Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snowman Playdate

We seem to have skipped winter here in Hampton Roads (I'm knocking on wood as I type this). Despite the lovely weather, we hosted a Snowman-themed playdate for our friends last week and have another one coming up this Friday.

The first snowman craft was very simple. I traced the circles on each piece of blue construction paper. We then instructed the kids to decorate the faces of their snowmen before adding the marshmallows. A thin line of craft glue on the traced circles and the kids were ready for the marshmallows. Pretzel sticks for arms and added crayon decorations were all that the kids needed to complete their snowmen. So easy! The only hard part was keeping the marshmallows out of the kids' mouths!

With two marshmallow crafts, I had to find a savory snack idea. These snowmen bagels were a hit! Only one little girl didn't eat her broccoli, otherwise every last bit was consumed. Carrot nose, olive eyes, sliced ham mouth, broccoli & string cheese ear muffs and a bagel with cream cheese to hold it all together. Yum!

I cheated with the next craft idea. We had previously made robots with marshmallows, spaghetti, pretzels and Wilton food markers, but this seemed like a great way to make snowmen as well. Naturally, the kids did not complain.

Someone really needs to remind me to check the settings on my cheap point-and-shoot camera. It was set to some outdoor setting and these pictures turned out funky. Oh, well!

The playdate ended with a snowman puppet show. I found this cute printable that Ian decided should be turned into puppets. They all figured out their family roles in this new snowman family and put on a show for the moms.

Let's hope the playdate on Friday goes as well as round #1!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Kids Are Weirdos

Today the boys almost came to blows...over a smoothie...containing spinach. I do believe I have the weirdest children alive. And my smoothie didn't even look nearly as pretty as the one below (nor did it contain whipped cream)!

In my attempt to have the family eating even healthier this year, I've been trying out new recipes almost daily. Today was the mocha "green" smoothie. I didn't plan on sharing with the boys as it contains espresso powder, but I figured a sip to taste wouldn't hurt. This way I would know if I should even bother making them their own espresso-free smoothie, right? Little did I know the chaos it would cause and that they would LOVE the smoothie even AFTER I told them it contained raw spinach.

Here's the recipe so you can make your own yummy smoothie:

1 handful of fresh spinach (about 1 cup)
1 frozen banana
1 T instant espresso powder
2 T cocoa powder
1 1/4 Cup non-dairy (or dairy) milk
1 handful of ice

*I used chocolate rice milk, but overall the smoothie was too "chocolaty" for me so next time I'll use almond milk or less cocoa powder. I could have easily handled more than 1 handful of spinach as well and I will add 1 T of chia or flax seeds next time too.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Program & Gingerbread Houses

Looks like we are starting off 2012 playing catch-up. Some things never change. December was a busy month for us, as I'm sure it was for everyone. Nathan performed in two Christmas programs at school, I hosted three gingerbread house playdates with the playgroup, Ryan and I escaped to attend a holiday party with his squadron (and I don't have a single picture showing off my super cute shoes!), I hosted two cookie exchanges, we did all the usual holiday things as a family and I'm likely forgetting 25 other activities because December is already a blur.

Please enjoy a few pictures from Nathan's school program and the final gingerbread house playdate.

Nathan represented the 11 Pipers Piping from the 12 Days of Christmas. He was bouncing with anticipation as his big moment approached.

The entire kindergarten class posed before joining in with the 4-year-old preschoolers. Nathan was in an exceptionally foul mood as the little boy next to him stepped on his shoe and didn't apologize. I'm surprised I was able to capture this smile. Notice his outstretched arms. Nathan is a big fan of personal space and was clearly bothered by the closeness of his classmates. He makes me laugh.

Ian was so happy to be able to participate in the gingerbread house playdate. He often misses out on a lot of the fun now that he doesn't get home from school until just after 3pm.

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) Ryan arrived home just in time to see the boys complete their houses and snap a couple pictures of me as I helped them with the royal icing. I need to start wearing make-up.

I am glad the boys and all of their playgroup friends enjoyed these gingerbread house playdates. After hosting 3-4 of these each year for the past three years, I think I'm "retiring" this one. I have a plan for next year involving houses made from brown lunch bags and decorating with stickers and construction paper. I never want to smell a graham cracker again.