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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!

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Gift Giving: For the Person who needs Pampering!

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I love the idea of making gifts by hand. There’s an extra element of love that goes into homemade gifts plus you have the power to personalize them to your receiver’s wants and needs.  With Christmas less than 4 weeks away, here’s a few easy ideas for that person who loves to pamper themselves or who needs a little extra self-love this season!

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Mason Jar candles are super easy to make.  I melted down some beeswax, added essential oils and filled these little jars with the hot wax, positioned a weighted wick in the centre and propped it up with popsicle sticks laid flat along the opening of the jar and let them cool.  Once the wax had solidified I trimmed the wick, sealed the jar with its lid and voila!  A beautiful and quick gift to add with a bottle of wine, some bath salts or bath bubbles and a perfect spa-like evening at home can begin for that special someone!

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Bath bombs are another extremely fun and trendy gift to make.  They are easily mixed up and let set in your favourite silicon mold for a fizzy surprise for kids and adults alike. I made two batches, one with soothing and calming essential oils; “sunset bath bomb” (think lavender, cedar wood, copaiba, orange, ylang ylang) and the other with more rejuvenating and energizing oils; “sunrise bath bomb” (think lemon, orange, peppermint, black pepper, lemongrass, rosemary, lime).  The recipe that I used this year came from some trial and error!  Here it is:

  • 1 cup epsom salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond oil
  • desired essential oil blend
  • optional: food colouring to tint
  • Mix up all of your ingredients and press firmly into silicone molds.  Cover with plastic and let “dry” for at least 24 hours.  Remove from molds and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, label and give away!

 

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Another great gift idea are these super luxurious make-up remover pads.  They can be infused with your favourite essential oils (I used a lavender, peppermint blend), are time-saving, all natural and simple to make.  In the jar you wish to use, mix up 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 tsp olive or almond oil, 1/2 tsp of your favourite gentle soap (I used E’s body wash), essential oils and fill half the jar with hot water.  Mix well and add cotton pads until they are all saturated and the jar is full!  These work well for taking off eye-make-up and lipstick especially!  I use them before I cleanse my face at night and love the little aromatic boost they give!

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Lastly are these yummy lip-balms that are made by simply melting down 3 parts coconut oil to 1 part beeswax, adding essential oils and pouring the mixture into empty lip balm tubes or dishes.  I bought these tubes on amazon and blended my lip-balms into a simple trilogy for that special someone who is outside a lot in the winter, suffers from dry, chapped lips or plans to be under the mistletoe-toe a lot this holiday season! (Cinna-mint contains cinnamon and peppermint essential oils, orange blossom has orange essential oil and cooling peppermint has you guessed it, peppermint essential oil!) Get creative with your own lip-smacking blends and labels!

A gift basket with all four of these easy spa ideas, a bottle of wine and a luxurious pair of slippers or a bath robe would be a glorious gift to both receive and give!  When you make a gift for the holidays you truly are giving so much love.  You’re thinking of the receiver through the entire process which in turn makes you reflect on so many cherished memories.  It’s a chance to slow down a bit during this often chaotic season and enjoy the simple things!

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Fleeting Fall & Hasty Harvest…

…And I thought summer went by fast.  I blinked and here we are with snow on the ground, a few days into November and I’m left with a phone full of pics that prove that indeed, fall and harvest did actually happen!  I have to apologize for being MIA for the last few months.  Harvest on the farm was long and busy and in amongst all my farm-wifely duties I wanted to still get in a few ‘summer bucket list’ items with my little guy so needless to say I was going to bed wiped and waking up hitting the ground running.  Here’s a bit of a highlight real from fall with some easy ideas to create some fun-filled memories with your own family!

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We had a riot going on some local hikes.  My little guy powered through a 2.5 hour hike by the lake nearby, a smaller trail through the valley right in our own front yard and the old train bridge hike here in our little town.  We collected leaves and acorns and of course brought home a few ‘fancy rocks’ as our treasures and then later we did some easy and colourful leaf printing art to get in the spirit for thanksgiving.

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This craft is super simple.  All you need is some kid friendly craft paint and a sheet of paper, the leaves that you’ve collected and some paintbrushes.  We used two methods to get our fall prints; we painted the backside of the leaves and then stamped them onto the paper AND we painted around the edges of the leaves to create a bit of a colourful outline.  It’s easy for little hands to do and is a fun way to remember the journey to find the leaves!

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We also made these cute little turkeys to adorn our thanksgiving table out of some old tin cans, a few buttons and some colourful feathers.  Little hands can help paint the tins and gather up the feathers as you hot glue them to the inside of the tins.  We also had a lot of fun jumping and plowing through leaves this fall and at our thanksgiving dinner upon telling E that I was most thankful for him and his daddy, he promptly told me he’s thankful for chicken!! (It is in fact the simple things isn’t it?!)

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Halloween came so quickly this year!  I honestly felt like I just got thanksgiving put away and out came the pumpkins and costumes!  E and I spent a day making this easy candy corn garland.  We painted a ‘bulls-eye’ of sorts on some paper plates (orange, yellow, to a white center) then we cut the plate into triangles, like a pie and taped the pieces to some string to hang over our big patio doors.  Super easy and colourful and a bit of a calorie-free gateway to all the yummy treats that are Halloween!

Left to Right: Tarantula Taco Dip (refried beans, salsa, chopped iceburg lettuce, guacamole, black olive spiders and sour cream web), Spooky Shakes (vanilla milkshakes in mason jars with spooky faces drawn on using whiteboard markers, topped with whipped cream and orange sprinkles), Spider Sandwiches (peanut butter and jam sandwiches cut into rounds with pretzel legs and raisin eyes) with mini mandarin jack-o-lanterns and Soup, and Boo-nanas (made with chocolate chip faces pressed into fresh, halved bananas).

I feel like this post doesn’t do the amazing memories we made this fall justice, it also included combine rides, meals in the swather with dad, yard work (so much yard work!), garden produce preserving, pumpkin carving, costume creating and a lot of time spent outdoors…but like I said, it’s kind of a highlight reel of our crazy busy harvest season.  It is my goal to do a much better job of documenting our winter activities, especially all the fun that Christmas brings…and boy is it coming quick!!!

 

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A Splash of our Summer…

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this summer went by in record time…it feels like we just put away the snow boots and mittens and here we are gearing up for harvest and inevitably, fall.  I had grand intentions of creating a summer to remember filled with themes and activities and new adventures but I swear I blinked and the calendar said mid-August and I was left feeling dizzied with just how fast June and July left us.  I did manage to check off a few things from our summer bucket list; we had a great time on our camping trip, made it out to the lake a few times, went strawberry picking, made homemade ice cream, set up the kiddie pool in the yard a couple times, had Weiner roasts and made s’mores, set off some fireworks, got to the splashpark in a neighbouring town, and I was able to get in one themed week with my boy…

So if you’re like me and clinging onto the last weeks of summer holidays by your fingernails, here’s some fun and easy ideas to do with your kidlets!  Our “Aquatic Themed Fun” started with an easy paper plate craft.  All you need is a bit of paint (although I’m sure markers or crayons would work too!), a coffee stir stick or popsicle stick, some craft foam and a glue gun.  Create a water and sky scene on your paper plate, make a boat out of craft foam and glue it to the end of your stick.  Cut a wavey path in your paper plate for your boat to ride on and voila! Sea Scene Fun!

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For the next couple days we took some inspiration from one of our favourite books “Pout Pout Fish” and made a paper mâché fish out of a blown up balloon.  We spent the first day making the paper mâché and the second day painting it up to look like a pout pout fish!  Of course, we read the book a few times in between as well, you know, for inspiration!

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Next up we made these sand dollar cookies.  Simple sugar cookie recipe cut into circles and then decorated with cinnamon and sugar and some slivered almonds before baking. Inevitably we also had a bit of an educational afternoon learning a lot about sand dollars since my two year old brought to my attention “what IS it mommy?”.  Did you know that the legend of the sand dollar is that the center is a star imprint and the holes around it create an easter lily.  When broken open it is said that doves of peace can be found and if turned over you can find the design of a poinsettia, the Christmas flower.  We brought our cookies to the lake and shared them with our friends!

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While at the lake we spent the next day on a lakeshore hunt, looking for shells and stones and any other aquatic life!  We came across an opened mussel type shell, a few crayfish skeletons and a couple very large frogs!

The next day we continued on the frog theme (mostly because I couldn’t find any fish gummies!) and we made little jello cups with leap frogs sitting on lily pads on top!  I used gummy frogs and mint leaves and this simple dessert was a really big hit with my little guy!  But then again, jello is ALWAYS a hit at our place!

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The last day we capped off our Aquatic Themed week of Fun with these easy handprint rainbow fish.  All you need is some craft paper, popsicle sticks, sequins, buttons, pom pops, feathers, beads or any other crafty decor items you have laying around.  Cut out your handprints, glue them to a popsicle stick and then decorate them as you wish.  If you’re lucky you’ll even get an impromptu puppet show out of the deal!

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We really had a great time creating fun little activities all under one theme.  (Next summer I hope to do more of this…no promises tho!). Not only did it break up the day a bit for us but we learned lots and I got to see more of my little guy’s creativity shine through and that’s truly my favourite thing to be part of lately!  What kind of summer bucket list items did you check off? There’s still a few more days of joyous weather ahead and I hope to fill them up right to the brim!

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Happy Birthday Canada!

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I am extremely proud to be Canadian and in true patriotic fashion I love nothing more than a good themed party.  It has become a tradition with another family to celebrate our great country on it’s birthday together and this year we celebrated a bit early!  Our kids are the centre of our fun and I know that with each year to come that we continue with this they will only be and have more fun.  We decorated with lots of flags and everything red and white and let the kids be kids all afternoon/evening long.  We gorged on good food and lots of summery sweets, stayed up late roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and later making a big blanket bed on the grass to count stars from.  We sang Oh Canada loud and proud to our kids and we lit sparklers and cracked glowsticks til their hearts’ content.  We wore matching outfits and laughed through multiple group photos to cherish the memories of our second annual Canada Day party!  I for one went to bed extra grateful for the people and country I call home!

Here’s some of our ideas in case you’re looking for something new to add to your own July 1st festivities!…

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Poutine Bar with Homemade Fries

This year we continued with the main menu of a poutine bar but we also added some new and festive ideas…

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Inukshuk Cold Cut Stacks

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Caprese Canadian Flag Platter

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Fruit Kebab Flags

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Maple S’mores

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Goodie Bags for the kids filled with glow sticks, maple cookies, red and white m&m’s, red beaded necklaces and of course, their very own Canadian flag to wave!  Although the weather wasn’t as warm as last year where we filled the kid’s pools and water tables, we still had a bonfire, played bocce ball, shot off fireworks and just genuinely enjoyed the day together.  The kids went to bed full, tired and happy…and hopefully with a bit more of their Nation’s Pride to believe in!

Oh Canada, Our True North Strong and Free!