OK, before you ask "What the heck are those?!?", let me explain. You know how you go to the store and you see something that you don't need, but you buy it anyway because you just might need it…one day?
Well, that happened to me this week. I went to the commissary and spotted some really neat orange and black Halloween straws and thought to myself: "Wow, maybe orange and black straws will be on the 'volunteer to bring' list for at least one of my daughters' first grade Halloween parties!"- I have two first graders and they are in two different classes.
Reflecting on why I bought them in the first place, I can't figure out why it made any sense at all. Seriously? My reasoning was flawed from the start. Who the heck asks someone to bring 200 straws to any elementary school party?!? First of all, there aren't 200 kids in first grade and second of all I'm sure if there are drinks they're juice boxes that come with their own straws. But the orange and black straws are so neat I had to get them!
Yesterday I had a thought. I am not super crafty. You won't find me posting anything craft related with 20 million hits on Pinterest, but I knew I had to come up with some way to use these cool looking straws.
Well...these are what I came up with! Aren't they amazing?!? Now you can ask me what the heck are they? They are anything you want them to be; thanks for asking! They can be ghouls, they can be mouthless goblins, they can even be ghosts with straw arms if you want! Whatever you want, they can be. The important thing is they are crafted out of the Halloween primary colors: white, black, and orange!
So I bet you want to know how I made these bad boys don't you? Well I am not a big fan of food dyes, especially the red and blue variety so I went for the Pillsberry Moist Supreme Yellowcake. It claims to make 24 cupcakes; I eked out 17, but that's only because I over filled the first twelve cupcake wrappers. I used a couple of large free-range brown eggs and was about to use coconut oil instead of the half a cup of vegetable oil the instructions called for then it dawned on me!! Even though it's not a nut free school there might be a kid allergic to coconut. So, I put the brakes on that idea and whipped out the Great Value (Walmart brand) vegetable oil I had on hand. I seldom use vegetable oil and I'm not a fan of the Great Value variety, but I figured it would probably taste better than using olive oil in the cupcakes and be better than being the cause of an allergic reaction.
Now for the eyes. I had milk-chocolate chips on hand, but I also had raisins. I figured if there was going to be any inkling of "healthly for you" in this snack I better opt for the Sun Maid raisins. The raisins worked perfectly as eyes. Look at them closely. See, some of them are mean and glaring, some of them are sad looking, and some of them just are.
Finally, I cut down the straws to craft some arms with moveable joints for each of the mouthless goblins and voilà!! I'd created the perfect snack edition to any spooky party!
They might not look like a Pinterest hit, but I can assure you that they were tasty. I should know since I ate the runt of the batch and took the remaining 16 to school. You know what?? I don't recall seeing ANYONE actually eat one...humm...that's a bit suspect because I got both of my baking pans back from both classrooms...empty. Strange. I'm sure someone enjoyed my cupcakes.
Can't say what went through their heads when they reached for one to eat, but I know once it hit their lips (I used pre-made cream cheese icing ) it was delish, and left them begging for more!! Those raisins on that icing was the bomb!!
Nailed it? Yes. Yes, I did!
I'd love to hear about a time your creation was beyond the standard for creativity. Drop me a note below and tell me all about it!
🕶Have you decided what you'll do? 🕶
Here, in our corner of Kansas, we live in the path of totality 🌗🌘🌑. When the ☀️solar ☀️ eclipse happens this Monday, our town will be in total darkness for roughly 2 minutes and 19 seconds. The town has been hyping it up and planning all year. In fact, War-Mart is selling custom t-shirts 👕👚for our town and the local private college stadium will be fully packed with locals and out-of-towners! It's a HUGE deal!
A couple of weeks ago we began telling the girls about it and the importance of following exactly what their teachers say to do if their school is in session. We also explained why it's very important 😎☠️😣👁 they FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS especially during the eclipse.
Needless to say, Piper is freaked out and has expressed multiple times that she is not interested in participating at school which is fine with me; I have my concerns too. Who knows what a group of little kids will do. Many will do what they're told, but there could be that one child who wants to take a little peek; heaven forbid. I filled out the permission slips for the girls to participate and turned them in on the first day of school (this past Wednesday). Vince told Piper he'd go to school and participate with them. But that didn't change Piper's mind.
Brynn on the other hand, said she just didn't want to stand next to anyone for fear that someone would pull her glasses off. The good thing is that their school has provision for parents to pick their kids up before the eclipse begins! 🙏🏾
Vince is a proponent of them participating at school, but I'm in favor of honoring Piper's request to stay home. Shoot! If her intuition is telling her to stay at home, I'm keeping her at home. Don't get me wrong, I want to experience this once, maybe twice, in a lifetime event too, but I'm a bit leary myself. On a normal day, we have no interest in staring at the sun, but now that there will be something to look at I want to take every precaution. Perhaps we should all go hide in our tornado-shelter of an old stone basement for several hours and come out when it's over! I jest, of course.
I did pick up 2 pairs of glasses for Vince and me from a place in town, which brings up another point of concern - legit or illegit?? How the heck do people know if their glasses are eclipse proof? So many places have had their glasses recalled and there are even trolls selling knock-offs. It's not like the glasses makers have tested them on a real eclipse. Here's the American Astronomical Association's site that I believe offers the truth when it comes to which glasses (by ISBN) are the real deal: https://eclipse.aas.org/
Some questions that have come to mind, because you can never be too careful, are:
- Is the ambient light safe to look at during the eclipse?
- Are the glasses at the school legit?
- Why would did I get glasses if I don't plan on looking at the sun?
- If we make a pin hole eclipse viewing box how will I know where the sun is WITHOUT LOOKING to know where to place the box?
Vince and I have agreed to pick the girls up from school and have them at home with us. I'll have to give you an update on our experience. I'm going to try my hand at the pin-hole viewing boxes tonight.
Hey, what do you think people who are out driving and have NO idea that there will be an eclipse will think when the sky goes black in the middle of the day! Ha, ha, ha!!!! The end of the world!! The sad part will be if they are looking up when the sun and the moon separate and they fry their retina!! I'm sure there will be some car accidents unfortunately. Reminds me of the movie Apocalypto.
Whats on your mind about tomorrow? How did you choose to view it? Do you know anyone who damaged their eyes? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
For an AMAZING laugh about preparing for tomorrow's historic event check out this lady's post about the eclipse from 17 August 2017! She had me rollin'!!
Here are a few other resources you can check out in preparation for tomorrow's Great American Eclipse.
How to make an eclipse viewer
How to make an eclipse viewer 2
The eclipse explained
The boy who looked at the last solar eclipse
In an effort to start the school year off strong (and maintain all year long) I've decided that meal planning might actually be a time saver! I've heard that it is, but in the past meal planning seemed like such a chore! A chore that I maybe stuck with a week (probably less) at most. Well, will a 3 month old and two first graders, my time at home while the older two are in school is no longer my own. I must be efficient while the baby is sleeping and I refuse to run around scrambling for something to prepare for dinner multiple times a week! Super stressful and it can make for a dull meal.
A couple of days ago, just before the new school year started, I told my husband that I think meal planning is the way to go (He never thought otherwise. In fact, he encouraged me to use a meal plan and has even helped me come up with some plans in the past). You know how sometimes good ideas aren't really the best ideas until you come to that conclusion on your own? Well, that's how I've been with meal planning! And you know what else?!? It doesn't have to be as painful as I was making it out to be. Shoot! We could have the exact same meal plan for an entire month!!! Mind you, I didn't say have the same MEAL everyday for a month! Ha! Just the same weekly plan. When I look at it this way it's so much simpler and a less daunting task.
I've done pretty well for the past several days and want to share one of the recipes I made last night with you. It was a hit!!! Three out of the 5 of us really enjoyed it and one of the other two doesn't have teeth yet ;-).
Oh, and the kids were able to help with the prep. They enjoyed popping the edamame out of their pods. We don't do much with soy in our household because of all of the plant estrogen it contains, but once in a while I'll buy tofu and once in a blue moon I pick up edamame. It has a great protein content though. 17 grams of protein per cup of cooked edamame. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Combine all ingredients and drizzle individual salads with Asian Vinaigrette (pg. 75 in the book). I actually used way more cabbage and avocado than suggested! But only because we all enjoy avocado and I wanted a fuller salad.
Another meal planning success was on the girls' first day of school. I whipped up a quick protein filled meal - usually I just give them oatmeal and a side of fruit or cereal and a side of fruit or eggs during the school week. This time I made egg muffins. After the girls went to school my husband, Vince, said Brynn said she didn't like the breakfast...she LOVED it!!!! Made my day!!! This meal planning thing is paying off!!
Oh, I can't forget, one of the ways I feel like we save money as a family is by investing in Blue Apron. Every week we receive two meals in the mail. They do take time to prep. But they're delicious AND they save me time and money because all of the ingredients are included and I'm not wasting produce. Try a free Blue Apron meal!
What's been your experience with meal planning? Success? A bust? What are some of your go to meals? What meals have you found are best in a crunch? What's your favorite no processed foods included meal to prepare? I'd love to hear from you!
A couple of days ago, I revisited my goals for 2017. I was reminded that I must complete 8 5Ks this year. It doesn't matter if I walk, run, or crawl, just as long as I complete 8 as planned!
For obvious reasons (check out my May blog post), I haven't tackled any of the 8...yet, but I am beginning to feel up the the challenge now that I'm almost fully healed from three major surgeries I had exactly 2 months ago today! I guess I'd better start looking for some 5Ks to participate in. Got any suggestions for events in the Kansas City or Washington D.C. area?
I have several other goals for this year. Some of which I've done a pretty good job of keeping up with and others I have not. One thing I do know is that each time I revisit my list of goals, it reinvigorates my desire to accomplish them.
I don't know about you, but I often have what seems like 1 million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head. So much so that if I don't capture them on paper I find that I'm paralyzed by all that needs to be done. It can be pretty overwhelming!! I've learned that making lists is important first step to me getting anything done. Having a To Do list for my every day tasks is imperative and so is having one for my annual goals. What I did this year is categorize them. I broke my goals up into these categories:
Health and Fitness
The only thing I should do that I haven't is print them off and post them where I can see them every day. Instead, I have them trapped in my phone on my Evernote app (it's a great app by the way!). I put them there so that I can access them from any device any time I'd like. How about you? What's your way of capturing your goals? Do you have any BHAGs for the year? Oh, that stands for BIG Hairy Audacious Goal!
This morning I heard someone say that there are 120 business days left in 2017....not very many! So, what will you accomplish before we ring in 2018?
Ok! It's super late, but I had to get some pumping in! Big triumphs tonight! First, I completed my 4th blood transfusion and am officially no longer a pin cushion!! Second, I pumped 3 mls of breast milk!!!! Whooo Hooo!!!
What does this REALLY mean??? It means that despite my delayed milk producing efforts, my milk is coming in!! I now have something to offer Jordan that isn't formula. I'm not opposed to formula, however while my breast milk may not completely fix or heal Little Jordan's ailment, I know it's got to contribute something to her "wellness" efforts! Oh, AND offering some of my own milk to my baby will most definitely keep the lactation consultant at bay! Phew!! Seriously, these 3 mls have bought me some more time with the consultant and I won't have to keep offering up reasons (albeit good ones) as to why I haven't done the work to produce much of anything up to this point.
I lost count. How many times have I been stuck to try to get an IV in....? No idea. Yesterday, I'd already had three IVs that had been used and removed, but a nurse anesthetist made it work. Does it hurt everyone kept asking? Compared to what, the c-section? Fibroid removal? Scar tissue removal? Clot removal? Hemorrhage checks? No way! All these pricks don't have anything on all those other procedures! Blood transfusion number 3 in progress.
Please, please, please keep our baby Jordan in prayer. Her birth weight was 10 lbs 11 oz. we discovered yesterday that she has some sort of bacterial infection. Which explains her inexplicably high respiratory rate.
Even with all this I will be grateful.
I am thankful that we now know what is causing Jordan's respiratory rate to be high
I am thankful for the warm water that I was able to run for a length of time across my back and stomach last night when I was in pain. I know not everyone has that luxury.
I am thankful for the support of family and friends.
I'm thankful for my husband Vince.
I am thankful for modern medicine and the team assigned to us.
I'm thankful that my mom got to celebrate her 68th birthday in terrific health yesterday!
What made your day today? What are you thankful for? What were your triumphs? I'd love to hear from you!
It's a rare occasion that my husband has a weekday off! In fact, most mornings I have no idea what he eats for breakfast because he leaves the house at 3:30 AM while I'm still in bed.
Since this morning was different, I thought I'd try my hand at a smoothie bowl! As he launched to take the girls to school, I decided that I wasn't going to spend time putting the dishes away first like I typically do. Nope, today I was going to make the time and take the time to whip up a colorful and delicious smoothie bowl for both of us! He enjoys cow's milk and I enjoy almond, but only had coconut milk on hand.
My plan was to wait for him so so we could have breakfast together, but I have 14 days to go until I'm due with baby #3 and EXTREMELY hungry! Not sure I can hold out much longer...I am typing this as I eat. Have you been there before? Had someone in your belly telling you you'd better eat or strangely you might get ill if you don't? That's how I was beginning to feel- sick!
So, I'm eating and feeling MUCH better!
I've known about this recipe for a few years and just never made it. It's funny though because I actually had all of the ingredients on hand, right down to the chia seeds! It's not often that happens.
Speaking of chia seeds, did you know that they are powerful little superfoods? The really do pack a punch and are one of the most popular superfoods in the health community. I was recently reading about them and learned that in the Mayan language (chia was originally grown in Mexico) chia means "strength". In fact, Mayan warriors would use them as fuel during battle.
The seeds were valued for their medicinal properties and nutritional value for several reasons. Here are just a few:
1. Nutritional Profile:
Chia is high in both Omega-3s and Omega-6s, as well as calcium.
2. Help Promote Bowel Regularity and Healthy Stool:
Chia is super high in fiber (roughly 11 grams per ounce) which our bodies must have in order to balance insulin levels. The fiber content can help us feel fuller faster because the seeds absorb the water and expand into a gelatinous substance in the stomach. The gelatin-like consistency occurs because of the soluble fiber in the seeds and it can work like a prebiotic supporting the creation and growth of probiotics in our guts.
** Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day if you eat them before they are in their gelatinous state because they will absorb water from your body.
3. Help Treat Diabetes:
Since chia is rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, studies have shown how these tiny seeds can help prevent metabolic disorders like insulin resistance AND dyslipidemia or excessive fat in the blood. Both of these factors play a role in the development of diabetes.
For more information about the benefits of chia seeds click HERE.
Tired of pricking your fingers to check your blood sugar levels or do you know some one who is? Click HERE.
Here's the low down on this yummy Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl
Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 1 serving
¾ cup almond milk
1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology or Vegan Tropical Strawberry Shakeology
¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries (reserve some for garnish)
1 cup ice
¼ large banana, cut into thick slices
¼ cup fresh or frozen blackberries
2 Tbsp. sliced raw almonds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1. Place almond milk, Shakeology, blueberries, and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.
2. Place smoothie in a medium bowl. Top with remaining blueberries, banana, blackberries, almonds, and chia seeds; serve immediately.
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Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 8 year old twins girls and a 2 year old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!