Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Aunt Peaches - Coffee Filter Flowers

Colourful, economical and fun for spring/any sort of party...
Complete instructions are here.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Go and Check the Routine!

Our 2 1/2 year old daughter is not a fan of brushing her teeth and doesn't always want to eat supper/sit on the potty take a bath/put on her pj's/go to bed/ [fill in the blank]. So, what's a parent to do...besides the best they can...which is really the most important thing, right?

I took a little time and drew up our daughter's route in little pictures, numbered each one (she's into counting right now), gave each activity a title and taped it to the wall at kid height. Now my husband or I can say, "Go check the routine!" when it's time to do one of the evening rituals that help settle our toddler and get her ready for bed. Amazingly so far so good! Some nights she even says, "I check routine!" and runs over to see what's next. I'm sure it won't work forever but I'm thinking maybe she feels more like a participant rather than being forced to do something she just doesn't want to do. I know there's lots of advice and psychology literature about kids + routine = comfort (which I believe)...but let's be honest, whatever it is, I don't need to read up on it. If the routine is working right now we'll take it while we can get it.

Clarification: Our daughter sits on the toilet (lid closed) while we brush her teeth...
I just realized it may look a little strange.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love = Teachers

I have friends who are great elementary teachers.

I don't think people realize just how tough of a job being a good teachers is! I swear, by the time they add up all their after classroom hours preparing lesson plans, grading papers, doing report cards, preparing their classrooms (p.s. they fork out the majority, if not ALL the money required to decorate their classrooms), prepare and conduct parent teacher interviews, even tidying up their classrooms AND making sure your kids are happy, relaxed and safe in their classrooms you can take their wage and slash it in quarters with a machete.

I've tried to source out some quality & free online resources for teachers (not as easy as it may sound). If you have come across any links that your think could be useful for a K-6 teacher please let me know. Even crafts (that don't require preparation like cutting our shapes etc. or extra clean up) that your children have done at daycare, preschool or with you at home would be great to know about.

I don't know what it feels like to be a teacher but I do know that I have significant and powerful memories of a couple of teaches who made a difference in my life when I was a child. I'll be 33 years old this year and I still remember vividly, their names, what it was exactly that made me feel good about myself and why. Not bad for someone who can hardly remember what she had for lunch yesterday (!)

If you're inspired, check out the links below. You could possibly send them to a teacher (daycare, preschool, elementary) you know...or even print out some of the resources and hand over for their consideration. Each link may not be for everyone but hopefully there's something of quality posted that helps out someone who is a big part of your child's life.

Click on the Image/Title to be redirected to the corresponding websites:

ECO KIDS - via Earth Day Canada
Lots of resources for teaches including complete & downloadable lesson plans, colouring pages, activities and so on. P.S. All you need to sign up/sign in is your email account (no passwords to remember)
Download 5 Wildlife Colouring Pages from the I Dream In Colour Download site here.

Is your school turning 75 years old or older? Request a congratulatory message from the Prime Minister of Canada here. 
Cool for the schools trophy cabinet (?) Requests must be submitted at least 3 weeks before the event. Good for wedding anniversaries & birthdays as well.
I sent one to my grandmother for her 80th birthday as a joke (ask her what she thinks about S.H. heehee).
Family Crest from here.
Download instructions and a blank crest from the I Dream In Colour Download site here.

For Parents:
Thank you Teacher Cards - free download available here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fabric Angel Wings

I like love-love wings. Check out these darn cute fabric wings from Llevo el invierno By Eri. She's even posted photo instructions and the source of her inspiration - too kind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My windows are going to be treated to a whole lotta pretty!

I've tried using flat sheets on the bed before, they're ok but somehow they always seem to be too short. That makes me unhappy and left with a few biggie flat sheets in my linen closet with no hope other than a drop cloth future... UNTIL TODAY (thanks, in part,  to Design Sponge, but more so to Yumiko Sekine of Fog Linen Work).

I just love this...
It's more interesting to me than store bough drapery and I can make my biggie sheets into panels
for our front window. I'm thinking, same application but on the diagonal.
Every night I try to cover the entire spanse with the too short drapes we have hanging right now.
Our window needs a duet of draperies...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Make yerself a chocolate cake.

This is a recipe circa 1976 (!) from my mom's friend Patty. I think it's the first cake I ever made. In fact, I made myself (I might share...) one tonight and it's super fast, easy, delish and preservative free. If you don't think of yourself as much of a baker give this recipe a try!

Lucy's Miracle Whip Chocolate Cake
Mix well: 
2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons cocoa, 2 teaspoons soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt

Add & mix well (you don't even need a mixer)
3/4 miracle whip, 1 cup warm water, 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon vanilla

9 x 9 greased pan
350 degrees, 45 minutes

+/- Buttercream Icing
Stir/Beat +/- amount of the following:
1/2 cup margarine/butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon
splash of milk
cocoa/other flavouring (optional)

Tip: put your cake in the freezer for 10 minutes prior to icing (less crumblies)

 = cake 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Date Stamp Gift Wrap

I love gift wrapping in brown paper and now here's a new way of embellishing that's sure to personalize your gift. This is such a great idea and super happy fun way to use a date stamp! I think it would also be great for handmade cards...Enjoy! From here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quilting designed for Moi...

This is the type of quilt I have the patience can handle! The fun, in my mind, would be picking out all the fabric to incorporate and using any leftovers lying around. The fabric is the feature of the design and I like the less traditional stripping incorporated. BUT, I think I'd be tempted to either make the back identical-ish (in fabric, at least) to the front...or monochromatic...WAIT...that could be a whole other quilt!

From here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thriftista Presents: Dollarama

I bought a shower curtain rod from Superstore the other day...I returned it because we decided to keep the one we have. It was $9.99, a bit cheaper that Rona where the same item was priced at +/- $11.99

BUT...both prices don't even come close to Dollarama where the same freaking shower curtain (tension rod, white - same manufacturer's label and everything) was there for $2. How is this possible? Is Dollarama importing products at unethically low rates from [China]? Probably, but Realistically, I truly believe that each and every big box/commercial store we shop at (minus 10,000 Villages) imports products in the same way, for the same price - each store just caters to a different market group. I'm not saying it's right, but for now, many items that are available at Walmart, Superstore, Rona, Scholar's Choice, etc. are also available for a fraction of the price at Dollarama.

Here are some items that I saw at Dollarama today that shocked me/that I only buy at Dollarama (items range from $1 to $2.50):

  • Aluminum stove element protectors (packages of 5)
  • Shower curtain rod
  • Bath mats (10x the price at Walmart, seriously) 
  • Knock off Mr. Clean Eraser
  • Knock off Swiffer products
  • Toddler potty seat (I bought one for each Grandparent's house)
  • Baby bibs (identical to the ones at Toys R Us)
  • Boxes of band-aids
  • Pregnancy tests (ok - this is a little personal, but I've tried them and they work! If you're going to be doing 3 in a row save yourself at least $27 and go to the buck store. I've had expensive pregnancy tests FAIL on me - as in NOT WORK - and the dollar store ones have worked every time)
  • Garden ornaments
  • Foil helium filled balloons
  • Scrap booking supplies (acid free stickers, die cut punchers, adhesive dots and strips, etc)
  • Wall decals (removable/reposition-able, including character decals like Tinkerbell)
  • Art canvases
  • Acrylic paints
  • Those black sponge brushes in packages of 5
  • Storage containers (plastic, wicker, paper)
  • Picture Frames
  • Boxes of mailing envelopes
  • Stationary & Supplies (including card stock, glues, variety of writing utensils, desk organization supplies, poster board)
  • 24" x 36" laminated educational posters (teachers, save your money and spend the savings on yourself!)
  • Party supplies (b'day candles, novelty items, goodie bags & fillings, banners, streamers, etc.)
  • A recorder (I bought one for our daughter)
  • Batteries (NEVER will I pay 4.99 for a pack of batteries again - and that's usually the sale price)
  • Stride Gum (they always have it for half the price of 7-11)
  • Glass bowls with plastic lids (I'm slowly replacing my plastic tupperware)
  • And of course, seasonal decorations 
Ok - there's a ton more stuff available for purchase there that I like (including chocolate) but there's also a ton of crap. I'm not saying instead of blowing your hard earned money at a big box, blow it at Dollarama (it's the big box of dollar stores) - I'm just saying, if you're on a budget (who isn't?) then you may want to consider driving yourself to Dollarama instead of [fill in the blank] the next time you need to pick up a few things. It's an option.

My haul:
3 art canvases, box of envelopes, 2 potty seats, 2 bunches bamboo (planting stalks that I'm going to make art out of), art paint pallet (for our daughter, she just needs to add water = more independence), recorder, goo gone, 2 packages batteries, greeting card, 3 bottles acrylic paint, growth chart, big and small burner protectors, fake mr. clean erasers, pack of gum, key chain... $32.42 after taxes

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring is Coming

We Can Do It! Spring Cleaning...

Spring is coming and you know what that means, spring cleaning! It feels great and freshens up the whole house. I decided to take on the bathroom today, starting with the closet (yes we are lucky enough to have a small closet in our bathroom). With that being said, please note: this closet holds a LOT of product, and purging the product was my 1st task (to the recycling can went empty bottles galore - what are they doing in here anyways, who cares, they're out). My 2nd task/goal is to use up all the soap, shampoo, hair product, etc, etc we own before buying anything new. It's kind of embarrassing to list what I have multiples of multiples of so I won't.

Any-who, it's a short but sweet one today with one suggestion, think about what you stock extra of in your house (perhaps unnecessarily?) and try to use it all up before buying another, even if it's on sale. Then take the money you saved to Starbucks and escape from the "real world" for 20 minutes to luxuriate with a hot drink. Why not?

Ok. Our closet looks more like the "before" on the left after I cleaned it today. Uhh, I thought I was doing pretty well until I saw the "after" on the right. Wowzers, drawer style compartment things and labels even? I'll let you be the judge if this is 100% necessary for your bathroom... But I'm just saying, if I have to buy all those drawer style compartment things and a label maker then there will be significantly less money for me to luxuriate at Starbucks in the near future.
And that is unacceptable.

Printable Spring Cleaning Checklist: Martha Stewart Home and Garden

Monday, March 7, 2011

How To Make An Upside Down Tomato Planter

I've been wanting to try an upside down planter for a while and then found this DIY post for how to make your own. There's some discussion in the comments whether this pot holds enough soil for the tomato plant, but as noted in the author's post, you could try a container friendly tomato plant. I'd compare the size of the upside down planter in the stores to the size of planter you'd like to make (if they're the same size it should be ok - right?).

How To and more photos from here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What to do with that pile of clothes (?!)

If you have some clothes lying around why not repurpose them with a little love and a little thread? Check out these two entire pages (page 1, page 2) from Ruffles and Stuff of revamped little girl clothes, perfect for items that are a little too small or a little bit stained. There are no instruction because everything is sew easy to do (I think you could apply some techniques to an adult wardrobe - with some modifications of course)! P.S. The entire website is super cute. Check it out!

Onesie to Tee-Shirt

Shorts to Skort

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Photo Albums

The digital camera is a blessing and (in some small ways) a curse.

Gone are the days of the "bad" photo that we look back on and laugh or cringe at (DELETE)...gone are the days of anticipation, waiting for your film to be processed at the drugstore, gone is the joy at opening a fresh stack of photos and remembering what your had forgotten you took photos of...

On the super happy fun side: as technology evolves so can we. The digital camera can save us time and money, we are not really limited to the number of photos we can take, we can recharge the batteries and even hook the camera up to our tv and voila, instant slideshow, we can even opt to print the photos and put them into albums to enjoy at anytime... uhhhh, albums? I HAVEN'T MADE A PHOTO ALBUM SINCE 2005 - OMG. THAT'S GOING ON 6 YEARS. As you may guess from my shouting typeface...this is a problem for me.

[Side note: to be fair, I do have stacks of photos from over 6 years ago waiting to be put into albums...this is on my up and coming to do list. I'll get to that next week!]

The reason I'm all over the photo album thing now is because we have a 2.5 year old who loves to look at photos. My daughter, my mom and I took a fabulous girls trip last September to Saskatoon to visit my grandmother and family. After the trip my mom surprised us with the cutest photo album full of photos from the trip. My daughter can run to her room, pull out the photo album and look at it at any time - I don't have to help her do it (although we love to look through it together) and I don't have to turn on the computer (as much as I love my computer, technology can also be draining for me)...

So, although I'm sure we have 30,000 photos of our daughter, and such, I'm ready to take on the challenge of putting those photos into albums. Now, I'm going to give myself a break, where we've used the "super model quick sequence shot" (the photos that document the same thing happening at intervals of 2 seconds) is where I'll be editing. Not all 30,000 photos have to make it into the album. In fact, I think I'll be shopping for an album style and try to limit myself to the number of photos that will fit inside. Sounds like a plan? Is anyone with me? I know there's a few of you who have already done this and I salute you (!!!)... I also know there are a few crafters and students in creative fields out there who I'd encourage to document your work in some sort of fancy manner.

P.S. I love that you can turn your digital photos into hard copied photo books online...maybe I'll look into that too - the big factor for me right now will be price. How many photos can I squeeze into one printed photo book for how much? If anyone has done it let me know how it went...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to make a fabric dollhouse

My daughter was gifted a toy like this, it's a birdhouse and there's a hold in the roof to put the birdies in and a see-through plastic side door and window for little hands to take the birdies out. The side also drops down. I think it's the cutest.

I love this barn but think that a 2 dimensional felt scene on the back & side walls (hay bales & a chicken in the rafters, a tractor?) would enhance the play experience. Complete instructions are here.

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