Cranberry Perk: A Guilt-Free Bubbly

This year has been a tough one for my family. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones, so hugs all around. HUG! Unfortunately, when I get stressed, my health is usually the first ball I drop. I stop exercising and junk food starts creeping back into my diet. As the school year begins, and we edge into autumn (my absolute favorite time of year!), I’ve decided to restart my journey toward a healthier ME.

My ongoing mantra for the past week or so has been, “Stay positive. Stay focused. Make healthy decisions for my body.” It really does help to have something for my mind to go to when things get fuzzy or overwhelming.

With all the other junk foods I’m systematically removing from my diet, soda is one of the hardest. There comes a certain time of day, usually around two or three pm as my morning caffeine starts to wear off, when I just need the pick me up of bubbles. So here’s my new go-to bubbly drink.

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I’m calling it a Cranberry Perk. It’s quite simple, tasty, and healthy! I use my soda stream (thank you Cory!) and some Santa Cruz Organic Cranberry Nectar and that’s it! Simply make your bubbly water, then fill the rest of the soda stream bottle with the cranberry juice (about 4 oz, which means approx 60 calories per liter as opposed to the 500 calories a liter in regular soda pop). Add a lime if you want to get really crazy!

If you don’t have a soda stream, sparkling water will do the trick. Whichever you use, I’m betting this soda substitute will give you just the perk you need! What is your favorite soda substitute?

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Project Day

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Well our first family project day was Sunday and it went really well. Hubs and Q, (my 6 year old), built 3 birdhouses from old lumber we had around the house. She chose the project and drew up a plan. I’m so proud of her getting to use the power tools for cutting and making the door!

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When they were done PZ, Q, and I painted them. I think they came out pretty tweet! haha. Meanwhile, PZ (my 8 year old) and I worked on a sewing project. I’m gearing up to teach a machine sewing class at the girls’ school starting on Friday, so wanted to get a feel for what kind of projects I should do. Yesterday, we started and got close to completing two velcro snack bags. I was very good and let PZ do almost all the work. I’m definitely starting to see that even simple projects are going to take awhile with beginners.

 

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Just an aside, if you are looking for a good book to read with your kiddos try Shel Silversteins’s Runny Babbit. We started it on Saturday night, our family reading night, and each person read one of the short poems. It was hilarious! I was afraid the kids wouldn’t get it, but we were all laughing and having a great time with all the silly mixed up words.

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

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Well, It’s back to school time which always gets me excited to hunker down and get some good work done. The momentum gets a bit muddled near Halloween and has usually completely petered out by January, so I’ve got to jump on it while the feeling is there!

To help me and my family stay focused, I like to make new chore and evening activities lists so our school day evenings don’t turn into a nightmare of arguing whose turn it is to set the table and pointless negotiations for TV time.  Most of the items on our chore list are things the girls always do, this makes it not so overwhelming. The two new chore items, that after a summer of seemingly endless pick-up, I really want my girls to incorporate into their daily routines are hanging wet towels back in the bathroom and putting dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher after meals.

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We started our new chore list yesterday and so far so good! The girls are always excited to check things off the list and like I said, most of these chores are things they were already doing so it feels like getting something for nothing. Ha! Next Tuesday evening I’ll tally up the “checks” and whoever has the most marks gets to decide the family activity for Friday night. My girls were super stoked with that prize. I’m going to fill a jar with Friday night ideas that they can pull from if they are having trouble. 

This Friday night we’ve been saving to watch the finale of So You Think You Can Dance. We were out of town visiting my parents when it aired. PZ is beyond excited. She has declared she wants to be Mary Murphey for Halloween. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that costume!! HAHA! 

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Last night out evening family activity was Family Dinner. This is where one child, last night it was PZ, gets to decide what we have for dinner and help prepare it. We ended up having a twofer last night; meatloaf AND tomato sauce from our garden. The meatloaf PZ and I prepared along with cooked carrots and steamed broccoli (all her choices). The tomato sauce happened because of the ridiculous abundance of gorgeous tomatoes we’ve grown and the need get them off my counter before we are infested with fruit flies! 

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It worked out great! PZ had real pride in her work. The meatloaf tasted great! And everyone except for Q loved it. PZ asked Q not to make scrunched up faces while she took her two “no thank you” bites, because it “hurts my heart a little”. I don’t think PZ will be making any faces next time she doesn’t like a meal. She learned a valuable lesson and I actually had fun cooking dinner, a chore I’m not always fond of. Next Wednesday will be Q’s turn. We’ll see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot. 

Tonight is Music Night. This is a chance for us all to perform for the family whatever we’ve been working on musically. I’m teaching myself guitar, so this is great for me! Q is learning piano, PZ takes trumpet and ballroom dance, and Hubs plays guitar and base. My hope is that this encourages us all to practice, memorize, and perform. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a family band one day! 

I’d love to hear about what kind of evening activities you and your family do. Drop a line and let me know how the first day of school was at your house!

Metro Parent

Hey,

We made it into Metro Parent! Check out the September issue’s article Handmade Birthdays to see pictures and details of Quinby’s 3rd and 5th birthday parties. 

 

                                                             

Must Make Monday – Not your usual holiday decorations

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Q and I made one of these today. It was super simple, although cutting the doll out was too hard for her little 4 year old hands. She could do the snowflake tutu just fine. She added a little paint to hers.

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I think these orange slices would be perfect for our annual Winter Solstice Party.

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These dressed up mason jars would be lovely for the party as well and so simple to recreate.

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This glitter village is glorious! And it’s made from cereal boxes! I think I might have to do a glitter village making craft instead of a gingerbread house this year.

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I have been going crazy for string art the past few months, but still haven’t tried my hand at it. This little doozy may just be the project. I LOVE STARS!

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Alright, for the crafter who likes to use the big tools, here’s the project for you. Yet another one that would be great for Winter Solstice! These cone trees would look great as a centerpiece, on the mantel, or even alone.

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This last one doesn’t have a tutorial with it, but if you are in need of a felted ball tutorial drop me a line and I’ll send you to a couple of good ones. I’ve made a few felt balls in my time and have been meaning to set up a little sweatshop, ahem!, I mean workshop with the kiddos to get some made for holiday decorations. Not sure why they didn’t just string these balls up with a needle and thread, but all the colors sure do look pretty!

What crafts are you making this holiday season?

Fall catchup 3 – home projects

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Hubs, the best husband in the world, made me these glorious jewelry racks. They are on the wall leading to our master bath. So, so nice. I smile a little every time I walk by. And I’m wearing more of my jewelry and in different combinations than I was before. Buh bye dusty jewelry alcove!


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Fall Catchup 2 – decorations

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The family and I went on a gorgeous, autumn-day walk a few weeks ago and collected leaves. I pressed them between some heavy books for a few days then let the girls go to town with the modge podge and some paint brushes. After letting them dry for an hour or so I tied them with some hemp rope I’ve had in the craft supplies since the late 90’s and my small stint with macrame.
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I wanted to do a quick solo paper crafting project and I saw this tutorial with free template. If it seems like my mantle is covered in every thing that doesn’t have a home in my living room, that’s because it is!

My gal pal Anne and I crafted these origami stars for the holiday season. I’m not sure yet where they are going. I’ll figure it out this week. A garland maybe? I also want to doing a felt ball garland. I’ve got the roving all ready, now I just need to get to it!
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