Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Scarecrow Cupcakes

I have been meaning to post these sooner, but this month has been so crazy! This past Thanksgiving I made this little dudes and not only were they fun to make, but they are tasty as well! Now you can either make your favorite cake from scratch or use a box mix- which is what I had to do because I was so short on time!

What you will need:
- Shreddies Cereal (for the hats)
- Pretzel sticks (hat)
- M&M's (for eyes and nose)
- Mini Chocolate Chips (for the mouth)
- Chow Mein noodles (uncooked, for the hair)

So you bake your cupcakes as usual, then icing them with a knife. Then decorate the little faces! You can use different candies and different variations, let your imagination run free!

In need for a killer frosting recipe? Look no further- Buttercream Frosting

What you will need: 
- 1/2 cup of butter (softened)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp milk
- 4-6 cups of confectioners sugar (depending on the consistency you desire)

In a medium size bowl, whip together butter, vanilla and milk, until smooth, slowly add in sugar, beat until light and fluffy- don't forget to scrape the sides so it\s all combined!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Toddler Toys That Get Played With

If you are like me, then your kids play room (or bedroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen) are all filled with random stray toys that just show up. The kids play with them for a few minutes (if that) then toss them and find something else to destroy play with .

I really did not realize how many toys these children of mine have until we moved into our new house. Boxes of them! Everywhere! Now the playroom is more of a hording room of toys strewn about than a room they actually play in!

Over the last years there are a few toys that stand out with my kids. Always enjoyed when played with and actually play with them over and over again.

Play Dough
I love to hate this stuff. My kids play and play with it and want to almost every day but me on the other hand, I cannot stand the feeling of it on my hands. I do not know anyone else who thinks that their hands feel gross while playing with it. 
The kids enjoy playing with mini dinos in it. Stamping the little feet into the dough and making foot prints. Cookie cutters are also a fun way we like to play. Rolling the dough is Logan's favourite part a while cutting shapes is Amelia's. I like to make play dough for the kids sometime just to mix it up a little. A super easy way is just to mix lotion with flour. It makes a pizza dough type dough that is stretchy.

Hot Wheels and Toy Trucks
I think you can never have enough Hot Wheels cars! They are so fun for the kids to play with in so many ways. A few things that we have done with them are car washes in the sink, ramps and slides made from cardboard and books, tunnels with toilet paper and paper towel rolls, parking garage with a box and markers, races to see which car goes father. So many ways, its incredible. You just have to use your imagination and the ways are endless.

Mega Blocks
Oh how Logan loves to build his towers! And oh how Amelia likes to knock them down. Logan could play for a long time with these. My husband has joked that since he loves them so much, maybe he will become an architect! That would be great! Making tunnels with these blocks and driving cars in them is also quite fun for the kids.

This my just be because of me and my love of dinos but my kids love to play with them. Its is also an educational game for the kids. Even if you do not know your dinos you can teach them about how some ate meat as carnivores and some here herbivores who only ate plants and trees. Logan loves the stegosaurus and his big 'pates' (plates) that were used as armor. Amelia is a raptor fan who likes to make it bite the other dinosaurs... a little scared there but proud she knows hes a meat eater!!

Pretend Play Kitchen Items.
Making soups and serving tea is also a fun activity for the kids. Pretend food, plastic plates, cutlery, and tea set can let them learn skills for later in life. As well as let them learn the love of cooking at an early age. Amelia received a Minnie Mouse tea set from Aunt Jules for her birthday this year, which she absolutely adores! She sets it all up and serves tea to us all as well as her stuffed bunny! 

Wooden Train Set 
This is one toy that is a Logan only toy. Amelia doesn't care much for playing trains. Logan loves building tracks all around his room and chugging his trains along them. The bridge is his most favourite part! This can be an expensive toy to buy new. Thankfully, I struck gold at a garage sale this summer where I picked up an entire full piece for only $4!

The Kitchen Sink
This is something that my kids LOVE to do. Fill up the kitchen sink with water and soap and play with anything they can put in there. Cups, spoons, plastic toys, bowls, bath toys, pretty much anything. Pouring water is apparently the most wonderful thing to do. I on the other hand enjoy how much they love it but I do not like having to clean up the spilled ocean of water on the counter and floor as well as the fight from telling them its no longer time to play in the sink.

Honorable Mentions

Stuffed Animals.
Many parents that I know do not like when their kids receive stuffed animals as gifts because they pile up in no time flat! I know that we have so many too but my kids have a certain few that they sleep with every night and a few more that are played with quite often.

Baby Dolls.
I let BOTH my kids play with baby dolls. I think it is fine for a boy as much as a girl to play with them. It promotes nurturing and love. There is no reason a boy should not be allowed to play daddy!

Ninja Turtles.
Another item here that has probably been installed in them by mommy and daddys love for ninja turtles! The kids love playing with them alone as well as with mommy and daddy. Especially in the turtle van from the 1980s

Does your child have a favourite toy that I have listed here? Why do they like to play with it?

What other toys are replay value with your children? Let us know in the comments!

By Mommy Melissa

Friday, October 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Pancakes

I came up with this recipe one day when I was craving pancakes, but sadly we were out of the mix. I found a recipe online for how to make pancakes from scratch in general... but I have altered a few ingredients for more healthy options. I will post the original recipe and my healthier version for all you wonderful readers! :) Did I mention these were the best pancakes I've ever tasted? Oh yes they are!

What you will need:

- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Greek Yogurt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cups of milk

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in bowl.

2. Add in egg, yogurt, oil and milk- mix together. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.

3. Preheat large skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes, until it bubbles, flip over for another 1-2 minutes. Keep a close eye make sure it doesn't burn!

4. Enjoy!


Hello friends.

One of our best friends has volunteered to teach and do charity work in Fiji. She is one of the greatest people I know. Her Name is Sarah Smith and she recently graduated for child and youth worker program (with honors I might add!)... it takes special people to work in that field. Now she has this incredible opportunity to provide help to those in need and we have to help get her there! Please donate, what ever amount you can (big or small) anything will help, but also share with your friends so she can make a difference in this world.

Read more about her story HERE.

Help Sarah get to Fiji! 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Nothing tastes better on a chilly fall day then a nice warm soup! This one was inspired by a pinterest recipe I came across, that was somewhat similar, but I altered a lot of ingredients due to me not liking them! The family loved it, however it needed a bit more salt then I added, but all in all it was delish!

What you will need:
- 900 ml chicken broth (I used a box of Campbell's stock)
- 2 cups of water
- 1 bullion cube
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes (the smaller cans I think it was around 300 ml each) I used Alymer Accents cracked black pepper and garlic and olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken (I boiled chicken thighs and shredded with a fork once they were cooked) 
- 1 cup of egg noodles (uncooked)

In a large pot on medium-high heat, add in a few tbsp of olive oil and saute onion, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes, add in the garlic and seasonings and saute for another minute. Add in tomatoes and chicken broth, bring to boil then add in bullion cube and water, stir until bullion is blended. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Then add in chicken and noodles, cooking about 10 more minutes until noodles are cooked through.