Sometimes all you need is a box!

April 27, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I received 2 gigantic boxes. Well, I got the stuff that was in it. But I knew I would have to keep the boxes for my kids. I figured they would play with them for a day or two at the most, but still. A day or two of them being busy playing together without fighting, is so worth it!

Little did I know that they would play with those boxes for over a week straight!

Who says that fun "toys" have to be expensive? Or even cost anything in this case...

They decorated their first box (I forgot to take a picture) with markers, pencils and different crayons. I let them just use whatever they wanted and draw/decorate however they wanted. They loved it! Especially my son, I could tell he found the experience very freeing, as he is not a huge fan of rules compared to other kids.

That first box did not last too long, since my destructive little "bulldozer" did not realize this box was breakable, lol. Good thing we had the second one!

I decided to make it into a submarine, since they had been talking about the ocean in my son's class at preschool. I cut out the windows for them. Two circles on each side and the front window. We kept the cut out circles and they used them as steering wheels, to steer their submarine of course!

They had so much fun playing this game! They even used their binoculars to spot some sea creatures.

They have such great imaginations!

Our new favourite (mini) Farmers Market

April 23, 2010

Months ago, I came across this fabulous looking market and decided to wait and give it to my daughter for her birthday. So when her big day rolled around this past week, I finally got to give it to her.

It's the Cherry Blossom Market from the brand Playskool.

I had heard great things about their Rose Petal Cottage (from the same line of products), though I had never actually seen it with my own eyes.

It does not deceive!

It's easy for a grown up to assemble, the mount for the "tent" is made of metal with hard plastic connectors so it's sturdy (and can be taken apart if you want to), and the tent is double sided so that the metal frame is hiding inside.

Let's not forget that it looks absolutely adorable and can provide hours of pleasure.

It also came with a little cash register and some play money as well. With a theme like a farmers market (or it could also be a little store), it's perfect for my two kids to play together. They each take on a role of either the vendor or the customer and play without fighting.

You might see in the picture above, she also got the fruit cutting kit from Melissa and Doug, which goes perfectly with the market theme. They've been using little canvas lunch bags that we have and pretend they are like my reusable shopping bags so they can bring their produce "back home'.

My kids always are very enthusiastic at the thought of going to the real farmers market and getting some local produce, but now, they can create their own and let their imaginations flow.

This product truly is quality. And the cuteness is undeniable. I really recommend it!

(Pardon the mess :)

Note: I did not get paid by anyone to write this review, nor did I get contacted or asked by the company to do so. I was just honestly impressed with this toy and thought I would share my thoughts about it, for all the other parents out there.

Earth Day 2010

April 22, 2010


This is just a quick post to point out that today is Earth day. I will be back tomorrow with
regular posting. In the mean time, I want to leave you with this other picture I found online where I added words also found online.

It just really makes sense to me that we all should make earth day, everyday. Because after all, "she" is our home, and we should give her the respect "she" deserves.

Happy earth day and I'll be back tomorow with ... well, I'm not sure yet. LOL.

A Princess birthday party... oh and a frog too!

April 17, 2010

Yesterday, we had my daughter's birthday party. She wanted a Princess and the Frog theme.

Long story short, I stressed over every little detail and wanted to make everything extra pretty. I also wanted to take pictures of the food and setup before everyone got here to show you all because I was pretty proud of how it all looked... and I forgot!

By the time I remembered, there was no food left on the table, guests were gone, and I was left with nothing to show you but some leftover cake crumbs on the table, lol.

Thankfully, I remembered to take some pictures of the actual party.

The girls were dressed in pretty dresses and my son wore his pirate costume. He had asked me before the party if he could wear it since the girls would be dressed up... I figured pirates go well with princesses, so why not? He was so happy to wear it! But I forgot to take a picture of him alone. I had some of him with the other kids, but I don't want to put pictures here of my friends kids without asking... You can always see him in his pirate costume HERE :)

My little princess making good use of her Halloween costume :)

Princess and the Frog table cloth on the kids table with our Ikea tea set (you can tell by the upside down cups that I took the picture after the kids played with it :)

My little princess was very excited about her cake!
You can't really see it, but I put a frog in front of the princess on the cake.

I had "cake anxiety" at 5:30 am the day before the party... that's how much I stressed over it!
I'm SO making cupcakes next time, LOL.

In the end, I stressed for nothing about silly details. The party was a success, the kids had fun, the adults had a great time and I was organized enough that I was able to hang out with my friends (the other moms all are close friends of mine) during the party instead of spending the entire time in the kitchen preparing everything, like I did during my daughter's 1st birthday. So to me, that is a success!

A birthday comming up...

April 14, 2010

I just wanted to let you know that I'll be absent for the next couple of days.

I have a little girl who's turning 3 next week, and we are having her birthday party this Friday. I've already got a pretty full day tomorrow, aside from getting everything ready, so I wont have time to post anything until the weekend.

My little girl at her brother's 3rd birthday (she was 1 1/2 years old)

Don't worry though, I'll be back during the weekend with all the details!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Going loco for mango-coco

Another smoothie I've been enjoying lately is this one:

It's made of coconut water (high in electrolytes), mango, a banana, some regular water and/or orange juice, hemp seeds and a few large handfuls of spinach.

Don' let the green color fool you! It's very sweet and fruity!

Mango is one of the first fruits I used for my green smoothies when I started drinking them because they make the smoothie so fruity and sweet. I used to be very addicted to sweets and candy, so this smoothie was a nice transition for me. Of course, if you want it less sweet, omit the orange juice.

But in the last few weeks, I found myself slowly reverting back to my old eating habits.... mostly a whole lot of refined sugar found it's way back into my diet. Weather it was in the form of a french vanilla cappuccino, or hiding in sweets (chocolate and candy) that I'd been consuming in higher quantities than the average person would, it was there alright.

I wanted to go back to having green smoothies for breakfast, and not just as an afternoon snack, but just didn't feel like having them at that time of the day. What's the difference when I have them your probably wondering? Well, I find that having them for breakfast really sets the tone for how I'm going to eat and what kinds of food I will crave during the day.

So thanks to this sweet and fruity smoothie, I've been able to avoid refined sugary treats and start my day on a "green tone". I also find that I'm no longer tired in the afternoons. (Something that happens when I don't eat properly and that had returned).

After just a few days of avoiding "sweets" and drinking this smoothie, I'm starting to find it tastes a bit to sweet.... I'm ready to move on to another less sugary fruit for my breakfast smoothie now.

Hello frozen blueberries!

What's your favourite kind of smoothie? I'd love to know!

How much can they eat?

April 13, 2010

Well in the case of my kids, the answer would be LOTS!!!

They are both in a growth spurt right now and they are constantly eating.

The proof is in the breakfast... my son had 3 breakfasts on Sunday morning. 3!!! (And he's only 4 1/2 years old.) As soon as he was done of his last bite on his third breakfast, he was asking for a snack.

Of course, at that point my reaction was "Are you kidding?".

So I went to the kitchen to whip up a fruit plate for their snack. I just love making those, because they are so pretty and fun to make, AND they seem to fill them up pretty good.

This is what I came out with:

Doesn't it look pretty?
I like to add a few nuts to the plate just to make sure their tummy's stay full a tad longer than 3 seconds, though they don't always eat them :( My kids can still be pretty picky, and it's a constant battle to get them to eat healthy. But I am comforted to know that they are eating so many more healthy foods now compared to a little over a year ago. And I know I'm not the only parent out there struggling to get her kids to eat healthy.
These fruit plates (I sometimes make them veggie ones too, but the fruit ones are prettier!) really helped them wanting to have more produce at snack times. And if your kids are picky too, the trick is to not ask them if they want this for snack. Just give it to them!
If I ask my kids if they want some, they will sometimes just say no. Or if I give them a choice, they will pick something else.
But if I just make them a plate like this and bring it to them, they look at it with a sparkle in their eyes and get very excited about their snack.

In case your wondering, they ate almost the entire plate (though I did help a bit ;) except for the starfruit... it was a bit too sour for their taste.

And want to hear something else? They/we already ate almost all the fruit we had bought last Thursday and I had to go back and buy more fruits and veggies by Sunday... I guess buying a bit "too much" produce was a good thing after all!

Groceries and organic bulk order

April 8, 2010

The weather has been so nice here for the past few days, that it was really inspiring me to eat even more fruits and veggies than I normally do. I felt like eating like I do in the summer.

Today was also grocery day AND my monthly organic bulk order was in too.

Woo Hoo!!!

So this morning I headed to the grocery store with the kids and loaded up on goodies.
Berries were on sale, which was a nice treat for this time of year, so I grabbed a container of raspberries, one of blueberries and two of blackberries. Also bought more bananas (it's rare that I find some that are already ripe in store!), a bag of oranges, a starfruit, two mangoes, a large container of organic baby spinach and a small one of organic baby greens...

And that does not even include the apples, lemons, grapes, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cucumber and romaine (forgot I already had greens, oops!) that was already in my fridge...

I hate wasting food, so by buying lots of fresh produce, I'm making sure I/we are going to eat lots of it. I'll admit, I might have gotten carried away, considering all that is just for my two toddlers and I. But Oh well. I'm sure we can manage :)

My monthly organic bulk order was in too. So I went and picked it up.

It's such a money saver to buy this way! When I order an item, I have to order a whole caisse though (for our club anyways). But there are also shares (when someone orders a caisse but does not want it all).

This time we got:

  • Organic rice milk (gluten free!) for my daughter and I (a caisse lasts us almost 2 months)
  • Nut-Thins crackers
  • Organic agave (this cost me $6 less PER BOTTLE than at the health food store!!!)
  • 2 packs of Surf Sweets Gummy worms (organic , gluten-free and refined sugar free)
  • 2 packs of Woolwich goat cheddar cheese
The last two items were shares and I can't wait to try the cheese! Since there are two of us in the house who are lactose intolerant, we do cheese in moderation to not end up with tummy aches. But I have to say, it's really hard to stay away from cheese! Especially for kids, they sure love their cheese! Now that I have this, I will keep it for meals, and not just to snack on. I've had lasagna on the brain for weeks, I guess now I can finally make some :)

If your wondering why we can have goat cheese while we are lactose intolerant, well, it's hard for me to explain properly as I did not do any particularly deep research about this. But I have heard that goat's milk is much lower in lactose than cow's milk and that some people who are lactose intolerant, may still be able to digest goat's milk products. After hearing this, I had bought some goat's feta cheese, and can have it every day or so, in my salads, without any issues. So I'm giving goat's cheddar a shot.... and keeping my fingers crossed.

Anyways, with all the produce we now have in the house, especially the greens, I made a huge salad as an extra side dish at supper tonight. I'm not big on eating salads in the winter, but when it gets warmer, I really enjoy them.

Well, this morning (and for the past few days), it was warm enough that I was wearing flip flops with my jeans and carpi's...

And by supper time, this is what it looked like outside:

Actually, as I am typing right now, the ground is completely covered in snow and if it was still snowing, it would be a blizzard that's how strong the wind has been!

Gotta love Alberta weather, LOL!

Now, instead of salad, this weather is going to make me crave a large pot of homemade soup with a side of hot chocolate. I'll take pictures outside tomorrow morning so you can see how much it actually snowed. You won't believe it!

Have a good night :)

Raspberry chocolate smoothie, Part 2

April 7, 2010

As promised, I'm back to share my recipe for my raspberry chocolate smoothie with you.

There is actually no chocolate in it, but it does seem to have a chocolatey taste. And though you can't really tell from the picture, it was more of a deep red, than brown, but I find that if you blend it a bit longer, it turns more to a brown color. Weird, eh? (Yes I said eh, after all, I'm Canadian, LOL)

So, what's in it?

2 ripe bananas, 1 1/2 cups raspberries (I used frozen), 1 cup water, 1-2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional, but recommended for extra nutrients aka Omega's) and as much organic baby spinach as you can fit in the rest of the blender.

Give it a good whirl and voila! Well, actually, I usually taste it by then, because I find the raspberries can make a smoothie taste a bit bitter sometimes and it also depends on the ripeness of the bananas. If it's not sweet enough, just add a bit of honey or agave... I do sometimes with this smoothie.

OK, now, voila! It's absolutely delish!

When I started learning about nutrition, raw foods and eating a bit healthier, the first thing I did, was start drinking green smoothies. Though at first, I was pretty scared of greens. I used to only add a few spinach leaves to a whole 20oz of smoothie, versus 2 cups now. (I use kale too sometimes when I can find it). I also used to use all orange juice for the liquid. It was my way of feeling confident enough that my smoothie would not taste too "green".

Eventually I learned that you need vitamin C to help with iron absorption, so it just made sense to me to continue using the orange juice-spinach combo. Eventually, I reduced to half orange juice and half water for the liquids and upped the greens.

What makes this smoothie so great, is that for 100g of raspberries, you get 75% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C! No need for orange juice with your spinach here!

I might just try to add some cocoa or carob powder to it soon, pour them into Popsicle molds and turn this smoothie into "fudgesicles"... wouldn't that be perfect for summer?!

Raspberry "chocolate" smoothie

Good morning!

Since I'm in a bit of a rush this morning, I am leaving you with a picture of my new smoothie addiction: Raspberry "chocolate" (green) smoothie.

I will come back later today and talk more about it and share the ingredients with you. But for now, I have to go...

Easter weekend in photos

April 5, 2010

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