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Monday, March 17, 2014

Leprechaun Gold Treasure Hunt

This St. Patrick's Day themed kids activity was a BIG hit! My 6 year old (I nanny, remember?) said "Anna, how do you always come up with so many fun things to do?" Which was the most awesome compliment ever, and makes all the time I spend on Pinterest seem more worthwhile! The idea for this activity was inspired by a shaving cream leprechaun gold dig using rainbow tinted shaving cream and plastic gold coins. When I went to the store I found chocolate gold coins instead. I thought, what could I put these in instead of shaving cream. Something food-safe, but still fun to dig through. I immediately thought back to some rainbow-colored rice I made last year that is always such fun to play with. I decided to make some green play rice for this activity, and it was a hit with both the kids (6 and 2 years old). For the 6 year old, we made it a time challenge-how many coins can you find in 30 seconds? In 1 minute? With your eyes shut? The 2 year old was just content to dig through the rice (and occasionally fling it everywhere.) It was a great afternoon! 

(Sorry, phone camera again. I never remember to bring my nikon to work.) 

The rice is SUPER simple! All you need is a bag of rice, hand sanitizer, and food dye. 

I used the instant rice because it was what I had, and I used a 14oz box of it. I used 4 pumps of hand sanitizer (i don't think the amount is super crucial, just a blob of hand sanitizer to help distribute the foos coloring.). I used 20 drops of green food coloring, it could've used more if we wanted it to be really bold green. I put everything in a big zipper top plastic bag and shook it like crazy (the 6 year old loved to help shake it!) 

Then I poured it into a big bowl (I did one bowl for each kid, but if you have a really giant bin, that could be fun too) with the gold chocolate coins! They liked to dig through with spoons AND with their hands! So much fun, pretty easy clean up too (just sweep up the rice!). 

Happy St Patty's Day!!! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Tips for the Greatest, Greenest Smoothie

I know green smoothies are kind of overdone, but I really do like them. I love the idea of getting in a bunch of fruits & veggies with hardly any prep time. This gets in a whole cup of vegetables, and 2 servings of fruit in addition. It also gets in some protein from the yogurt.  I like that you can take them with you to-go, too.  You can do them a million different ways, but my 5 essential tips are…

1.) Baby Greens: I used to just use baby spinach in my smoothies, and I had heard of people using kale, but that sounded terrible to me. Until I found baby kale in my grocery store. The baby greens are softer so they blend better, and the taste is much more mild (you really don't notice they're there!) Yay!

2.) Frozen Berries: I freeze my own blueberries from my blueberry bush in my backyard every sumer, but the store bought berries are awesome too. I like all kinds of berries, and frozen peaches & mangos are good too. I used strawberries today. Freezing them makes the smoothie thicker and colder, without having to use ice. 

3.) B-A-N-A-N-A-S: I actually hate bananas by themselves. But in the smoothie, they just add a bit of sweetness in the background. I don't make a smoothie without a banana. 

4.) Vanilla Greek Yogurt: I like the vanilla flavor. I use 2% vanilla greek yogurt, because fat doesn't scare me. I feel like the 2% doesn't taste as strong and tangy as the nonfat. The Tillamook brand is my personal favorite. 

5.) Coconut Water: I like to use coconut water instead of milk, water, or juice. It helps with hydration and is relatively low in sugar. Whatever liquid you like is fine, just make sure you have some sort of liquid. 

This recipe makes a small smoothie, because I think smoothies are more of a snack than a meal. 

1 cup baby kale or baby spinach
1 large handful frozen berries
1/2 cup of vanilla greek yogurt
1 small banana
coconut water, fruit juice, milk or water 

Combine all in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Serves one. 

Looks weird, tastes good.