Friday, 30 August 2013

Friday Fun Snack Day - Apple Teeth

In lieu of back to school, I chose a snack that used apples. We all love apples in our house and they are so versatile when it comes to snacks. We always have apples and peanut butter so "Apple Teeth" were an easy snack for us!
Apparently today is National "Toasted Marshmallow Day". How fitting. This is also a fun snack that can be used at Halloween.

What you need
Red apples
Mini marshmallows
Peanut butter or alternative if there are allergies

How you make it 
Cut apple slices into flat wedges - If your family enjoys apples I reccommend investing in an apple slicer. Saves time and so easy!
Spread the peanut butter of your choice on the bottom wedges
Stand mini marshmallows upright on bottom wedge
Spread the peanut butter on the bottom side of top wedge
Place top wedge on top of the marshmallows.

They were a hit !

Hey Parents here's a sweet tip!
Instead of tossing out leftover apples why not turn it into a delicious smelling simmer pot while you're in the kitchen cleaning up. Simply fill a saucepan with water, add the peels or cores of the apples and whatever else you might like. Cinnamon, cloves and allspice are a good addition. Boil to release the oils, turn down to simmer and enjoy the aroma!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

American Dolls have Birthdays too !

Both my daughters and several of their friends have American Girl Dolls. They're basically today's tween version of a cabbage patch kid. Each doll has a name, history, and birthday. Recently Madison was invited to her friend's American Girl Doll's Birthday Party and I thought it'd be a great blog post. Guaranteed there are lots of parents out there who have already, or will be planning their daughter's American Girl Doll's Birthday!

Since the dolls are only 18" tall, everything was little. The snacks were mini cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies and candies. Party favours were mini bottles of bubbles, tiny jars of sand and shells and gift bags of small sized doll accessories personalized with the guest doll's name. Madison's doll is Julie.

The guests coloured party hats for their dolls and put together mini activity diaries with games like tic tac toe and math problems.
This creative mom found lots of great ideas on

For presents, most of the guests made something for the Birthday doll! Luckily Madison's grandmother is handy at sewing so they made a fashionable cape to add to her closet.

If you aren't as crafty (like me) you can easily make up some home-made doll sized accessories like these:

Home-made jewellery using a jewellery kit or yarn.
You can find some inexpensive kits at the Dollar Store. Since the girls love to match their dolls, you can create some matching jewellery sets for your daughter and her doll.

Duct Tape Accessories
I've made some of these myself and it was really easy. Now that Duct Tape comes in a range of stylish colours and patterns you can really make some neat accessories like wallets and pillows. You can find instructions on Doll Diaries and even step-by step videos on Youtube

Have fun and Happy Crafting!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Arranging Flowers

Summer is the season of picking flowers. My kids love to run around the yard and gather handfuls and I love to have them displayed in my kitchen. Nothing brightens up a room like a fresh vase of colorful flowers.
Here are a few tips on displaying flowers and helping them to last longer.

1. Pick a vase and thoroughly clean it. Anything can work as a vase, the more unique, the better! I love to use old mason jars, or clear glass vases. You can use other household items to house your flowers like an antique teapot, a fancy glass or a large mug.

2. Prepare your flowers. Cut the stems under luke-warm water, once the stems are cut they immediately suck up all the water. Make sure to cut at least 1" from the bottom of each stem and remove any leaves that will lie below the level of the water in the vase as this will help to keep the flowers fresh. Try cutting at an angle, with the scissors slanting up or downwards. This allows the flowers to receive more nutrients.

3. Add water and flower food. Partially fill the vase with room temperature water and add any flower food you are using.

4. Arrange your flowers. I received a few tips from a florist friend. She suggests arranging the outside flowers first and make them a bit shorter then the rest so it becomes a dome shape. A neat hint is to make the arrangement as high as the vase is tall, then it will look proportioned to the vase.
You can be creative and add some sand, pebble rocks, or painted stones at the bottom of your vase to add color and decor.
Or simply place some flower petals or in a bowl of water with some floating candles to create a serene arrangement for a bathroom.

I love that all these flowers were freshly picked from our gardens!

Of course there are so many different kinds of flowers that you can mix and match patterns, colours and flower types. Even just a tall, clear vase with 1 flower can look just as beautiful as a vase full of arranged flowers. Here are a few inspirations I love.

What are some of your favourite flowers to decorate with?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Friday Fun Snack Day - Fruit & Cheese Kabobs

I'm so excited about this snack! Making it was so much fun, and I even got the kids involved to cut out their shapes. Whether it's cookie dough or play dough they love craft cutters.
We used our favourites fruits like watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and added some cheese.

What you need
Fruit & cheese of your choice
Shape cutters

How you make it
Wash your fruit
Cut your cheese & watermelon using the shape cutters
Place fruit & cheese on skewers alternating in a pattern

This was a fun and delicious rainy day activity!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Nice New Couch

We renovated our sunroom just before Christmas. Before it was a large, rectangule shaped room with 15 windows and a patio door. We turned half of the room into our bedroom, replaced the windows and patio door and installed new flooring. Now its our playroom/family room that houses all our kid's toys, a small bar area and a record player. It's always been a working progress, and I know I'll be spending many more months just getting the room right. I hate to admit it, I still don't have curtains on the windows.
But what I do have now, is a nice new couch! The only seating arrangements we had was an old computer chair in the corner and kid-sized stools. I wanted something we could sit on to read books, relax why our kids played in there, and a piece of furniture that would take away some of the emptiness the room had. Of course I had an idea of what I wanted, either a big comfy couch, or 2 large reading chairs. I had been searching around online a bit for some ideas, when all of a sudden a fellow facebook friend posted a FREE couch to give away! It's straight out of the 1970's but it's been cleaned and well taken care of. For a stay at home mother of 4, you take what you can get! It wasn't the dream couch I had been imagining about for that room, but it was bright, funky and in great condition. I figured I would just roll with it.
This gorgeous antique doesn't really match our wall colour at all, but that's something we can change. A gallon of paint is cheaper than a new couch. It does, however, match my toy baskets, pillows and wall decor.
 I'm just happy we finally have a little life in that room, and somewhere to sit.

Next is to find an area rug and maybe a lamp to match. I'm choosing a solid colour rug so it doesn't clash with the pattern on the couch. Should it be red to match the couch, blue to match the walls, or a neutral colour like beige? Here are some ideas I found. 

What do you think?

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Friday Fun Snack Day

I really enjoy this blog, and I sometimes feel like I actually have some important things to share. However, I'm looking to make a few changes that may help it to run more smoothly. I'm going to downsize from 3 posts a week to 2, as I'm finding it difficult to come up with new and fresh topics. Friday Funday will be seeing a new look as well. Because really, how fun can Friday be every single week? A friend of mine suggested introducing a fun recipe or kid's craft. So Fridays I will post a fun kid's snack for everyone to try for the weekend. I also love the thought of a guest blogger on a regular basis, someone who can share some advice or skills on a subject I have no experience with. If this could be you, please let me know!
Since I'm still very new at this, I would love to hear any comments or suggestions you might have for me! What type of posts do you enjoy most? What topics offer the best advice?
I'd love to hear from you!

So starting this Friday off fresh and clean, here is my first Fun Friday Snack!

As a kid, one of my favourite snacks was "ants on a log". It was a genius mix-up of celery, raisins and cheese whiz. It was easy to prepare and tasted delicious! Just the name alone got a laugh out of my kids!

What you need
2 stalks celery, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
2 Tbsp Cheez Whiz Cheese Spread
1 Tbsp raisins

How you make it
Spread each celery piece with Cheez Whiz
Top with Raisins

You can adjust this snack to your children's taste, and substitute peanut butter instead of cheese whiz. If they aren't raisin fans you can add peanuts, or dried cranberries.

Happy Weekend !!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Noah's Room - PT III

Noah's bedroom is still a working progress. I have a few small decorative projects on my list to finish before I consider his room finished.
Over the last few weeks Noah's mastered the art of crib climbing. A sure sign that he was ready for a real toddler bed. We had bought him a race car bed for Christmas last year. We thought when he turned 2 he would be ready to sleep in it, but we miscalculated and really he needed to be 2 years and 8 months before he was officially ready.
The girls and I spent a rainy afternoon taking apart his crib and we moved his train set into his room in it's place. We tidied up his reading area and brought in all his favourite books and I displayed my most favourite pictures of him and us on his bookshelf.

Yes all those toys MUST sleep with him every night

I think I was waiting until I was officially ready. Mainly because I'm not ready for him to grow up yet, but also because Noah is a wanderer. He likes to open the front door and run outside without telling anyone, so he would be the type of kid knocking on your front door at 2am because he's locked himself out. I wanted to wait until I was sure he would stay in his bed while sleeping. Noah doesn't like his bedroom door closed at night so I set up a baby gate to keep him contained until morning.
He's been sleeping full nights in the car bed for 4 nights now, and even taking mid day naps without trying to escape. Another huge step to outgrowing the baby he used to be. Since he is my last, I'm finding this transition harder than the last 3. Watching the girls grow up didn't bother me as much because I always had another baby in line. But Noah is the last, the very last.

I'm trying to savour this precious time with him and embrace this new chapter in his life. Before I know it, Noah will be off to school and I'll really be in rough shape!

You can view my previous posts on Noah's bedroom progress below:

Noah's Bedroom - PT 1

Noah's Bedroom - PT II

Friday, 9 August 2013

Shift work - it doesn't work

My husband works his heart out for a tire production company. Since the world desperately needs tires, they operate 24/7, meaning he works shift work. He works 12 hour shifts which rotate from day to night shifts every 2 days, and every second weekend. Every 8 days he works night shifts which means once a week our children go at least 2 full days without seeing him.
This kind of schedule takes a toll on our family life, our relationship and most importantly him. With 4 kids with busy schedules it's a challenge for him to be apart of everything. Basically the kids and I run a somewhat smooth routine and Mike jumps in when he can.

Mike works hard at what he does. He sacrifices a lot to look after us, and we'll always love him for that. As do so many other parents who put their families before themselves.

Maija from Yummy Mummy Club wrote a blog post about being married to a shift worker and nailed it!

A little advice that's worth reading!
Happy weekend :)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Summer Family Checklist - outdoor concert

We checked off activity #3 - go to an outdoor concert! Actually, we were lucky enough to attend not one, but two outdoor concerts on the same day!
It was a beautiful day, the sun was shinning and we were happy to be out enjoying music, dancing and  snacks.

First we went to the Children's Jubilee and listened to a children's entertainer, Sunshine Sue. She sang songs, put on a puppet show and told funny stories. The kids were dancing and singing along with her and really enjoyed themselves.

Later that evening we attended an outdoor family ceilidh. There were musical entertainers all evening, a bbq, strawberry shortcake (Jessee's fav!) and lots of other goodies to choose from. Although the rain put a small damper on our outdoor fun, we still had the opportunity to listen to some great music and enjoy our time together.

I love any activity that will take us outside and experience something new!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Family photos over the years

Vacations are the best time to take family photos. All of our kids are together, and there are lots of fun and interesting things to take pictures of. It's easy to snap a quick family photo op in front of a funny statue, or a setting sun.
We've gone on repeat vacations over the years and it's become a tradition to take pictures of the kids in the same location each time. When we travel to PEI we always take a picture of us on the ferry, or on the big plastic cow at Cows Ice Cream. We have traveled to Amherst several times to visit friends and we always stop at a little cafe along the way for a photo op with the Moose Mountie!
Here are few of our traditional Photo ops!

 At the Chatterbox Cafe in Pugwash with the Moose Mountie




 At Cows Ice Cream in Prince Edward Island




 At Shining Waters fun park in Cavendish





 It's fun to look back at those pictures and see how much the kids have grown since the previous year. Maybe it's time to start thinking about some new trip destinations?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Helpful hints that saved my sanity

Over the last few weeks, I've come across a few handy tips that have made my life a little bit easier. I'm sure many of my readers have heard of them before, but they may surprise someone!

Maximize party music
While on vacation in PEI with our extended family, we had a birthday get together for Mike and his twin brother Shane. Of course we didn't plan on bringing music and speakers on our trip, and what started with a simple supper turned into my kids dancing and entertaining the whole group. With all the people in our cottage, we couldn't hear the music coming from the tiny speakers on the Ipod and my daughter's were instantly broken-hearted. We placed the Ipod in a glass bowl and it maximized the sound. Crisis averted, my kids could dance again.
You know the saying "if mama's happy, everybody's happy"? This is so not true. If my kids are happy, everybody's happy!

How to fix a broken flip flop
One day, I took the kids for a walk downtown and the unimaginable happened. My flip flop broke!I couldn't walk 3 steps without it coming apart again. I couldn't walk around barefoot and it was a Sunday evening so no stores were open to buy a new pair. Then I remembered reading online a cool tip to fix a flip flop using a bread bag tag. Luckily the coffee house we were at had one! Problem solved!

Here's a link with instructions (also including one using a paper bag in-case a bread tag can't be found)

Packing cereal for lunch
My kids (and my husband) love cereal and it makes for a good snack in their lunch-bags. I always had a hard time trying to pack cereal and milk together, along with containers to hold it all. A thermos saved the day! They aren't only used for hot meals, but could easily store milk and keep it cold. The cup works perfectly instead of a bowl for the cereal and it doesn't take up a lot of room in their lunch-bag.

Hope these tips made someone's life a little easier!
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