sunny vegan » food, photography, and fun

stars and stripes, a healthy 4th of July treat

We do NOT eat artificial colors. Do you know how difficult that can be when everything is colored red white and blue with Red no 40, Blue no 1 and 2 and don’t forget the “natural” version of red, carmine, which is actually ground up dead beetles. Yuck!

That doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate with patriotic themed foods, you just have to use the gorgeous natural colors currently in season. Add a fun citrus dip and this healthy treat is fun to look at and to eat.

For the stars, I simply make a paper template and use a paring knife to cut them out of jicama. While not necessary, just a few of them adds a unique touch to these fruit skewers. Don’t forget to grab my free 4th Printable and check out last year’s healthy patriotic fruit dish.



1 medium jicama
2 cups strawberries
2 cups blueberries

for the dip:
8 ounces silken tofu
4-6 tablespoons turbinado sugar – to taste
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest


cut jicama into 1/2 inch thick slices, then cut into strips or stars. alternate berries and jicama on skewer. combine all dip ingredients in food processor and blend well. allow to stand for 30 minutes before serving.

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July 2, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Sara @ Periwinkle Papillon - OK you are going to have to give me a jicama 101 lesson. Those look super cute!

so how’s that simple living thing working for ya?

Actually, quite well!

To ensure that I didn’t sugar coat things for you through my rose colored glasses, I asked the girls for their opinions.
“Is there anything that you miss about your other home or room?”
~ both girls couldn’t think of a thing!
“Is there anything that you miss?”
~ again, nothing!
“OK, let’s try this a different way. What do you like about being here?”
~ flood gates open with this question =) “There is more to do” “That we are closer together” “The birds” “That we can go to the movies more since it costs less” “That we get to share a room” “It’s easy to keep the house clean and find everything” “This house is awesome! How could anyone not like living here?”

So there you have it. It’s going well and everyone, including the dog and bird, have adjusted very well. The girls have new friends in the neighborhood and at camp. Ella’s new friend proudly presented her with a bracelet this morning when I dropped them off for camp and the look of pure joy on her face pretty much summed up our experience so far.


As for myself, I am very happy here. While projects updating the house have made things slightly less simple, I have had time to plant some lavender ( Teagan’s and my current obsession) strawberries and grow celery, green onions and romaine lettuce. Next year, I hope to have a full garden but my container gardening will keep my busy for now.

How is your simplifying going?

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sharing your mom’s wisdom

Sponsored by Nestlé® Pure Life® , I have received consideration from Linqia on this posts.


Mom. Mother. Mama. Mommy.
While she goes by many names, she also does SO many things.

One of those things is to be a cheerleader. I remember those days coming home from school after a really bad day, in tears, feeling so lost…
And then my mommy cheerleader would come in and make everything ok! Well, maybe everything wasn’t totally ok, but it was totally better- ha ha

“It’s better to talk about it. Sometimes just sharing your feelings with someone will help…”
And as much as I hate to admit it, mom was right. Not only was she right, now I say those same exact words to my girls when they are sad.

What words of wisdom did your mom, grandmother or great g’ma share with you? Nestlé® Pure Life® on Facebook and I would love to hear about it!


Simply become a fan of Nestlé® Pure Life® on Facebook and stay tuned for the launch of this year’s Hydration Movement in late July! Nestlé® Pure Life® will continue to focus on healthy hydration, while also embracing Mom’s Wisdom – sharing and discovering all of the little things that moms have shared over the generations that make our lives better. And one thing all moms can agree on is that it’s important to keep the family healthy, hydrated and happy.

This year, Nestlé® Pure Life® is asking fans to take a simple online pledge to drink more water. They can also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes and share their own wisdom through the Facebook mosaic.


and my girls, no cheerleader required today =)


Tips for staying hydrated this summer:

1. drink a glass of water before every meal
2. eat your water! eating foods with high moisture content—such as fruits and vegetables—could be a good way to increase total water consumption. water constitutes 90% of most fruits and vegetables
3. flavor your water with lemon, lime, mint or cucumber
4. keep “water to go” containers full and ready to, well, GO!
5. get a hydration buddy. team up with a friend and track that water together
6. set water break times throughout the day, like 10:30 am, 2:00 and 7:00 pm



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All New Ubooly Lab and a Giveaway

We have had our Ubooly for awhile now, but the  Ubooly Lab and updates make this an entirely new and improved toy. It still has all the great features of protecting your iPhone in an adorable little soft toy and cute personality to entertain your kids, but the added features take the Ubooly experience to a new level of education fun.

Having 2 kids, personalizing Ubooly to know who it was playing with was so cool! Once you log in and personalize their interests, Ubooly tailors the playing and learning experience to what they like and appropriate educational levels. I was cracking up as she talked to Ella (age 9) about her favorite colors and foods because Ella had no idea how her little playmate knew so much about her. Ella says her favorite part of the new updates are the ability to customize her appearance and new additions to the Ubooly room.

Teagan, age 6, also loved personalizing Ubooly so that her friend didn’t look like her sister’s. As you play with Ubooly in her box, you child earns coins to decorate her box and give her snack.

The truth is, finding an iPhone game that I am happy to let me kids play is tough, but the Ubooly Lab updates combine cute fun with education in a way the held both my girls attentions. I highly recommend you check out this Ubooly intro video then enter to win one below!


Ubooly Lab Features:
• Teach Ubooly your child’s name
• Add lessons with just one click
• Promote healthy habits
• Adaptive to learn your child’s interests

• Lessons are written by top educators
• Lessons include: Reading, Math, Science, Foreign Language, and much more.
• Stay fit and active while learning!

• Receive email progress reports
• Ubooly Lab suggests what to learn next


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find more information on Ubooly here: website, facebook, twitter


This is a sponsored post. Opinions, as always, are my own. 

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June 9, 2013 - 9:05 pm

Cheri - This looks like so much fun, I would love to win for my little man.

June 10, 2013 - 1:51 pm

BriGeeski - I would give the Ubooly to my daughter. She would love it!!

June 10, 2013 - 6:50 pm

Ali - It would be a shared toy for my kids…at least until I am able to get a second one delivered!

June 10, 2013 - 8:25 pm

Lynda @MommyPowers - I’d give it to my 6 yr old, he’d LOVE it! Thanks!

June 11, 2013 - 12:50 pm

latanya - my son

June 11, 2013 - 3:47 pm

Eliza Ferree (Homemom3) - I’d give this little guy to my 9 yr old daughter.

June 11, 2013 - 6:40 pm

Tracie Brown - I would love to give this to my daughter for long car trips! I think it would keep her occupied :)

June 13, 2013 - 11:43 am

Cee - I would love to give this to my 5yo!

June 15, 2013 - 6:54 pm

Leah CB - I would give it to my nephew.

simple living – our BIG announcement and a free printable for you


Why would anyone chose to live in a small house? Because according to Graham Hill, “Small is Sexy!”
Not that I am trying to be sexy (I gave up years ago) but do you know what, I think he’s right. (I highly recommend watching this)

So what can we really do about it? I have been trying to figure that out for awhile, you can read more about our simple living beginning here. What if you had the chance to try out the simple living lifestyle, would you do it?

It turns out that we have a unique opportunity to try it out before we commit to it. and now for my big announcement…
We are leaving our big house and downsizing to a 960 square foot cabin in the mountains!!! Eeeeek!

No more 3 car garage, instead we will have NO garage.
No more dishwasher, just the sink and my hands.
No more his and hers walk in closets, one closet for his and hers.
No more 5 bedrooms, just 2.
No more 3 bathrooms, just 1 and a half.
No more upstairs laundry, I will have to carry it up and down the stairs.
and maybe most importantly for myself-
No more big fancy kitchen with gorgeous marble, a small kitchen with old laminate instead.

I am completely excited and scared to death, but my gut says this is the right thing for us.
While my husband initially thought I had totally lost my mind, and my mother still does, we are going to do it. We have a great house in a great neighborhood, but it’s way to big for me personally. It turns out that we only use about 1000 square feet of our 3000 anyway, so here we go. At least for now, how long we stay is still up for debate.

Next’s weeks simple living post will be from our new local in Big Bear, CA. A town of only 5,000 people and *gasp* without a Target.
Whoa, this is going to be fun, right?

Thanks for reading this far, now here is your free printable poster of the word art above. ( 8×10 without the gray border)

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June 5, 2013 - 4:38 pm

Cynthia - I’m so excited for you! What an adventure it will be! I can hardly wait to hear all about it. No Target?! :)

June 5, 2013 - 4:38 pm

Anne (@notasupermom) - That’s a big move! Very best wishes for your move.

June 5, 2013 - 4:40 pm

Megan @ Mama Bub - I can’t wait to hear all about it!

June 5, 2013 - 6:03 pm

Jessica - It’s going to be an awesome adventure! Can’t wait to follow along.

June 5, 2013 - 7:15 pm

Anna - Wow! What a change, but what an amazing opportunity to start fresh and new and define what is truly important to you! I’m excited to read more about your adventure. And thanks for the beautiful print!

June 6, 2013 - 5:53 am

Jackie - Wow! Now that is a huge change… It will definitely be an adventure and I hope that it all works out for you!

I live where there is no Target for at least 30 minutes, cows & coyotes can be heard day or night, and you know most people when you go to town. Oh… my laundry is in the basement too.

June 7, 2013 - 7:50 am

BriGeeski - Awesome!!! Sounds great! We will be in Big Bear for 4th of July weekend. Hope to see you there! Love the printable too.

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