Friday, August 22, 2014

Kaylin's 8th Birthday - An Art Party!

I couldn't think of a more appropriate birthday theme for my budding artist than an ART PARTY for her 8th birthday. I went with rainbow colors for the color scheme, mostly red, yellow, green and blue. It was unusually difficult to find something for Kaylin to wear that wasn't pink, peach, or teal…I think we found the one single shirt in all of metro Phoenix that had red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple!
I spread out the tasks for this party throughout the week to avoid being stressed on party day. For instance, on Wednesday, we did some of the baking prep. At Target, I found a Duff boxed Tie Die cake mix with Crayola-bright colors and knew it was perfect. The kids helped me separate out and mix the colors, then we baked the "art palette" sugar cookies. We had them baked and stored in the fridge until we were ready to frost everything the day of the party.
Something else we were able to assemble ahead of time were the party favors. I found paint bucket puzzles at Oriental Trading Company and tied them together with a box of crayons, an activity book and a blank white book for the guests to create with after the party. We personalized the favors with art palette name tags.
The day before the party, Ryan helped me cover both sides of our {very neutral} fireplace with more appropriate party decor. Then we set up the craft tables and set out all of the supplies, including an adorable (if I do say so myself) flower arrangement. I also threw out some other flowers and art-themed decorations around the house.
The craft I decided to do with the kids was a simple wooden letter from JoAnn's Etc (the first letter of their name) and I had paint, stickers, ribbons and other accessories available for them to decorate it however they wanted. 
While the paint was drying, we ate pizza, a rainbow of fruit with lemonade fruit dip, a rainbow of veggies with dip, chips and rainbow Goldfish crackers. The table looked so bright and cheerful!
We finished the party with presents, cake and a free-for-all of running and screaming like banshees playing together. Ryan was SO excited to unveil the inside of our seemingly boring white cake. He must have asked 25 times if it was time to cut the cake yet?!?

 Happy 8th birthday, my sweet girl. I hope you had a great time at your party!
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

10 Minute Paleo Peach Cobbler {Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free}

As soon as I saw this recipe online, I had to try it. Peaches are so ripe right now and I had everything in the kitchen to try making this quick cobbler for dessert.

Even if you're not living a gluten free or Paleo lifestyle, this recipe will surprise you. Being that I'm coming off Whole 30, where no sweets hit my lips other than fruit, peaches are plenty sweet for me without the cobbler topping. But the consistency of this recipe is something that made me feel like I was indulging and it was delicious!

Ingredients
2 peaches, thinly sliced
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
5 medjool dates, pitted (soaked for 10 minutes)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 Tbsp flax seed meal or chia seeds (optional)

Directions
- Soak the dates in 1-2 cups of water for about 10 minutes. If you leave them in there too long, they could become mushy, so watch them carefully!
- Place soaked dates in the food processor and pulse dates until they are very small chunks. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. 
- Add walnuts and almonds to the food processor and pulse until they are very fine chunks. 
- Pour nut mixture over dates. Add cinnamon, a pinch of salt and flax seed meal or chia seeds, if desired. Mix together until a crumble forms.
- Place sliced peaches in a bowl. If you don't care about eating raw, microwave peaches for 1 minute. 
- Sprinkle the "cobbler" mixture over the peaches and enjoy!

Store the crumble in the fridge for up to a week and sprinkle over fresh fruit whenever you want a sweet treat!
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Monday, August 11, 2014

#31 - Go to bed at 9:00pm every night for a week

I don't know if it's because I was on CST for 4 days or because I've been eating healthier and waking up earlier or what, but I cannot keep my eyes open past 8:30 these days! And I'm going with it, because I'm heading to Baltimore soon, where I need to be up and at 'em by 7:30am EST. That's up, showered, dressed and at the convention center by 4:30 Phoenix time. I KNOW! Me!!! I can't wrap my brain around it, either. 

This past week, I've been in bed, asleep pretty much every night by 8:30. One night, I was out cold by 8am. #31 is officially completed from my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list!

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

#4 - Get new bedroom furniture

We checked this off our list of 101 in 1001 in June, but I forgot to post about it! I have hated our bedroom dressers since the moment I married Mike. I don't love oak, but they were functional and served their purpose. So they stayed.

Nearly 15 years later, I am happy to report that we have replaced our dressers! I have casually looked around for something I love without success, but when I saw these posted online for sale by a friend, I jumped on them. They're a perfect interim set to carry us through for a few years until I can save for, shop for, and fall in love with something that will last us for another 15 years. Or more.

Our old set sold quickly on Craigslist and our bedroom has been updated without losing a penny. That's what I call frugal decorating!
excuse the mess on the sides - I snapped pictures without tidying up
The family picture needs to have the frame painted and it's going to hang above Mike's dresser. Not fully decorated, but good enough to post!

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

#93 - Go on a special date with Kaylin twice (2/2 done!)

Mike and I decided at the homeschool convention last month) that we would commit to take turns, one on one, with each of the kids, to make Saturday mornings our "special date" designated time. He took each of the kids the first few weeks, Kaylin to Starbuck's, Ryan to Lowe's, Jason to get the car washed and run errands, but this weekend was my turn. 

Kaylin and I went to grab an overpriced drink at a local coffee shop, sat and talked for about an hour, then went to the grocery store to do some shopping for her birthday meals of choice. It was the perfect time together! I have a feeling these kids will get many more Mommy dates than just the two I put on my 101 in 1001 list!
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Monday, August 4, 2014

#42 - Transition the boys' room into an "older" theme

This little project wasn't quite as quick and easy as I thought. Taking down the tricycle, wagon and scooter wallpaper border from Ryan and Jason's room was a PAIN! It had a death grip on the wall and did not want to come down. But it was time. It was perfect in the boys' room for 8 years, but it was definitely time for an update. #42 is crossed off my 101 in 1001 list!
I started this project solo on Saturday morning. Ryan and Kaylin helped sponge off the leftover paper pieces and goo while I worked on removing the border. 
On Sunday, we got the whole family involved, namely Mike. Having another adult helping made things go so much faster! We weren't laughing the whole afternoon, but by the end, joking around kept us from killing each other.
Mike worked on removing the border of the rest of the walls, while I started painting.
Poor Jason didn't even get to sleep in his room the first night it was painted. He refuses to be quiet in the morning and I'm sick of him waking up Ryan. Yesterday, he woke him up by loudly asking, "RYAN! Are you awake?" and the day before, he was playing with his stuffed dog, and they were "talking to each other" in full voice. When I reminded him that he's not supposed to talk until Ryan wakes up, he said, "I didn't talk. It was Cocoa." (his dog) So last night, he had to sleep on a make-shift bed on the school room floor. 
Before
After - a very temporary "after"
Kaylin saw this opportunity to be included in the room makeover by having a sleepover with Ryan last night, then this morning, she moved in. As in completely moved in. 
This is Kaylin's room right now.
Apparently, this is where she plans to sleep now.
…and this is Ryan's side. A carbon copy, complete with decorated lamp, trash can, and "welcome mat".
Jason genuinely doesn't seem to mind. For now.
Before
After
(Notice the "gate"? It's the bed rails from the bunk bed, intended to keep Jason from waking them up in the morning. We'll see how long that lasts.)
Before
After
This was a picture of the wall that I took last night before the Kaylin-moving-in-makeover took place. I like the stripe! It's too bad it's TOTALLY CROOKED on one wall. I'm still deciding if I should fix it or not. Because I really want to be done!
Once Jason stops having nighttime accidents, we're getting the boys all new bedding and donating and/or throwing away all of the sheets, comforters and mattresses that have been peed on over and over again through the years. I. can't. wait.
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