October 16, 2011

Fantastic Homemade Play Dough!

Homemade play dough by <span class=
Homemade play dough, a photo by FrankenberrysKiss on Flickr.

I was teaching a small group of students in September and my program was primarily sensory based therefore play dough play was a daily event in our space. A few of the kids couldn't stop themselves from eating the yummy looking materials and although Playdoh is considered non-toxic I have read that there is petroleum in it which is just nasty and it is definitely not for those with gluten allergies so I went on the hunt for Gluten Free Play Dough recipes.

Google turns up a million possible recipes but I also read a load of posts from people complaining about gritty, stinky, sticky results so I spent a good deal of time reading reviews before settling on the first recipe I'm going to share with you. Super easy to make and the finished product is comparable to 'real' Play doh without the nasty smell.

Gluten Free Playdough
Recipe snagged from THIS site
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup hot water
1 tsp. cooking oil
food coloring

1. Mix all ingredients together in a pot, cook on low heat, stirring occasionally for at least 5 minutes or until it forms a ball.

2. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes.

3. Scoop into a large bowl, add at least 1/2 cup more rice flour, and 1/2 cup more corn starch, knead until well mixed and no longer sticky. Store in airtight container.

Rice flour is a little pricey and I'm cheap so I hunted further for recipe that wasn't gluten free. I found a blog called Robin's Song and the author shares an awesome recipe there. I made a batch of her dough for the Rockstar yesterday and it turned out really well - not at all sticky or stinky. My only word of advice would be to split the batch up once you've mixed all the ingredients together so that you can make various colours. I was a bonehead and added the colour to the whole batch which left me with an insane amount of blue play dough. Whoops! Looks like the Rockstar will be arriving at daycare with the gift of a big ass ball of blue dough tomorrow.

Homemade Playdough

Recipe snagged from THIS site

3 cups Flour
1 1/2 cups Salt
3 cups Water
2 TB vegetable oil
1 TB Cream of Tartar
Food coloring or unsweetened Kool-Aid pkg for color.

1. In a large saucepan mix all ingredients together

2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and gets too thick to stir (about 10-15 minutes).

4. Remove from heat and let cool until it can be handled.

5. Place on counter or wax paper and knead several times until smooth. Store in an air-tight container.

I will never purchase Play doh for my child now that I know how easy it is to make non-toxic, non-stinky dough myself.
AWESOME! Love this recipe and will use it again and again.

October 15, 2011

A Reason to Celebrate the Number ONE

Alright so it was almost 4 months ago now but our Rockstar turned ONE on June 24th!! What a strange feeling to look at him asleep in his crib that morning and think that a year earlier we were in the hospital staring at this little man for the first time.

We had cupcakes for breakfast. Yum!

He really wasn't a huge fan of the chocolate cupcake but he did try a little (his first taste of chocolate) and made a minor mess. Mike took the day off work and we spent the day playing, the Rockstar's grandparents all popped over to with him a happy day and of course he ate his favourite foods and watched an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.

We went to African Lion's Safari the following day; it was the first time for both the Rockstar and his Daddy and we had a great time!!

Daddy's first time carrying The Rockstar in the carrier
I think they were both pretty comfortable with this arrangement. :)

We threw a first birthday party for the wee man in July. Immediate family and a few close friends made up the guest list; the kids played in the kiddie pool and had a blast on The Rockstar's roller coaster while the adults roasted in the afternoon heat. Despite the crazy heat I think everyone had a good time; I know the Birthday Boy and his parents did! I'll share more details around the party in another post.

The Rockstar's 12th month (June) was really an awesome month. We took our first solo trip to visit my girlfriend Cara and her family - just the Rockstar and I on a 5 hour flight - I was a bit nervous but he was a stellar traveler. We had an amazing time out West, we spent loads of quality time with Cara and Rosie which is rarely possible due to the distance obviously but also the many obligations Cara and Herwig have when they come home to visit. I wish I could afford to travel to Van every year for a few days to catch up...maybe one day!

Mike was happy we were able to get away but obviously disappointed he wasn't able to join us; we missed him!! I purposely did not encourage the Rockstar to work on standing skills while we were away, I didn't let his hand go AT ALL when he was standing in open spaces for fear of him standing on his own and Mike missing it. Clearly my tactic worked!! When we returned home following our trip he showed off immediately by standing independently for about 20 seconds!! A few stumbling steps happened in June as well, and of course that was super exciting!

I still can't believe we have celebrated our son's first birthday. He is now going to experience all of the special holidays a second time which is crazy to me. It blows me away to think of how much he has changed in the last year and I cannot even begin to imagine what changes will take place this year. Of course I'm not going to worry too much about it, I'll just continue to do what has been working well so far: live in the moment and enjoy every second of our time together as a family

Happy Belated First Birthday, Baby Boy!! Mommy & Daddy love you to the moon and back, times infinity. xoxoxo

A late 11 month update!

May was the great sleepover month!! The Rockstar had his first sleep over at Granny and Grandad's and another at Grams and Papa's house; of course he slept through the night. Tooth number five arrived this month! Lots of gross motor development: sitting up for the first time with no help, standing without support for about seven seconds, standing up in his crib using the rails for support!! So awesome!

This month The Rockstar started signing "finished" and "bath" independently!! After dinner he would sign "finished" followed by "bath" and then point upstairs. "Cute" doesn't cut it, this kid is ridiculously adorable and of course brilliant!

I love the baby signing, it gives little peanuts some control over their world. I think so much of infant/toddler frustration comes from the inability to clearly communicate (both receptively and expressively) and signing takes some of this frustration away. Our Rockstar is big on pointing and it is super helpful, he still points a lot at almost 16 months but he started early and it has saved us many moments of stress.

Month 11 meant the introduction of one of the Rockstar's favourite foods: strawberries! He still can't get enough of his berries.

It's funny, my crazy monkey is almost 16 months old now, he's such a big boy now I can barely remember May - it's hard to picture him at a point when he was unable to get himself to a sitting position or stand all by himself. You've read it a trillion times and will read it a trillion more: time flies when you have kids. I thought it moved quickly before but had no idea how fast it could really fly by.

Happy Belated 11 months, Sweet Boy!!

Still kickin'

I keep popping over here thinking about how I really should get back to blogging, and then one of 8 million other tasks pop into my head and I don't post anything. I miss leisurely reading my favourite blogs and I miss posting bits too so here's my umpteenth attempt at returning to it.

I have to apologize to my little Rockstar for missing his 11 and 12 month posts. He's almost 16 months old now and I had hoped to at least keep up with my monthly updates for his first year!! I'll to post a quick run down of months 11 and 12 now so that they have been taken care of. Thankfully I was still writing updates on the calendar then... I've bombed on that job recently as well. Whoops!

Here goes...

July 30, 2011

Vote: Rockstar for President!

I'm not going to begin with an apology because I'm pretty sure I said I would stop commenting on how long it has been since my last post but wow has it been a long time since I last posted. I hope to return to regular posts soon - it's time I updated you on my world assuming "you" are out there (anyone? Anyone?!) That being said I'm suddenly busier than ever so 'regular' certainly won't be daily. I can't sort out how the mamas out there with a pile of kids, jobs (whether out of the home or in) and no nanny/cleaning lady/butler/man slave, manage to blog regularly. *sigh* Maybe I'll sort it out eventually.

In the meantime do me a huge favor please and vote for my sweet little man!! A local photographer is running a contest and the baby with the most votes wins a family photo shoot. She's an amazing photographer and I would LOVE some family portraits taken this fall, a free shoot would be amazing, don't you think??

I entered the photo above (without the text) and obviously he's the cutest baby ever (and no I'm not biased) but unfortunately it's a popularity contest so the most votes wins. Basically the person with the most friends or friends who are willing to vote daily will take the main prize but we're trying anyway. My husband had a great idea and if you ever decide to run a contest I think you should take his idea and run with it: run a popularity vote to determine the top ten or even five entries and then have a panel judge for the final winner. Geesh, where was Mike when the contest was being organized?! ;)

If you have a moment please click HERE and vote for the Rockstar on Nova Photography's facebook page.

May 19, 2011

Little People Prezzies

I admired a ton (or is it tonne?) of alphabet prints when I was preggers. The plan was to purchase a print for the Rockstar once he arrived but we never got around to it. The more I thought of it the more I disliked the idea of spending money on something that I knew would be easy to make on my own. Now I'm picturing Mike shaking his head and saying something about me being frugal followed by "I'd rather you were frugal than shopping for Gucci".

Anyway, since my favourite photo editing site Picnik can be used for so much more than photos I figured I would try to make some printables over there. If you've never used Picnik you MUST try it out: it's perfect for invites and cards (I'll be showing you the Rockstar's first birthday invite soon), creating freezer paper stencils and transfers (I haven't used it for either but I have plans to do so), and of course creating hangable art. I used the free bits for at least a year and just purchased a premium account a few months ago - the extra features with the premium account are great and I received a free book through Snapfish when I signed up which actually cost more than the year subscription.

Back to the point of this post! I finally took some time a few nights ago to play around and I made up an 8 x 10 alphabet print.

Once I had created one version it was easy to go back and change the background and font colours and of course change the names.

The first letters on the lines the four letter names are on don't sit in the right place according to my eyes but I figure these will be framed and the letter will be cut off anyway. We'll see... I have to pick up a frame and print one to see how it looks.

I did create one for The Rockstar but I'm not sure whether I'm going to print it on paper to hang or on iron-on transfer paper for him to wear. Decisions, decisions!

I think these would make great new baby presents and I also thinking they would be cute transferred on to little tote bags for kids to use as library book bags. Maybe that's what I'll do with the Rockstar's.

May 17, 2011

Tiny Tasties

photo credit: Bakers Royale

I'm super proud of both of my parents. They have been working hard for the past few months to lose weight and both of them look fabulous!! More important than how they look is how they feel and they are both feeling fantastic!

It certainly isn't easy to lose weight and anyone who has tried knows how important it is to indulge every now and then in order to avoid an all out binge on a really crappy day. Someone (and for the life of me I can't remember who) linked to these super sweet treats which led to the recipe for the cute and delicious looking Banana Split Bites pictured above and a new-to-me awesomely yummy blog Bakers Royale.

I haven't taken the time to figure out how many points each would be (my parents are using the Weight Watchers point system) but I think that it would be minimal and even less if I substitute frozen yogurt for the ice cream. I remember my mom ordering banana splits from Dairy Queen when I was little and although I haven't seen her eat one in years I have a feeling she would share a couple of these with me if I made them. I'm looking forward to giving this sweet little treat a test run once the weather warms up again.

There are a pile of recipes that make me go "YUM!" over at Bakers Royale but of course the most yum inducing for me involves a chocolate peanut butter combo.

image source: Bakers Royale

Frozen Reese Peanut Butter Pie: I am holding back tears of joy while thinking about the yum factor. Oreo cookie crumb crust?! Seriously. Genius. Naomi mentions that you can make four mini cakes or one large one. Of course the mini cakes would mean less waste. Hahahahahaaha! Who am I kidding?? Waste? I could scarf back this cake all on my lonesome and I'm sure I could find a few people to share it with if I decide to skip the terrible greedy girl bellyache.

Check out Bakers Royale and leave a comment linking to your favourite find if you feel the urge to share!

May 15, 2011


Spring finally sprung around these parts; we've had loads of rain and a fair amount of sunshine. The Rockstar was showing off his chunky little legs in a pair of shorts on Friday while I donned a tank top and now it's chilly again and he's sleeping in a fleece sleep sac with his window shut tight. At least we have had a taste of warmth and know that it really isn't too far out of reach now.

Once again I forgot to post my entry for the Iron Craft challenge. The theme was Spring and with Mother's Day falling during the challenge week it was a perfect excuse (not that I need one) to make a little something for one of my very best friends: my unbelievably amazing mom.

My mom loves birds and my parents backyard is a little oasis for them so I thought a birdhouse would be the perfect gift. I learned my frugal ways from my parents so she was pleased to hear I scored the unfinished bird house from the dollar store.

I was ready to hit Michael's to purchase some decals but found some that were just perfect for this project in the same shop I found the house in.

I used three coats of tung oil (left over from the deck project last year) to finish the houses and then applied the decals. I finished the houses off with a couple of coats of spray-on clear finish meant for outdoor projects. There is one step I didn't think of but thankfully my dad did so I've taken the house back for a few days in order to get this done: drilling holes in the bottom of the house to let any water/waste escape.

I have two more houses waiting for me to tackle them. I bought some funky shape decals to use on the one that will hang in our backyard: here's hoping it will attract some pretty birdies for the Rockstar to admire.

Speaking of moms I didn't get around to posting on Mother's Day! I hope all of you fabulous Mamas out there had a lovely day! A special Happy Mama's Day to my superfantabulous mom Lois and my amazingly awesome mom-by-marriage Bridie.

I was spoiled with sleeping in, a yummy brunch, coffee on the deck, an afternoon walk, swings, chocolate peanut butter, a beautiful photo FAMILY photo frame and a delicious bbq dinner: an absolutely wonderful first Mother's Day. Two cards, one from my baby boy and one from my big boy made me sniffle. Love and hugs and smooches to my two boys for making my day perfect.

Sunny Resort Blouse Take 1

I finally got around to snapping a few pics of the shirt I made for myself using the freebie pattern from Adey of The Sew Convert found over at Grosgrain. I would certainly use this pattern again but I would choose a more flowy fabric like she suggested. I went with a quilting cotton for my first attempt because I didn't want to spend a pile of money on fabric to find out that the style didn't suit me.

I learned a few things while making this puppy:

1) Use double sided bias tape for the edging. The nasty woman I dealt with at the fabric store looked at me like I was an idiot when I asked whether she recommended single or double sided so I (stupidly) took her snapped advice of single sided. I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo but I used the single sided to edge the neck and it's wrinkled. I spent ages online trying to find a tutorial for using single sided bias tape after the neck difficulties and found nothing. In the end I found a few packages of double sided bias tape in my stash and used that for the rest of the shirt and five minutes later it was finished: easy peasy! I should have ripped out the neck and edged it with the double sided tape but oh well.

2) Remember to consider shrinkage when deciding how much fabric to purchase. Duh - this seems like an obvious thing to do but I didn't think of it. Thankfully I had a bit of cute purple fabric in my stash that worked out perfectly for adding some length to the shirt (actually I'm happy the oops led to this addition, I think it adds something to the finished product)

3) Don't make the belt and belt holes. I debated whether or not to add the belt and in the end I made one and added the holes to the shirt and I shouldn't have bothered. The belt looks super cute on Adey but it does nothing for my shape -- should have followed my gut on this one. Thankfully the pattern on my shirt hides the button hole belt loops pretty well so I can still wear it without the belt.

I would highly recommend this pattern to beginners. Super easy to follow instructions and a relatively quick start to finish project.

April 28, 2011

It's About Time

I can't believe I FINALLY did it!! I sewed a piece of clothing for myself and not only does it fit: it looks cute! I have one final thing to do before sharing the details with you. I intend to finish up tomorrow and will have Mike snap some pics of my creation on Saturday so I can post. I can't believe I didn't take the plunge sooner: this little project has given me the itch to make more and the itch is going to be scratched with today's free pattern over at Grosgrain. The knot shorts by Elsie Marley are adorable!! My only issue is the length... I think the knot might look odd on a long pair of shorts but I don't want to go Daisy Duke short either. What to do, what to do...

April 26, 2011

Oh My!! Free Patterns!!

Mmm Grosgrain. I wish I could create patterns and sew clothing like Kathleen; she is one talented woman! I used to visit her blog often to gaze at her beautiful creations but I've been neglecting my regular reads for months and months and... you get the picture.

Thankfully Jennifer from All Things Belle (a new regular read of mine that I'm actually reading regularly) mentioned Grograin in a recent post which reminded me to slip over for a peek and WOW have I been missing out. There is so much yummy eye candy I need to gobble up! I'm loving the new regular features Kathleen has come up with and can't wait to see what fabulous bits she has in store.

The best part of popping over to Grosgrain now is that it's Free Pattern Month which means tutorial central!! One of the patterns from Day 1 shared by The Sew Convert is for a super funky blouse that looks totally doable!! It's time for me to FINALLY make a piece of clothing for myself. I need to find the right material for this project but have a feeling it will take me a ridiculous length of time to pick it out. Hmmm... tomorrow the Rockstar is going to his Granny's to be spoiled for the day. The fabric store is between the stable where I'm volunteering in the morning and my house; I might have to make a pit stop on my way home. I'll let you know how it goes.

Looking for some inspiration? Hop on over to Grosgrain and you'll find lots!

April 24, 2011

10 Months Young

Only two months until your birthday!! I know I say it every month (really I think it at least ten times a day) but I can't believe how quickly time has gone since you arrived on the scene. Our days are filled with toys, giggles, books, walks, cuddles, snacks, swimming, music, kisses and did I mention cuddles?

A big moment this month was when you said DaDa for the first time. Daddy and Mommy were both in the room when you said it and now it's part of your daily chatter. You have a few other new weird and wonderful noises (you've discovered talking with your mouth closed which produces some pretty funny sounds) and really seem to enjoy practicing different volumes. You definitely prefer the high pitched squealing over anything else; we had to leave the gelato shop last week due to your screeches of delight. When you see a kitty cat now (real or in a book) you often make a soft squealing sound as if you are trying to meow. You love EC so much and if she would just stay still long enough you would certainly eat her tail and pull her hair, thankfully she moves fast.

You have discovered that breathing quickly through your nose only makes a cool sound - much to our amusement - you make the cutest scrunched up face when you do this. Ahhh yes and there is the head shake. Daddy taught you to shake your head back and forth while playing peek-a-boo with the curtains a couple days ago. You have put two and two together and seem to understand that besides being a fun thing to do it also means no.

Whining when you want something or don't want something or are tired or are hungry is happening on a daily basis now. Sometimes you bellow MummmmmmMummmmMummmm while whining and other times it's just a steady whimpering. Oh how I love you and all of the things you do but the whine is a noise I could easily do without. I know you are communicating your needs/wants and when I'm not listening to the mewing I can think about this logically and be happy you've figured this out but when it's happening it's a little like nails on a chalkboard. I'm learning to tune out the sound while trying to figure out what it is you want, I figure I better learn to ignore it now because I'll be hearing this tone (hopefully not daily) for at least the next 20 years.

A great deal of the whining happens because you are having to sit/lay down when you want to be walking. Walking, walking, walking, walking: if you could walk every waking moment you would be the happiest baby on earth!! It's great and exhausting but more great than exhausting. Unfortunately I still have to make your lunch and change your bum and those things we can't do while walking, hence the whining. You haven't started cruising yet but will stand holding onto the couch for long periods of time; the only reason you collapse is because you have yet to figure out that letting go or pushing back means landing in a heap on the floor. You'll figure it out soon enough and then we are in big trouble. You don't like being told no and had your first temper tantrum a couple weeks ago: foot stomping and all. Crazy monkey.

Your top front teeth have popped through! Now you have a grand total of four teeth and I'm pretty sure the fifth is about to join the others. You handled the arrival of these new visitors like a champion and look extra cute when you smile big enough for us to see the new little bumps.

The weather is finally acting more like spring than winter so we have been going out for long walks when we can. What a change from last summer/fall when we could only make it around the block (if that) before you would start to cry and want out of the stroller. Now we are out for an hour at a time and you are thrilled! You love watching the geese in the pond and checking out all the doggies we see walking with their owners. You met Uncle Garry's husky Cody last weekend and that was the closest you have been to a big dog: you weren't entirely sure about him but gave tiny half smiles and put one finger out showing us you were seriously considering touching him.

Swings!! Wow do you love the swings! We took you to Waterloo Park a couple weeks ago for the first time this year and had so much fun. You absolutely loved playing on the swings and looking at all of the animals. You wanted to touch the llama and mini-horses so badly; we are definitely going to be taking you to a petting zoo this spring/summer. We have found a bucket swing a 15 minute walk away at the Pirate park and have been there a few times now. We are buying you a swing set for the yard and I have a feeling you'll be reaching for the swing often.

Bubbles are another new found love. You haven't quite figured them out but you like watching them float by and sometimes you're quick enough to pop one. Once the weather cooperates again (we have had lots of rain) you can play in your jolly jumper on the deck and pop some more bubbles.
What will your eleventh month have in store for us?? Will you start to move around independently: crawling or walking maybe? Will you have new words? Try eating some new foods? More teeth?? No doubt you'll surprise us over and over again as you seem to do each and every day.

You are becoming your own little man Baby Boy and Mommy and Daddy are super lucky to have front row seats for the show!! xoxo

April 21, 2011

Dedicated to the Nasty Taxman

This week's Iron Craft challenge was titled "The Taxman". When I say those words I picture a scary man with big gnashing teeth snatching at my wallet so I thought it was appropriate to finally make this ridiculously cute scary monster pillow that eats teeth in exchange for money. A super big thanks to Ellen from The Long Thread for sharing the tutorial during Celebrate the Boy.

The Rockstar is teething again (hence the drooling in the photo below). The poor nut had both top teeth make their entrance in a three day time span. Ouch. This monster is dedicated to his mean but cute new teeth.

Side note from the Tooth Fairy to the Rockstar: This particular monster will spit out Canadian funds in the future, all the photographer had on hand for this snapshot was an American bill from the travel stash.

April 14, 2011

Fab Pick of A Few Weeks Ago

My super awesome fantabulous girl Tanya gave me this funky bracelet for my birthday. Not only does it look cool, it's designed to be baby friendly. Roundhouse has created these fab Oh Plah! bracelets from "medical grade thermoplastic- non-toxic, bacteria resistant, and free of lead, latex, PVC, BPA and phthalates." In other words your babe can gnaw on this piece of jewelery and you don't have to wonder whether they really should be or not.

April 13, 2011

Lovin' Our 'My Monkey Moo' Winnings

You may remember me mentioning my streak of good luck a couple weeks ago. Well we received a package in the mail last week with the goods from the second giveaway I won and WOW! Lusso Baby (check out their blog for awesome daily giveaways) sent us a gorgeous stroller set from My Monkey Moo. I thought the set looked fantastic online but I've got to say I was really impressed when I opened the box and saw the quality of the pieces.
I finally got around to rounding up some photos of the Rockstar and his new goods. Here he is modeling the awesome stroller pad we received. I love the fact that there's now a cozy layer between him and the stroller. I was a bit worried that his lap belt clip thingos wouldn't fit through the holes in the pad (the clips are heavy duty on the Baby Jogger) but they fit just fine. My other concern was around folding the Jogger with the pad on (the fold strap is under the pad) but all I have to do is reach under and grab the strap, it doesn't get in the way at all.

The matching stroller blanket is awesome! It's large enough to wrap around the Rockstar but small enough to tuck in the basket under him when it isn't being used. I love the minky backing - super cozy! This blanket is basically a larger version of the baby blanket I made for my little man so of course I love it.

And finally the matching Monkey Bucket. Funny that I made a fabric bucket just a few weeks before winning this one. I didn't have handles on my original bucket but will on the next one I make. The Monkey Bucket is a good size and the perfect place to stash the million little balls, cubes and rattles we have scattered around the house.

A super huge thank you to the giveaway host Lusso Baby (a baby bits store located in North Vancouver) and to Christine in particular who went out of her way to switch the pattern of the set to suit my little man - the original winning set was in pink and brown which was a super cute but not ideal for my Rockstar and his green stroller.

Of course thank you to My Monkey Moo as well!! We LOVE the set and have used it daily since receiving it. Yippeeeeeeeeeee!

Iron Craft Challenge 15: Peeps!

The end result may not be pretty but they were certainly tasty. Notice that sentence was written in the past tense? They didn't last long,

For this week's Iron Craft Challenge we were asked to use Peeps (either bunnies or chicks). I went the edible route rather than the crafty route.

These not-so-pretty-in-pink bunnies were stuffed with a fantastic peanut butter filling (recipe can be found at 17 and Baking but I'll be posting the recipe in a few days because the original peanut butter pretzel bites are to DIE for) and then dipped in chocolate. The two that were dipped entirely in chocolate didn't live very long, I couldn't help myself plus they looked like big chocolate blobs and not Peepish at all.

Believe it or not this challenge forced me (twist my rubber arm) to try Peeps for the first time. I wasn't a huge fan until I sliced one open and filled it with peanut butter goodness. Yum!

April 12, 2011

Happy Day!

I am one lucky girl. Not only am I blessed with an amazing husband and a perfect son but I have the best dad a girl could possibly hope for. I'm not just saying that because it's his birthday either, he truly is an awesome man. My dad would give you the shirt off his back without hesitation. He smiles easily and laughs often. Did I mention he's a total softie? He is definitely a man who isn't afraid to show his emotions and that is just one of the million reasons why I love my dad so much.

Today the Rockstar and I helped Dad/Papa celebrate his birthday with lunch and a walk to the park. The Baby Extraordinaire and I had an awesome afternoon and I think the birthday boy did too.

Thanks for spending your special day with us, Dad! We love you!! xox

March 30, 2011

Iron Craft: Best in Show

For Iron Craft's 13th challenge we were given the theme 'Best in Show'.

I think my entry kind is kind of pathetic but the kitty likes it and really that's the most important thing. Here is my oh so lovely (note the sarcasm) catnip fish.

Hop over to the Iron Craft blog to see the rest of the entries this week.

March 29, 2011

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Mike would happily eat taco salad five nights a week if I made it that often. Last week I had everything ready to rock for tacos but when I reached for the tried and true Old El Paso packaged seasoning I found zip zilch nada in the cupboard. Annoying.

A few choice words were muttered and then in walked Google to the rescue. I don't think I'll buy the packaged goods now that I've found this recipe. I intend to make up a bunch of it and stash it on the spice shelf for easy access.

Taco Salad Tuesdays
What You Need:

Taco Seasoning

1 tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp course salt

Taco Salad
crushed tortilla chips (multigrain are yummy)
grated cheese
assorted fruits and veggies (whatever you like on tacos: onions, tomatoes, avocado)
ground beef
sour cream

What You Do:
1. Mix all the spices together.
2. Brown your ground beef on med-high as usual.
3. Turn heat down to med-low.
4. Add some water (I add half a cup for half a pound of beef).
5. Add a bunch of the spice mix (how helpful is that? "A bunch". I used a couple heaping tablespoons but tasted as I added.)
6. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
7. Layer your goods however you like. Crushed tortillas, cheese, meat, cheese, salsa, lettuce, sour cream etc.
8. EAT!

March 25, 2011

Great. Thank you, Tanya. Another addiction.

Japanese Washi masking tape is lovely. There are a million beautiful designs and it can be used for a billion different projects. I love the fact that it can be easily removed and reused. It doesn't lose it's stick, how great is that??

I was lucky enough to receive two rolls of tape for my birthday from Tanya. Rather than oohing and aahing over it for a year and saving it for that 'perfect project' that never seems to show itself I went ahead and used some to prettify a jar to hold safety pins.

I started with this:

and finished with this:
Excuse the not-so-fabulous photo, it was taken with my cell phone.

Create your own little jar by simply wrapping a jar with pretty tape. I added a felt circle with a safety pin attached to the lid. The circle hides the writing on the lid and tells me at a glance what's in the jar. The felt bit was attached to the top of the jar with another new-to-me supply that I can't get enough of: spray adhesive. I have had a thing for office supplies for a long time (as weird as that sounds I know I'm not alone, there ARE other office supply loving freaks out there) and now craft supplies have crept into my heart. I'm blaming this new love on my mom.

If you do a search on Etsy under 'supplies' for Japanese masking tape you'll find loads of shops that carry it. You'll see a post with some of my favourite designs with links to shops sometime soon.

March 24, 2011

Lucky Me!

Lucky me!! I've been on a bit of a winning streak these last few weeks. Maybe I shouldn't say that out loud, I may have just jinxed myself. Then again I didn't technically say it, I wrote it which means I should be all good. I'm rambling.

Two weeks ago I had three lucky moments in a 24 hour period so I figured that was it, but then I won another great giveaway this week so it seems the streak is not over yet. Not that I'm greedy but who doesn't enjoy it when fantastic bits come their way??

The first three events started with a tiny woo hoo: I won a coffee. I was pretty excited about the free wake-up (see it doesn't take much) and then I received some amazing news! I am enrolling in a three week AQ (Additional Qualifications) course this summer to become "officially" qualified to teach children who are deafblind - this isn't the good news but I'm getting there. My college diploma and ten years experience as an intervenor certainly mean something but this course will be a great refresher, will be an opportunity to see what's new and exciting in the field, will ease me back into 'teaching' mode prior to my return to work in September (a somewhat tender topic for me right now), and of course it will look great on paper. POINT BEING: I've been planning to take this course and was waiting for registration to open when I received a phone call and a text message within minutes of each other from two of my friends/colleagues - oddly enough neither knew that the other was contacting me. Yep I'm finally getting to the point: here's the news, wait for it.... A fabulous advocacy group - I'm unsure whether or not I should name them at this point in time so I'll keep that info to myself - has offered to pay the tuition for those taking this particular AQ course this summer!! That's beyond generous and I couldn't be happier! See?! LUCKY. I'm still floating around thanks to this unbelievable news.

The third bit of luck came when I won a giveaway! I haven't entered any for quite some time and then Kristy from Manager to Mom started posting giveaway roundups and I found myself once again hunting for fabulous free goodies. The best part of giveaway hunting is finding new blogs, shops and goods worth knowing about. Everything Mom and Baby put a Tot Seat from Lil Mango up for grabs on their Facebook page and I won!! Yay for me!!

Of course the Rockstar landed in the seat just moments after we tore into the package today. The fabric seat cover was super easy to figure out and it held the wee man snugly: I had no worries of him falling out of the chair and he was super wiggly while modeling. He seemed quite comfy and didn't complain one bit about sitting in the big person chair.

You can see from this photo that my son is not only a Rockstar but also a genius. Notice the instruction manual in his hand? He was reading the instructions to Beary and me while I worked.

Thanks to Everything Mom and Baby and Lil Mango for this awesome prize and thanks also to Kristy for mentioning it on her Facebook page!! The Tot Seat has been tucked into our diaper bag and will put to good use.

March 23, 2011

It's Cool to be a Follower

We teach kids to be a leader not a follower but today's lesson is just the opposite: FOLLOW ME, PEOPLE!

Jennifer from All Things Belle made a fantastic point in a post last week: blogs with Facebook pages tend to get more traffic. I'm not overly concerned about the number of visitors I get - okay I'm honestly not even a tiny bit concerned - but I thought that a FB page would help save all of you fabulous (8 billion plus) followers time popping over here to find out that YET AGAIN I have not posted anything new. LIKE me on FB and if your settings are so that posts on the pages you LIKE show up in your feed you'll see my updates on your News Feed when you log in.

Once I open the shop up again (I think I will in June but we'll see how things are rolling at that time) I think the FB page will really come in handy.

Thanks, Jennifer for motivating me to make a page and for adding another online TO DO to my list.

Super late Happy Eight Months!

Note: This post was written a month ago but somehow I managed to hit save instead of post! Whoops!

Three quarters of a year old and some how you manage to make your mommy and daddy fall more deeply in love with you every day. I'm not sure how you do it because we both love you to infinity and beyond but every time you smile, nuzzle your little head into our neck or cry your giant crocodile tears our hearts swell even more. You are truly an amazing little boy.

You sit up like such a big boy now and rarely do you topple over. When you do fall you smile more often than you cry. You roll like a champion and are pushing up and straightening your arms while on your belly now, we're sure you'll be moving around commando style very soon.

You definitely take after your daddy and are a musician in the making! You started clapping your hands this month at music class and can't get enough of it. You love to shake and bang things, everything is a drum: you are a pro at banging things together, smacking things with your hands and whacking things with your toys.

You make a funny clicking noise with your tongue and get a kick out of it when we make the sound back to you. We have many conversations made up entirely of tongue clicks these days. You've also figured out how to blow raspberries so rarely are you seen without a bib thanks to the streams of raspberry bubbles flowing from your lips.

The biggest news this month involves not one but two little teeth who pushed their way through!

Teething is not our favourite activity. You're a trooper and are pretty much your normal happy little self during the day but nights are awful. I think we may take out stocks in Gripe Water since it's the one thing that helps you calm down enough to eat during the night; I swear you would drink the entire bottle if I let you. Thankfully it was just a week of sleepless nights and it was worth it because now you can bite your crackers! I think you like the crunching sound your single tooth makes when you chomp down on your Mum Mums: silly goose.

Three quarters of a year!! That's unbelievable to me. It feels like just yesterday when you were placed in my arms... on the other hand I can't remember life without you.

Watching you learn and grow is the best part of my day. I love seeing your smile first thing in the morning and have a hard time leaving your sweet sleepy face at night. You truly are the best little being on earth. Thank you for choosing Daddy and I, Baby Boy!! We love you!

March 17, 2011

Iron Craft Challenge 11: Green (the colour not the Movement

We are living with a Sleep Warrior which means nobody is getting a whole lot of the S word around here. I'm a sleepy mommy but I really want to participate in Iron Craft still so I may look like I'm slacking but until a certain someone starts sleeping a little better or I have a serious increase in energy (the sunshine and warmer weather are sure to help with that) I'll be taking the quick craft route. Holy run on sentence.

I heart buttons and have loads of them. I ended up with button sandwich magnets (which I love) but that was after I made hairclips that were cute but would never be worn:

See? Cute but they just don't work with my current do aka messy mop that is in the inbetween stage of growing out and desperately in need of a trim. Soooo I ripped off the buttons and revamped them into magnets.

I may end up making a million of these magnets. Super duper easy to do. I simply stitched two magnets together using a needle and thread (I guess that goes without saying. Duh. What else would you stitch them together with??), plopped a glob of glue gun glue on a small round magnet (found at the dollar) store and pushed the back of the button sandwich onto the glue. TA DA!

The buttons are now in charge of holding up this flyer we picked up while vacationing in Mexico a few years ago. It's stuck on our fridge and makes me laugh every time I read it.

My favourites from this week's challenge will be posted soon.

March 12, 2011

Fab Pick of Last Week... or was in the week before

Only boy bits allowed for Fab Picks this month in honour of Celebrate the Boy. Little Lark was featured on Made and Made by Rae and wow do they have fabulous goods for sale in their shop. I had a hard time choosing just one item but I'm a bit robot obsessed these days so the Build a Bot onesie seemed most appropriate. Check out Little Lark for sweet gifts for both kids and adults (many of the images are available on grown up items too).

March 11, 2011

Iron Craft Challenge Love

Time to pass out some love to the Iron Craft participants. Here are my favourite projects from challenge number 9 and 10.

Top picks from challenge #9 'and the Oscar goes to'


Not only are these paper flowers stunning there is something extra special about them. They were made from war veteran's uniforms that were turned into paper (called combat paper) as part of PTSD therapy. Read more at the flower creator's blog Ferntree Studio. Oh and the additional extra special thing: these combat paper flowers were created to be used in corsages that were worn to the Oscar's this year by a few key players from the movie Poster Girl!

Kill Bill: Sword Push Pins

More love for Paper, Plate and Plane. I love her creations!! Kill Bill inspired push pins: brilliant. A tutorial is available for these awesome little swords over at the Paper, Plate and Plane blog.

IC9- The Oscars

I had no trouble guessing that Black Swan inspired this beautiful project. I was impressed with the simplicity of this stunning craft (feathers in a glass display seems easy enough) and then I read the description: the feathers are made from card stock! Gorgeous!

My top three picks from this week's Fat Quarter challenge.


Dr. Russ does it again. Another beautiful project! A paper backed fabric piece looks stunning inserted into the top of this wooden box.

Woodland Matching Game

Adorable fabric matching game by All Things Belle. I've seen various tutorials for these sweet homemade matching games but this one means doesn't involve a sewing machine. Love it!

Iron Craft 310

Thing 1 and Thing 2 created these fantastic fabric covered composition books. Great gift idea!

March 10, 2011

Fat Quarter Turned Tiny Bucket

Between teething and a nasty virus there hasn't been much sleep around these parts lately. I've been on a blogging hiatus (and a cleaning hiatus, and a sleep hiatus, and a... you get the pont) and I missed the last two Iron Craft challenges. Honestly haven't even taken time to look through the flickr pool to see what the others came up with. By the time the Rockstar goes down at night I have found myself staring at the TV in daze or passed out in bed waiting for the sound of a sad little man in need of his mama.

I did start on a little something for last week's Oscar challenge but it was last on my list of TO DOs and never made it to the top; I may or may not end up finishing the project but if I do I'll be sure to share it with you. I do intend to post a roundup of my fav bits from challenge 8 and 9 still, hopefully within the next 24 hours.

On to this week's challenge!! The challenge was to use a fat quarter (18 x 22" piece of fabric) to create a little something. I've been itching to make some fabric buckets and I found a tutorial for a tiny one over at Ric Rac that required the exact amount of fabric needed (I adjusted the measurements so it was right on, otherwise I would have been over by a couple inches). I was pretty pleased with myself until just now... I may have broken the rules: is interfacing considered fabric? I'm going to say NO.

I heart this little bucket!! It's the perfect size to hold my fabric painting supplies. I can totally see myself making these little puppies to hold a bib, burp cloth and change pad for future baby shower gifts. I'm also thinking of making a bunch of them to hold the Rockstar's tiny toys (balls, cars etc) - wouldn't this be cute with some freezer paper stenciling or an applique?? Oh the possibilities!

Pop over to Iron Craft to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

March 8, 2011

Tantalizing Tuesday

I'm always looking for new cookie recipes and last week I googled Best Chocolate Chip Cookies and found a fantastic new to me recipe on All Recipes. The recipe suggests it yields just 18 cookies but that's if you make MASSIVE cookies using a quarter cup to measure your dough drops. I made a few big ones and a pile of smaller cookies; I wish I could tell you the total number I ended up with but they were eaten too quickly for counting to take place.

What You Need

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

What You Do
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. Mix together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.
5. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.
6. Mix in the dry ingredients until just blended.
7. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
8. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time (if you want massive cookies) onto the parchment paper.
9. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.
10. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
11. Pour a glass of cold milk and take a bite. Yum.

March 6, 2011

BORING ALERT: Meal Planning Sunday

Boring for you but hopefully this is going to save me many no longer quick (due to a tiny but mighty Rockstar) trips to the grocery store. I'm going to get back to my weekly menu planning. This is where I would sign off if I were you and if you choose not to than don't say you weren't warned if you fall asleep on your keyboard and cause permanent damage to it with your sleepy drool.

Sunday: fajitas (epicure fajita seasoning was finally tasted and I may have created a monster. Mike would eat these every night of the week if I agreed. I agree they are delish but do not agree to fajitas seven days a week). I mixed 2 tbsp of the seasoning with 1 tbsp olive oil and the juice of one lime. Yum!
Monday: spaghetti with meat sauce and - wow does this sound gross to me- hot italian sausage spaghetti sauce. I grabbed the wrong bottle of sauce off the shelf a few weeks ago and didn't realize it until I dumped it over the cooked ground beef; the initial aroma was not pleasant and I thought something was terribly wrong. I grabbed the jar and groaned, then shrugged my shoulders and thought "tough". The sauce mixed with ground beef and a couple spoonfuls of the epicure bolognese spice mix was AWESOME. Sometimes big oopsies turn out to be fabulous.
Tuesday: Pork with fruit salsa and rice
Wednesday: chicken and wee roasties - thinking the slow cooker will come into play here but have yet to find a super yummy recipe for chicken breasts in the slow cooker
Thursday: taco salad
Friday: order pizza
Saturday: beef stir fry


February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Me

I turned thirty-three yesterday. Another year older and another year wiser (so they say but my baby brain spits out things that certainly don't sound very wise). I do know that 32 will be a hard year to beat with it being the year the Rockstar entered our world.

That being said I already have something HUGE to look forward to thanks to an amazing birthday surprise from Mike! He and one of my best girlfriends have been chatting on the sly and they have arranged for the Rockstar and I to fly out to Vancouver in July for 4 or 5 days to visit with Cara and her sweet peanut. I can't wait!!! Cara's husband will be on a golf trip when we visit so it will be some quality time with the girls and babes.

Having most of my closest friends living flying distance from me can be tough (thankfully one returned home from Russia last summer - yay for me!) so this gift means an awful lot to me. It will be weird leaving Mike and home while the Rockstar and I fly off on an adventure and of course we'll miss him like crazy (we will definitely skype daily) but he has assured me he is all good and wants us to go and spend some time with Neen and her little lady.

We had a super yummy lunch with my family yesterday and I received some moolah from my parents: I have promised myself I'll put it towards something I want and not pay a bill with it. Now the question is what to buy: clothes, shoes, a cutting mat?? I'm seriously leaning towards the mat since it's something I curse myself for not having on a regular basis. A quiet afternoon with my boys was topped off with an evening of Scrabble with one of my best ladies (Tanya gave me a super cool gift too but I'll save that for another post).

This past Tuesday I was treated to an evening at the ballet with my fabulous second mom and sister. Moulin Rouge put on by Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. It has been a very long time since I attended a ballet and the last one I saw I wasn't uber impressed with which made this performance that much sweeter! The dancers were unbelievable, the choreographer was fantastic, the sets were wow, the costumes were beautiful: overall it was superb. Even those of us who couldn't remember the story from the movie knew exactly what was happening without help from a program thanks to the talented dancers and choreographers. I had a wonderful evening, thank you ladies!!

Saturday night my parents came over and babysat the Rockstar so that Mike and I could go out on our first date in eight months! We had a super delicious dinner and then hit the early showing of the movie Unknown (not bad). It felt good to be out on a date and we are definitely going to do this more often. It was the first time someone other than Mike or I ran through the Rockstar's evening routine with him so the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and didn't stress about it all evening was a relief. I knew he would be fine, I was just slightly concerned about whether or not I had left enough food for him (pumping is not my friend). I wasn't worried about leaving him, I was worried about starting to worry though. Hehe. Of course he was his typical Rockstar self and went to bed with little trouble and didn't wake up hungry until after we arrived home. Thanks for watching the wee fiend, Mom and Dad.

Overall a fantabulous birthday week! A super big thanks to everyone for the lovely celebrations and an extra special thanks to Mike and the Rockstar for a perfect weekend full of treats and cuddles. Thirty-three has started off wonderfully.

February 17, 2011

Fab Pick

Tell me you didn't have to look twice to figure out that it's a laptop and not a ghetto blaster! A stellar decal by Beepart: love the old school style. This is definitely for the the older crowd; I was with our school board's audiologist at an assessment last Spring and he turned to me and said, "This will make you feel old: watch this." He pulled out a cassette tape deck (picture the old flat ones used in your elementary school) , set it in front of the 8 year old child we were working with and asked, "Do you know what this is?" She gave it a good look, pushed a couple buttons and looked up at us with a confused expression. Enough said. A student a few years ago had no clue what a record was but a cassette deck?! Oh boy.

Loads of cool designs can be found in this etsy shop and the fact that it's a Canadian company is a bonus.