Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give us a cheer!

Hi everyone. I've been so busy lately that I have to apologize for not commenting back in a timely fashion (since I started this blog, I've made a point of commenting back to just about everyone who takes the time to say something at the end of my posts). I'll make sure to do that asap, but tonight I'll be busy viewing Hayden's dance class (we're allowed to watch tonight. I'm so excited to cheer her on!).

Anywho, before I go, I wanted to post this month's Eco Emi DIY while we are still in July. As you know, I make a DIY project out of the extra decoration in all my Eco Emi boxes (here's January, February, March, April, May and June), so this month is no exception (especially when Christine was nice enough to mention it on the Eco Emi site).

This month, I didn't have any confetti or fun crinkled material, but I did have the usual tissue paper. Most of the time I save it for wrapping gifts, which always works. Since it was my main material to use this month, I decided to make it the star of the project.

Hayden loved the poms at Vacation Bible School this summer, so I decided to make her a pair of her own in her size. All I needed was the tissue paper from my July Eco Emi, two unsharpened pencils (Jacob always gets them in goodie bags from friends), scissors and some tape (I used the gold duck tape leftover from this DIY bracelet project).

To start, I cut the black tissue into two equal-size pieces, similar to the size and shape of the two pieces of red tissue paper from the box. I folded the black tissue paper in half lengthwise, leaving just about 1/2 inch showing from beneath the top fold. Then, I cut the paper into thin strips, being careful not to cut that 1/2 inch exposed area. I was left with the perfect fringe from making the poms.

I did the same thing with the red paper and lined it up with the black fringe to wrap it around the eraser end of the pencil, taping as I wrapped it. Repeat with the other pencil and fringed tissue paper.

The result was two cute little poms. They are fun for cheering on the home team. Hayden has been chanting "U.S.A.," while we watch the Olympics, as well as cheering me on throughout Charissa's July Colourful Smoothie Challenge.

Speaking of the smoothie challenge, today is the last day, so the results will be out soon. Fingers crossed that I win. I even used the stretchy red ribbon from this month's Eco Emi box to tie a bow around my finger like a cute ring for luck or a reminder to post my last smoothie, which I did, BTW. I'm not sure if that's what I want to do for the DIY with that one, though, because I'm thinking about either using it for a hair-tie or to make a crafty headband, like the ones Lauren Conrad recently blogged/vlogged about. Love it! What would you do with this stretchy red band?

Okay, I'm running out of time before I have to go. Here are the last smoothies I tweeted, just in case you wanted to know.

I made a Tone It Up Perfect Fit Protein Blueberry Pancake Batter Shake. If you veganize the pancake batter with flax "eggs," and add extra almond milk and frozen banana, it make a yummy shake. The frozen wild blueberries I folded in reminded me of drinking bubble tea, the coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top was a nice touch.

I also made Charissa's Avocado and Flax Smoothie she posted on the Fab Food site. I highly recommend all three avocado smoothies she posted on that site.

My last smoothie of the challenge was Charissa's Berry Green Smoothie that I photographed with my Troll doll in front of it. He likes to be green, too. I've actually had him for years. Can you believe I saved my arcade tickets up to get him one summer?

This summer is nearly over. Gonna keep enjoying every last minute of it. Hope you all are doing the same :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

All you need for a relaxing evening

Personally, all I need for a relaxing evening is to just chill out with my family at the house, although we also had fun "chillaxing" at a pool party to celebrate Paw Paw and Aunt Karen's birthdays yesterday (Paw Paw's birthday is officially today, so we hope to hang out at the boardwalk with him later). I mentioned it in our latest Eco Emi video I uploaded last night in between thunderstorms (my fingers were crossed the whole time that I didn't lose our Internet connection, not to mention our power).

When we opened our July 2012 Eco Emi box, we found that this month's theme was relaxation, packed with everything you need for a cozy spa evening. You can watch our initial reactions in the video and/or check out the list of products it contained listed below:

Pomegranate Deodorant Towelettes by Crystal Essence: I received the lavender scented deodorant wipes in a past box, so I already knew I'd be a fan of these. They are great for freshening up on a hot summer day, and were especially nice to have at the pool party yesterday.

Lip Shimmer in Merlot or Rose by DeVine Lip Shimmers: I never seem to get tired of the lip balms, shimmers and glosses in these boxes. I have them upstairs, downstairs, in my purse, etc. They go everywhere with me. This one has a sweet grape scent that both Hayden and I love. The light shimmer is nice, too.

Lavender Essential Mists by Hugo Naturals: This is my favorite item in the box. I'm not big on wearing perfume, but I like a simple, refreshing, natural body spray. This one is also great for spritzing it the air, on your sheets, a yoga mat, or anywhere else for a soft, relaxing scent.

Body Cream in Lavender by The Seaweed Bath Co.: In past Eco Emi boxes, I have received samples of this company's shampoo, conditioner and bath wash. I enjoyed them so much that I was really happy to test out their body cream, as well.

Soap in Tequila Bar and Polar Bar by Biggs & Featherbelle: I think I've seen these soaps in Whole Foods, but have to admit that I haven't tried them yet. To my surprise, they are made in my area. I can't wait to test it out (I said I was going to take it on vacation, but I don't think I can wait that long). The eucalyptus and lavender scent I received (the Polar Bar) smells just like a spa.

Chocolate-Dipped Mixed Nuts Crunch Bar by ThinkThin: This bar looks yummy, but due to the milk fat in the list of ingredients, I'm passing it on to my hubby. He enjoys it when I send an item or two from the box his way.

i-Chill Relaxation Drink Shot by i-Chill Beverages: Speaking of my hubby, this relaxing shot is totally up his alley. It had his name on it the moment I saw it.

Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea and Raspberry Passion Perfect Energy Tea by Yogi Tea: Hayden says she wants the pink packet and I like the idea of a caramel tea. However, she's already a ball of energy and sometimes I am sleepy. Ha ha :-)

Agave Light Sweetener and Blonde Coconut Sugar by Madhava: Of course I'm already familiar with agave and I could use some more coconut sugar.

Calm plus Calcium Organic Raspberry Lemon Flavor by Natural Vitality: According to the directions, this stuff fizzles when you add it to water. My hubby may get this one, too, but he has to show it to Jacob when it fizzes. Jacob loves a good chemical reaction.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my Eco Emi box, as usual, and thank Christine for adding me to her "Sites We Love" on the Eco Emi website. Now, I just need to come up with a craft to post next.

Oh, and before I sign off, here are the earrings I made for Karen's birthday, in case you were curious. I've been doing a lot of wire-wrapping, inspired by one of my favorite jewelry designers, Nina Cortes (Nina Loren is her line; I posted a Q&A with her before on my site).

Also, I've tweeted a few more smoothies in the homestretch of Charissa's July Colourful Smoothie Challenge, including her Avocado Smoothie featured on the Fab Food site. Simply perfection!

I also had an extra smoothie the other day that won't count for any points, but I shared it anyway. I made a peanut butter, banana, coconut cream, Vanilla Sunwarrior and almond milk smoothie. Yummy in my tummy :-)

Today, I just tweeted another of Charissa's avocado smoothies, her Avocado and Chia Smoothie. And yes, that is another Care Bear. Have a "Cheery" day (that's Cheer Bear, BTW)!

*For all you eco-beauty lovelies out there, I thought I'd give you a heads up about Charissa's current giveaway. She's got a LoveTrueNatural lip treatment up for grabs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Getting the hang of it

I almost titled this post, "So big," to go along with this adorable pic of Hayden at her last dance class, but ended up switching it to "Getting the hang of it" to sum up the whole thing. My "big girl" (please don't refer to her as a baby anymore, although she will always be my baby) is getting the hang of doing so many things herself, while I, too, have been adjusting to her independence.

She was excited to go to her dance class last Tuesday (quite a change from her first lesson), lined up with the rest of the girls and even guided one of the more hesitant ballerinas into the classroom. Her teacher said she participated the whole time and was all smiles. Bravo!

Hayden is quite the artist these days, insisting on doing this Melissa and Doug painting project she received as a gift quite some time ago. She totally took charge of the painting part, but allowed me to use the glitter glue to write her name (although she has made writing her name a goal for herself by the time she starts preschool in the fall. I'll be really impressed it she does it by then, because she is only 2 at the moment).

Then, she went right back to glittering and gluing the embellishments onto her heart-shaped box. She was really proud of herself.

Hayden also said she was proud of me taking pics of my smoothies with her and Jacob's stuffed animals. She is more impressed with the cute pictures than the fact that I've almost made it to the end of Charissa's July Colourful Smoothie Challenge. I only have a handful to go and I'll have had/tweeted all of Charissa's smoothies (you get extra points for making her smoothies); that's a smoothie everyday this month.

In case you missed it, here's what I made and tweeted since my last post, starting with Charissa's Supercharged Green Smoothie. I had my Kermit the Frog puppet pose with it, since he is almost as old as I am. You wouldn't know it, though; must be all those greens :-)

Then, to tackle my case of the Mondays, I veganized Charissa's Mocha Manipulation Smoothie by substituting cashew "cheese" in place of the cottage cheese. I was bouncing off the walls like Elmo.

I was still craving chocolate on Tuesday, so I couldn't resist a vegan version of Charissa's Dark Chocolate Protein Shake (actually it is her cousin's recipe) made with cashew "cheese" and a flax "egg." Our stuffed Otter from a local museum seemed to be after my Gnosis Chocolate garnish. We plan on going to that museum and visiting my grandma next week. Thanks for the reminder Mr. Otter.

Jacob's Shark Boy attacked Charissa's Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie. It was really refreshing after a day of swimming Wednesday.

A dip in the pool really made me crave an extra smoothie, so I whipped up another one. I don't believe it counts as bonus points, but I couldn't resist taking a pic of my PBberry Smoothie (peanut butter, blackberries, almond milk and Perfect Fit protein powder) with this adorable little face.

I thought we'd go swimming again on Thursday, so I made my #colourfulsmoothie early. Charissa's Green Goodness Smoothie veganized with coconut yogurt was really good. Instead of swimming, we went to the movies to see "Ice Age: Continental Drift." The kids loved it.

This morning, I had Charissa's "Beary" Purple Smoothie (obviously, I changed the name a bit, due to the Care Bear in the pic) veganized again with cashew "cheese" and sprinkled with a little flax on top to make it gluten-free (hers has wheatgerm). Harmony Bear is sporting her cute little headband, which looks like she's ready to run a race. I'm in the homestretch. My fingers are still crossed that I meet my goal :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dandelion picking in the rain

It's been gloomy and rainy the past couple days, but I've found ways to bring the sunshine in. For instance, yesterday, Becky and Leo stopped by to hang out with us for a while. They had planned on going to the waterpark nearby; however, due to the weather, ended up hanging indoors at our house. It was a spontaneously fun visit that I hope to do again soon.

Then, today, I decided to add a bit of sunshine to my #colourfulsmoothie (don't forget that I'm participating in Charissa's July Colourful Smoothie Challenge) by making Charissa's Dandelion Orange Smoothie. Citrus always seems to brighten things up a bit (just like my online friend Heathy posted about recently), and it was like a little adventure going outside in the sprinkles to hunt for dandelion greens, the main ingredient in the recipe.

I have to say that this was one of my favorite recipes from the challenge. My goal is to make all of Charissa's smoothie recipes (you get extra points for making her smoothies), even the ones I need to veganize, like the Lemon Meringue Smoothie I mentioned in my last past (another fave, BTW). Our Paddington Bear thought so, too, as it has orange in it; you know how Paddington loves orange marmalade. He also was dressed appropriately for the occasion in his rain gear.

In case you missed it, here are the other two smoothies I made for challenge since my last post. Yesterday, our favorite pig Olivia got dolled up in her best red dress to pose with Charissa's Tropical Strawberry Sorbet Smoothie. It's like a scrumptious girlie girl shake. Delish! Reminds me of the episode of Olivia when she makes a meal for her mother with only red foods, like strawberries.

On Thursday, I had the chocolate version, Charissa's Chocolate Coconut Protein Smoothie. Our little Monchhichi wanted to try some, too. The stuffed animal didn't get a taste, but my other little Monchhichi (Hayden) did. Mmmmm!

Anyway, I'm heading into the home stretch with only 10 smoothies to go. Wish me luck :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The shy seahorse

As you know, I've been trying to keep you up to date with my #colourfulsmoothie tweets for Charissa's July Colourful Smoothie Challenge and our day-to-day activities this summer. I think it's been a week since my last post, mainly due to the heat (our internet keeps going out when the temp hits around 100 degrees), so I'll start with the Shy Seahorse I took a pic of hiding behind Charissa's AloeHa Smoothie (just a reminder that you get extra points for making her smoothies; I'm aiming to make them all, even if I need to veganize them). It made perfect sense to use a seahorse in the shot on our last day of Vacation Bible School with the theme "Operation Overboard."

The shy seahorse also reminds me of how Hayden started out very shy in her ballet class and bible school, but has gotten better the more she attends. Here are some pics from Bible School:

Hayden is all smiles :-)

Shaking her poms with the music.

Glitter makes everything more fun.

It's even better when big brother is there, too.

She was a little shy and reserved when she entered
her second dance class last night ...

... but then she came out happy as a clam :-)

And now for the rest of the #colourfulsmoothies, in case you missed them. After the AloeHa Smoothie, I made Charissa's Chocolate Orange Smoothie that I renamed the Chocolate "Orange Moose" Smoothie, due to the orange moose in the shot. So good!

Next, I enjoyed Charissa's Peach Coconut Smoothie with our plush friend Princess Peach. The kids have really been into the old school Mario games lately. This was perfect.

Jacob's first friend, his Blue Beary teddy bear, just had to take a turn modeling with the smoothies, so Charissa's Blueberry Cream Smoothie had his name written all over it (I renamed it the "BlueBeary" Cream Smoothie).

Then, our Wonder Pet Tuck saved the day and Charissa's Superhero Smoothie. No matter how much spirulina we added, it never got the same green color as hers (I think we used less avocado, and our strawberries have been taking over the color of a lot of our smoothies lately), but it still tasted great.

Today, I veganized Charissa's Lemon Meringue Smoothie by using a combination of almond milk, cashew cheese, coconut cream, a whole peeled and seeded lemon, Vanilla Sunwarrior Warrior Blend and half a frozen banana in place of the ice. This tasted like lemon cheesecake. So refreshing, especially on a 100-plus degree day. I hope to make a key lime version in the future. Yum!

What's your favorite smoothie combination?