Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Burlap Craze!

Have you caught the burlap bug? Seems like everywhere you turn these days there are DIY projects using burlap. I found some pictures of front door wreaths that I liked and re-pinned them on Pinterest. Today, I finally made one. Here's my take on the basic burlap wreath :)

1. Gather supplies

2. Cut burlap strips... easy way to make sure you cut straight is to pull one strand of the twine straight out and then follow that line that is easy to see now that you've left a space. Hang onto the pieces you pull out because you might need them later to help secure your pieces.

3. Gather both sides of the strips. Keep track of the ends and try not to break them off because you will use them to tie in step 4.

4. Wrap the poofs around your twig wreath and tie on with the ends that you've partially pulled through in your gathering stage.

5. Add a bow, if you'd like, or embellish some other way, or keep it simple with nothing, and hang it up on your door.

I like it... the kids said it was nice. We'll see if Steve notices when he gets home :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Garden is Born

On Saturday, it felt like Summer. Warm and beautiful, we were inspired to get crackin' on our garden. I have wanted a garden since 2003 when I last attempted to grow things and miserably failed. The only thing I was successful with that year was growing Todd, and he was born early 2004 :) My sunflowers did ok in that garden, but everything else died.

Steve met his uncle and cousin for morning coffee on Saturday and then stopped by the garden centre on his way home. The plan is that the tomatoes will get to go outside and play on hot sunny days, but since that beautiful Saturday, it's been too cold and windy, so they will decorate my kitchen for a few more weeks, I think. In the round planters are some beans that I got from my dad. Not sure when they are supposed to sprout, but they are supposed to be tasty and plentiful!

As it warms a bit, I hope to get some carrots, potatoes and strawberries planted.Hoping for some home grown goodness this year!

Double Dinner Post

We've had two more recent successes with dinners I've pinned on Pinterest for Steve to make for our family.

First... Broccoli casserole = Yum!

Here is the original pin that I found the recipe at.

Here is a pic of Steve's version. Super duper good! We ate it almost as a dip with nacho chips. Even crunched some up into our bowls first, then put this cheesy-broccolied goodness on top!

And then, a couple nights ago, he made my favourite one yet. (Watch, I'll be saying every new recipe he tries is my new favourite!! But he really seems to nail it every single time he tries a new recipe!)

Coconut Chicken Strips. Oh maaaannnn that was tasty! The next day, Steve went to work and the kids went to school, and I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch. Just as good the next day!

Here is the original pin...

And here is Steve in action!

Flour them, egg them, stick 'em in the coconut/cereal mixture. Not sure if he exactly followed the recipe, but whatever he did was amazing! One difference I know he did was to bake them, instead of frying them. Then he broiled them on each side at the very end of the baking time.

We also had wild rice and cooked carrots that evening.

Tonight, I made broccoli soup and cheesy dill biscuits... he's a tough act to follow, though, and my dinner, while it was delicious and finished by everyone, isn't really blog-worthy. You see, I used a package for the soup seasoning. And I've blogged the biscuits before. But, I still felt the need to mention that I do cook about half the time :)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Party Time... Angry Birds style!

Todd's birthday party was at the beginning of March, but I just realized I never got back here to blog about it. Todd really (REALLY!!!!) wanted an Angry Birds party, and at the time he started asking for it, I really didn't know what he was talking about. If you don't know what Angry Birds is, you're not missing a whole lot, but my kids like it. If you want to see what it is, you can click HERE.

Here are a few highlights from the party.

The invitations... My kids each got a plush Angry Bird from their uncle, so I copied these for the invitations.
(btw: more invitations got made than what got given out... I got a bit carried away because I thought they were so cute!!)

Some decorations... I painted on our glass patio doors but I only have a pretty bad picture of that, so I will leave it out. Just a tip, though, if you're painting on glass, add a squirt of dish soap into your acrylic paint and it will make taking it off again SO MUCH EASIER!!! I fully recommend this. I let my kids paint the windows at Christmas and had the hardest time getting the paint back off. Upon mentioning this on facebook, I had numerous suggestions about the squirt of soap. Tried it for the b-day party and it worked like a charm!!

Steve blew up balloons with the bicycle pump (balloons taste so gross, and I can't imagine all those toxins are good for you to suck on while you blow up balloons, so this is his new blowing up method. Used it now for 2 parties and it is awesome! Also means he LOVES helping with the decorating, too!!)

The night before, Steve and I painted the base coat on all these rocks. Then at the party, the kids could paint one of each colour with Angry Birds' faces on them.

The GAME! We split the kids into 2 groups. One group started by building the structures, and the other group got to destroy them by throwing our tennis ball "Angry Birds" at the structure. The main goal of an Angry Bird (at least this is what I gather from the kids!!) is to eliminate the Pigs. The Pigs steal the birds' eggs, thus making them "Angry!" Funny how something so simple has become a HUGE craze amongst kids (and non-kids, alike!!) these days.

Elise throwing an Angry Bird. (In the background you can kind of see the painting on the window) I was thankful that our front window didn't get busted with the force some of the kids put behind those tennis balls. Plus, the tennis balls we got from the dollar store might as well have been rocks, they were so hard! The name brand tennis balls seemed much more forgiving

Painted tennis balls are our birds.

The pigs are just green tennis balls with sharpie faces.

Goodie bags included a little painting book, so I attached a paint brush to the outside of the bag.

Todd said he didn't want a birthday cake. I said we could figure something else out, but what did he want when the kids are supposed to sing to him, then? He said he didn't know. Scott piped in and said, "Well, YOU might not like cake, but your FRIENDS do!" So, Todd said, "I would like a carrot cake." I love the carrot cakes that Safeway makes, so I headed over there early on party day to see if they had one out. They didn't, but the lady in the bakery said they would happily have one ready for me well before party time. I told her it was for my non-cake-loving 8 year old and she said they would have fun decorating it. When I went back to get it, a couple of the cashiers commented and I said, "It's carrot cake." They said they had heard the story of the little boy who only liked carrot cake! I thought it was pretty funny that they were talking about Todd's cake all the way at the front of the store! The cake was amazing, and most of the kids came back for seconds. I had given them small pieces to start with in case they didn't like it. One boy ate all the icing off and then started in on the cake. He stopped eating and said, "Is that a RASIN?! I don't eat that!" haha! Glad I didn't give HIM a big piece! He was the only one that seemed to be offended by the cake!

And for 14 days, I had two eight-year-olds! Every year, on one of their "twin" days I make sure to take a picture of them at the same age.

Thanks to everyone that helped us celebrated Todd this year!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Summer Smooches from Stampin' Up!

I know it hardly feels like Spring yet, but this sneak peek from Stampin' Up! will get you in the mood for Summer Smooches!

Summer Smooches Sneak Peek Special

Contact me for more info, or head to my website to get your hands on some of these fun, bright products!

Sarah's Stampin' Website

Art Kids! - Masking tape painting

In last week's art lesson, we used acrylic paints. First, we masked off geometric shapes on canvas, using basic masking tape, then filled it in with acrylic paint that was colour-mixed to perfection!

Here are a few of the results....


Sunday, April 01, 2012


We LOVE Lego in our house. It's also one of the reasons I can usually be found with a pair of (clean, designated for house-use-only!) shoes on. Those things HURT when you step on them!!

Scott turned 9 in mid-March, but since it was Spring Break, I decided his party would have to happen later. Todd's party was right around his birthday, which is also right around Scott's birthday. In past years, we have combined the parties, and we may do something like that again in the future, but this year we did 2 separate parties, so I wanted them to be ss-pp-rr-ee-aa-dd out!!! Scott really wanted a Lego themed party, so I turned to the Internet and my brain for some inspiration and we had the party yesterday.

So... here are some of the fun things we came up with for Scott's LEGO birthday. The kids helped with some of the decorations, too.

The invitations:

Each invitation had a combination of blocks that added up to 9. I think planning a party is as much fun for me as it is for the kids to attend the party! I used a 3/4" circle punch for the bumps (not sure of the official Lego-lingo for the connector parts!) and the straight parts are 1" for each bump. A 1 block measures 1"X1", etc.

The Decorations:

Scott and Elise built some decorations out of our Megablocks and Duplo blocks. The kids don't play with these anymore, just the small Legos now, but we still had some around and they made for some fun party decorations! The link for the Lego men on the patio doors is listed below.

We opted for small bags of chips, and just had them in larger bowls on the table. Also, instead of making punch and having spills, we bought 2 cases of juice boxes from Costco. I have seen how some people wrap the juice boxes to look like big pieces of Lego. Loved that idea, but I knew we would be going through a lot of juice boxes since there were so many kids here, so I just set them on the table undecorated! For lunch we also served pizza. It was Costco pizza, but the kids were guessing all kinds of fancy places for where it came from! I guess they liked it! I think it tasted just as good as any "fancy" pizza place, anyway!!

Saw this soap dispenser idea on a couple blogs, and Pinterest, as well, I believe. So cute! The kids want to keep our soap like this all the time!

The Games:

Straw relay... Each kid got their own straw and had to suction on a piece of lego at one end of the table and keep it on there until the other side of the table! They were great at this. 


Same idea as the straws, only this relay was with chopsticks... proved to be much harder for them than the straws!

Lego Toss Game. (Todd is setting up the game here for me... I don't have a pic of the kids actually playing the game!) The kids stood behind a line and had to toss Lego pieces into different jars for points. WAY harder than it sounds! After 4 rounds, only 4 kids got on the board. It's a variation of the Lego Ring toss games I saw online, so maybe those games would be easier. Some of the kids wanted to keep going until they got on the board, but others were happy to move onto a different game.

Lego Pictionary... I divided the kids into 2 teams. Each team chose one person at a time to build a word I gave the 2 builders in secret, and then the rest of the team guessed. I'm not going to lie to you... it got pretty loud in there during the guessing portion of the game, but it was a riot, and I was so glad the kids got into as much as they did.

The cake:

This baby might not get me a job on Cake Boss, but the kids sure ate it up. I covered wafer cookies the night before in coloured icing and put on coordinating smarties. It's a chocolate cake in there... and the cupcakes are white cake because I knew there could be some kids who weren't chocolate lovers (so strange to me!!)


The day after the party I found the #9 candle that Scott wanted... oh well, we went with individual candles in a pinch. And I even had a couple sparklers to add to the excitement!

The decorations:

I wanted to make some Lego men heads as decoration, but as I was making them, I had the idea that the kids could decorate them. Then they chose a goodie bag and clothes pinned their Lego head onto their bag. This also helped them all remember to take a goodie bag at the end!

Tip: To get corners round using any circle punch, just slip the corner in from the top. 

The goodie bags:

Inside the goodie bags I put a chocolate Easter Bunny, Lego fun facts (link to these below - truly cool to learn about the life of a Lego block!) some Lego shaped candy, and a bag of chips.

Fun Fun Fun! The kids all had fun, and Steve and I had fun planning this party. I don't know how many more years Scott will want a party with a bunch of friends over. But I am glad he wanted to do it this year!

THANK YOU to everyone that made Scott's birthday extra special!

Some of the things pictured above were from other bloggers that I found during my party planning.... They have generously made their resources available for personal use, and I thank them for that, as well!

Lego Fun Facts sheets... Roots and Wings blog

Lego Guy for decorations... Winks and Daisies blog

Some super-cool Lego information... how it's made, etc.: How Stuff Works blog

Some more great info on Lego parties... Tip Junkie blog and HERE

Lego Kirigami tutorial: Zakka Life blog

Of course.... Pinterest and Google :)

And this next one is a resource I didn't actually use, but I sure think it would be handy for someone that wanted to have the whole party planned out for them... From Aussie Pumpkin Patch: Lego Party pdf. Just the title of it "pdf" makes it sound so complete, I think! It is a great resource, but I found it long after my planning was already well underway.