help out however they can at a local charity.  The most beautiful women in the world have big hearts.

I have struggled with body image my entire life.  I always thought I was "fat" and pointed out my chunky thighs.  As I grew older, I started really carrying around extra baby weight and realized I should have enjoyed those "chunky thighs" then.  Now, I realize that it doesn't matter.  Sure, health needs to be a priority and healthy women are beautiful, but a little extra wobble on my thigh doesn't make me any less beautiful.

I am my most beautiful as I gingerly hang my daughter's diapers on the line.  Or when I play a board game on the floor with my children. You should see how beautiful I am when I hold the door open for people or help an elderly couple to their car.  I am down right smokin!  I can wear jeans and t-shirt with spot of baby drool on the shoulder to the library and look amazing as I read a book to my children.  Or when my messy apron covers those clothes as I cook dinner for family and friends.

And the best part is that I don't care if other woman look over and notice my jeans came from Kohl's and that my t-shirt is a few years old.  Who cares if my eyeliner is fading and my glasses are splotched with who-knows-what from the day.  I still feel wonderful.

All of those things make me happy and that makes me feel beautiful.

Yeah yeah.  It sounds selfish.  And maybe it is.  But being kind, working hard, and helping my children (even with Common Core math) makes me happy.  Speaking words of kindness and seeing the good in others makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.  Even as I sit here in yoga pants, a Broncos shirt, a messy ponytail, and have Perry in my arms playing with her turtle, I am beautiful.

I am not sure Audrey Hepburn ever left the house in jeans and knit shirt, but if she had, she would have still been beautiful.  Her simple words urge people to not focus on the outside of our bodies, but on the inside of our minds.  Short of extensive cosmetic surgery and "beauty" regimens, there isn't a lot you can do with the genetics you were given when conceived. So why worry about them so much?  Why put all that time and money into "fixing" your nose?  It took me years, but I learned to love my butt chin.  Two of my daughters inherited it as well and I make it known that their chins add to their character and beauty.  It's a chin.  It sits on your face.  That's it.

So if you are having a down day - we all do- spice it up a little.  Make yourself feel beautiful.  Paint your nails or do your hair up (if you feel like it) and go out and spread kindness into the world.  Help out someone with too many grocery bags or tell a friend how much you love their laugh.  When I am having a bad day, I find that handing out a few compliments makes my day better.  It puts me in a good mood and when I am in a good mood I SMILE.  A smile shows kindness and kindness is your most beautiful asset.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nothing Better than the Laughter of Children

Perry let out her first giggles the other night.  She was enjoying tummy time on the bed while playing with Steven and I.  I leaned my chin into her little armpit and tickled her gently.  This is something that we both do frequently, but this time she giggled.  It was the sweetest sound and we were so happy that we were both present to hear it.  

We tried so hard to recreate the giggle on camera.  We got a little bit of giggling, but as soon as she sees the camera, she stops performing.  Here are the two videos:

School Lockdowns - What Do Teachers Do?

I checked my phone at work tonight and saw that the kid's school called.  This could have either been an automated call -probably about the raffle fundraiser- or a call from the teacher about the behavior mishaps.  On my break I listened to the message and my heart just about fell out of my butt.

Today a man scaled over the fence at my kids school.

My kids were on lock down.  All doors locked.  Lights off.  Children under their desks.

Fortunately, the teachers and staff reacted very quickly and this man never got into the school and no one was hurt.  Two cities sent their police officers to apprehend him.  He was arrested and taken away from the school and the kids went about their day.  I do not know what the man was doing or why he jumped the fence.  Part of me doesn't even want to know.

I don't remember ever having any fear of intruders or weapons in school.  Then Columbine happened.  I graduated from there the year before and had friends and family in the school.  I knew the boys with guns and a good friend was told by the shooter to go home.  I was in shock.  I couldn't believe this happened.

Columbine is a huge reason that so many schools started putting lock downs and drills into place.  I never realized how thankful I was for those drills and plans until today.  As awful as it is that we need to have these kind of actions in place, I appreciate every minute that the school staff has spent planning and training for a moment like today.  Without their efforts, that man could have gotten into the school and harmed the children inside.

We ask our teachers to teach our children from books and about life.  We ask them to spend all day (and a lot of nights) caring for them.  They spend their (underpaid) time and money to do their jobs.

 And now we ask them to stand on the front lines and protect the lives of our offspring.   They usher our children to safety, turn off the lights, and even put their own lives on the line to keep them safe.  We ask so much from them.

Thank you teachers for all that you do.  I know that my cheesy Christmas gifts and the extra supplies that I send during the year will never be enough to repay you for what you do.  I am forever indebted to you and appreciate every second you spend on my children.