Orange Creamsicle Pop Recipe



If you know me you know I love to create and keep things fun but I also only tackle the simple projects and recipes.  My life is way too chaotic to take on long and tedious stuff.  We have making popsicles on our Summer Bucket List every Summer and I was looking for a new flavor.  We've been loving fresh citrus from Bee Sweet Citrus and so I decided I wanted to make something incorporating our favorite mandarins.

This is a simple five ingredient recipe that takes little to no time.  You will need 2 mandarins, 1/2 cup of orange juice, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup whipping cream and 1 tsp. vanilla.


Start by peeling mandarins and placing in a food processor or blender.  Add OJ and sugar; process for 20 seconds.






Then add vanilla and whipping cream and process for 60 seconds.  If the mixture is still runny process a little longer.



Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer.  After a few hours add popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.  Remove from freezer and run under warm water for a few seconds and pull popsicles out of mold.  Place in plastic bag and freeze.



My favorite popsicle mold:


Serve and enjoy!  Long live Summer!





Creative and Fun Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Quarantine started feeling like groundhog day pretty early on.  So after a few weeks I decided I was going to have to get us all out of rut.  My whole life I've lived by the motto of "Get up, dress up and show up."  I lost that right away in quarantine and so I decided I was going to have to get back to that and start my days off right and actually get ready.  It helps me to feel so much better and have the energy to tackle the day.  Another way I broke the monotony was changing up breakfast.  During regular school we had oatmeal or cereal almost everyday because the mornings were so rushed.  One of the bright sides of quarantine was not having to be out of the house by 7:45 every morning.  Since I had a bit more leisure time I decided to add some fun into breakfast to help curb the groundhog blues.

The girls were thrilled with the change of menu and started praising me for the creative breakfasts.  And let's be real there wasn't anything too special or creative.  I just changed it up but still kept things simple.  Here are a few of the favorites:


Healthy and Creative Snack Ideas for Kids

My kids would live on snacks if I let them.  Is it just my kids that ask for a snack five minutes after a meal?!?!  Or is that normal little person behavior?  I get the feeling they think I live in the kitchen and it's okay for me to be their snack slave.  Someone also must have given them the idea that fruit snacks are a food group.  I'm trying to break that idea and keep snacks healthy and nutritious as often as I can but sometimes I have to trick them into choosing the healthy snacks.  One way I accomplish that is making their snacks fun and creative.  This usually ensures lots of smiles and clean plates!

Vitamin C is such an important part of their diet especially in these unsettling virus times.  A great snack are mandarins from Bee Sweet Citrus.  I just sliced some up to make some fun items.  First were little fish.  You need Bee Sweet mandarins, raisins, carrots, and candy eyes.  Slice the mandarins, top with 1 eye, and cut two pieces off of a baby carrot for tail.  Finally cut carrot in half lengthwise then cut the carrot into fourths.  Then cut a small notch in the middle of one of the pieces.  Place all together on a plate.  For another version of the orange fish I sliced mandarins and then in half again.  Layer to make fish scales, cut a slice of a carrot for the mouth, candy eyes for the eyes and mini marshmallows for the bubbles.

To make a mandarin sun slice a mandarin, top with two raisins, and then cut baby carrots into fourths lengthwise and place around mandarin.

Lastly I made a butterfly with grapes, mandarins, carrots and black decorative icing.  Cut mandarin into slices and then cut two slices in half again to make wings.  Place next to five grapes and use icing to make eyes.  Lastly, I cut two very thin slices of carrots for the antenna.

My girls were so excited to see this afternoon snack spread and it only took me a few minutes.  Luckily I also had everything on hand (yes I always have candy eyes and black icing).





If you're ever in a rut here are a few other snack ideas that were a huge hit in our house:




How to Better Prepare Your Child for the Orthodontist

Do you know anyone who has great teeth and didn't have braces at some point in their life?  Yup, me neither!  Orthodontia just seems to be a milestone in a child's life.  Since it's something that just about everyone has to experience I love that we've found a program to introduce the process to our kiddos.
Thurman Orthodontics has a fabulous program starting at age 7 called Groovy Grins.  Twice a year your child comes in for FREE checkup including x-rays to see how their teeth and jaw growth is developing.  This way you are perfectly informed on when it will be the best time for your child to get braces. The best part for your kid is the free swag they get at every checkup.  Emily came home with a bag full of gear and now she keeps asking when her next appointment is.  The best part in my eyes is that she won't be scared or intimidated when she really needs braces.  She'll be comfortable with office, the staff and the process.  It's a total win-win and I couldn't recommend Dr. Thurman and his Groovy Grins program more!



Any kid will feel like a real VIP at Dr. Thurman's office because they can make a hot chocolate and grab a cookie.  Plus they go home with a bag full of swag.  Extra bonus mom can make a coffee or tea (and a cookie, duh) and sip while you wait for your child's appointment to finish.






Lastly, the office is beautiful, interactive and totally inviting.  You can schedule your Groovy Grin appointment by calling (559) 439-0425.  

If you want to see more about the Invisalign process from Dr. Thurman check out my post HERE.


Hosting an Outdoor Easter Brunch


We host Easter nearly every year at our home and I just love hosting a party.  Due to the pandemic we obviously couldn't host our extended family but I wasn't going to bypass the festivities because it was just our immediate family.  I decided to create an outdoor Easter Brunch so that we could get outside to enjoy the beautiful weather but more importantly so that we could share in our neighborhood celebrations!

Easter Bunny Brunch


There isn't a holiday that goes by that I don't do a special breakfast.  The surprise element is long gone but there isn't any less excitement from the girls and now Jack wants in on the fun.  I keep everything simple and affordable so it doesn't take a lot of time or money. I use many things over and over in order to accomplish that.  Most of the time I use our colorful RePlay tableware but I had these supplies left over from a party so I decided to use them.  I made the garland years ago from paint sample cards and the only other decor was some fresh tulips and our letter board.

Fun Easter Week Traditions & Activities

Traditions mean so much to me; they remind me of my childhood and bring such joy to my heart.  I hope that my children will continue these one day and fondly think of their childhood memories.  We take any excuse to celebrate, craft or create and here are some of our traditions:

1. Decorate Easter cookies
2. Easter Picnic and/or Lunch
3. Easter Crafts
4. Dying Easter Eggs

How to Throw an Easter Lunch with Bunny Sandwiches


I take holidays very seriously; I'll take any reason to celebrate!  This year especially called for extra fun and festivities (thank you Corona) so leading up to Easter we had lots of fun moments including this Easter lunch.  I love doing stuff like this because it doesn't take much effort but it means so much to my girls.  I hope one day they look back at all these memories and want to continue these traditions with their children.

Easter Crafts that Spread Love and Kindness


Easter time during Quarantine called for crafts.  Not only to keep us busy and entertained but more importantly as a way to connect with friends, family and those who are lonely.  One of the greatest gifts from Shelter in Place has been the ways that we are finding to connect and to spread love.  Our first craft was paper carrot feet.  We painted the girls feet, cut them out along with cutting strips of green card stock.  Glued the strips to the feet and then wrote Happy Easter on the front.  On the back the girls hand wrote this joke, "What did the rabbit say to the carrot?  It's been nice gnawing you."  They then sent blessings and signed the carrot card.  We mailed these to a few family members and then to a local retirement home.

A Bright & Colorful St. Patty's Breakfast



St. Patrick's Day has become one of my favorite holidays because who doesn't love bright colors, rainbows, magic and a little luck?!?!  I always enjoy our holiday breakfasts but this one was extra fun to put together.  It was just the joy and light we needed in this crazy time.  We also got to enjoy it a bit more because we didn't have to race off to school (hello quarantine bonus).

How to Make Lucky Leprechaun Snack Mix



This St. Patty's Day treat was so simple and quick to make and added lots of fun to our holiday brunch.  It stores well in the fridge and can be enjoyed for many days.

Ingredients:
  • Lucky Charms (2 Cups)
  • Rice Chex (1 Cup)
  • White Melting Chocolate (Two Squares)
  • Pink Sprinkles
Directions:

Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments.  Dump in Lucky Charms and Chex and mix.  Top with sprinkles and lay on parchment paper.  Put in fridge to harden.  Once set crumble up and put in an airtight container.







Giving the Gift of Music- Piano Lessons




My girls have always had a love for music and it makes this mama so happy.  There isn't a single car ride that doesn't involve music requests around the clock and spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen are a thing in our household.  Needless to say "we've got a feeling inside our bones" and we decided to fuel their musical passions with piano lessons recently.