Deliciously Healthy Cranberry Almond Smoothie

Deliciously Healthy Cranberry Almond Smoothie recipe that’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack!

I get on these fruit and veggie binges and it’s kind of scary. If there’s a fruit or vegetable I like I’ll find 1000 ways to consume it until I get bored and move on to the next one.  This summer it was blueberries last spring it was cauliflower. I couldn’t get enough of blueberries.

This fall season I’m into spaghetti squash and cranberries.

I came across this concoction that smelled like everything that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside during the holiday season. The awesome part is it’s HEALTHY!

But not just healthy deliciously healthy!!!

It’s packed with protein, antioxidants, fiber and more!

Cranberry Almond Smoothie

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • optional: a hand full of spinach
    sugar substitute of your choosing

In a blender place all of the ingredients above. Blend until completely smooth!

Enjoy!

Warning this yumminess is addictive! Since it’s healthy I’ve been enjoying one every morning at breakfast.

How to Make a Simple Summer Punch Bar to Cool Off This Summer

How to Make a Simple Summer Punch Bar to Cool Off This Summer! This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone.  #RefrescaTuSummer #CollectiveBias

Mexico is known for it’s “agua fresca” which literally means “fresh water” but you’ll soon find out it’s so much more than water.

The streets of Mexico are filled with vendors selling agua fresca on hot summer days to help cool you down and stay refreshed! The flavors are endless but some of the traditional flavors you’ll find are Horchata, Tamarindo, and Jamaica. They are made using a combination of fresh fruit, flowers, grains, and a syrup.

simple summer punch

With the fresh fruit market overflowing in abundance of exotic fruits you can easily make your own agua fresca at home. So don’t be surprised to be served agua fresca when visiting someone’s casa in Mexico.

You’re going to enjoy these refreshing Latin drink recipes with a modern twist!

How to Make a Simple Summer Punch to Cool Off This Summer

I’m going to show you how to make a 3 simple summer punch using some basic ingredients from your local Walmart.

  • Pineapple Lemonade
  • Mint Cucumber Lemonade
  • Strawberry Lemonade

Let’s refresh the way we flavor our day this summer! Oh, and I have a fun freebie! You can download your very own chalkboard labels just click here: blanklabels 

Simple Summer Punch: Agua Fresca

Ingredients:

  • Minute Maid® Lemonade
  • strawberries
  • mint
  • cucumbers
  • pineapple

You’ll need 6 cold cans of Minute Maid® Lemonade and pour into a punch bowl or a pitcher. Depending on the size of you pitcher you man need more cans.

For the Pineapple Lemonade: You’ll cut up pieces of fresh or canned pineapple into your pitcher and a few slices of lemon. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and the fresh fruit will infuse the lemonade.

For the Mint Cucumber Lemonade: You’ll need to slice 1/2 cucumber and 1/2 lemon. Then place them in the lemonade pitcher. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and the fresh herbs and cucumbers will infuse the lemonade.

For the Strawberry Lemonade: You’ll need to slice about 10 strawberries and 1/2 lemon. Then place them in the lemonade pitcher. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and the fresh fruit will infuse the lemonade.

Not all fruits depicted are present in each product. Juice percentage varies. You can purchase the Minute Maid® 12-pack, 12oz Fruit Punch Minute Maid® 12-pack, 12oz Lemonade at your local Walmart.

 

 

Our Pick One Lunch Packing Routine That Changed Our Life

Anyone else looking through Pinterest for lunch ideas?

Lunch box for kids with sandwich, cookies, fresh veggies and fruits

I have been pinning like a mad woman since our kids are starting school next week and it helps them when I have a list of ideas for them to choose from when THEY make their own lunch.

Yes, your kids can make their own lunch! My kids started at 5 yrs old.

We can delegate some of those responsibilities that make for a hectic morning and can be done by your children.  Mornings can be hectic in our home between making breakfast, lunch, making sure they are dressed, and walking out the door with lunch, backpack and homework… I felt like I needed a nap by the time I got every one out of the house.

Guess what though, you can delegate some of this stuff! Just in case you’re wondering my boys are 12, 9 and 5.

So, I came up with this lunch packing routine that has literally changed our life. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but I have been amazed by how our mornings are more peaceful all because I delegated a few things.

Our kids pack their own lunch now and they are responsible to pack everything like back  they need the night before. I no longer do mid day drop offs for that project they forgot at home because they didn’t pack the night before.

I wanted to try out our life-changing routine for a few months before I shared it with you all just to make sure it was a winner in our home but then I forgot to post it. Oops! So, here I am sharing it a year later but now I can tell you it worked wonderfully the WHOLE school year for our familia!

In order, for a stress free morning it’s important that they pack it the night before so it was ready to go the next morning. Before you know it is a part of their nightly routine!

Added Bonus, I was Surprised!

An added bonus to them packing their lunch was that they ate all their food even their veggies because they picked them and made their own lunch.

Now that was a delightful surprise!

Sometimes I had to check to ensure they didn’t end up with a  carb and sugar filled lunch. Sugar is hidden in so many things. So another added bonus was through my guidance they were learning about nutrition.

This may not sound like an unhealthy lunch but it’s sugar packed: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bag of chips, graham crackers, yogurt and juice.  Wow, I thought to myself this is a recipe for an afternoon disaster with all that sugar and not to mention carbs in their lunch bag. Then we wonder why they are falling apart by 1:30 p.m.  I try to encourage them to have protein in whatever form in their lunch.

Anyways, this is how our Pick 1 Lunch system worked, I hope it works for you!

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how to pack your lunch

Our Pick One Lunch Packing Routine That Changed Our Life

This is how our system worked ALL YEAR long!  I call it the Pick 1 Lunch Routine.

  1. PRINT off the free printable either:

Printable 1: how to pack your lunch 2
Printable blankhow to pack your lunch blank.

2. Every night after dinner or sometimes before dinner, I would ask them to go in the kitchen and make their lunch. The printable is on the fridge to remind them what goes in their lunch.

I basically broke it down into 5 categories and they have to pick one from each item to make up their lunch. They have to put 1 item from each category in their box: Main meal, fruit, vegetable, treat and drink.   For our kids, water always has to be in their box and if they want to add milk to it they can.

3. My only responsibility is to keep the fridge stocked with the items for them to make their lunch. There were days throughout the year that I didn’t make it to the grocery store in time, so they would just pack leftovers.

Tips:

  • The first couple of weeks will be a learning lesson for all of you. Be patient!
  • Don’t make lunch for them because it’s easier. Remember they are learning some life skills in the process.
  • Stock up on baggies of different sizes and tupperware of various sizes.
  • It will take them some time to figure out how long it takes to make their lunch and to remember to make their lunch the night before.
  • Purchase lunch bags with built in freeze sacks that they can add if needed to their lunch bag. Also buy a thermos for soup if you think they’ll take soup for lunch.
  • Also, be patient! You’ll need to teach them how to make some basic things.
  • Start off with 2 simple main meals and practice for a week. Then add something else as the school year continues.
  • Also, you’ll need a few weeks for you to figure out what veggies and fruits to stock up on that you notice they enjoy a lot more.
  • But with that said don’t be afraid to add a variety of veggies and fruits they may find they like the new veggie.
  • There were weeks I didn’t have to remind them to make their lunch but most of the time I did give them a quick reminder.

Here are some ideas for the categories:

main meal: leftovers, ham & spinach pinwheels (with hummus as the base), cold pasta salad with veggies (left over pasta from dinner), hard boiled eggs, quesadillas, pizza bagel, bean and cheese burrito, grilled cheese, french toast kababs (left over French toast), apple & turkey wrap, tuna salad, waffle sticks, bagel sandwich, chicken salad (left over chicken from dinner), taco in a bag Ieft over ground beef from dinner), crackers with deli meat and cheese, baked Pretzels with cheese & pepperoni, …

veggies: broccoli, carrot sticks, red & green bell peppers sliced, cauliflower, peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, corn, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, salad…

fruit: pineapple slices, apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, papaya, peaches, pears, kiwi, watermelon, raspberries, cantaloupe, grapes, grapefruit, watermelon, plums

treats/snacks: cheese, graham crackers, saltines, hummus, apple sauce, yogurt (low in sugar), wheat tortilla with peanut butter, toast with cheese, animal crackers, pretzels, trail mix, popcorn…

This is so easy it to start in your home that it doesn’t hurt to try it. Yes, your 5 year old can learn how to make their own lunch. Making a sandwich is not hard and doesn’t require any major kitchen tools. You’ll need to guide them at the beginning but after a few weeks they’ll have it down.

Thin Mint Smoothie {Healthy}

Thin Mint Smoothie

My top 3 flavors for sweet treats are mint, lemon and apple. But of course not mixed together!

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner I thought I’d share this so you can enjoy this healthy treat for your child’s after school snack or at breakfast. It’s healthy, it’s delicious and it’s kid friendly.

My preschooler yelled from the other room after taking his first sip, “What is in this? It’s so YUMMY!” And until he was done drinking I heard all sorts of sounds, “MMMMMMMMMMM MMMMM!”

Thin Mint Smoothie {Healthy}

this makes approximately 3-4 medium sized smoothies

  • 1/2 cp Greek Yogurt
  • 1 large handful of Spinach
  • 1 cp Coconut water or milk
  • 1 tsp mint extract (this is optional but I like mine extra minty)
  • 1 square (not 1 bar) of dark chocolate
  • 1-2 tsp sweetener  (Stevia or your favorite sugar substitute)
  • 4-6 ice cubes
  • 2 tbl vanilla protein powder –I always add protein to my smoothies
  • optional: few mint leaves
  • optional: 1/4 tsp glucomannan

Blend all of the above ingredients together and enjoy!

 

A Star Wars Party for Tweens

kids star wars party ideas

His 12th birthday party and possibly his last.  Last year, if you recall he decided on not having a party so I tried to find ways to make my  tween’s birthday special. But this year to my surprise he asked for one. I could see the inner struggle happening within him–I’m too old for a party or am I not??

Well, once my tween boy decided on a party, then came the challenge of finding a theme he liked. Everything I suggested was too “babyish”.  So, we landed on Star Wars which apparently is perfect for kids of ALL ages. I know nothing about Star Wars so I had to go do some research. I know you’re thinking how can a mom with a house full of boys not know anything about Star Wars. Thankfully, there are some things I’m more than happy to let my husband enjoy alone with our boys.

The plan was to have a sleep over Star Wars party. I was struggling with coming up with activities. Normally, for my littles I can come up with TONS of activities when given a theme. But now I was constantly confronted with this question, “Is this too “babyish”? I found tons of activities for Star Wars parties on Pinterest but they were not for his age.

So then the light bulb went off and I started looking for activities that you do in youth groups. I racked my brain trying to remember what kind of activities did I used to plan for these tween and teens. So, I ended up organizing a Mall Scavenger Hunt for the first big activity. Then we treated them to pizza and ice cream at a restaurant. We came home and they played outside for a while with their light saber glow in the dark sticks and then they watched one of the Star Wars movies on the projector. This was all buying me some time because the Star Wars cake was still not ready.  Hey, don’t judge. In my defense it was a crazy, crazy day. I’ll spare you all the details but literally it was dealing with one thing after another. The grand finale of drama was losing my phone during our scavenger hunt at the mall.

Star Wars Party for Tweens

star wars party

Dessert Table: As you can see it was simple but thematic!  Our Chewbacca cake was a great success. It was a chocolate chip cookie cake with two cookie layers and frosting in between. The kids absolutely loved the fact that it was made from giant cookies. I was able to make 3 large cookies from her recipe but I only used 2 layers for the cake since I was short on time but we did enjoy the extra giant cookie the next day.

I followed this bloggers recipe instructions for the cookie cake and made up my own chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe. And this cake from Cake Central was my inspiration for Chewbacca! ~image via Cake Central

chewbacca cake

storm trooper treats

Storm Trooper marshmallows – These were absolutely easy to make. I just used giant marshmallows and an edible ink pen to draw in the face. The pen was dying so the faces were not as clear as I had wished.

r2-d2 water

I printed these R2-D2 water bottle labels and my boys helped me cut them out and place them on. You can find the free printable here.

star wars water bottle

As you can see from the picture above the blogger who came up with this fabulous idea used small mini bottles so the labels are not wide. Our bottles were a bit too big for the labels but we made it work. ~image via Upper Sturt Blog

storm trooper balloons

I decorated the table with some all the fun Star Wars stuff we had around the house.  I didn’t want to spend too much time on decorating the house so we just did simple things like these Storm Trooper balloons. My plan with these balloons was to have the boys hit them with the Pool Noodle Light Sabers but after searching a few stores for pool noodles and not finding anything I decided to leave that out of our plans. But aren’t these pool noodles really cool!

~image via Tastefully Frugal blog

light saber toy

I planned on making these R2-D2 cookies for our dessert table but I didn’t have enough time so I ended up with white chocolate covered cookies that weren’t decorated. I may still make them because I have a plate full of white chocolate covered cookies sitting on our kitchen island.  Here are the cookies, aren’t they so cute!

star wars cookies

These are from Semi Sweet Designs and she used macaroons. You can stop by her blog here for more details on the cookies.

yoda soda

Yoda Soda that is almost gone.

lightsabers

I didn’t get a picture of them but I found some fat glow stick necklaces and I put gray duct tape on the end of them and made them look like lightsabers.

star wars treat bag

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but I’d rather spend money on party favors that they can use for more than a day and not on tons of candy and toys that are gone in a day or disposed of. So we found these awesome Star Wars Bags and I placed all things Star Wars inside them: notebook, folder, tattoos, fruit snack and light saber looking candy. Plus a t-shirt that they used later to make their own Star Wars design on it.

star wars shirts

Yes, I’m crafting with a bunch of boys!  They loved this craft because they were getting to design their own Star Wars Shirt!

scavenger hunt

Here’s our Star Wars Mall Scavenger Hunt printable that I made up. The items on it have nothing to do with Star Wars but I explained that this was in preparation to become Jedi Knights. Every good Jedi needs to know how to hunt, work as a team and come up with strategies.  My husband and I were the team leaders. I was really impressed with how my team came up with strategies so they could win. They talked about doing the least time consuming thing first and that the ice cream would be the most time consuming so we should do that last.  We won!!

Since it was a sleepover we started our morning off with Make Your Own Yoda Pancakes. I was going running with a friend  early that morning so I just made the green pancakes and in different bowls I set out the different food items for them to make their own Yoda face with the pancakes.

star wars party ideas

The party was a great success! Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves.  It wasn’t as time consuming to put together! As you can see from the above pictures the party was simple but I focused on little details to make it special for my not so little guy. Since it was a sleepover I didn’t get much sleep that night but other then that minor detail, it wasn’t that hard to throw.  This party can easily be tweaked for kid of all ages.