June 30, 2012

A Few Fun Activities

I'm way behind on posting here. We've been so busy with summer stuff! Swim lessons, birthday parties, trips to sister's house, summer school, afternoons at the pool...so far it's been a great summer. I love being busy and I think it does the kids good too. No time for boredom. Well, this week we did have a few evenings of down time when hubby was busy doing guy stuff, and I suffered through had the privilidge of entertaining the children during those special hours I usually have to myself. So, I leafed through my virtual folder (pinterest) for some activies I had bookmarked to keep us busy.

First are these fun little rubbery balls we made from beans & balloons. Here's the how-to. We used beans instead of lentils and we liked the end result, but it was kinda hard stuffing them through the funnel into the balloon when it got almost full. So, we'd like to try it again sometime with lentils. Here's our finished product-

They are great for juggling or playing catch and they are just kinda fun to hold & squish.

Next up is a no-mess painting activity using large ziplock bags. You just squeeze a few different colored paints into the bag, make sure there's no air inside then seal it up. Then you can just push around and blend the colors making neat designs.

And finally this stuff is awesome, homemade puffy paint! So simple, just mix 1/4 c flour, 1 t baking powder, 1 t salt, 1/4 c water & food coloring together. Then paint a design on paper (the thicker the better) then microwave it for about 15 seconds and it puffs up! You won't be able to paint intricate designs and it is pretty messy but it's worth it. Both kids thought it was awesome. Hard to get the full 3-D effect in a picture, but here's one of our designs:

Right now we're in the middle of a nasty heatwave. 100+ temps as far as the eye can see :( And next week off from summer school. So, when we're not exploding things in the driveway or spending time at the pool, I'm going to try to come up with some more indoor acitivies like these to keep us entertained.

June 14, 2012

Watermelon Salad

'Tis watermelon season. And so, more often than not during the summer, we have a ginormous watermelon in the fridge taking up space and no one is really in the mood to cut it up. Well, yesterday I bit the bullet and just cut a whole (3/4 actually) big thing up into nice little cubes. Then I remembered seeing a recipe for watermelon salad from Snack Girl. It sounded weird but I was willing to try it. It's basically cut-up watermelon with feta cheese sprinkled on top. I also had seen a recipe somewhere for watermelon salad that had sunflower seeds on it. So, I combined the two ideas and it is a WINNER! No dressing or anything. The combo of the salty cheese and the sweet juicy watermelon and the crunchy little seeds is amazing. And it's so filling too! The perfect light lunch for a hot summer day.

June 01, 2012

And Summer Begins...

June already, Wow! It's been a busy few weeks, with end of school activities, laptops getting viruses then breaking down, then getting ready for and spending a long weekend at the lake. Whew. Life is good, but crazy and busy. The summer has barely begun and my nerves are already quite frazzled. So, blogging has not been at the top of my list, even though I have lots of recipes & sewing projects to talk about.  So for now, I'm just going to mention a couple of my goals for the summer. 

The first is to get SERIOUS about helping my family eat healthy and stay physically active this summer. This is such a challenge since summers for us are just packed full of 'special occasions' that call for special (fattening) meals, special desserts and special grandparents who like to spoil my children with treats. Treats and special occasion meals are great, but they add up and I'm going to do my best to make the special meals healthy ones. And then there are just the days spent at home with the kids. It's hot, no one feels like going anywhere and these kids are ALWAYS hungry. So, I have to be prepared with healthy snacks & lunches that are not frown-inducing. And I have to be prepared with activities that don't involve sitting on our butts and staring at a TV or computer screen. It's hard! Especially with two kids who have different interests and who LOVE to argue, pester & annoy each other. How many days till school starts again?

This past weekend at the lake was packed full of ridiculous amounts of junk food :( So, since we've returned I've decided we are in 'detox' mode. We went to the store yesterday and bought all kinds of fresh fruits & vegetables. I let the kids pick out a few things each that looked good to them, and now the fridge is nicely stocked. And this next weekend, my goal is to GET RID of any candy or junky junk food that is lurking in the cabinets & drawers. The kids can seriously sniff these things out, even if they are hidden. It'll be good for the grown-ups too, to have the temptation gone. I'm actually looking forward to it!

So, yesterday for our first dinner back home I found a nice light dinner recipe that was different & delicious! It's from Our Best Bites. I didn't even plan on making it before we went to the store, but I ended up having all the ingredients on hand. The recipe is for Pasta with Cilantro Peanut Pesto. Almost a tongue twister there. It was a wonderful blend of flavors, such a fun new recipe. We had ours with chicken so the meat eaters wouldn't grumble too much. The only real change I made in the recipe was in place of some of the cilantro (since I didn't have enough) I used fresh spinach. I thought that was a genius substitute, if I do say so myself.

Here is my bowl of yumminess:

I'm going to scour their blog for more delicious summer recipes, I know there are many more and I need all the help I can get!