Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Crafts

To get you in the Christmas spirit, here are some nice crafts for little and big kids to do together. Fun!
Thumbprint reindeer cards, here.

Christmas with baby, here


DIY snow globes (secret ingredient is glycerine), here.


So sweet! Santa hand ornaments out of salt dough (including recipe), here.
A felt Christmas tree for a toddler to decorate over and over again, here.



A good chocolate chip cookie recipe is my holy grail.


I ate the best chocolate chip cookie of my life at a 7 year old's super hero birthday party. The best. Luckily the mom shared the recipe with me. This recipe trumps any other chocolate chip recipe I've made. Easy does it, don't over bake these beauties (like I did, even though my oven was set to 350 and I bake for 8-9 minutes)...don't even brown the tops, just brown the bottoms, a little. The BEST (singing like Tim Gunn from Project Runway).

I copy pasted the recipe from this website in case I can't find it later. Note the 427 5 out of 5 oven mitt ratings. Bravo! 


Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 out of 5 427 ratings
Prep:
15 mins
Cooking:
9 mins
Level:
Easy
Cooling:
15 mins
Yields:
60
This famous classic American cookie is a treat no matter what the age or occasion. Enjoy it with a glass of cold milk.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION:
PREPARE
 dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Craft Fail...

I saw this website, called Craft Fail, on Steven and Chris and honestly, it's hilarious. I have a few items I could add to the postings indeed.

I love that there are "supposed to look like" photos, stories about the craft endeavor and then after photos. This one made me laugh out loud:

When reader Jennifer saw these delicious cookies she knew she had to make some.
She’s an activity director at a home for seniors and thought they would love a special treat. 
Unfortunately, the grocery store was out of candy corn, 
and she thought that perhaps M&M's would be a fine substitute.
No problem. Drop a few M&M’s where the feathers would be, 
add a little frosting, glop on a little beak….


 Do you think the seniors cared if their turkeys had cobbled feathers?
Naw, they probably enjoyed the cobbled goggle.

Funny, right? Enjoy!





Saturday, November 17, 2012

Santa's Beard Advent Calendar

Kid's love to glue and tape...so when I saw this Santa Advent Calendar, from here, I though, how cute!


I did not want to go buy scrap booking supplies to construct this version but I liked the idea so much I "borrowed-ish" it. In the Christmas spirit I though I'd share it with whoever wants to print and stick 24 cotton puffs to some paper...and call it a day.

My version (with a slightly modified poem) is two 8.5" x 11" prints that you can download and print it from here. They look like this:

Disclaimer: I have no idea if 24 cotton puffs will fit on Santa's beard.
You may have to transplant some to his eyebrows. Good luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cruising through the holidays

39 days until Christmas.
It's a lot of time and a little time, all at the same time.

I  want to have a festive, relaxing and memorable Christmas. That's what I want so I'm working hard this year to give that gift to myself.

Last year we put up our tree on December 1st and by December 23rd I was ready for "it" all to be over. That didn't feel so great. In fact, it super sucked! I blamed it all on having put of the tree too early (sorry tree) but I really think that my state of disorganization > which lead to chaos, which leads to having nothing to wear to festivities, bad hair days, running around all over the place trying to pick up things, and so on, made the entire Christmas season feel like one big last minute rush.

Here's the truth, lots of women make Christmas happen. Lots. As my dear dear friend put it, "We are the Christmas Makers." It's an honour and a duty all at the same time. I didn't fully appreciate all the work my Mom did until I had children of my own. What? Christmas doesn't just happen by waving a sparkly glitter snow wand over your house and voila? Mom, thank you.

So, I need help over the holidays. Maybe you are ok, good to go and have little to no anxiety about gift shopping, decorating, meal planning, visiting, hosting, wrapping, eating too many cookies and having fun - I am so happy for you and one day hope to join you on the "other side."

But for now, if you're even A LITTLE like me, could use some guidance, need a planner to work through, have trouble delegating, get overwhelmed at the thought of being the Christmas Maker...maybe you could use this free FlyLady Cruising Through the Holiday Control Journal, maybe.

Other FlyLady control journals, here.

P.S. The Fly in FlyLady stands for "finally loving yourself," nice, isn't it?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halloween 2012

I know it's long past Halloween, but can I have more post? I feel like I ran out of time and didn't do the holiday (?) justice. I still have to redress my kids in their costumes because I didn't get a very good shot of them all dressed up!

Here are a couple of ideas of mine and some that some of my friends managed to get done for Halloween - good work!

Food from a Friend's Party for the kiddies:
Zombie bread (stuffed with spinach dip pizza dough)
Veggie Skeleton (modified by a Dad at the party, can you spot the new addition?)
Our front step & the extent of my decorations but I like it (dollar store reflectors)
A friend's front door in Edmonton (so good, right?)

A craft I brought to a play date for kids ages 2 - 5 1/2
Cut egg carton cups into singles
Hole punch 4 holes on each side
Cut pipe cleaners in half
Paint egg carton cups black in advance if you don't want extra mess and to save time
(Spray paint doesn't work, I tried, use acrylic)
(The girls wanted to paint theirs pink and purple anyway, so you could skip this step)
Let kids string legs through spiders
Glue on google eyes, fangs, bows, glitter, whatever
(You can see the girls painted over the eyes, so maybe paint first,
but then they have to dry in between glueing - hairdryer?)
Get the kids to repeat this phrase, "You get what you get and you don't get upset!",
with regard to colour of spider legs, I separated them before hand into sets of 8
Place in the centre of table over little gourds and around a halloween candle/vase filled with candy

Now, I better get upstairs. My husband took the day off today and I'm pretty sure he didn't plan on me updating my blog with Halloween fun while he parented along all morning. Christmas posts coming soon! xo


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Please spank your pomegranate, please...

Do you like pomegranates? We sure do around here. The only thing I'm not crazy about is extracting the fruit. In the past I've tended to break, mash and destroy-ish parts of the seeds, until now...

Youtube deseed a pomegranate and you'll get lots of videos - I combine two techniques, spanking & a bowl full of water. But I'm not sure if the bowl of water is necessary.

I like this pomegranate spanking video best...



Martha Stewart also has a video about "banging" a pomegranate. She is adamant about "banging" it, not spanking it. Maybe she thinks spanking a pomegranate is more offensive than banging it. To each their own. The most interesting thing about her video is her co-host, you can find the video is here.

Maybe you already know this, but since we're on the topic of fruit,  here's how to slice a mango. We buy the yellow skinned ones - like butter. I'm not sure this is my favorite mango cutting video (this one is spicy and funnier) - but I linked up to her weelicious.com website and it was a good find!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloweeeen!


I made these chocolate witch hats last year - ice cream cones dipped in melted chocolate, 2 gummie works stuck inside the hat and stuck to chocolate cookies with one Smartie stuck to the middle of the brim. Cutie-cute, right?

They were tasty and a big hit with the kiddies. As for this year? I bought the biggest box of those tiny chocolate bars I could find. We all got the flue, my motivation went out the window along with my ambition to craft it up this year. Eh, there's always Christmas.


As for this year, the whole month of October has almost passed and I haven't written a single Halloween post?! Good gracious. Well, better late than never! Here are some of the cute things I've come across online for Halloween this year:


Clark Kent/Superman Costume, here
Chic Black and White Pumpkins, here

Rock Monster Crafts, here
Witch Broomsticks, here
Q-Tip Skeleton, here
Hope you have a super duper Happy Halloween and you get your paws on some good candy!




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Systems vs motivation

I have lots of systems for doing things (keeping the house clean, making healthy meals, remembering family birthdays, purging clutter, planning for the holidays....) and these systems work...but what haven't figured out is how to stay motivated. I think I'm ok with that right now. Then end.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ammonia vs Windex - Knockout

I {heart} Windex. I do. I like the smell, the colour the streak free shine...but when I ran out the other day I took a look at the ingredients and saw that it was basically ammonia, water and blue. So, with a bottle of ammonia in the laundry room (that says 60 ml/1 L water for windows) and a near empty bottle of (no name) Windex, I stood in the mirror and said to myself, "Let's do this." (Ha ha! As if, I just thought, I'm not freaking going to the store, again, to buy one more thing only to come back with a truckload of stuff.)

I free poured the ratios, spritzed (everything that needed sanitizing or cleaning, including the mirror) and wiped clean. PERFECT-O. Steak free shine.

1 bottle of household ammonia ($2.45/1.8 L) + water + the wee bit of Windex left in my spray bottle (that tinted the new cleaner blue) makes THIRTY 1L BOTTLES OF NEW WINDEXY SPRITZ OR $0.08/1L BOTTLE. Bonjour. For a family on a budget this is fabu.

2L Windex Refill is $7.00
2L of New Windexy Spritz is $0.16

Ok. Not that this will stop me from running to the grocery store to buy that 1 thing I forgot. But next time I'll have a little more cash to add to the things I throw in my cart that aren't on the list (ie. "unnecessary" stuff for me or the kids).

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman & The Last Day of Being 3

I caught Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman, on TV a while back and could not stop watching it. It bombed in theaters and I can see why. It's not made of all the things a typical Hollywood blockbuster is supposed to be made of. It's about being a wife, a mother, a friend, planning a birthday party, raising kids, being & staying married, having personal ambition, friendships between women, almost pulling a solo Thelma and Louise but coming to one's senses and so on. 

There's a part in the movie where Uma Thurman takes a Polaroid of her daughter on the eve of her 6th birthday and writes "Last day of being 5..." and the next night she takes another photo and writes "First day of being 6". She pins them to her bulletin board right beside photos from previous years. It got me right here. What a sweet sentiment. I took a photo of my daughter the night before she turned 3 and again this year the night before she turned 4. Please know this, I don't scrapbook, I tried a family photo blog, my kids baby books are part fabricated and I probably have 14,000 photos on iphoto i need to organize in some way other than monthly folders (but hey, it's a start)...I'm trying but not always succeeding on being a great memory recorder.

Anyways, Motherhood is funny and I'd suggest watching it for a good laugh and reminder that we're all in this together. Here's the trailer:


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Super Fun Birthday Goodie Bag Treasure Hunt!

We celebrated out daughter's 4th birthday this weekend and her and her little cousins had a super fun time doing an easy 3-5 year old friendly Goodie Bag Treasure Hunt. Hardly any adult intervention was needed to complete the hunt, in fact we mainly just followed them around, cheered them on and laughed with them as they made their way around our house: 

1. Take pictures of 10-12 spots/things around your house
2. Print pictures and put picture #1 in an envelope, tape the rest of the clues in sequence around the house...one following the other.
3. Write instructions on envelope and read it to the "Team." Ours went something like this: "Hey Team! It's time for your super fun Goodie Bag Treasure Hunt! Go to the place in clue number one to find the next clue! Good luck and have fun!"
4. Let the birthday child open the envelope and run to spot #1 to search for the next clue.
5. Corral the teenage boys that thought this was a race and each picked a little girl to team up with, explain to them at clue #1 that this isn't a race and that they have to STOP pointing out the clues and then finally banish them until you need their help to make sure the kids get down the stairs safely...
6. Try to keep up with the kids until they reach the last clue - I wrote an "X" on the clue and knew our daughter would know "X" marked the spot. P.S. The look on her face and hysterical calling to her cousins when she saw the X was priceless and I'm still cursing myself for not having enough room on my itouch to have video taped all of it :(

The first clue was taped to the front door and the Goodie Bag Location (the "X") was the dryer! The dryer location worked perfectly for us because we (serious, all this we actually should read I, but you knew that) could hide their goodie bags in the dryer, fill the dyer with inflated balloons and shut the door. This was the only way we could have set up the treasure hunt before all the guest arrived. The taped clues around the house were strategically in somewhat unnoticeable places, but the kids were so distracted beforehand I'm not sure they would have known otherwise.

Other clues were located: on the master bedroom mirror, under the baby's crib, under the dining room table (so funny to see all the little girls crawling between aunties legs looking for the next clue), in the shower, taped to the microwave door, inside the fridge freezer, taped to the inside of the playroom closet wall, etc. 

Honestly, I could not have imagined that this super easy to prepare for activity would have gone so well. It was so funny and rewarding to see them working as a team (for the most part) and celebrating their successes together. Each girl found clues, even the littlest one. I think they had more fun on the hunt than opening the treasure bags.

They went on their treasure hunt after we sang happy birthday and cut the cake. May as well have them blow off some sugar before opening presents, right?

I can't take credit for the idea. It is from Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun. by Bobbie Conner (a gift from my Mom, thanks Mom!).

Do you have any winning birthday party ideas to share? I'd LOVE to hear them!!!



Friday, September 28, 2012

Chewing... chewing... chewing

We have a game we play with our daughter when she doesn't want to try a new food.

It goes like this,
Yuck, I don't like that.
Well, you said yuck, now you have to try it and we'll help you. Close your eyes and we'll feed you a bite.
This takes some time but eventually it happens.

Then we ask 3 different questions, something like:
Is it soft or hard?
Is it crunchy or chewy?
Is it sweet or sour?
By the time she's done answering the food is usually gone. Has she gagged? Yes. Has she survived to tell about it? Yes. Is this method of feeding a sometimes picky eater working for now? Yes. Good enough for us.

Still, sometimes I swear she says it's gross or yucky just because she can. The other night she ate practically the whole pile of BLECH on her plate.

Still, I thank her for it because it got me to thinking last night as I stood in line at the grocery store's job fair :
I've eaten a lot of things...but it's usually my pride that's the hardest to swallow.
Being a grocery store cashier may not be my pride's 1st choice of employment. But I'm lucky to have choices and maybe I feel sorry for myself, or dumb, just because I can. I'm still chewing on it. I should probably try asking myself a 3 different questions in the meantime to make the task a little easier...
Am I happy?
Am I strong?
Am I grateful?
Good luck with whatever is on your plate and know you're not alone. xo




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Chuck It List

I subscribe to FlyLady "A personal online coach to help you gain control of your ...offering a system for organization and managing home, based on the concept of daily routines and a focus on small, time and space limited tasks." Now, let it be know, I do my best, The house is still in kawhoots 99% of the time and so on...

Anyways, in the daily emails I received a fellow follower sent in this one I thought was worth sharing:



Chuck It List
flylady, 8/20/2012 2:00 pm
Dear FlyLady,

I was recently listening to friends lamenting how life is too short and how they are going to start doing things on their "Bucket List." 

I've decided to get started on my "Chuck It List!"

Life is too short to hold onto stuff that just drags you down and I'm just going to CHUCK IT OUT!

So here is my "Chuck It List":

Failed sewing projects-Chuck It!!!
Cut out recipes-never tried-Chuck It!!!
Tight clothes -Chuck It!!!
Empty plant pots -Chuck It!!!
Books I'll never read again -Chuck It!!!
Guilt making memories -Chuck It!!!
What's on your list???

Love,
Flybaby Western Australia

FlyLady here: What a great way of thinking!

You can have both! A bucket list and a chuck it list.

Set up your declutter kit and begin to "chuck it."

--------
You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?

Perfectionism is Shelved in 2012!

Get your FREE Cozi Calendar http://www.flylady.net/d/cozi/

Copyright 2001-2012 FlyLady and Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved, No reprint to other email lists or websites without FlyLady's permission. You have permission to forward to a friend.

Join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheFlyLady
I'm pretty sure I could use a CHUCK IT list. It sounds like it could free up time and energy in my life. I like the concept of letting go of things that are not working for me. The failed sewing projects, recipes and kids clothes that are ruined/out of style/not favorites may be a good place for me to start. One thing at a time...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Keep the Original Hem on Jeans

I've come to realize that I have been hemming jeans the hard and ugly-ish way for a LONG time, until now. Voila! How to Keep the Original Hem on Jeans, here. I tried it today. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Got plans?

My bff introduced me to this phrase...

If you don't plan your own life
someone else will do it for you.

It's true, right? Blech.

Whenever I'm wavering between doing this or that I often pull that little ditty out of my hat. What a great reminder...xo


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wet Hair is Good for the Soul

I went swimming in Lake Winnipeg (Winnipeg Beach) with a friend (10+) years ago and she said something I found to be unforgettable...
I never want to be the kind of woman who doesn't get my hair wet. 
After swimming in the same lake this past weekend with my little family two words came to mind, Amen Sister.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How to Wear a Men's Shirt as Women's Wear

Check out this link on how to wear a men's shirt dress as women's wear...it's good, right?!


Note: According to this blog, where I got the link to the Youtube site, an XL+ shirt works well.
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