Friday, May 31, 2013

Easy, Impressive and Healthy Dinner

I haven't been feeling the cooking vibe lately. Chalk it up to being busy and also the nicer weather. Thankfully we haven't been starving around here. :o) One night this week, though, I made this simple, but impressive supper for us. The best part? It only approximately 15 minutes of hand on time to get it to the table. Love that!
I started by putting a small whole chicken into the slow cooker on low around 11 am. I just took it out of its packaging, put it in, and tossed some marinade on top. When I checked the chicken at 4 pm it was done. So I turned the cooker to warm until supper. (Can anyone tell me why my slow cookers always end up cooking fast?? Seriously think that I need to start cooking on warm.)
Right before supper I started up some chicken stock on the stovetop for some Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend.
It is a great substitute for rice. We call this bird seed in our house and we love it. You just boil water or stock and simmer it for 10 minutes. This time I threw in a handful of Parmesan cheese when it was done cooking. (I was thinking along the lines of cheese risotto. However, I have no idea what risotto really is, so I could be way off here.)
While the grains were cooking up I chopped up a head of broccoli to steam. (I don't have a steamer. I just use a metal colander in a large pot on the stove. I put the veggies into the colander in the pot with a little water, put the lid on and let them steam away.)
There you have it. An easy to make dinner that is way more impressive than frozen pizza and way healthier for you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Back to Running

I did it again. I have been dabbling in running the last few months. I usually get the itch to start running in the spring. The sleepy hibernating months of winter are gone and I get the urge to get active again. I have learned that it works best for me to have a goal. So I sign up for a couple of 5ks and then start building up my miles so I am able to run them. I know from past experience that I really don't do well with a training program. I like the freedom to just run when and how long I want to. Since we had such a late spring this year, I ended up joining a little gym down the road from our house. While it doesn't have all the amenities that the other gym I belonged to did, it has one huge advantage. It is right by our house. On the days that it was too cold (or snowy) for my liking, I would get up and go to the gym usually first thing in the morning. Now that it is nice enough I have been doing my running outside, but I still try to stop by the gym to get my gym credits for our health care reimbursement program.
The first 5k for my season was a couple of weeks ago and it went really well. I have always been trying to break the 30 minute mark in my 5ks and while I have come oh so close, I hadn't yet been able to do it. For this run, I just wanted to get it done. I knew I would have a few more races over the summer to really work on my time if I felt like it. I just wanted to have a fun run. I got to the venue plenty early and lined up with the over 8000 other runners and walkers. (It is a big race in our town.) I lined up toward the middle of the 30-35 minute pace group. And when we started, I had fun. I was passing people, but people were also passing me. It was a good relaxed run. They didn't have a clock at the end and I didn't have any clue about my time. I just walked to my car and drove home. Well, I checked my time online when I got there and I had done it in 28 minutes and 46 seconds. Apparently I need to always just run to have fun and then the time will take care of itself. Good to know.
So, since I had been running, when Laurel from the blog Ducks in a Row asked if anyone wanted to run 50 miles in May with her, I thought, that it sounded like a good idea. I have been keeping track of my mileage all month long and checking in with Laurel. Last week it was looking like I might not be able to make it, but just this morning, I ran my 50th mile for the month. It feels good to know that I can do that. (Funny thing is that I was all proud of reaching this accomplishment and then I saw that one of my cousins ran 60 miles in a week!! Just shows that everyone has different goals and successes.)
And do you know what? The best part of all of this for me is that running puts me in such a better mental state. It really changes my entire mindset. I feel healthy, I eat healthier, and I am just plain happier. Totally worth the time and little bit of money spent.
I have another 5k toward the middle of June and then I am doing a Run or Dye toward the end of the month. So I am looking forward to keeping my running shoes laced up and on the pavement.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekend In the Rearview

Wow! It is amazing what an unscheduled weekend with an extra day can feel like. We all had a great last few days here at Bowl of Cherrys.
*I spent some time playing around with my set-up for a craft show this weekend. I still need to do some playing around, but at least I have a basic idea.
*Mr. Cherry tuned up our bikes this weekend. It was much needed as they have been hanging from the garage rafters for 2 solid years without use. We are hoping to make good use of them again this summer.
*While Mr. Cherry and the girls spent some time outside, I spent sometime in my sewing area. I am trying to build up a good inventory for this weekend's sale. There is still more work that I hope to get done this week, but I got a lot done.
*Mr. Cherry and I got a babysitter and went on a date!! This is big news for us. Usually the hassle of finding a sitter and making arrangements just keeps us at home with the girls. While we didn't do anything earth shattering, it was wonderful. We will have to try to do this more this summer.
*This little munchkin worked on projects of her own and loved extra daddy time. She was telling me something about having so many projects to get done and how she had to get to work on them. Hmm, she must hear that once in a while around here.
*Mr. Cherry grilled burgers for us last night. Mmmmm. I could eat grilled burgers all summer long. We also had our first corn on the cob of the season. Cream really, really liked her first corn on the cob!!
I hope that you all were able to enjoy your weekend as well. And now on to the week!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Peachy's Arty Party

As soon as we were done with Peachy's Ice Cream Party last year, maybe even before that, I knew what her part theme would be for this year. (Obsessive much??) Peachy loves, loves, loves her art. She will sit with her art materials for hours at a time. I just knew she "needed" an art party.
And so I began scouring Pinterest and Google Images for art party ideas. There are plenty of great ideas out there. You can check out my Arty Party board on Pinterest for many of the ideas I found.
I started with the invitation. The inspiration for the invitation is from P is for Party and the party they featured from Magnolia Creative. I made mine using my Silhouette SD. (I have yet to blog about my new toy, but I love it and will share more at a later date.)
I also made this banner with my Silhouette. I used paper from Amy Locurto's PB Party line called Over the Rainbow.
I tried to use items I had around the house in decorating. The felt garland along with the small rainbow pennant garlands were made for my craft fair in February. I also use the rainbow IKEA TOLSBY frames in my craft booth.
The large picture frames I painted a while back and am intending to eventually use them as kids' art displays in our downstairs. I made the paper pinwheels using my Silhouette.
I had made the girls rainbow shirts for St. Patrick's day. I also had the rainbow crepe paper from a St. Patrick's Day project.
My friends all know my cake balls well. I use Bakerella's method with a crumbled sheet cake mixed in with a tub of frosting and dipped in almond bark. Then I sprinkled them with a rainbow of jimmys and colored sugar. I cut out a large palette shape to display them on, using my, you guessed it, Silhouette.
I had intended to have the art portion of the party in our backyard, but the weather was super windy and chilly, so Mr. Cherry and my dad cleaned out the garage for our art studio.
 I made a rainbow of playdough using a basic playdough recipe and adding in lots of food coloring. (My hands were a lovely explosion of colors for a few days.)
I also had purchased paint daubers from Michaels and used them with printed activity sheets. (Just do a search and you will find plenty.)
I had wanted to spray a huge sheet of fabric with colored water (water and food coloring in spray bottles) but once we made the decision to use the garage I cut individual sheets of muslin for the kids to use and spray their own.
My master plan was to use the painted fabric as a photo booth backdrop with some of the painted frames, but that just didn't happen. We may have to have a future playdate with that as an activity because I was really looking forward to it!
 Here are some of the artists at work in the studio.
 The great thing about the activities is that they were suitable for all of the ages we had at the party and they didn't require a lot of supervision or supplies.
The final activity was making a necklace using fruit loops and a ribbon. The necklaces and the treat were enjoyed by all.
For favor bags I used some muslin bags that I had purchased from this website and then had Peachy color pictures on them with fabric markers.
We made some homemade watercolor paints using this recipe  and placed in these cups from Amazon. (Don't mind the fact that they are actually intended for Jello shots!)
We also had aprons for all of the guests that I also ordered from Amazon. I made stickers using my Silhouette once again with each of the guests names on to place on the aprons. (Since I needed 13 aprons and they came by the dozen, I made a special one for the birthday girl. I found my rainbow fabric at Wal-Mart and used the leftover for decorating the tables.)
For the babies of the group, I made little stuffed sensory clouds with this as my inspiration.
Here is a simple crayon wreath that I hung on the door. I made a wreath form from some cardboard and hot glued the crayons to it. I added a painted 4 and one of the paper buntings. I loved how it all looked on our red front door!
 I kept the food pretty simple and just went with fruits and veggies. In order to fit it into the theme, I put them all in their own bowls and arranged them in rainbow order on the table. I also made little creative juice labels for the juice boxes.
***A big thank you to my friend Tina for taking all of the pictures at the party. It is wonderful to have good friends and it is even better to have good friends with good cameras!!***

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Take Your Kids to Work Day

I have been working hard at building up my inventory for another craft show I will be participating in on June 1st. While it is easiest to work while the girls are otherwise occupied, some days I end up working while they are playing around me. And then there are days that I work while they are playing on me! :o) Shhh, don't tell OSHA! And don't tell anyone that some days I still am in my pajamas at lunch time.
I have been adding items to my Etsy shop and will continue to do so as my inventory grows for the show! Feel free to stop in a take a look around!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fun Finds

I recently scored some really fun items through a thrift store. Check out this great hard side suitcase and the fun vintage polyester fabric pieces I bought. The best part? All three items cost me less than $2 total! Rock on thrift store. Rock on.

But do you know what was an even better find? This two tiered metal stand that I recently picked up off the curb! It is currently sitting on our counter holding fruit, but I also plan on using it as a display piece at my craft sales. You just can't beat free!
What about you? Have you had any good finds lately?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Starring Cream

Here are a couple of videos I had on the camera that I couldn't resist sharing. (Especially with Em and Justin! :o)
Here is Cream showing us her muscles.

And here she is after watching her sister blow out her candles.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kid Activities: Grass Heads

This is a fun project that the girls did at our family fun class a couple of weeks ago. It was super simple, perfect for lots of ages, and the fun is still going as we watch them continue to grow.
This is one week after planting.
We started by turning a knee high nylon over a plastic cup. (So that just the toe was left in the cup and the rest of the sock was stretched up and over the outside of the cup.) Then we added one scoop of grass seed and filled the rest of the toe with dirt. Tie a knot in the sock at the top of the dirt, cut off the extra, and flip it over so that the knot is on the bottom of the cup. The class had cute eye stickers that the girls added. (They only had one left when Peachy got around to hers, but she was okay with that. She said it is a one eyed monster.) To water it, we sprayed with water in a spray bottle. We have been watering ours every other day.

The other plants in the picture were form the Target Dollar Spot. One has basil and the other cilantro. Peachy enjoyed helping me plant those as well.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Beautiful Day

Our Mother's Day was pretty low key in these parts. We had hosted Peachy's birthday the day before and I think low key is just what we needed. My parents were still in town, so that was something special. We went to church as a family as we do most every Sunday. But there is something extra special about practicing our faith together on a day that celebrates some of life's biggest blessings--mothers and children.

We came home and Mr. Wonderful fired up the grill. While he cooked the brats I took care of tossing together a quick salad. My dad played in the yard with the girls and my mom talked over the phone to my sisters.

After lunch and naps and my parents heading for home, the four of us headed outside to enjoy a gorgeous day. Mr. Cherry and the girls planted seeds for our garden while I enjoyed some down time. I love these pictures that I was able to snap of a dad and his children. Even if the holiday is about celebrating mothers, for me it is about celebrating my family and the blessings they bring to my every day life.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peachy is Four!

On Friday, this girl turned four years old!
We partied it up four year old style. I will share more on the party later. It was a lot of fun, though. Today I feel like staying in my pajamas all day long and relaxing. :o) Maybe that can be a late Mother's Day gift to myself.
An interview with four year old Peachy:

1. What is your favorite color? Pink
2. What is your favorite toy? Princesses
3. What is your favorite fruit? Apples
4. What is your favorite tv show? Super Why
5. What is your favorite movie? Cinderella
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? Dresses (because I like princesses)
7. What is your favorite animal? MoMo (her stuffed dog)
8. What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me
9. What is your favorite book? The Bible
10. Who is your best friend? Annabel
11. What is your favorite snack? Crackers
12. What is your favorite drink? Lemonade
13. What is your favorite breakfast? Sandwich
14. What is your favorite lunch? Peanut Butter Sandwich
15. What is your favorite dinner? Spaghetti
16. What is your favorite game? Uno
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? Jump Rope (Although she hasn't ever done this.)
18. What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
19. What do you sleep with at night? MoMo and Eeyore
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Doctor

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kid Activities: Painting with Water

This is a perfect no mess, but lots of fun activity for really any age.
I simply gave each girl a piece of construction paper, a small bowl with a little water in it, and a sponge paint brush.
They each painted until their paper was saturated.
We just let the paper dry and then we could use it again another day! Perfect! We have also painted with water outside. Another no mess activity!