Mother’s Day Sun Catcher Craft

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (it’s this Sunday if anyone needs to remind their hubby’s) I was in need of a fun craft that my son could make for our favourite moms.  So off to Pinterest I went, and came across this quick, easy, and cheap craft.

A couple years go we did the hand print stepping stones, last year (I’m not going to lie) I think I completely lost track of time and forget to put anything together. This year I decided on these nice and simple sun catchers.

Clark had fun picking out what cookie cutter he wanted to use, and filling the pan with beads.  In the post I found she made her brothers arrange the beads sitting all on the flat sides, Clark wouldn’t have the patience for that, and I didn’t feel like going through the beads one by one to fix them, so we just left them the way they fell.

So if you need a quick last minute gift idea, give these a try!

Pony beads
Cake pan
Cookie cutters (optional)

– Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
– Put the beads in to your cake pan. Don’t worry about non-stick spray or anything, once it ha cooled down completely it will slide right out of the cake pan. We made 3 different sun catchers, one with a heart, one with a bear, and one with an ice cream cone.
– Back in the oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on how many you’re making at a time)

DSC_9660
– Let the plastic cool complete and remove from cake pan. The post I found said that she’s seen some people have drilled small holes to put a string or ribbon through to hang them.  But I copied her and put the cookie cutters up high enough so we could just use the shapes to hang them.

DSC_9667

DSC_9671DSC_9669

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hi all,

As we all know February is the month of Love, or it is supposed to be anyway. Sometimes, in the dead of winter with 15CM of snow covering your ankles, and it is -33 with the windchill it is hard to remember that it is supposed to be this mushy, lovey dovey month.

So what are some ideas to help you keep in the spirit of Valentine’s?

– Watch a mushy movie: there are tons of them out there. But I will say, if you are watching with your significant other, DON’T get a tear-jerkier, nothing kills the mood more than one or both of you blubbering for fictional characters on the TV.

– Make dinner together: If your house is anything like mine, one cooks and one cleans. But doing this simple task, encourages you to talk, and is just plain fun.

– GET OUT OF THE HOUSE: I think this is one of my all time favorite things to do, is just go for a walk. If you have kids, bring them, if it’s just the two of you, maybe start a snowball fight, or make snow angels.  Once you get back to the house, make a batch of REAL hot chocolate, and cuddle up to get warm. See Jamie Oliver’s Epic Hot Chocolate recipe for a chocolate lovers dream.

– This may not be traditional, but honestly folks, there is nothing romantic about being crammed into a restaurant on valentines day like sardines! With you being next to a couple who is fighting, or with screaming kids, and on the other side is a couple of who are pushing PDA to the limit. Take it from me, postpone your night out for valentines a week, or even make it a week early. This year the BF and I are going to our fave steak house in March, instead of February, just to make sure that we can enjoy ourselves a lot more.

Now for those people who HATE valentines day… I have some ideas for you too. We have all been there, not loving this month and the idea that a day where you proclaim your love for the person you are with. I honestly flip flop back and forth each year. Some years I could care less, and others I am excited for the day. (I am in the middle this year, as it is a Saturday, and we’re kinda stuck for ideas.)

So for the Haters of the Month of love:

– Horror movies – the perfect opposite of the a fore mentioned mushy ones.

– Get out, and take a class. This is the perfect month to get on those resolutions you forgot you made in January. Keep your mind off the month of love by getting out there, and take that cooking or yoga class you have always wanted to take.

– Go away for a girls weekend. Get all your single girls together, (heck even take some of the taken ones.) and go to a ski lodge, or cross boarder shopping.

– Throw an anti-valentines day party – basically just throw a party with a theme of wear anything pink or red, you are not allowed in!

If you are celebrating Valentine’s or not, I wish you all a wonderful February!

Holiday Traditions!

Ok so everyone has their own traditions, and then there are ones that seem to be pretty general that you’ll find happening everywhere.

As a relatively young family we’re just starting to develop our own family holiday traditions.  This year we’re all a little off because we’re learning to adapt to some random changes, like the hubby getting put on a different shift at work meaning he no longer gets Fridays off, then there’s getting the house and family ready for the new baby to arrive at the end of January/beginning of February.  That being said we’re still going to up hold some of the basic traditions. A few of which are…
Going to the hubby’s work Christmas party for the kids: this year they’re hosting a movie day, so the hubby is going to take Clark and have an afternoon out with him while I spend the time resting, or more likely getting more work done in the nursery
Christmas pictures: this year our Christmas pictures are being mixed in with maternity pictures, then next year we’ll focus on pictures of the kids. There’s also going to be the annual picture with Santa. My hubby is taking holidays in a couple of weeks so we’ll be able to go to the mall when it isn’t busy and let Clark have a good visit with Santa.
Christmas parade: the local one is coming up this Saturday but we might do something a little different, Canada has a holiday train that travels across the country and stops in a bunch of towns, so we’re going to go to one of the stops because Clark loves trains
Putting up and decorating the Christmas tree: this is one that Clark absolutely loves, we have an artificial tree, I know boo on us but when you have a toddler, a dog, and a cat it’s just easier till they learn, so Clark loves sorting out all the pieces, putting it together, then adding on all the decorations
Christmas baking: this will really be the first year that I’m going to do some baking with Clark, it’ll help satisfy the sweet tooth I have from being pregnant as well as an easy solution to pot luck dinners
– Christmas movie night: every year the kids unwrap some new pajamas, then we all climb up on the couch under a blanket with a big bowl of popcorn and watch Christmas movies all night long
Holiday lights walk: in all the little towns around here there’s always big holiday light display set up some where, so for one night, we climb in to the car and go from town to town and walk around looking at all the lights
Family gatherings: like I mentioned before we have 2 gatherings one at my Gramma’s house, and then another with my in-laws

IMG_0531.JPG

Christmas Baking Favourites!

Let’s face it, Christmas is the one time of year when you can bake an unnecessary amount of cookies, cupcakes, brownies, everything you can think of. So we figured we’d help inspire you and give you some new ideas for things to try this year.

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes (two of Sarah’s favourite things Ferrero Rocher chocolates and cupcakes)
Ingredients
For Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa powder
¾ cups vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 Ferrero Rocher
For Chocolate Nutella Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup cream cheese
⅓ cup Nutella
4 oz semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tablespoon cocoa powder
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
For Garnish:
12 Ferrero Rocher

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line standard cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
With electric mixer beat together oil, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract on medium speed until well combined.
Add dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
Cupcake liners should be about ⅔ full. First add about 1 tablespoon of the batter, then place unwrapped Ferrero Rocher in each cup and add remaining batter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean (it takes about 16-20 minutes)
Wait the cupcakes to cool completely before icing
To make the frosting melt 4 oz chocolate and let it cool to a room temperature.
Beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, then add cream cheese and mix well.
Add vanilla, salt, Nutella,cocoa and melted chocolate and mix it well to combine evenly.
Set the frosting in the fridge for 15 minutes to set, then frost the cupcakes and garnish with Ferrero Rocher.
Store in the fridge until serving.

Gingersnap Cookies
Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses (regular or un-sulphured)*
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon**
1 teaspoon ground ginger**
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves**
1/4 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar (for rolling cookies in)
* Lightly grease or spray (non-stick cooking spray) your measuring cup before adding the molasses. This prevents the molasses from sticking to the cup.
** Check your ground spices (cinnamon, ginger, and cloves) to determine if they are still fresh, as stale spices will make your gingersnaps flat tasting.

Preparation
1. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, egg, and molasses until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt; stir or beat until well blended. Cover the dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray your cookie sheets.
3. Place some granulated sugar in a bowl large enough to roll the cookie dough balls.
4. Using your hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Then roll the balls of dough into the granulated sugar, coating them thoroughly.
5. Place balls, 3 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheets.
6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown (cookies will puff slightly and then collapse slightly, and tops will be covered with little cracks). Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Yields 3 dozen cookies.

 

Chocolate Bark

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate, chopped
  • Toppings

Directions

  1. Coat a 9-by-12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on ends.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. Pour into baking sheet, and spread in an even layer.
  3. Immediately sprinkle toppings over chocolate. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Peel off parchment, and break bark into pieces.

Toppings: pretzels, peanuts, coconut, candy canes, marshmallows, dried fruit, orange peel… the possibilities are endless.

 

Holiday Wrap Up

So last week my hubby was on holidays from work. He was supposed to be on holidays this week as well, but don’t get me started on how things got screwed up and he managed to lose a week.

We had lots of plans of what we wanted to do over the two weeks he was supposed to have, so needless to say I got a little panicked when we lost a whole week and I need to decide what was most important and needed to get done.

I did manage to do it, but then of course things got in the way. As everyone knows I also babysit my youngest niece, we were hoping to have a couple days off from watching her but only managed to get Friday off, but we still got a few things done.

Monday: groceries for the week, we had a couple other stops we wanted to make but my son and niece were not doing so well with sharing space in our small car.

Tuesday: we stopped in for a short visit with our old wedding coordinator since our anniversary had just passed (November 2), then we went off to the mall for some shopping, we have family/maternity pictures coming up at the end of the month and my boys both needed something to wear. Once again the shopping got cut short because the kids weren’t getting along, but we managed to get everything we needed.

Wednesday: since the kids haven’t been getting along all that well the past few days we just stayed in for a nice quiet day

Thursday: Hubby went out and got the last couple of items we needed to finish off the wall we were building in the basement dividing it into our bedroom and a nursery for baby #2.

Friday: we were able to leave Clark with my sister-in-law for a couple hours while the hubby and I went out and did some car shopping, with another little one on the way we desperately needed to upgrade from our Pontiac G6 to something with a lot more room, we took out a Dodge Grand Caravan for a test drive and were sold, so we left them to work the numbers and went home to have dinner with family celebrating our oldest niece’s 4th birthday.

Saturday: back to the dealership we went! After getting a call about the numbers and deciding we were really hoping for a smaller monthly payment, we went back to test drive a different van. So out we went in a Chrysler Town and Country, it was exactly what we wanted with all the features we could have asked for. Now we patiently wait till Wednesday when the hubby can go in and trade in our little G6 for a new shiny family van.

Sunday: the hubby and I finished hanging the drywall and the door for the new wall, the we relaxed for the afternoon watching a movie with our boy, them after dinner I did some cleaning, the hubby made the dog a new bed, and I gave our furry babies each a bath.