Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pineapple Margarita

In honor of National Tequila Day I thought I would make my own concoction of goodness and boy is it ever.

1 part good quality tequila. I used Patron
3 parts Classic Margarita Mix
2 pineapple chunks
1 pineapple wedge for garnish

muddle tequila and pineapple chunks in a cocktail shaker.
add margarita mix and ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
pour into short cocktail glass and garnish with pineapple wedge.
you'll love it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

appreciation = happiness

We do a lot with our kids, probably to a fault. It's not so much the money that's spent, it's the time and effort we put into a new adventure like hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, hunting for sea shells, mini golf, etc... sometimes I feel like I've done all those things in less than a week.
I'm a person who has a hard time sitting still so a lot of this activity is my doing but I need my kids to understand that all this may be a rarity; not every child gets out and kayaks with their parents or possesses the patience to make homemade ice cream with them. Now let me say that this... in no way does this make me special or a super mom. I'm not. But it got me thinking about being appreciative of what we currently have instead of looking straight past it and on to the next thing.

John Gray, author of Children are from Heaven (Harper Collins) wrote, “the whole basis of happiness is to appreciate what you have at the moment.” We all want our children to be happy, so what can parents do to help children appreciate the simple things in life?

Here's four things to get us moving in the right direction.

1. Model Gratitude

The most effective way to help your child see the light is to be a grateful person. Experts call this incidental learning. My Mom always called it “monkey see, monkey do.” Children are natural-born mimics. They use their parents as a how-to guide to navigate the world. If they witness their parents routinely expressing sincere gratitude (kids have an innate ability to detect insincerity), they are much more apt to express it themselves. Express gratitude to your child on a regular basis. Let the people around you know how much you appreciate what they do. Not only will this set a good example for your kids, it’ll make you feel pretty good, too.

2. Expect your child to show gratitude.

Parents, noble creatures that they are, think nothing of getting up three hours early so they can make lunches, check homework, get everyone dressed, fed and ready to go in time to drive Suzie to before-school band practice and Timmy to his early morning paper route. The fact that neither Suzie nor Timmy thought to say thanks doesn’t even register in Mom’s overworked mind. As much as children may wish, or even truly believe, that the world revolves around them, it doesn’t. Noticing and acknowledging all the work that goes into creating their day is a skill that will serve them the rest of their lives. Letting them know in a non-demanding way the effort you put out will usually be enough to remind them to say thank you. When they do express appreciation for all you do (or even for a little of what you do), accept gratitude graciously.

3. Go guilt-free.

That said don’t demand gratitude or try the gratitude-by-guilt method. We all remember the “starving kids in Africa” who would have been thrilled to have even a portion of the liver (or beets) you were rejecting. I don’t know about you, but thinking about kids who would enjoy eating my leftovers did NOT make me any more thankful I got to eat the yucky food. It just made me resent little starving kids. I also wondered what the moms in Africa told their kids to get them to eat.

4. Commit random (but regular) acts of service and gratitude.

Incorporating gratitude into daily life is easier than you might think. Randomly throughout the day, find ways of expressing gratitude. During the bedtime ritual, ask your child to name three things he enjoyed about the day, or tell your child three things you appreciate about him. Make writing thank you notes a priority. The note has to be written before the gift can be used. Put a note in a lunch sack or in a backpack expressing appreciation for your child. Make an effort to thank people who help you on a daily basis: the school crossing guard, the librarian, a cashier, etc.
I never did learn to appreciate beets. I did, however, learn to appreciate having a mother who cared enough to attempt to force nutrition into my ungrateful system. I hope someday my kids will, too

Monday, July 9, 2012

I heart POSCA pens

My friend at http://craftiliciousu.com/ turned me onto these markers about a year ago and I can't put them down. I've used them for all kinda of projects. Unlike some paint pens, I never experience flooding, clogging or streaking with these. They come in a variety of sizes; extra fine, fine, medium, broad and extra broad. They even have florescent colors and glitter pens in some sizes. What's more - you can buy them individually.

If your kids want to trick out their skateboard, surfboard or bike this is the way to go. I can't say enough about these paint markers.

Check out http://craftiliciousu.com/ and see what my friend has done with these pens. SHE'S AMAZING!

Here's where you can buy them: http://www.durablesupply.com/pospainmar.html
Posca Paint Markers

on paper
on wood and fabric

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Paint the Town Tshirt

John's birthday is never too far so we decided to make a t-shirt for him based on the T created by thebluebasket.blogspot.com but of course I need to change it up a bit.
First, because I had trouble with the printable template she had on her page and secondly, I always have to make "inspiration projects" personal to me and my family.

Here's what you'll need:
- Plain white shirt (I got mine at Target)
- Paper and pencil for laying out your design
- Fabric paint or fabric markers ( I like to use POSCA Markers, they are awesome)
- Cars to drive on your town and maybe even some little people)

First I laid out a basic sketch of our "town" on a piece of paper to get an idea of the "places" we wanted to add to our town. We wanted to add places my husband likes and visits so we added a "bike path" (because my husband often rides his bike to work), "wine country" (because we live in wine country and we love wine), a "movie theater" (because we love seeing movies together), a "water park" (because we have a season pass and take the kids often) a "camping" spot (because we love camping together), a "hospital" (because my hubby is a doctor) and a "fire station" at the request of my son. I love it because it's so personal.

I put a layer of smooth cardboard paper between the front and back of the tshirt so it wouldn't go through to the front. Next, I free handed the outside path of the town on the back of the tshirt. Then filled in the "places". Next, I called the kids into action and asked them to paint the town. They enjoyed painting it and deciding the colors of each building.
It doesn't have to be perfect. It's from the kids (and mom) and it's for dad who will 100% love anything the kids make so don't worry about perfection. It's not going to happen unless you and your kids are painting prodigies.
Have fun!