Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lisa Jackson Tell Me Summer Secrets House Party

I applied for and was chosen for another House Party!  This one was promoting Lisa Jackson's new romantic suspense crime drama, Tell Me.  My book club, The Literary Mamas came over and we had a potluck dinner and enjoyed talking about our book club selection and enjoying the party pack sent by House Party.  It included an advance copy of Tell Me, which I read before the party, and it was fabulous.  They also sent sample copies of Tell Me for my guests, a paperback copy of one of her other books, You Don't Want to Know, 2 reusable carry-all bags, cups, napkins, a notepad, chips, and salsa.  All of this came at no cost to me.  The Literary Mamas always have a wonderful time together and all of the House Party goodies made it even better.  Thanks again House Party!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday: Summer Snack Pack Edition

Well hello there!  I fell off of the blogging wagon.  The end of the school year got me for sure!  I'm back, at least for today!  A couple of summers ago, we started the "sweet drink" rule so that my kids wouldn't be drinking lots of sugary, devoid of nutritional value, liquids all summer long.  They each get one sweet drink a day of their choosing.  The rest of the day, they drink water or milk.  They are not huge milk drinkers, so I don't have to worry about them getting too much of that.  They did great with it, and it has carried on throughout the year.  This summer, I'm trying snack packs.  They tend to want to snack All. Day. Long.  So to solve that problem, they make snack packs.  At night, they make their snack pack and that is their snacks for the next day. Once they are gone, they are gone.  If they choose to eat them all within an hour of waking, too bad. (They are not doing this.) I made a list of the snacks we have available including serving sizes and calorie counts.  I looked up how many calories they should be eating and decided to go with 300 calories a day for snacks for now.  Caroline is getting the same as Addie because she tends to be more physically active.  We'll see how that goes. I'm keeping them active with swimming and walking, so I think this amount is ok.  I also adjust it if they are really active on any given day.  For example, Addie has 2 and half hours of dance on Tuesdays, so she takes an extra snack with her.  So far this is working great!  They have fun making the snack packs and they have to use a little math to get it figured out.  They are learning that they can have more snacks if they choose healthier foods and that they don't have to eat an entire serving size if they want to use some points (calories) for something else.  And believe it or not, Caroline actually had a day when she had snacks left!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Today's lunch contains a homemade blueberry muffin made with plain Greek Yogurt, Cajun sesame sticks (ONF bulk bin), a cheese stick, baby carrots, and fresh pineapple. 

I hope everyone had a great Easter.  Ours was fairly quiet.  It was rainy on Saturday, but we still had to stick around and wait for soccer to be called before heading to Oklahoma.  The girls enjoyed seeing their friends and cousins.  Here are a few pictures.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Today's lunch has a bunny boiled egg for Easter. The egg molds are easy to use and can be found here.  Also in the box are blood orange wedges, grape tomatoes, Babybel cheese, honey coconut almonds, and Snapea Crisps.  I've seen the Snapea Crisps around for awhile and finally tried them.  They are SO good!  I found them them at Walmart and at Ozark Natural Foods.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break in New Orleans

For Spring Break this year, we decided to drive on down to New Orleans.  We wanted to go somewhere we'd never been and that was within reasonable driving distance.  We had a great time!  The weather was beautiful (except for that one time in the swamp), the food was delicious, the city was beautiful and interesting, and the kids were well-behaved!  And if you want to go somewhere where you can eat lots of great food and get in enough exercise to offset it, let me suggest NOLA.  I thought I'd share a screenshot of my Fitbit email with my weekly stats while we were gone.

We walked a marathon plus!  I was really dreading stepping on the scale when I got home, but I didn't gain a pound, and now I see why!  We did have a car, and they do have public transportation, but we didn't want to pay for parking, the streetcars were mostly full, and the buses were never on time, so we walked a lot.  It's a good way to see the city anyway.

We rented a charming shotgun house on vrbo.com that was located in the Arts/Warehouse district.  It was nice having 2 bedrooms and a kitchen and the house had a lot of character.  And there was a cute coffee shop and cafe/juice bar just a couple of blocks away.  Here are some of the things we did.
  • Audubon Zoo
  • Audubon Aquarium
  • Audubon Insectarium
  • Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour
  • Free Ferry ride across the Mississippi
  • Shopping in the French Quarter, Magazine Street, and the French Market
We bought an Audubon package to save money which included the Zoo, Aquarium, Insectarium, and IMAX theater (which we didn't end up using).  A couple of tips on the Insectarium.  It's located in a federal building, so no knives, sharp objects, or other weapons are allowed.  Well, I had Caroline's Epi-pen and pepper spray in my purse.  At first, they weren't even going to let me bring in the Epi-pen, then they changed their minds.  They wouldn't hold the pepper spray and thankfully we had driven that day, so Mike walked the pepper spray a few blocks back to the car.  Then he got back and realized he had a multi-tool in his pocket.  Back to the car.  Then halfway back, he discovered he'd left his ticket in the car!  So he got a few extra steps in that day.  The other thing about the Insectarium.  DON'T skip the little multi-sensory theater.  We almost did because it didn't look that interesting.  I laughed so much!  It's a cartoon about bugs, but that's not all.  I don't want to spoil the surprise, so I'll just say some of us were jumping out of our seats.  As for the swamp tour, I'd recommend doing that in warmer weather.  The alligators were hibernating (we saw one), and it got a little (ok a lot) chilly zipping down the river getting from one area of the swamp to another.  

Now, to the food.  Oh the food, the heavenly food.  I ate so much seafood, I was starting to worry I might have a reaction!  I was also feeling a little like Forrest Gump....Shrimp Creole, Shrimp and Grits, Shrimp Salad, Stuffed Shrimp, etc., etc. And lets just say I may have eaten one too many pralines.  Here are restaurants/cafes I recommend.

  • Desire Oyster bar for Desire Oysters and Shrimp and Grits
  • Central Grocery Store for the Muffaletta
  • Crabby Jack's for Shrimp Creole
  • The Rum House for the Rum House Salad (I've got to figure out how to recreate it)
  • The Corner Muse for breakfast, coffee, snoballs and snacks
  • Surrey Cafe and Juice Bar for breakfast and fresh squeezed juice
  • Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets
Here are some highlights of the trip in pictures.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

With St. Patrick's Day coming up on Sunday, I decided a green themed lunch was in order.  Included are Shamrock shaped green egg salad (I just added a little food coloring) sandwiches, edamame, gherkin pickles, and a granny smith apple.  Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

In today's lunchbox is a strawberry scone with a pat of butter, fresh pineapple, walnuts, and a Greek yogurt smoothie with frozen fruit and spinach.  The scone is also made with Chobani Greek yogurt, so with the walnuts and smoothie, there is plenty of protein in this lunch without having to pack a meat.  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Back to the 80's Birthday Party

Addie turned 11 years old last week. Sniff, sniff. We decided to have an 80's theme party. The funny thing is, when I was 11, it WAS 1985! She asked everyone to wear neon and we started off the evening at home with tacos and rice for dinner and cupcakes for dessert. I really didn't know what to do with myself this year. No baking required! She wanted cupcakes from the boutique cupcake shop in town. After dinner we took the girls to a new/old place in town called Arkadia Retrocade. For 5 bucks, you can play all the retro arcade games you want. After the girls got their fill of pac-man, centipede, and frogger, we headed home. I had 80's style candies for them to munch on while they watched a movie and we took some fun pictures with photo props I found on Etsy here. I had as much or more fun doing this as they did. I think the party turned out totally tubular dude! Here are some of the highlights.

Candy: Walmart, Party City, EZ Mart
Glasses and Gloves: Party City
Asteroid Drink Markers and Party Plates: Target
Skates: Mine, from my Mom's closet
Photo Props: Here on Etsy.  I sent them to Office Depot to print for around $5.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Both girls have the same lunch today with the addition of a yogurt tube for Addie.  For the wrap, I spread a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss on a tortilla, added some canned chunk chicken breast, avocado, a squeeze of lime, and a dash of freshly ground salt and pepper.  To finish off, they have peaches and Thin Mints.

I haven't been doing a lot of posting lately, but here are some things that have been going on since last Wednesday.

I got a haircut and color.  I had several, several inches cut off.  Thank you Rachel at The Parlor!

Addie's troop had a booth sale at Walmart and it was freezing!  I went inside and bought some hand warmers to share.  I put mine in my shoes because I couldn't feel my toes.  They sold 410 boxes.

Caroline had her first soccer practice of the season.  Also very cold.

This is just a moment I captured Sunday morning that I loved.  Dad and daughter enjoying coffee/tea and reading at the table.

And finally, Girl Scout Thinking Day.  A day to learn about different countries and cultures.  There were booths setup for different countries and the girls went around to learn, buy crafts, and try foods.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Addie is eating at school today.  I was frantically filling out birthday invitations for her to take to school instead of fixing her lunch.  We are so swamped with activities we had a hard time coming up with a date for the poor child's birthday party.  I'm thinking it's time to start saying no to some stuff.  I got over trying to be Super Mom years ago, but sometimes it will try to creep back up on you.  I get pretty weary of being in a go-go-go mode all the time.  And it's not good for any of us.  Everybody needs chill time!  Caroline's lunch has ham and cream cheese spirals, red grapes, and Thin Mints!  The Girl Scout cookies are in!  Monday, we helped pick up both troop's cookies from the warehouse.  Here is a comical picture of the girls surrounded in the van.  They had boxes as foot rests, and my seat belt alert kept dinging because it thought a person was in my passenger seat.