Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Something my Mama Never Told me...

I remember the day like it was yesterday!  I was pregnant with our 3rd son and craving salads everyday!  This particular day, I had built a beautiful salad, with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, celery, grated cheese and a drizzling of Catalina dressing.  It was heavenly!  Then came the tragic moment...

As I was half way through devouring my overflowing bowl of delight, when  I saw them...

Little - green - baby cricket looking - BUGS!!!

You see, I had not washed my lettuce before making my salad!  Honestly, I never even thought to!
I don't think I ate another salad my whole pregnancy ~ which may explain my excessive weight gain!

But, eventually I did come around to eating green again, and actually salad is my absolute favorite food!  Seriously, often when Ken and I go on a date I will order salad as my meal, simply because I love for someone else to make it for me!

Can you see the little critter in the center?
Nowadays, I wash my lettuce...and since I was never officially taught how (though my mom did teach me that cutting lettuce with a knife causes the ends of the leaves to brown), I thought I would pass along what I have learned!

First...collect your lettuce!  While that may be from a local grocer, this time of year I go straight to my backyard and clip a head or two!

Bring them in the house and fill your sink or large bowl with water.  Soak you lettuce leaves in the water...dirt will sink to the bottom, and critters will float to the top.

After skimming off those precious will want to get your lettuce nice and dry! 

I know that many people use those salad spinners for this task...but I just never could find the space for yet another gadget!  A few years ago, my neighbor showed me a trick and I have used it ever since...

The homemade salad spinner:

Place your lettuce in a pillow case, take outside and spin it around and around.  The water driplets will fly everywhere, your lettuce will be perfectly dry, and smiles will abound! 
 {Besides - storage for these "salad spinners" is easier to come by!}

Just another way to "use what you have"!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Fast Tip...{Trays and Link to a Giveaway!}

This may be something that many of you do, but it took me 22 years of parenting before this brilliant idea came to me!

One of the ways we save money in our budget is by purchasing #10 cans of food...applesauce, pears, peaches, fruit cocktail, pineapple, salsa, hominy, tomato sauce, etc... {Each can cost around $4.50}

When we are home from our shopping trip, I have the kiddos sit down at the table and scoop single servings into plastic cups and attach lids and then freeze...{Containers and lids are purchased for around $3.50 for 200}

In order to contain all of the sticky mess that Littles can make, one day I realized they could do this task over plastic trays!  I had purchased these trays to be used in our "Montessori Corner" - {an idea that never actually produced much fruit around here}.  Anyway, we have used them for many other things...Lego play, play dough, crafts...and now they are indispensable on Town Day when fruit packing is essential!

I purchased my trays at Lakeshore Learning about a year ago.  I think I paid around $10 for 4.  This price may be a bit high, but I was looking for something durable and these fit the bill.  In a pinch, you could use cookie sheets or I'm sure the Dollar Store likely carries something similar!

And now for the fun part!

Jacinda over at Growing Home is sharing a giveaway for $20 towards a purchase at Sunny Patch Cottage!  They have some really cute, modest little {and not so little} girl clothes!  Plus, Growing Home is one of my favorite blogs to pop in for some mothering encouragement!  You'll be glad you checked it out!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating Birthday's '80s Style {1780-1980 that is...}

June has been a busy month of celebrating birthdays around here!
This year my hubby and I turned The Big 4-0!

 Not knowing exactly how to celebrate such a grand occasion {remember what a great party planner I am}...we decided to use a Colonial Dinner Experience that we purchased at an auction a few years back to celebrate with some friends. {OK, since it was a costume dinner, maybe I used the "it's my birthday" to coax some good sportsmanship out of them!}

Dinner was a blast, and I don't ever remember learning history being so much fun!  We ate, sang songs around the piano, and played a game from the Colonial Times!
Our Hostess
{Sorry - No Pictures of the Host!}

Fast forward two decades to 1980...

Another friend of ours was celebrating her 30th birthday and decided to hold a '80s party!

These pictures were taken post party ~ it was like totally awesome dude...

This summer we have a '50s party to go to...I can't wait!!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Monday, June 18, 2012

One Thing I'm Really NOT Good At is...


Seriously!  I'm am such a HUGE procrastinator, just getting out invitations is a monumental task for me!  Don't get me wrong, I love a creative birthday party...I'm just not one to pull them off with ease!

One result of my "party ineptitude" is that certain girls in our house still have not officially celebrated last years birthdays! (I might add that Isabelle's birthday has come and gone a second now she has two celebrations stacked up!)

So, in order to "catch up",  a few weeks ago, we had a Candyland Party for Sarah.  It was officially not a birthday party,  but a party to celebrate her birthday...{I don't know, I guess wording it like that made me feel better!}

She had been dreaming about it for months!  So, despite the punctual planning, we did have fun!

Once our guests arrived, we started with Rainbow Lunch:

~Each of the water bottles is labeled with a guests be used for a project later!~

Next came a rousing game of Life Size CandyLand!

Stephanie painstaking laid out the path using construction paper and blue tape!  The "lollipops" are wrapping paper tubes with balloons connected by tying a string to the end of the balloon and then running it down the length of the tube.  We then covered each balloon with cellophane and tied it with a ribbon.  {You can see in the picture that we had to tape them to the floor...we tried unsuccessfully to weight them for stability!}

Here's the party girl {who could have used her hair brushed...aaahh, curls!}  Apparently the lollipops are pretty realistic looking because Claire kept trying to lick them!

Next, we filled those water bottles with Rainbow Candy! 

I had originally purchased six boxes of Tropical Good and Plenty's, thinking it would be plenty to fill each bottle, but you can see how far each box actually filled {these were the smaller water bottles too}!  So, being the creative geniuses that we are, Stephanie and I quickly popped some popcorn to be our "clouds at the end of the rainbow"!

After each guest fill their bottles, we attached a toothbrush and lollipop hairbands {found at the Dollar Store} to send home as our "thanks for coming" gift!

For the grand finale each  guest enjoyed a piece of this Candyland Cake!

Recipe via Parents Magazine

During the party, each guest also made Rainbow Necklaces with Fruitloops and yarn {no pictures available}. 

A fun time was had by all!

How about you find yourself challenged in the Party Planning Department?  Any good remedies?

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Linking to: An Original Belle

Friday, June 8, 2012

Prayer Request and a Friday Fast Tip {Summer Calendar}

This week has been a long and emotional one...but full of God's miraculous hand and steadfast comfort!

Monday, one of my very closest friends, gave birth to her 5th son - Jude Andrew.  It is really her journey to tell, so I will not reveal the whole story here. {Maybe one day she will "guest blog" for me!} But I do know that their family would appreciate prayers for their sweet bundle who is currently in our local Children's Hospital NICU...awaiting the completion of God's Miracle!

Because she and I are so close, so are our children!  So, while Mom and Dad are in the hospital with Jude, The Cottage is expanding to accommodate 4 more children!  My goal is for them to have a "soft place to land" where they will feel like they can "be at home" and not have to adjust to too many transitions.  My prayer is that they will feel comfortable enough to be able to express their emotions honestly, but still have the relief of distraction from the day to day realities their family is facing.

Today while I was thinking and planning some fun things to do, I came across this from The Confident Mom:

The Summer Survival Calendar

I figured this was right up my alley so I took advantage of Generation Cedar's Discount Code!  Check out her will be convicted and inspired!  And then order the calendar using the makes the calendar $7.20!  A small price to pay for a piece of sanity!

Thank you for your prayers for my friend's family, and grace if I don't post too frequently!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!