Freeze ahead Green Smoothies

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My husband and I have recently jumped on the Green Smoothie band wagon! This all came about after I noticed the HUGE amounts of treats I’ve been consuming while on bed rest for the last 5 weeks! Nothing says “Hope you’re surviving the boring weeks ahead of you in bed!” than pie, cookies, breads, candy and everything else I couldn’t say no to! Friends, don’t get me wrong! I loved every last bite of your generous offering and I have my ever expanding rear end to prove it! But there I was, sitting in bed feeling sorry for my growing self when I stumbled upon a green smoothie recipe while searching pinterest for FOOD none the less!

Inspired to get my sweet tooth under control I pinned a few recipes that sounded good and sent my husband to the store! After much tweaking and developing a recipe that we love, we came up with a morning smoothie that fits our taste buds and needs!

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The recipe itself is only half the fun when it comes to making these green smoothies. I was totally inspired by this recipe I found on pinterest and her technique of preparing premade smoothie bags that she freezes and whips up every morning! GENIUS!  Because I can’t be on my feet much throughout the day this was the prefect solution.

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I plopped myself down at the kitchen table surrounded by all the fresh fruit, greens and add ins. I chopped everything up and separated them into freezer bags. Each bag contained the listed ingredients above minus the water and juice concentrate. In 30 minutes I prepared 7 bags of premade smoothies.

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When you are ready to enjoy a smoothie all you do is grab a bag from the freezer, add 2 1/2 cups water and your 1/4 cup juice concentrate. Because all of the other ingredients are frozen it mixes up into the perfect texture! No need to add ice!

This recipe is portioned to create two 20 oz smoothies. Perfect for me and my husband. If you only need one smoothie you can half the recipe and freeze smaller bags or make this recipe, pour half of the blended drink back into the freezer bag to refreeze and thaw out over night.

This technique and morning drink has been life changing! Each morning it takes only 5 minutes to create a healthy meal replacement and vitamin boosting drink AND that includes clean up! 30 minutes once a week and we have 14 smoothies coming our way!

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TIPS: Citrus fruit is easier to peel when it’s not been refrigerated. Be sure to separate the orange segments before you put them in the bags. Limes can be easily peeled once they have been cut. Flax Seed and Soy Protein powder is often sold in bulk for super cheap. I add these powder ingredients last on top of all the cup fruit. It coats the cut fruit int he bag, freezes to it and then all gets dumped into the blender when you are ready to blend. Besides the important greens that are power packed with vitamin C and A, feel free to substitute your fruits to your liking or what’s in season and on sale.

Calorie and protein totals were calculated using this website and are considered to be an approximate calculation.

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Sewing Tip: Use Alligator Clips instead of Straight Pins!

alligator clips

This discovery came out of desperation and boy am I glad I was desperate!

Yesterday I set out to sew some much needed blankets for my soon to arrive little fella! While gathering my thread, scissors and other supplies I COULD NOT for the life of me find my straight pins! AHHHH! I checked everywhere! Talk about a downer! As a last resort I grabbed a box of Alligator Hair clips I found in a drawer while frantically on the hunt! Little did I know these little babies would soon become my newest sewing companion favorite!

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These clips slide easily onto my freshly ironed edges and hold them in place and are perfect for corners!

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And talk about and easy off! These clips are so easy to pull off while you are still sewing! Much less stop and go to remove straight pins.

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I’m totally converted to using these over straight pins for edge work and here’s why…

-Easy to slide on my edges with one hand.

-Has a tight hold that won’t pop off when I move my fabric.

-Super simple to remove one handed while sewing without having to stop sewing to take off.

-Are large enough to see while sewing so I won’t accidentally NOT see it like I have in the past when I used straight pins. I have accidentally sewed a straight pin into my blanket and damaged my needle, mangled my straight pin making it hard to removed, or left a pin in my finished product and found it later while using the finished product! Ouch!

-If I drop a clip on the floor they are much easier to find then a dangerous straight pin! Comforting when kids are often near by while I sew.

-Alligator clips don’t draw blood!

Give it a try! I bet you too will love this new short cut! I only wish I had discovered it sooner!

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Kids in Training: Keeping a Room Clean and Orderly! Giveaway and Free Printable

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I know I’m not the only who has struggled with trying to help my kids keep their rooms clean! It was a constant battle and frustration in my home. I would often give up and clean it myself but the reality of them missing out on this important life lesson and skill finally won me over and I had to come up with a better plan!

In my e-book “Kids in Training” I drive head first into this very topic and share how we turned a corner when it came to conquering the bedroom clutter and keeping it clean! Can you believe after I put a few new daily responsibilities into action that my 9 and 7 year old daughters have been able to keep a spotless room for over 4 months in a row!!! CRAZY, I know!

It all came down to making them responsible, minimal daily pick up and seeing the potential that their personal space had hidden under all the piles and mess!

My girls do a few thing EVERY single day. By keeping on top of it they are never left with the daunting task of cleaning a disaster zone. I share our tips and tricks in Chapter 1 of “Kids in Training: Life lessons that will help lead to productive, responsible and grateful kids!” Keeping a room clean and orderly becomes totally manageable for little ones with a little direction, motivation and organization.

I’ve created a few fun chore charts that you can use to help your kids stay on top of their bedroom responsibilities! Help them identify a few daily tasks that will help them keep a clean room. By seeing what they need to do and marking it off when it’s done, they will feel the pride that comes with being responsible. I also talk about fun incentives and rewards for their continual hard work.

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These weekly chore charts are great for helping your kids keep track of their progress! Insert daily bedroom chores on the blank lines and have them mark them off as they accomplish their chore! Things to consider putting on the charts…

Make Bed

Clean Desk

Clean Dresser

Clean floor

Clean closet

Toys put away

Customize it to your kids room needs or areas that have been a struggle. If they have had a hard time keeping books in order add that chore to the daily list! Doing 5-10 minutes of daily work will totally help keep a space in order!

Read more about what’s been working in my home by reading “Kids in Training!” Along with helping my kids keep a clean room, I touch on 9 other helpful life skills that are helping me teach my kids how to be productive and responsible!

If you purchase a copy of “Kids in Training” Now through March 19th, you will be entered into our “Clean Room Giveaway!”

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These fun items are the perfect tools to help any kids room become organized and ready to KEEP clean! Items are being ordered and shipped from Amazon so they are subject to availability once a winner is chosen! Winner will be chosen from my e-book sales log and announced on the Blue Cricket Design Facebook Page March 20th! If you have already purchased a copy you are automatically entered to win!

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Click below to purchase “Kids In Training!” Check out is via paypal and the pdf version will be emailed to you after you check out!

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How to take better home videos

Better home videos

Over the past few months my family and I have been rediscovering our old home videos! Even my three year old LOVES to see herself as a tiny toddler getting into trouble or caught doing something adorable.  It’s become our favorite Sunday afternoon activity. We pile on our bed and take in a walk down memory lane. It’s a guaranteed good time!

It’s been while viewing these family memories that I’ve come to realize how much I wish we would have been doing differently behind the lens to produce better videos. I think it’s hard enough to even pull out the video camera and capturing a moment let alone have to think about making it the best video ever! Ok, ok…so we arn’t looking for Oscar worthy footage but with a few mindful tips we can all improve our family videos by leaps and bounds!

tips for betterBack up a little! After watching hour after hour of home footage I noticed one very obvious thing. We were way too close to our subject! If we were at the park we’d be zoomed in on our 2 year old. We follow her around like a shadow, watching her pick up a leaf, throw a rock and find a bug. The frame was all about her. In our mind we were thinking ” Holy smokes! Is she not the cutest thing on earth or what!” That admiration for our explorer clouded our goal. The goal was to capture her, at this sweet age, in an environment that she loved.

Because we were so tightly focused in on her we lacked the ability to take in her surroundings and put her on a stage that would emphasize her size, age and ability. A tiny 2 year old up close looks like a cute kid but a tiny 2 year on a play ground highlights her height and comparison to her surroundings. If this is a favorite place of hers to visit a wider shot of her enjoying the park will better be compared to later visits as she grows.

And our kids aren’t the only things that change! Surrounding change too. If we are focused in too much on just them we will fail to capture the environments they will some day love to see again when they watch themselves on these videos.

Our back yard trees have doubled in size and so have our kids while we have lived here! The kids get a kick out of seeing how their childhood surroundings have changed just as much as they have.

Silence the wind! Sadly in too many videos we took outside there is a wicked wind swirling into the mic. It makes it next to impossible to hear anything else but it’s annoying tone. It totally takes away from the moment you wanted to capture and makes you actually want to fast forward to the next scene. If you are outdoors and the wind is working it’s best to tick you off just be sure to position yourself with your back against the wind. This might mean that you need to move the kids or go on the opposite side of the soccer field but trust me, if you can avoid get a microphone full of wind you’ll thank me later. Wind doesn’t sound very load in person but when played back on a home video it sounds like rustling paper.

Capture the crowd! We have years of collected birthday gatherings on video. Fun parties with one year olds digging into a cake for the first time and birthday girls unwrapping piles of gifts! I noticed that for the majority of the footage the camera was only on the guest of honor. I heard voices all around that I could make out as grandparents, aunts and uncles but I totally failed to pan the camera around the room to capture the crowd! I missed the chance to capture a moment. What I wouldn’t give to see how adorable my little one was AND see my grandmother, in her signature purple color, enjoying her party as well.

It’s not only fun to go back and see what you got for your 5th birthday but it’s also great to see how Uncle Doug looked too way back then.

Step out from behind the lens! This is our biggest home video FAIL! All too often me or my husband were behind the lens or avoiding being in front of it as much as possible. What a shame! 20 years from now we’d give anything to look as young, thin, or vibrant as we do today even if while the camera rolls we think we are not as camera ready as we’d like! I  regret not being captured on film, as dorky as it might feel I wish I had more video of myself and my husband as new parents.

Moments with our kids are what it’s all about. Put yourself in the shots. Make family videos about being a family! Years from now you will have endless footage to admire and laugh about! Your style, trends and self will be captured as they change. You won’t regret it!

Think short and sweet! Oy, I watched one video where I followed my little one outside for 8 min. Talk about a snooze feast! 8 minutes of the same old, same old. I was ready to poke my eye out by minute 4 on the play back! As cute as something might be in the moment just remember that to watch it back years from now it might loose some of it’s sparkle! Just food for thought.

Ask a few questions! This is sort of a family joke. When we watch my husbands old home videos we laugh because at the start of every video my father in law asks the same few questions ” What’s the date? Where are we?” How old are you?” It sounds pretty funny but I can’t tell you how handy it is to hear the answers back! It’s a great way to document the date and avoid that ugly annoying date that used to fill the corner of home videos.

fun questionsOne thing we have done well over the years it to sit our kids down and interview them! Interviews are a fun way to see your kids at different stages of life. We sit our kids down at least once a year and ask them fun questions. These have become some of our favorite videos to watch back and we all too often nearly die of laughter as we see their innocence, smarts and whit on display. Create a fun list of questions and start recording! These are a few fun questions we always seem to love hearing the answers too…

  • How old are you?
  • What grade are you in?
  • Who’s your best friend?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What is your favorite show to watch?
  • Do you have a crush?
  • What do you want your husband to look like or be? ( Funniest answers ever! Apparently my oldest at one point wanted her husband to like soccer, have big muscles and wear a bow tie!)
  • What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
  • If you could go on vacation tomorrow where would you go?

The list could go on and on! Take the time to create a list of questions that focus in on who they are right now! These videos will be treasures and don’t be afraid to get interviewed yourself! Turn the tables and have your kids ask you a few questions!

We’ve already started to take better home videos. Every time I pull out the camera I am thinking of the videos we have recently been watching and what I wish I would have done differently!  I hope these tips help you to be more mindful of how to capture family moments even better! Happy filming!

 

 

 

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