Nosh

Sweet Treats for your Sweeties…

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I love making home-made treats to give to people during the holidays and valentines is no exception! Cookies, brownies and small cakes are easy ways to say I love you and with a few heart-shaped cookie cutters or small baking tins you can easily give a gift that comes straight from the heart!

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My go-to, absolutely hands-down favourite sugar cookie recipe is so easy to make.  It is fail-proof and the cookies are always so yummy.  I love the dough as it’s easy to roll out and my little guy likes to help me use cookie cutters of many styles to form the cookies.  I generally use royal icing with a hint of almond extract to ice my cookies and then enlist the help of small hands to help me decorate.  This year we went with a traditional conversation heart theme for our Valentine’s Day treats and I love how they turned out!

Here’s the recipe I use (which I typically half):

  • 1 lb butter, softened to room temp.
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I usually add more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • Mix butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy (5 mins).  Add vanilla and salt and then add the flour in two batches.  Mix until just incorporated. Chill 2 hours (this step I often eliminate due to my impatient nature), cut or roll into desired shapes and bake at 325* until golden on the edges.  Cool then ice if desired.

Mix up a quick batch of your own and share them with your loves this holiday!  I’m telling you, nothing says I love you like something made with your own two hands (and especially with the help of two more little hands!)

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Nosh

An Unconventional Valentine…

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Years ago (five to be exact) my siblings and their significant others, my hubby and I decided to forego the hype of a “romantic (over-priced) dinner for two” and instead create a sushi feast together and truly celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one(s) we love!  It was a hit, and although that first we crazily decided to make sushi AND steak, way too much food, this year will be our fifth annual “Sibling Sushi Valentine’s Night”.  We split the list and roll sushi together, sip champagne (and ale) and usually get out some sort of board game or crazy, dancing, fool-making video game!  I look forward to it immensely and this year is no different!

Here’s some feast pics from the past…

Through the years we’ve experimented with different rolls, usually some sort of edamame, steamed pork potsticker style dumplings, crab dip filled egg rolls and this year we’re planning on sushi and chicken wings!  It’s fun to get creative in the kitchen with my sisters and it’s even more fun to get to share this with my little guy.

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So think outside that commercialized box and throw caution to the wind…get a group together and experiment in the kitchen or order take-out and grab some of those fool-making video games!  It’s sure to be something you’ll love just as much as we do!

Create

Love Bugs…

Valentine’s Day with all it’s pink and red hearted glory is one of my favourite holidays.  It’s fun to come up with projects and activities that reflect all the loving we can handle.  Last year E and I kept with a “Love Bug” theme and here are some easy projects to do with your little loves…

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Cut out hearts in all different sizes from colored construction paper.  Using a large pink or red (or any color for that matter) upside down heart as the body, glue a smaller heart to the top as a head and then even smaller hearts on the body for the dots.  Add a face and some antennas as desired. We hung ours up on our windows for some festive cheer!

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We also spent an afternoon making cute little ‘love bugs’ out of heart-shaped sugar cookies.  I used black royal icing to outline the bug and then pink icing to flood the body.  E had fun adding mini chocolate chips to the cookies for dots (complete with a tractor and trailer haul!).  After the icing had set we packaged them up in little cello bags and made some tags with lady bug stickers for our valentines!

 

Create

LOVE

Love is quite obviously a verb.  We feel love and we act out love.  Have you ever thought of love as a noun? To get to that place of true love? Love for yourself, love for your family, love for your friends, love for your foes?  It’s a tricky word, love.  Flippantly used it loses emphasis, yet not used enough and we lose joy.

Finding the love in our everyday lives and cherishing that which we love and treasure is so utterly important. (It’s the base of my blog in all reality.) Valentine’s Day amid all the hearts, chocolate and flowers is a day to truly think about LOVE.  To tell those we appreciate and treasure that we love them.  To find the courage to unabashedly love ourselves.  To forgive and move forward with those who have wronged us. To find the things in our lives that bring us joy, that we truly love.

It’s easy to lose sight of the deep meaning behind the day and get swept up in the glitz and the commercialism of Valentine’s Day but I challenge you all to take a step further and think of love from a different view.  Challenge yourself to release and appreciate your struggles, appreciate the efforts of those around you, to receive the help, kindness, and affection from those in your life who try, and to relish in and appreciate the beauty that is LOVE!

 < I love my little family, especially my little man.  On a lighter note, I love matchy matchy with him… Here’s a couple ways to make matching shirts for the festive day… To visibly spread some love! >

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(Bend an empty paper towel roll into a heart shape and dip into acrylic paint mixed with a textile medium for cute little hearts stamped onto plain white shirts and emphasize with a sassy or sweet hashtag! This is a great project for little hands.)

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(To match mommy’s striped, puffy heart sweater, (From Old Navy Old Navy Canada   Old Navy US ) I bought a plain navy and white raglan T and sewed a red heart onto the centre…easy peasy and super festive.)

*Stay tuned on the blog for some more fun projects to do with your little (and big) loves!*

 

Create

Wrapping Paper Roads…

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So often some of my greatest ‘light bulb moments’ come out of necessity!  We ran out of wrapping paper the other day and I kept forgetting to pick some up in town.  Today my little guy was stir crazy and I knew we needed a ‘project’.  Here enters my ‘light bulb moment’ and out came the washable paints, a roll of craft paper and you guessed it, little man’s toy of choice, tractors!

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This was such an easy craft and I think the results are awesome!  All you do is pour some kid’s paint onto paper or plastic plates (we used red and green for Christmas…and for the Case and John Deere tractors we used), run your tractors through the paint so the tires are coated and then drive them all over the craft paper.  It was fun to use different styles of wheels too and see what tracks they created.  Once the paint ran out, I filled the kitchen sink with soapy water, gave E a scrub brush and we took our tractors to the car wash.  Bonus! It was two activities in one and both were a hit!

I can’t wait to wrap the rest of our gifts in this homemade paper and tie them up with some sparkly ribbons or twine.  I kind of wish we had done this craft at the beginning of the season so all our gifts were wrapped in it.  I’m thinking next year we do this again and create some fun potato carved stamps to use too! Happy Holiday-ing!