A little joy to share with you!

A little joy to share with you!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Green Smoothies!

A friend of mine told me about green smoothies.  I had seen recipes before combining spinach and other such yucky green stuff with fruits in smoothies and reacted the way any sane person would... EEEEUUUUUWWWWW!  Why would anyone contaminate a fruit smoothie with green stuff???

She promised me that I wouldn't taste the veggies.  She promised me that I could actually drink the stuff.  And she was right!  Huh!  Who woulda thought that you could hide spinach, carrots, bok choy, even celery under a couple pieces of fruit?  But, even better (or more unbelievable), who woulda thought you could get KIDS to drink their veggies???  After playing around with some fruit/veggie combinations, I added a big handful of spinach and a couple of blueberries to the kids favorite shake.  When they asked about the funky color, I blamed it on the blueberries.  Well... the gullible kids loved their banana, BLUEBERRY, yogurt shakes!  Honestly!  Even after I admitted that the blueberries alone did not provide the exotic color....

Now my teens request green shakes.  They are mindful of getting the proper amount of fruits and veggies into their daily diets and are thrilled to be able to sneak a few extras in painlessly.  Best of all, though, is watching Miss Sweetie Special Silly-Pants come running when the blender starts making a racket.  She is notoriously difficult to get veggies into.  Now she giggles when I tell her to drink her spinach! 

Our favorite, so far...

one or two bananas
an orange
BIG, BIG handful of baby spinach
a single-serve yogurt (any flavor, but vanilla is best!)
@half a cup of milk
3 ice cubes

Just throw it in the blender and give it a whirl!  Then get creative & see how many veggies you can hide in your shakes :o)

Have a happy day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

skiing and birthdays and snowdays... oh my!

Little Miss third child had a birthday.  Number 13.  Sweetie kiddo figured out all on her own that bucket loads of sass are what the teenage years are all about.  While getting her dressed in the morning, she swings her legs away from me so that I can't catch her feet to put socks on.  And she giggles.  Then she picks up her pants, throws them behind her and giggles.  When I plop her shirt over her head, she pushes it back off.  And giggles.  She won't cooperate to get dressed until I laugh at all of her shenanigans. 

This morning, the pranks continued all through breakfast.  Make a shake with mom.  Giggle.  Drink the shake so fast that there is shake-moustache all the way up to her eyebrows.  Giggle.  Squirm away from the washcloth.  Giggle.  Hide Mommy's shake.  Giggle.  Refuse to take her medicine.  Giggle.  Finally take the medicine.  Giggle.  Paint the dogs with mom's oatmeal when mom leaves the room for a moment.  Giggle.  Oiy!  Looks like we'll need to start our days in the wee hours to accomodate Little Miss Silly-Pants' pranks before the school bus arrives!

Little Miss Silly's birthday party was last weekend.  What a wonderful day!  Oldest kiddo took Miss Silly and her younger sister for a drive while I finished getting ready for the party.  She loves to go for a ride... and this was the first parent-less ride with newly-licensed big sister.  This kiddo was certain that she was getting away with something extra special!  They even went through a drive-though and got frosties.  (Yup... another name for a shake.  Miss Silly loves her shakes!)

   When the daring trio returned home, there were balloons, party favors and presents on the tables and  friends were arriving.  Miss Silly was way beyond excited to see so many people she loves!  She squealed and laughed and tried to introduce eveyone to each other. 

Miss Silly's interests are very different from most 13-year-old girls.  No rock star posters, glittery nail polish or hours of giggling with friends over the latest hunky crush.  This kiddo prefers coloring books, memory cards and Barney videos.  We invited the kids from her special class at school and a kindergartener that she adores.  I hoped we could keep such a diverse crowd of ages and abilities happy for a few hours.  When I worried about the diversity of the group, though, I forgot about the common connection.  These kiddos all love Miss Silly just the way she is!  And she loves them!  Our gang of kids happily made balloon animals, played hide & seek and created some crazy flashlight game.  They ate too much cake and icecream and goofed around like any bunch of buddies. 

It was chaotic.  It was wonderful.

Once again, Miss Silly is faster than the photographer!  She snitched a cupcake (far left) before I managed to take the picture!

Youngest kiddo went to her second cross-country ski race this weekend.  The first race was a bear of a race.  A short, icy, two-lap course which produced four skiers carried out on stretchers and two taken away by ambulance.  Youngest kiddo was knocked flat by a herd of high school B team boys, broke her glasses, and had to be helped off the course by onlookers. 

After such a scary introduction to racing, the second race was a joy!  This course was gentle and powdery.  The jr. high and high school races were kept separate.  The hills were rolling little bumps with no sharp curves.  Kiddo had a wonderful time racing.  It was fun to hear the team chatting happily after the race comparing their races; which hills were fastest, where they double-poled, any tumbles they took, and whether they had any energy left at the last big uphill.  It was a wonderful day full of team camraderie and the excitement of hanging out with 700+ skiers and all the assorted parents and coaches.  Oh... and lots of driving!  Almost three hours each direction.  But the driving time is enjoyable, too.  I love listening to the happy chatter.  First of anticipation.  Later, the joy of having raced hard and the happiness of accomplishment.  I'm so proud of this kiddo for skiing!

Well... I have about a zillion more happy thoughts for today, but they'll have to wait.  I'm running behind again....  Have a happy day!        

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 2011!

A few happy shots from the holiday break!  I love these goofy flowers!  Oldest two kiddos ganged up on me for Christmas and made this bouquet.  They know that I love anything loud, bright and colorful.  Ok... so they might have used the word "obnoxious", but I know they *meant* colorful!  I also have a very poor record for keeping plants alive.  The little green thing next to the colorful posies seems to have made an exception to my care.  Probably because it hardly ever needs water...  A colorful bouquet that doesn't need water, what could be better?  The BEST part... these posies are duck-taped to pens!  'Cause I manage to lose mine all the time!  Loud, colorful, easy-to-care-for AND useful... love it! 

Oh!  Sassy second kiddo saved the very best POLKA DOTTED flower for an antenna topper!  No photo yet 'cause this is a quick-'cause-I-gotta-write-out-bills post.  But lets just say, even *I* can find my car now!  (Just one more thing I frequently lose...)

And, speaking of sassy second kiddo... she and I have both been dreaming of making capes!  Big, long, sassy capes!  Kiddo chose black velvet for the outside and red stretchy velvet for the inside.  Have you ever tried SEWING yards and yards of velvet together???  It slithers all over the place!  The two-hour pattern turned into a monster project.  We were up until 12:30 finishing the bugger so that she could wear it to school today!  And we cheated A LOT on the bottom... we just COULD NOT get the layers to play nicely with each other.  But it is gorgeous!  She wanted a cape big enough to wrap her friends into.  It fit the two of us together nicely with room for more (had there had been anyone else awake past midnight).  Hmmm... needless to say, plans for my cape do NOT include yards of velvet.  And it will be a tad more obnoxious colorful.

And one more happy thought from vacation!  Skiing!  We got about 18" of beautiful white stuff the day after Christmas.  I love this line-up of fun gear!  We spent several days out trecking around in the woods.

My sister visited from California.  She gets excited about anything active and has been known to ski with large backpacks full of camping gear.  Can we just say that she is in *slightly* better shape than me?  I kept up bravely for the first couple of days, but by day three, I was wimpering and begging for a slower pace.  Yup, I slowed her down on that last ski.  Besides, I was a little worried about breaking my neck on some of those hills.  Guess I should have been worried about standing still on flat spaces though... I only fell three times.  Once for a hidden stump on one of those hills.  The other two times, I was standing still and got too excited talking with my hands.  Go figure...

But we got some surprise extra time with little sis!  Chicago airport shut down just in time to cancel her flight back and she was stranded on the east coast for four more days.  Aw shucks....  (insert happy dance here!)  Thank goodness I had recovered from the first round of abuse exercise and was ready for more!  We got one more day of crazy sister time!

And my ski team kids!  Love the sister grins!  And sweetie special third kiddo exploring the track behind my skiers! 

Youngest kiddo is my nervous-Nellie.  She needs to be eased into new activites and is very scared of learning new things in front of people.  She's been skiing for a couple of years now, so I didn't stop to think that *skate skiing* is new for her.  (Skate skiing is a very fast, graceful form of skiing used by competitive skiers for racing.)  And we missed the first couple of ski practices after Christmas because we were playing with my sister.  Those were the first team practices on SNOW.  Before the holidays, practices were all spent running.  Yup... tears.  She was sure that everyone else would be skiing gracefully past her while she fell. 

So we got to practice an hour early and sassy second kiddo gave youngest kiddo a lesson.  By the time the rest of the team arrived, my nervous-Nellie was managing a pretty fair skate-ski.  AND... three other jr. high kiddos were brand new to skis.  Yes... brand new to SKIS.  None of them had two years of experience balancing on long, skinny, slippery things.  There was the cutest line of new skiers following the coach around the track that day.  Like little ducks in a row!  Sooooo... that smile stayed on youngest kiddo's face all afternoon!

Ok... that's the happy thoughts for today!  Have a happy day!