Thursday, 13 December 2012

Inspired Idea - Nativity Scene Thank You




Jesus seems to be disappearing from Christmas. Have you noticed? It has been a slow, progressive disappearance so it may be easy to miss, but it is happening all the same. When I shop in stores I don't hear Christ honouring Christmas carols, I hear songs about Santa's new bag and Christmas personified. It is nearly impossible to buy anything with a nativity scene on it. People wish me Happy Holidays and a Wonderful Season. I heard someone say they were going home to decorate thier holiday tree the other day.  Even school Christmas concerts are avoiding all mention of anything holy. What is happening to this cherished holiday that used to focus people more on the Saviour than distract them from Him?

The reason we celebrate CHRISTmas at all is honour Jesus and his birth. To remember the greatest gift can never be placed under a tree wrapped in paper. But the greatest give of all was given to us by God when he sent his son in the form of a helpless infant, to be raised by sinful humans, to expeirence pain and humilation and temptation and then die sinless for our guilt and shame. God sent a gift that would forever free us from the bondage of Satan, free us from living in our sin and free us from an empty existence. When you take Him out of Christmas everything becomes like a life without Christ, meaningless, pointless and needing to be filled with other things.

As Christians we need to stand up for what we believe the reason for the season is. Wish people a Merry Christmas, don't write x-mas on your cards to save time, call stores and radio stations who play songs about Christ and thank them. Rejoice and acknowledgethe people you notice who are not afraid to put Jesus back in the season.

Hence the reason for this post. I came across one of many ideas of how we can encourage our children to rejoice in outward signs of Jesus at Christmas. When you are out enjoying the Christmas lights, awwwing and ohhing over the pretty displays, make a ruckus when you see someone with a natvity on their front lawn. Cheer and yell and scream and give praise for the families who have remembered what it is about. You can even take it a step further and put notes of thanks in those people's mailboxes who have a manger scenes out. I have made some cards that you are welcome to print and share.

Here are some more ways to selflessly give to your community this Christmas and teach your children to give instead of receive.

It is up to us to bring Jesus back into the heart of people at Christmas. We can stand back and slowly watch him disappear or ourselves make this Christmas more about him for our family and others then ever before. What ideas do you and your family have? Please share.

Merry Christmas and God bless!



Thursday, 11 October 2012

Autumn Cookie Fun!

One of my favourite memories of my childhood is baking with my mom for certain holidays. At Easter, she always made a bunny cake, at Christmas we always made hazelnut shortbread cookies, and in the fall we made pumpkin shaped sugar cookies. I remember exactly how the kitchen smelled when things were baking and exaclty how it felt to be spending time with my mom doing something we both enjoyed.


 
Since our family has been traveling the past two weekends, doing intentionally fun and memorable things with Avalanche and Cyclone has kind of taken the back burner. That combined with the fact that it has been awhile since my poor husband has had some fresh baking in the house set me into action. I saw the idea for these cookies on one of my favourite blogs (The Hippie House Wife) a couple of weeks back and put it in the reserve of my mind for a day when I had the time and the energy. Today was that day I guess.




I started my adventure by searching the web for a new sugar cookie recipe because the ones I usually use haven't been getting rave reviews lately. This Sugar Cookie Recipe I found on allrecipes.com had a 5 star rating and over 2,000 reviews so I figured it must be good and I wasn't disappointed. The ingredients were simple, it mixed up smooth and creamy, it definitily passed the yummy dough test and best of all the cookies baked up soft and golden.

I mixed the batter and divided it into five balls of colour. I used my Wilton Gel colours to dye the batter and once again was so thankful for that purchase. Then I wrapped the balls in waxed paper and refridgerated the dough for about an hour.





Avalanche helped me flour the counter and rip the balls of dough into small pieces. She thought it was amazing to roll out the dough and see the colours merge with one another. In hindsight I would have followed Hippiehousewife's instructions and rolled it out on parchment paper. The dough stuck to the counter and a couple of Avalanche's poor squirrel's lost their tails.



The colours got a bit mucky after the third or fourth roll but still turned out alright. Mr. Cyclone even got a turn at cutting out a couple of cookies, although I would say he ate way more cookie dough than he actually got made into cookies. The cookies took about 20 minutes too cook and with two eager beavers watching them every second the wait was a long one.



 Both Avalanche and Cyclone would agree that this was a fun fall activity. Now to go clean up the mess.



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Fall Sensory Box


This month's sensory box is one of autumn goodness. Avalanche has loved playing in it and it is slighlty less messy than the last one.

  • Base - Corn kernals ( I used an old tub of popcorn corn that has been sitting in my pantry for more years than I will admit)
  • Decorative leaves
  • mini pumpkins
  • artificial sunflower blossoms
  • acorns
  • tongs
  •  containers of varying sizes
  • muffin tin or other sorting tray


For more sensory box ideas visit here

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Cyclone's 1st Birthday Party



 

It is so hard to believe our sweet little baby boy is a year old already! The instant he entered this world, he changed our lives forever.

Our birthday blessing for You Mr. Caleb:

May you grow up to always be as content and happy and satisfied in this life as you are right now.
May we as your parents exemplify God's love to you, nuture your spirit and help train your will.
As you grow may you be obedient, always put others first, be patient and full of love.
May you also never loose your sense of curiosity, adventure and humor.
May you grow up to be a man who loves the Lord with your whole heart, to be a man of integrity,  a man of leadership and deep, unshakeable faith.
May you always know how deep, how far and how wide our love goes for you, but that we as humans are imperfect and that the God of this universe holds you in his palm and he is ALWAYS perfect.

Happy Birthday Cyclone! We love you so very much. 

The Party:
Cyclone's birthday party was a blast! I had so much fun planning and baking for this party and thanks to pininterest where the ideas were neverending.

The Decorations:


I went basic blue, green and yellow and number one for the theme. I bought a package of 1st birthday decorations at the local Price Mart for about $4 that included a bib, hat, mess mat ( I used as a banner) and flags for on the front of the high chair. I also bought a candle that matched.

 




I made these cute flowers out of tissue paper and there were so simple and best of all: FREE! From all the tissue paper from wedding, and baby gifts we have tissue paper coming out of our ears so what better way to use it up. Directions can be found here.



I made this t-shirt by simply using a shirt I already had and cutting out a number one and sewing it on.




 
The Cake:
I love decorating cakes! This one was especially fun because I had bought an old lazy susan from value village and used it to spin the cake around to decorate it. I also was able to use the amazing mixer my husband got me for Mother's Day to make the batter and icing and it was SO much easier than with my old hand held mixer. 
The base of the cake is a Marble Fudge Cake and the Number 1 is a Classic White Cake with yellow, blue and green food colouring swirled in. The icing is Aunt Isabel's Snow White Icing which is so yummy, easy to make and great to decorate with.









The Treats:

I made gummy candy skewers (which were very popular by the older male cousins), Scotch cookies (shaped like bears, ducks, bunnies and heats), cow flaps ( chocolate macaroon cookies) , skor bites, marshmellows dipped in chocolate topped with smarties, oreos dipped in chocolate and a fruit tray that looked like Elmo (Avalanche was very distressed when people started eating him).




The Guests:

We have an amazing family who all love to help celebrate birthdays. We fed about 35-40 people that night with leftovers to spare and lots of hands to help clean up. This is how the neighbours and their little boy arrived with the presents in the wagon. Too cute!

The Gifts:

Cyclone was not interested in opening the gifts at all, so daddy had fun doing it.  Thankfully he was given lots of clothes for the next stages. Now we have some 18-2years outfits to wear next winter.
                                                      


                                              Thanks everyone for your generosity!

Cyclone was however, interested in his own little cake. He demolished it and had to have a bath by Aunt Bonnie in the kitchen sink. His cake was a healthier version with blueberries in it and less icing.
It was a VERY memorable birthday thanks to family friends and Pinterest! :)


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Mother's Day Surprise

Being a mother is the most satisfying, rewarding, amazing, job I have ever had. Being able to be home with my children, watching them learn, grow and experience life is incredible. I am so thankful that my husband not only shares my desire for me to be able to stay home, but he also supports it 100% in so many ways, encouragement, support and working long hours himself to make sure we can finacially swing it.

This Mother's Day I woke with such a feeling of thankfulness.  Everyday of the  year Adam makes me feel loved and appreciated but this Mother's Day was especially nice. He had let me sleep in and made pancakes. Than it was time to open my present. It was large and beautifully wrapped. All the tape was scrunched and crooked because Anna "helped" him wrap it. The present also came with this poem.


Mother's Day Gift



While humble, she's a whiz in the kitchen.

Meals, sweets and treats she be fixin,

Until a recipe calls for some mixin,

She cries, "Adam this thing again needs fixin!"



Until one Mother's Day he decided


That all the ways to fix it he's tried it.


So a surprise in the closet he hided.


He's sneaky and in no one confided.



She thought, "Where I wonder he go?


Well I guess I'll soon enough know"


But her excitement continued to grow.


Perhaps she'll see if his cover he'll blow.




But in a dream was revealed knowledge higher.


Her hubby he went off to Canadian Tire.


And flipped through the latest store flyer.


"That wife what on earth should I buy her?"



Until he turned the first page and he saw it.


He said, "This thing looks legit.


The pro baker's real $*it.


And for my wife's kitchen I think a great fit."



So he found a red shirt who said" kitchens isle three,


But the price it doesn't come free."


He was thinking one hundred, could be.


Redshirt said "No one hundred....times three!"



He fell to his knees in surprise.


"But think of great butterscotch pies


And the doughs that just never would rise


For this quality there are no better buys."






 Avalanche and he done the gift wrapping.


Excited she mostly was clapping.


And curious why this thing they were trapping


He said "the fun it's in the unwrapping."




 So Mother's Day is finally here.


The time of revealing is near.


So unwrap your present my dear.


I love you more my sweetheart each year.



So now you see it in all of its splendour.


Just one thing I say do remember.


I want cookies cakes from now till December


Cause I could have just  bought you a blender.



Happy Mother's Day

Kim & Mommy


We love you!

Have fun baking!



                                            Adam, Avalanche & Cyclone

Inside was a stand mixer. The stand mixer I had been wishing for for a long time. I have used it a lot since last Sunday. I have made cupcakes, dinner rolls, bread, pizza dough, cookies and cinnamon buns. It is wonderful. But even more amazing than the gift is the heart behind it. He loves me and wants me to succeed in this job that I have. He wants to make it easier and to enjoy it. Oh what a wonderful Mother's Day!



Monday, 7 May 2012

Milestones: Bum Scooting


Every milestone that Avalanche and Cyclone reach has been special, amazing and wonderful in its own way. It is incredible to see them develop and reach the next step little by little.

I was particularly excited for Cyclone to start crawling. Partly, because it is such a monumental milestone. It is the one that makes you feel like they have grown from that stagnant, stuck, bump to a going, independent, mover. Also partly, because Avalanche was a crawler at 6 months and was up and walking at 9 months.

So at 9 months, I was getting a little impatient for Cyclone to get going. Everyone kept saying, "Every child is different. Don't expect him to do things the same times as her." So I waited patiently. Then I started helping him. Problem is: He hates his belly. Since a young age he has always hated being put on his belly. I believe this intense dislike comes from distrust of his sister. He can't watch her from behind. If he can't watch her, he can't put out the warning cry if she is about to come close to him. And if he can't put out the warning cry than Mommy can't save him from the horrible thing she will do to him, like kiss his head or whack him with a doll.

That all said, me trying to help him made him feel betrayed. Not only, was I flipping him over but I was lifting him on his tender little knees, watching him wobble on his shaky little arms and expecting him to perform like a monkey. I gave up after a couple of sessions that ended in us both in tears.

Than low and behold he started moving, but not the traditional knee, hand, knee, hand way, but the bum scooting way. It is so cute to see him side winding along. I also have to tell you that I think he is brillant. This mode of transportation is a much better way to get around. He is sturdy and fast. There are not red knees at the end of the day and he can keep an eye on his sister at all times.

As you can see by the picture he is VERY happy about being able to get around on his own and explore his surroundings (including computer cords and plants) and I am left asking myself "Why was I in a hurry for him to be on the move?"

Friday, 27 April 2012

Reading


One of my joys in life is reading. When I was younger and had more time on my hands (aka... before I had children), I devoured books by the dozens a month. Now I am lucky to get through one in a year.

In order for a book to grab me it has to:
- be on a topic worth reading. My time is precious. I don't want to waste it reading something that is not going to impact me in some way.
- be entrancing. You know those books that grab you from the word go? The ones you can't put down and when you do have to put them down, you can't wait to pick them up again?
- be calming and easy to understand.  I read for relaxation. Anything too heavy and I'm done, book closed and off to do something more worth my time.
- be recommended to me by someone. I love reading books that have been tried and test and ring true.

There is nothing worse than picking a book off the shelf that sounds intersting, get it home and regret having paid the money for it.

This all said, I have started a page with my carefully chosen and deemed worthy reads.
http://acupoverflowinggoodreads.blogspot.ca/


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Potty Training

The first time we sat Anna on a potty, she was 3 months old. Sounds crazy, I know! That's what I thought at first too. But I am no longer a skeptic. We read this book call "Elimination Communication" that we borrowed from a friend. The lady who wrote the book is a little granola and a little way out there. She NEVER diapers her kids and has them potty trained by like 9 months. Adam and I mostly just tried our own way to save on diapers and were shocked to have it actually work.

According to the author, babies typically always pee as soon as they wake up. So to start, we put Anna on the potty as soon as she woke up in the morning or after a nap. As she got older and began to sit up on her own, we put her on the potty every time we changed her diaper. To our shock and amazement she started doing something in her potty more times than not. It got to the point that at around 10 months she was consistently doing #2 in her potty and holding it until she got on there.

As she got older and more busy, she mostly just peed on the potty, but at least she was aware of the potty's function and knew how to use it.

At 16 months, we decided to take the plung and started to fully training her. We read an article we found on Baby Center  http://www.babycenter.com/0_potty-training-in-three-days-or-less_10310078.bc. It claimed to be a way to train a baby to use the potty in three days. It was intense. Three days of no diapers and basically following her around with a pot. She wasn't fully trained after that but well on her way. She was out of diapers except for naps, trips and bed time. Potty training is a commitment, we soon found out, and Anna still wasn't able to communicate needing to go so we had to make sure we took her every so often. Now whether it was the three day method or Elimination Communication helped or it was all just dumb luck, Anna was trained to use the potty (both #1 and #2)  by 20 months with accidents only once in a very rare while.

We bought a Baby Bjorn potty for Anna. They run about $40 new, but we got ours off KIJIJI for $15. Adam rigged up a strap on it for keeping them on when they are wee little and when they are busy when they're older. Anna likes strapping herself in now just because she is obsessed with buckles. We also have a couple of seats that go on the toilet for travelling.

Because we had such great success with Anna, we have started "potty training" Caleb. We didn't start as early because well, truthfully I was just too busy or lazy. But he is sitting up now and loves being on the potty. He hasn't produced yet, but the amount of times he gets mommy during changing, he should soon aim it into the pot.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Rainbow Cake


It's hard to believe my sweet little Anna bear is 2 years old! I really wanted to make a cake for her birthday that reflected her interest at this age. She loves colours, so I decided to make a rainbow cake. I got the idea of the internet a few months ago and have been planning it since then. Adam always cautions me when it comes to making cakes. I have a mental image of what I want it to look like and always work so hard to make it look like that only to become frustrated and disappointed by the actual outcome. But my mother was visiting this weekend and acted as a second set of hands and the cake turned out really nice. Anna loved it. As she ate it she would rhyme off the colours. Here is a picture story of it. You can find the recipes for the cake and icing in my recipes. :)
It may look complicated but was pretty simple. I made a double batch of my classic white cake recipe and used a kitchen scale to seperate the batter into six equal parts. Coloured the batter with Wiltons gel food colouring and baked each one. Then I put the layers together with icing in between each one.

I lathered white icing over the entire thing and let it sit in the fridge overnight and then put another thin layer of blue over it.



The pieces where really tall and thin and barely fit on the plate, but no one complained.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Fun With Felt


I got a little carried away with the felt yesterday. It is amazing how many wonderful things you can do with it. So I am calling this post "Fun with Felt" I hope you and your kiddies enjoy playing with these things as much as A and I did :)



Activity 1 : Button Snake

This is a continuation from my last post when I posted all those busy bag ideas.

Well true to my word I did make a button snake and A loves it. As you can see by the picture, I attached mine to a little container so that A would have a place to store the little pieces of felt. I must admit she likes the container and cover more than practising her buttoning skills, but I figure she will grow into it. I just got an old container and poked a hole in the middle of the cover. I tied a knot in one end of the ribbon and sewed a button on the other end. Then I cut my pieces of felt and folded them at a diagonal to cut a slit in them for the button. This worked out better then I thought because I can pull the ribbon through the cover and store the extra length in the container with the felt squares. So neat and compact. Lovely!

Activity 2: Mini - Felt Board 
Remember those felt boards in Sunday School? Well now your kids can have their own and practise their shapes at the same time. This is a really simple project. I cut a piece of dark coloured felt the size of the inside of a DVD jacket and put it in the clips to hold it in place. Then I cut different shapes from different colours of felt. A loved sticking the shapes to the background piece and we named off the shapes while she was doing it. I store all the shapes inside the jacket when she is not using it.

Activity 3 : Huge Felt Board

I have to give all credit for this one to my big sis Amy. She is the craft genius in our family. A couple of years ago, when I was a teacher and not yet a mom, she made me and gave me a bag full of different felt cut-outs. She also gave me a huge (2"x4") black felt board. My students loved using it during their free time to tell stories. In one of my many moves over the years the felt board went missing so I found an Easter decoration and used the felt backing as my board. A's birthday is this weekend so she loved the Dora birthday pieces and sang "appie, birday to me" as she tried to blow out the candle on the felt cake. Boots even has little bunny slippers on! As you can see by the other pics there is no end to the possibilities you can make out of felt for the board. I know A will get hours of enjoyment out of this felt activity. Thanks Sis!
Dress up dolls, crayons, camping supplies
suns, clouds, candy canes and mittens.
So much do make and play with.
She even made a felt puzzle out of
glittery black felt, and puff paints.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Effortless Activites

Every mom knows how invaluable mess-free, effortless, keep them busy activities are. Here are a couple for things I have come across for Anna. I have to admit that I was almost more excited to find them then she was to do them.

Activity #1 - Mess- Free Finger Painting

When someone says finger painting, I shudder. I have to be in a very good state of mind and very prepared before I will even think about getting out the paint. But the thing is that one of Anna's all time favourite things to do is paint so we have a dilema. Not now. A friend posted this idea on their facebook and I tried it and it is GREAT!


All you do is put some tempra paint into a big ziplock bag and tape it over a sheet of white paper unto the table. Anna played with this for a long time. To find the complete instrutcions go to: http://hippiehousewife.blogspot.ca/2012/01/mess-free-finger-painting.html

Activity #2 - A Sandbox

My sister-in-law came up with this one. I  really wanted Anna to have a sandbox to play in but wanted to try to avoid the mess from her sitting in it and getting her clothes covered.We also wanted something that would be cheap and small enough to fit on our back deck.  So Adam fastened a rubbermaid tote with a cover to a an old wodden table and WOOLAH! Anna loves it and is even getting better at keeping the sand in the box. She also is very diligent to put the cover on when she is done playing. Notice there isn't very much sand in it. There doesn't need to be. We fill it up when we need to but we started off with it half full and the sand just ended up on the floor of the deck.



Activity #3 -  Busy Bags

For anyone who hasn't seen these yet, busy bags are wonderful. There are tons of ideas for them on the internet. Just search for them on Google and the ideas are endless. They are basically simple, activities in a bag for kids to do.
Here's a couple I particularily like:


This one is the button snake. All you need is a piece of ribbon with a button on it and some felt pieces. I am planning on making one today. I'll let you know how Anna likes it. :)





Sunday, 25 March 2012

Trash or Treasure

Confession time :

I am a garbage scrounger! It's true. I mean I don't pick up peoples' garbage bags, throw them into my trunk and sort through them, but if there is something at the end of someone's lane (PEI slang for driveway) then I see it a mile off and slow down to see if it is worthwhile stopping for. One rule I always follow is that I try to ask permission before I take it. Especially in the case of kid's toys because they may have just gotten left laying around and not be meant for the garbage. It may seem weird to ask because then you are announcing yourself to complete strangers as an scrounger but  I have met some very nice people that way. You should see their graditude to know their junk is getting more use. One guy even took me into his garage to get a part for something I was taking from his pile. Adam used to be embaressed by this quality habit of mine. He would refuse to turn the car around but even he can't pass up free and match my scrounging sense with his fixing abilities and we have a perfect recipe for great finds. I can't wait for Spring Clean - Up!
                                                          
Exhibit A - Anna's new toddler bed


Exhibit B - Anna' Kitchen Center
(Actually a Grammie find. She is a scrounger too)
Exhibit D - Doll Stroller
We found this one in Ontario and
brought it back in our luggage.

Exhibit C - Anna's Power Wheels
This couple was moving and
didn't think it worked.Adam got it working though :)
Exhibit E - Anna's Pink Trike
Adam really did not want to turn around and go back for this one,
but with a new seat and pedal it is great!