Category Archives: Family Time

Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? A good excuse to throw a party!

My middle son asked me on Tuesday, “Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?” I’ll be honest, it was one of those moments when I didn’t have an answer so I told him to “google” it.  I’m not sure if he ever did, but I did.  Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? For me, it’s always been one of those holidays you celebrate by wearing green, eating green food, drinking green beverages and decorating with green shamrocks.  Here is what I discovered about St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a global celebration of Irish culture on or around March 17. It particularly remembers St. Patrick,  one of Ireland’s patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland in the fifth century. I’d say that’s a good enough reason to party!

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Treat bags for the kids…skittles, rolos and a pack of green gum.

Every year, I throw a Valentine’s Party for my kiddos just like my Mom  used to do for us when my sister and I were little.  Some where along the way, I started throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party.  It started one year several years ago with a few leprechaun tricks, a leprechaun trap, and some rainbow candies with cold coins. Then I started making green food for dinner…green pancakes with sprinkles of course.  I also made sure there was green milk to drink.

As my kids get older, I know they won’t find these parties too exciting…we do them now mostly for my 6 year old daughter and 9 year old son who still enjoys the fun! I think I enjoy them the most! Here are some pictures of the last minute fun I came up with this year for our party.  I was a little under the weather, so I’m surprised I was able to pull anything off.  Thank you Pinterest! All of these were inspired by Pinterest posts.

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Shamrock shaped Rice Krispie treats with green sugar sprinkles.
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Shamrock pretzels with a rolo and m & m middle. These were supposed to have sucker sticks in them but I didn’t have any.
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Rainbow fruit with miniature marshmallows for clouds and rolos candies for the pot of gold.
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Our cute party table.
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My pot of gold…YUM!!

For dinner we had turkey sausage, Brussels sprouts, baked potatoes, mac n cheese & corn.  I tried to eliminate too much junk this year.  No cupcakes or cookies or cakes.  I think it all turned out pretty well considering this Mama was not on her best game that day.  Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, I’d love to see what you do! Please share your comments, questions and suggestions below or email me at happycleanlife@gmail.com.

Have a happy healthy day!

~Michelle

I’m the only one who can give my kids a healthy, happy Mom

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There are so many busy, overworked, tired and sometimes crabby Moms in the world today.  I often think about the Mom I was just 5 years ago.  I wasn’t a happy, energetic Mom. Looking back now, I feel like I was just getting by every day. I did my many duties for my family with very little time for myself. I was a stay-at-home Mom of 4 kids and we did struggle financially back then. I tried different ways to make some extra money but in the end, I just didn’t have the time or energy. I knew there was something missing in my life. I knew I wasn’t taking care of me. I wasn’t eating as healthy as I should. I wasn’t as physically active as I could have been. I had extra pounds to lose but I it wasn’t doing anything to try and change anything. I was just going through the motions every day and counting down the hours every day until my husband came home from work and the kids went to bed.

Eventually my family and I relocated out of state and that was the best thing ever for me. I had a fresh start. I had to get out and meet new people and explore my new surroundings. I got to try new things and gained my confidence back. But I still wasn’t taking care of my health. One day it just hit me that in the end, I’m the only one who can give my kids a happy healthy mom who loves life. I knew my kids deserved a happy, healthy mom and I knew I deserved it. I knew I wanted to be around for them as long as I could and the only way to ensure that was to take better care of myself. I had to eat healthier. I had to workout regularly. I had to make time for me.

It’s taken me 5 years to get where I’m at and I’m still a work in progress but I am happy and I am healthy. I take care of myself and I definitely don’t dwell on things like I used to.  I’m in charge of my own happiness. If I’m miserable, unhappy, discouraged, depressed or etc., ultimately I’m the only one who can make a change in my life to make things better. Too many people complain about things they just aren’t willing to change. So stop complaining and stop being unhappy. Your kids deserve better and so do you. If you aren’t happy with your weight, guess what? You are the only one who can change that. If you aren’t happy with your current job or lack of one, you are the one to change that too. Whatever it is that makes you unhappy can be changed. You can find happiness! I honestly believe that being truly happy with life also means you take care of your health. Being overweight, sick, tired and dealing with all sorts of health ailments can really bring someone down. I’m here to help you in anyway that I can, please reach out to me. Don’t give up! Be happy and love life!!

5 “must do” fun fall family activities

Here are 5 “must do” fun fall family activities.  These are my family’s favorites fall activities…do you have any to add? Please leave us a comment below…

baking

(1) Baking – For some reason when the chillier temperatures hit, that’s when I’m in the mood to bake.  Maybe it’s too hot in summer or we are too busy outdoors.  I don’t know.  I just know that by October, I’m baking cookies, cupcakes, breads and etc.  My daughter who is 6 and I have started something new that we call “Brownie Sunday”.  Every Sunday we make a different brownie recipe…we make healthier versions of course.  One of the easiest healthier options for baking brownies is to simply use a store bought brownie mix and substitute the oil with Greek yogurt.  Follow the instructions for the rest of the recipe and bake as directed.  They taste amazing without all that added fat.

apple nachos

(2) Apple Picking – Every year we head out to the local apple orchard and pick fresh apples.  We then enjoy them as snacks alone or with a little yummy carmel.  I bake apple crisp, as well as fried apples (water, sugar and cinnamon).  My kids love apple nachos.  For these, I simply cut the apples up into bite size pieces, drizzle them with melted all natural peanut butter and/or carmel.  Add some mini chocolate chips & chopped nuts if desired.  You’ve got a tasty, healthy snack for the kids that’s packed with vitamins, protein, healthy fats and not too much sugar.

hiking
My evening walking trail…

(3) Hiking – We enjoy going hiking on trails to see the changing leaves.  The colors are amazing, the air is cool and crisp and it just feels great to be outside enjoying this time together.

pumpkin patch

(4) Pumpkin Picking – Here in Indiana there are a lot of pumpkin patches and fall festivals to visit.  We enjoy checking them out and even picking our own pumpkins.  Many of these festivals have games, bounce houses, warm apple cider, kettle corn, face painting, crafts, pumpkin picking, hayrides, ziplines, photo ops, and much more! I just love them but I wish my husband felt the same! 😉

PHOTO SHOOT 2

(5) Family Pictures – Fall is the perfect time for outdoor family photo shoots.  The colors are amazing and the temperatures are usually just right so you aren’t sweating like in the humid summer temps. Get creative with your photo shoot local.  Find a good local photographer and get your shoot set up. The hardest part about family pictures is figuring out what everyone should wear.  I’ve got a family of 6, so it’s always a struggle but I love these fun idea charts that you can find on Pinterest that help you make sure everyone matches just perfectly.