The other night my friend Lolli and I decided that we need a break from all the holiday craziness and my moving craziness. So we decided to throw a party! A dancing party! And thanks to Clever Girls and UbiSoft, we had all the fixings to do just that! Just Dance ABBA style!
We decided to invite a few people, and we all dressed up like’70s and had the time of our lives. There was a LOT of giggling. There was some punch drinking and some avocado bean dip eating, and dancing. Lots of dancing.
Of course, Lolli blew us all out of the water. She is good at these kinds of games!
These guys make pretty good dancing queens, don’t you think?
Besides the game, which you can get at Amazon, the disco ball was the most talked about party accessory. My kids have decided it’s part of our Christmas decorations. Because everyone needs a party themed room for Christmas.
Oddly enough, it fits in!
We besides the dancing, we also tried out the karaoke feature. Honestly, we ended up laughing (and poking a bit of fun) at the music videos we were singing along to. I really wasn’t all that impressed with the singing part. We couldn’t figure out if there were points involved or if it was just…singing along. But the dancing was awesome.
Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.
While my mom was here, we were able to try out a new app on her iPad. (Those things are seriously cool! If I got one, I think I would have to beat off my children to play it. They, especially Pirate, were begging to play it constantly!) Here’s the review I wrote for the app, Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Relive the magic of Harold and the Purple Crayon
Harold and the Purple Crayon was the reason why I never had any purple crayons left in my crayon box as a kid. I always used them first, hoping and inventing just like Harold did in the classic children’s tale by Crocket Johnson.
Now our kids and enjoy Harold and the Purple Crayon even more than we did as kids! Trilogy Studios has taken this classic storybook and turned it into the first of their Touch series of digital books.
Designed for children two to six- years-old and up, young readers interact with the book by using the touch pad to help tell the story. My kids enjoyed discovering magical elements on every page. Trilogy Studios wants each child to have an engaging, “lean forward” experience that puts a smile on their faces.
What we loved about the Harold and the Purple Crayon App:
Pros: My mom and I played with this story and oohed and aahed over the hidden magical elements. Each new discovery delighted us, and only enhanced the book more. Our delighted squeaks and giggles brought my boys from across the room to see what the fuss was all about. The four of us spent a fun afternoon with our heads pressed together, swiping on each new page to see what hidden delights we could make happen.
I loved that my 3 year old twins could easily navigate the opening menu, and could enjoy the story read to them. (The narrator’s voice was not annoying either, so I didn’t mind hearing the book several times in a row.)
I loved that they could push the hidden elements over and over and choose when they were ready to move on, and not before. The dragon was a huge hit.
I also enjoyed that my 6 year old was even engaged. She could choose to have the story read to her or to read it herself. She also loved that she got to color in parts of the book herself. And for a 6 year old who loves to draw, that was big.
The menu included a tutorial. I did it with my 6 year old, and she asked why it was in there. “It’s easy,” she said about knowing what to do in the book. I found the tutorial helpful so I knew exactly what was going on in the story and could answer any questions my kids could have. They didn’t have any, it’s very intuitive.
There wasn’t much we didn’t love about this App:
Cons: My 6 year old complained that it finished coloring in the bigger pictures for her. I liked that feature for my 3 year olds, but I could see how that would frustrate the more engaged color-er. I told her to go whittle down her own purple crayons on paper like Harold did, and she tried to copy each page from the iPad.
Who doesn’t love shmoes? Er, I mean S’mores? And Hershey’s is the best chocolate for s’mores!
Tonight we went over to a friend’s house and played the best game ever invented. (You can totally play this online on facebook now!) We laughed so hard. Tears were streaming down my face over this game. We love to play it. Because we laughed so much, we had to take a break in the middle to refuel after laughing. Our desert of choice (after a wonderful bbq dinner) was s’mores!
So after a big night of laughing and eating and spending quality time with family, I suggest s’mores for desert. Yum!
PS- As a disclaimer, I’m part of the S’mores Road Trip to BlogHer in New York City (happening on THURSDAY people, and I haven’t even packed yet!) which is getting me to and home from BlogHer with a bunch of other awesome bloggers. They also sent me all the s’mores fixings we used tonight. Those roasting tongs are awesome. While the tongs may be branded “Hershey”, all opinions are mine and mine alone. Going to BlogHer? Be sure to stop by their S’mores “Snactivity” Suite in room #4233 and get refuled from laughing yourself.
This morning I had to pick up the boys life jackets for the beach from the store they got shipped to. Well the strip mall the store is next to just happened to be having a big “block party” for all the moms and their kids. It’s called Mommy and Me. We’ve been once before and it was pretty fun. This time, Flower was with us so we left the stroller in the car and immediately started sweating.
All sorts of businesses have little tables out promoting their wares with kid friendly activities or balloons. They have a few clowns that come and make balloon animals. Butterfly got a blue flower and the boys got blue cars. Butterfly had her nails done (purple with sparkles), we did some sand paintings, had popsicles, bananas, got helium balloons, and had peanut butter and apples. All for free.
Local people, you should go to this. It’s fun!
But it was also REALLY hot again. We bought smoothies and left sooner than we thought we were going to. We then had to go back to the car, pick up the stroller and walk across the street to pick up my package. We should have just brought the stroller in the first place.
Still, it was pretty fun and the kids seemed to enjoy it. I had to take the balloons away from them half way home though because they were fighting over them too much.
And the boys slept for 4 and a half hours this afternoon. It was awesome!
I have been running from one thing to another day getting ready for Butterfly’s big birthday bash tomorrow. We’re having a carnival and hopefully it will turn out okay. I’ve got a million and one things running through my head. Mostly I’m just happy I found my underwater camera that is my video camera today. It has a tendency to walk away in small hands. This time, I found it in my camera bag. Imagine that.
Tonight we had the great pleasure of going to a wedding of Juice’s cousin. It was a lot of fun to see all of our relatives, and to have everyone remark on how SIMILAR Butterfly and Pirate were to all the other little cousins running around. Gotta love those genes and how they show up! Also, it’s fun to hear of all my cousins who read the blog. Hi guys!
Juice’s cousin was in charge of pictures and asked me to bring my camera along and help out a little. I was a bad phototog and didn’t charge my batteries. So the camera ran out of juice right as they were cutting the cake. (See Dad this is why I need a battery grip!) Still, Jenny was able to get some good pictures (I just handed my camera over to her. You try wrangling 3 kids and try and take pictures!) I was also able to help her stage family shots and get every one’s attention. Juice’s comment after we were done with the pictures: “Your dad would have been so proud.”
I took this picture of Juice making his chain mail gloves. A tutorial is in the works (hence the pictures) but I really liked this one for some odd reason.
I like the depth of field and the picture of Juice with tools in his hands. Something he loves to do.
Today’s giveaway is brought to you by the wonderful people of SEED Power Body Care. Do you remember when Lolli and I washed our hair together for the vlog contest? And that I won a sponsorship to BlogHer ’10 in New York City because of those suds? I’m still using their shampoo bar (and loving how my hair looks and feels!) and SEED wants you to use it to! They are offering 3 travel kits of their products to 3 lucky winners!
To enter in this contest you need to comment! I love love love comments so please, comment as much as you think you can. For every comment you leave you get an entry to win these fabulous products.
For extra entries:
Follow SEED on twitter…leave me a comment that you did.
Follow SEED on Facebook….leave me another comment!
The first time I gave these smoothies to my kids, Butterfly said, “Oh wow! Chocolate!” Sadly, there is no chocolate in this drink, but the kids just guzzle it down. It’s oh so healthy and super easy to make.
First, you start with some yogurt. I use the yogurt I make in my crock pot using whole milk and this recipe. Totally works.
Next, add some honey. I honestly eyeball the honey in my smoothie. I’m guessing it’s about a 1/4 of a cup that I add. I add the honey because frankly, that yogurt I make is not sweetened and is pretty strong! I’m sure you can use less honey if you want or omit it completely if you’re using sweetened yogurt. I just choose not to.
Then toss in some fruit. I’ve got small bags of 8-10 strawberries frozen in my freezer that work out perfectly. I also really like bananas, frozen kiwi (just skin the kiwi and pop them in individual bags in the freezer), frozen blueberries, etc. You can use any fruit you’d like. We just happen to love strawberries and blueberries here so that’s what we use the most. You can use fresh fruit if you’d like. I like using the frozen stuff because it makes the smoothie cold and have a good smoothie texture.
Now this is the secret ingredient. Spinach. You read it right, a whole huge handful of spinach. I buy it in big bunches from the Asian market here. Wash it, and break any stems off and put it into the blender. You don’t have to dry it because the extra water helps it blend together.
Next, drop in a few ice cubes. If you can.
This last step is important. Add a splash of juice. You can use any kind of juice, but I like the nectars that are a little more thick. I also LOVE to put carrot juice in here. Right now I happen to have guava nectar.
Now blend! If you find that the spinach isn’t blending down, stop the blender and push it down. You can also add another splash or 2 of juice or even milk to get things moving.
No Chocolate Chocolate Smoothie
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 cup honey (or less)
8-10 strawberries, frozen or fresh
any other fruit you want- bananas, blueberries, kiwi (which is excellent frozen), pineapple, pears, berries, peaches
one BIG handful of fresh spinach, stems broken off and washed
one handful of ice, or 6-8 ice cubes
a splash of juice- 100% carrot preferably
Blend it up and enjoy! Makes enough for 3 full tall sippy cups of it as well as a 16 oz glass for me.
Yes, it’s brown when it’s blended. Yes, Butterfly thinks there is chocolate in it and I haven’t told her there isn’t. Yes, it’s GOOD. This is what Butterfly requested on the morning of her birthday for breakfast. I don’t have an after picture for you (I think I was tired that morning) but it’s really great. I feel good that the kids are getting their veggies in, and also their fruits and yogurt!
Today’s giveaway is a big one. First, look at this cute picture of me and my boys.
Aren’t we adorable. We were hiking with Lolli and her family in Harper’s Ferry that day. I had one of Lolli’s wraps on the front and a Ergo carrier on the back. It was my very first use of it and it was amazing. Boy do I love this carrier. It’s easy to put on. It’s easy to put the kid in. And it’s so very comfortable! I like that I can carry both boys around and still have my hands free with this set up.
Now, after having it for over 2 months, the boys scream “RIDE!!” whenever they see it. I either leave it in the car tucked under the seat (and out of sight) or I’m constantly getting it shoved in my face with little boys who want to ride in it. Juice has even carried Butterfly around in it, in all her 60 lbs of limbs. And really, the carrier can withstand up to 90 lbs so she’s perfectly safe. She even said it was really comfortable.
Do you want one? I have one to give away. It looks just like the one I’m carrying Pirate with on my back in the picture.
To enter, you must do 2 things. First, leave a comment. I love comments. Next, you have to join my blog via my cool new thing: Google Friend Connect. If you were a previous follower of my blog before, you get an extra entry! And for one more extra entry, you can tweet about it, including @safirecat so I can keep track of them.
As always, this giveaway will end a week from today.
Happy Commenting and let me know how you like that smoothie!
I’ve had several questions about my blog and where I got the idea for the name, etc. I thought I’d give all my new friends the reader’s digest version of my blog’s history. In bullet form, because I like them.
August 2004 I started a blog to keep in touch with our families in Utah. Before that blog, I wrote an online diary for a company (kind of like being paid to blog now but I wasn’t paid) chronicling our struggles to get pregnant. But I wanted something that everyone could read so I started it. I chose the name, Living in Maryland because we were, well, living in Maryland.
About 2 years into that, I had several people searching for the blog with our full names and it bothered me. I went about thinking of online nicknames we could possibly use. I then spent about a week going through my archives and changing each of our names to our nom de plumes we have now.
Somewhere in between that, we began trying to have another baby. I wanted to have a place to write about our struggles but didn’t want to go back to the online company when blogs were so easy. I started at least 5 of them, never liking any of them really.
Then I had a very vivid dream. I dreamed that Juice and I were at a party. There was an enormous round balcony over a very loud and very large waterfall. Juice and I were trying to catch a baby everyone was tossing around, and when I finally caught him, I jumped off the balcony into the waterfall. To my surprise, instead of going down, I went up. I took that as a sign that I should keep my spirits up while trying to have a baby and that one day I would have another.
I had 2. Tehe.
I started a private blog with this name to talk about our infertility struggles. It was the only one I stuck with.
2 years later, I went to Bloggy Boot camp and decided that I was ready for a change with my blog. Lolli and I sat at dinner trying to think of a name I could use. She mentioned that she really like the name for my private blog, and was I willing to maybe streamline that.
The lights came on. Yes! It was perfect. After that night, I spent several nights trying out themes in my head. I landed on barrels and thought it would be clever. Like people going over Niagara Falls in barrels and only sort of surviving.
Then I landed on the name Cooper (which is also a nom de plume) because Coopers were people who made barrels.
I thought it was cute.
A rough draft drawing, several emails back and forth with a friend, and she whips this out for me. Very talented, very reasonable! She’s doing a giveaway later on this week.
So there you have it. Just like links on a chain, little things come together to make awesome things.
Like this necklace.
Isn’t this beautiful?! My friend Lala of Silverleaf Creations made it by hand. It’s an ice blue hand beaded adjustable choaker with a crystal pendant. It also comes with matching earrings. These pictures don’t do it justice. It’s just stunning and one of a kind. If you’re looking for something to get noticed, this would be it!
One lucky person gets to try it out too. I am jealous because really, this is beautiful. All you need to do is leave me a comment!
We have a bonus prize today also of 2 hand made earrings by Lala. One pair is a set of sparkly heart crystals. I have a set of these from her and I always get comments whenever I wear them. The other set is a pair of carved ivory and blue stone earrings. Everything is made from high quality Sterling silver and is hypoallergenic.
To enter the earring giveaway you MUST tweet about this contest and leave me a separate comment about it here. These would make beautiful presents for your sweethearts or get you noticed in a crowd.
Thanks for all your comments this week so far! Keep them coming!
PS- Here’s another legal disclaimer that said I’m not affiliated with Silverleaf Creations in any way other than we hula for fitness together. I thought you guys would really like these pieces so I got them for you.
This past Saturday at 8:30pm found Juice and I (and the kids who were asleep) sitting in the dark. While it’s not unusual for us to turn off the lights on a Saturday to watch a movie or something, this Saturday was different. We turned off the lights as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s global Earth Hour.
What is Earth Hour? According to their website, it is an hour when millions of people, governments, etc, around the world come together to make a statement about the climate by turning off their lights for one hour.
Not just people are doing this. Governments are turning off spotlights on their buildings. The Las Vegas strip turned off their lights for an hour. See this cool video slide show from last year.
At the last minute, Juice and I decided to participate. It was kind of cool to feel like we were part of the millions of people also sitting in the dark. I saw a lot of people with candles (you can send in pictures of what you did that hour) and those cool glow in the dark necklaces that Butterfly loves so much. We joined over 4,000 cities in 125 countries that sat in the dark for an hour.
Yes, I realize that an hour is probably not going to do much to globally impact the world. It really didn’t do much for us but made us cheer when we turned the lights back on. It also made us realize that we should really find all of our flashlights. It was a preparedness reminder. Next year I’m going to make it fun for us and have a candle light dinner. And flashlights. With working batteries!
This is the 3rd year that they have been doing this Earth Hour and it’s grown very rapidly. From this, Mt. Rushmore has decided to turn off it’s lights starting at 9 pm, instead of 11 pm every day. They are making a progressive change in their business style. So it got me thinking about what kind of change I could make in my own life for the environment.
As I got to thinking about it, I’ve already made my own change. I’ve been using the SEED shampoo bar for over a week now and I seriously love it. But what does this have to do with the environment? Well, the bar has a smaller ecological footprint than the big liquid bottles. They don’t have plastic packaging, use less water to make and cost less to ship. They are made right in the USA. Their packaging is 100% biodegradable. Plus it makes my hair more fluffy and shiny. That’s my favorite part.
It may be a small change. A tiny change, in fact. Just like us turning our lights off in the house for an hour was tiny. But every drop in the bucket counts. And sooner or later, that bucket is going to fill.
So I’m glad to be doing my part by putting my tiny drops in the bucket one at a time. And I look good doing it too.
PS- TOTALLY check my blog tomorrow afternoon for a HILARIOUS video staring myself and Lolli. Seriously, it’s worth watching!
PPS- Written in hopes that SEED and Jen from Hip As I Wanna Be will pick me for a sponsorship to BlogHer 2010. Pick Me SEED! I really want to go and celebrate my 30th birthday with you.