Friday, June 28, 2013

Ice Cream in a Bag

Did you know that there's a National Ice Cream Day? It's true! It's always the third Sunday in July. Even though my husband has had to give up dairy (also known as "giving up heaven" at our house.) we still celebrate this glorious day every single year! This year I'm thinking of shaking things up a bit. Like literally ShAkInG tHiNgS uP by making ice cream in a bag!
Please ignore the shaggy hair. We have been playing hard!

In each small ziplock bag you'll need:
1 TBLSP Sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 milk, cream or half and half 
(We used cream cause if you're gonna do something, you might as well do it right! Right?!)

In each large ziplock you'll need:
Enough ice to fill the gallon sized bag half way
6 TBSP salt- we used rock salt 

Zip up your pint sized bag and place it inside the larger one... then shake shake shake! We actually turned on some peppy tunes and had a dance party to encourage vigorous shaking. :) It was a blast! You'll be able to tell when your ice cream is done. Ours took about 5 minutes.

What a fun way to entertain the kids AND enjoy a deliciously frozen treat all at the same time! 

Some advice- make sure your small ziplock back is sturdy, or you can even double bag it. If any of the rock salt gets into your ice cream your kids will cry, and they won't believe you when you try to convince them that it's still good it's just sweet AND salty, like when we dip french fries in our frosty at Wendy's, and then they'll cry some more...and then you will cry... and that totally defeats the point. So just save yourself a headache and double bag your ice cream 'kay? 

There are so many flavor options you could do! This time around we just made a nice clean, albeit slightly salty, Vanilla flavor. Next time I think we'll throw some berries in it, and maybe even some chocolate or carmel. Or OREOS! Oh heavens. I am going to need to make this again before National Ice Cream Day... you know... just to practice.  

After all, in a perfect world every day would be National Ice Cream Day. Am I right? 
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Take a HIKE!

Going for a hike (or "hike," depending on the age of your children), is an easy way to get out of the house with not too much preparation. Just make sure you have some water, snacks, and some sunscreen, and you're good to go!

Since our kiddos are still pretty small, we decided to take a "hike" out to a local waterfall--Bridal Veil Falls. It's paved, relatively level, and pretty well shaded. Plus, it's a nice short one with a decent payoff at the end that the kids would enjoy. 

There's even a pond right at the base of the falls full of fish that you can feed!

On our way back to the car the kids got to play in the sparkling, FRIGID, runoff from the falls. 

Oh--and I would hate to forget the NASTY spider we discovered on this fabulous bridge. 

 So what are you waiting for!?

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Library Storytime

Your local library is a great resource for cheap or free summer fun. Not only is it exciting for the kids to explore and find "new" books, they usually have a schedule of fun kid-oriented events, as well as information about other local events in your area. 

Our local library has storytime twice a week. They have "Lap Time" for the younger kids--stories, songs, dancing--and a story time for older kids, as well--more reading, less singing and dancing. 

 After story time we let the kids wander and pick a few books to check out. 
Cheap. Easy. Fun.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Zaggora HotPants Review (Part 3) THE RESULTS ARE IN!

Clink to read Part 1 and Part 2 of my Zaggora review. 
It's time! My 2 weeks are up! Are you dying to hear the results of my 2 week Zaggora challenge? 
First let me tell you how my week went.
Day 8: 45 minutes of Zumba in my living room. I wore the pants for 30 minutes afterward while I cooked breakfast for my kids. 
Day 9: My friend talked me into going to a hip hop class with her. (60 minutes) Oh glory, let me just tell you how good I was at that! I had about as much swag as a Disney princess. Seriously. It wasn't pretty. That being said, it was a great work out! 
Day 10: Today I did a work out video called Brazilian Butt Lift. Don't judge me- it's awesome! My husband gets a big kick out of the names of my favorite fitness stuff. "Brazilian Butt Lift" and "Hot Pants"? Yeah I'm pretty much asking to be the butt of his jokes. (Terrible pun intended.) Anyway, so BBL is made by Beachbody- the creators of Insanity and P90X. It's a killer work out and I LOVE it! Today's video was 45 minutes long. 
Day 11: My kids were being a little bit needy today so I decided to try and include them in my work out. I threw my 4 and 2 year old in the stroller, strapped Zach to my chest in his baby carrier, and let my 5 year old ride her scooter behind us. I'm hoping that what I was lacking in cardio I made up for in strength training. :) We walked for 20 minutes, but I wore the pants for another half hour while I did the dishes and mopped the floor.
Day 12: I decided to be brave and show my face at Zumba again. I didn't sweat quite as badly this time. I still feel like I got a great work out, but I didn't leave any sweat puddles behind. Maybe I didn't work out as hard? Bummer, I was sorta proud of that sweat puddle. Even if it was terribly embarrassing. 
Day 13: Holy cow! You would not believe the day I had. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off all day long and I kept thinking "Okay, I have GOT to work out!" and then something would come up that would keep me from doing it. So at 12:45 a.m. as I was finally climbing into bed I realized I hadn't worked out yet. AH! Well somewhere I had read that some people like to sleep in their Hot Pants. Sounded incredibly uncomfortable to me, but I knew I had to do something! So I climbed out of bed and put the hot pants on. As I climbed back under the covers my husband popped up and said, "Are you wearing your Hot Pants to bed?!?!' 
"Uh... yeah."
"They're SO loud!" (remember how I told you they make a swishing sound?)
"Oh, sorry honey. I'll try not to move." says the wiggliest sleeper ever. 
After about 20 minutes of pure torture, the pants came off. Oh well. I tried.
Day 14: No Hot Pants for me on Sunday. :) 
This morning I practically leaped out of bed and ran for the measuring tape. I have been dying to know if these sweaty pants are doing what they claim to do. 
The first thing I measured was my waist. My heart sank. NO difference what-so-ever. Ugh. Maybe these pants were a huge waste of money after all. Half heartedly I wrapped the measuring tape around my hips- 1 and a half inches smaller! YAY! 
The good news continued! I lost a total of 2 inches off my thighs, 3 and a half inches around my leftover baby pooch, and 2 inches off my rib cage (From wearing the Hot Top) 
I jumped on the scale and was excited to see that I'm also down 4 lbs!
The Verdict
So what's the bottom line here?
These pants WORK! 
Total I lost 8 1/2 inches in 2 weeks! Considering I hadn't lost any inches in months just doing my normal routine, this was great news for me!  I wasn't doing anything differently as far as my diet goes. I don't count calories- it makes me crazy. I just try to stay away from sugar, white flour, and processed foods. I am also typically a pretty active person. I usually work out 4-5 times a week, so I increased that to 5-6 times a week during this challenge. 
Losing 4 lbs in 2 weeks is pretty typical for me if I'm working hard and eating right, so I can't give credit to the Hot Pants for that. I had been stuck on a plateau for a while though, and maybe these gave me the extra nudge I needed. 
I didn't see any change in my waist line, but the particular pants I bought didn't claim to target my waist. And the Hot Top I bought claimed to work my hips, upper stomach, and back- which it totally did. The good news is that within the last 3 weeks Zaggora has released a new version of their pants AND a new version of their Hot Top that are supposed to target the waist and lower stomach. You can bet your bottom I'll be purchasing both of those in the near future! 
I think what I love most about my Zaggora wear is that my success is a direct result of how much I put into it. So many diet fads going around claim you can eat whatever you want, sit on your butt, and you'll still get skinny just by taking a pill. Every time I see something like that I think RED FLAG! Either this is poison, or it flat out doesn't work. 
With Zaggora the harder you work, the faster you'll see results. And yes, that statement is true even if you're not wearing the pants. I just think the pants just speed up the process and give you a little extra push in the right direction. I absolutely love my Hot Pants and will be ordering a smaller size soon! (These ones are starting to slide right off!) 
I cannot believe I'm about to post a picture of my chubby self on the internet. Ugh. Just try to remember I just had my 4th kiddo... Okay? Also please excuse the pictures- my 5 year old took them for me. :) 
Oh man. It is totally crazy to see the difference a few inches can make! (And is it just me or is my Butt Lift program working?) While I am happy with my success I am far from done! I have a lot of work to do still! I'll take some more measurements in a month or so and let you know how it's going!

If you're interested in ordering your own pair you can head on over to their shop and use our SPECIAL ONE LUCKY PICKLE COUPON CODE for 10% off and free shipping! Huzzah! Who doesn't love a deal?! I have to admit, when I first saw the price on these pants I was pretty hesitant, but I have decided they are worth every penny! 


Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some sweatin' to do! 
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Splashing in the Backyard

It's easy, it's free (unless you need to snag a pool, which can be as cheap as a few dollars), and everybody loves it!  See?  Look at those happy faces.  These kiddos will spend hours playing in the pool out in the yard.  Don't forget the sunscreen, and remember to supervise those youngsters!

Don't feel like lugging the pool out, then cleaning it back up before it kills your lawn?  I hear you.

Consider bringing a bucket and some cups and pitchers out into your yard.  Fill them with water, and you've got hours of fun.  Kids love splashing in the water, even without a pool!  Make sure to be safe though--kids can drown in even a couple inches of water in a bucket.  Make sure you've keep an eye on them.

These neat cups have holes in the bottom for extra cool pouring!

And there's always the sprinklers!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Today's cheap summer fun installment comes via Pinterest from Domestic Charm.  We whipped up a batch of Sidewalk Paint in a couple minutes, and spent the rest of the afternoon decorating our driveway.

The recipe is easy peasy: 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup water, and food coloring.  We used regular food coloring drops, but Domestic Charm suggests color gels, and I wonder if it would have made the paint stay vibrant on the sidewalk:
 You can see the paint is quite bright when it's wet, but as it dried on the edges, it turned very light!

I dressed the boys up in paint smocks (a.k.a. Daddy's old Church shirts) because I wasn't sure how well the paint would wash out, and I didn't want to ruin our guests' clothes!  But I'm guessing it would wash out easily, based on my easy clean up when we made ooze monsters.  The next heavy rain washed it right off the driveway too--I love easy cleanup!

Can you see the delight beaming from those four munchkins?  They loved loved loved LOVED painting the driveway--and ask to do it every day now!

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Click HERE for more fun summer ideas!

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