Fun, Easy Easter Egg Garland

Easter2013_1

This idea is entirely thanks to my 8 year old. She wanted to decorate for Easter and loves cutting out snowflakes at Christmas time. She combined the two ideas by drawing and cutting out an Easter egg shape, then folding it in half twice and cutting out shapes as you would a snowflake. Be sure to only cut the shapes from the two folded sides. We finished by putting ribbon through a hole in each of the eggs and then hanging them up. So easy, fun and looks great! Such a clever little monkey 🙂

Easter2013_2


Easter2013_3

Advertisements

Simple, Inexpensive and Fun Valentine!

I got this idea from a Design Mom post last year and we had tonnes of great feedback from the kids and families who received them. They are simple, and inexpensive costing only $3.50 for 20 valentines (10 cents per print plus $1.50 for 20 suckers at the dollar store).valentine

valentine

Take a photo of your child holding out their hand like they are holding something (obviously).

valentine

I made the title in Photoshop which I tried to set up as a download for you but for some reason WordPress wouldn’t allow me to upload a .psd file. Anyway, you can easily make your own or even just write on the front of the photo with permanent marker.  The kids helped cut holes in the card for the suckers and wrote their names on the back but since their faces are already on the valentine, they don’t even need to do that if you are to strapped for time.

Admiring their valentines before handing them away.

Admiring their valentines before handing them away.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Well-Loved Playhouse

This is the story of a well-loved playhouse. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived on a lake and her grandfather made her a beautiful playhouse. Eventually the little girl grew up and was to big for the playhouse so she passed it along to her neighbour who was a little younger than her and could enjoy it for a few more years. Eventually this girl outgrew the playhouse as well. She had two little neighbours who were sisters and she knew these little girls would just LOVE a playhouse of their own and to their great delight, she offered it to them. One of the neighbours owned a crane and was hired to move the little house to its new family. The girls were thrilled the day their new home arrived, flying through the air. The sight of which further adding to its magic. The little house has been shown lots of love and attention and continues to today.

Below are pictures from various stages of the playhouse’s evolution.

The day it arrived. A flying playhouse!Image
Watching it in the air.ImageImage

It received a new exterior paint job and a deck made from a pallet.  
ImageImage

Interior walls used to be exposed particle board but were re-painted with paint from Home Depot’s bargain bin of unwanted colours people didn’t like after they were mixed. There were signatures of previous guests to the house written on a small wall which were left exposed as reminders of all who visited.Image

We hung a crystal in the window to catch the sun and cast rainbows all over the walls.
Image

The girls basking in more rainbows.Image

The girls drew some pictures which were framed with inexpensive Ikea frames that have plastic instead of glass so they can’t break.
Image

Just painting a piece of plywood and drawing some circles on it became a quick stove top. They also get to keep all our used spice jars to add to their kitchen.Image

Dishes are Ikea and tray was $1 in the bargain bin at Ikea as well.
Image

The play structure is next to the playhouse. This helped us soooo much when we were working on our house. The girls can spend hours here!ImageImageImageImageImage

Some Photos Taken on April 14th

Just dumped some photos from my camera onto my computer and thought I would share a few from last Saturday.

Mergansers in the morning.
Image

Searching for fishies.Image

Evening bike ride.
Image

Ominous clouds that only lasted a short while.Image

First wildflowers.Image
ImageImage

Exploring.
ImageImage

Awesome Spinach Salad with Warm Feta Dressing

 

Awesome Spinach Salad with Warm Feta Dressing

This is one of my favourite salads. It is easy, healthy and the combination of warm, sweet and salty make it a delicious staple in our family. The kids even like it! I got the recipe from my sister who is a fantastic cook but I am not sure where it originated from. When I find the source I will note it.

Ingredients
1 Bag of pre-washed baby spinach (preferably organic)
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Red onion
1 Large handful of crumbled Feta cheese
2 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar or Sherry Vinegar or rice vinegar (I have tried them all and they all work well)

1) Wash spinach and spin or let sit to dry a little
Image

2) Crumble a large handful of feta and set aside
Image

3) Slice onion into 1/4″ slivers
Image

4) Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in skillet Image

5) Sautee onions in oil until carmelized (about 7 minutes) ImageImage

6) Place onions hot from the pan onto the spinach
Image

7) In the same pan, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, heat and ad your crumbled feta. Also ad the vinegar and heat until feta is melted and mixture is bubbling. ImageImage

8) Drizzle mixture over spinach and onion while warm. Toss and serve immediately. Image
Image

Note: Feta in this picture is not melted quite enough. There should not really be visible lumps of feta, although it is still yummy!

Finally, some house photos

I went a little “snap happy” last night (see lake pics here) because the evening was so stunning and I wanted to try to capture and share its beauty. I began this blog to document our progresses on the massive house reno we have undertaken in the passed year and a half, and now, here I am on my 12th post and I still haven’t even really shown the house at all! Now that our house is livable and comfortable, we are enjoying and savouring the fruits of our labour. Although we still have plenty of work to do until it is “finished”, we are trying to take more time to savour what we have done. It has been a very crazy last 2 years with renovations while raising the girls and trying to fit in work and live a somewhat balanced life.  I don’t think we did the best at the “balanced” part since it is difficult to think of much else when you don’t have a roof over your head. Now that we have a little breathing room from the constant house projects, it is nice. We just have to try to not fall into the trap of not finishing it because we are to comfortable :). Here are some photos with the evening light in our new kitchen. I will soon post further blog entries showing our “before” photos and progress on our house – promise.

ImageImage
ImageImageImage
Image
ImageImage
Image
My husband enjoying a little quiet time. Yup, we live quite the party life 😉
ImageImage

Coyote bait

So back in October we had an “incident” which made me question living in the country. At moments I am still somewhat shaken by what happened many months later so I thought I would share my experience.

First of all, you should meet our little dog Daisy. We got her about 6 years ago from a family who didn’t want her anymore. She lived in a little house with a little yard which I don’t think she had ever been out of because when we got her, she was covered in her own feces and she didn’t even know she was able to run. We had to teach her how to play as well. Basically she was a depressed little dog with a lot of love in her which was unleashed by our little family and country life.Yup, she is a cutie – but then again I am a little biased 🙂

Daisy knows she is small and vulnerable when it comes to the numerous wild animals and birds who also share her surroundings, so she is pretty careful not to go far and keeps at our side when we are out walking. As you can imagine, we don’t put her out when it is dark and if she really is desperate, we let her out on the water side of the house and make noise first and turn on the flood lights for her to scare any critters away. This time was different though. It was 5 am and still very dark. My husband was getting ready for work and Daisy was doing the tap-dance and her eyeballs were floating so without a second thought, out she went. Moments later, her screams (like none heard before) let us know she was in serious trouble. My husband ran barefoot and in his underwear blindly into the brisk, black morning toward her cries and retrieved her relatively intact (the hubby was also intact in case you were wondering). As I am sure you can guess by the title, she had been attacked by a coyote!  Daisy was in shock and had punctures on both sides as well as in her chest which pulled the skin away from muscle and also tore muscle in her shoulders, but with the help of a neighbour vet/friend as well as some emergency care, IV, heavy painkillers, antibiotics and a hefty vet bill, she has made a full recovery. Mind you her pride is a little hurt since she now requires bodyguards when she is outside.

Here she is waiting to see the vet

Here are all the lovely meds she was on

She spent more than a week not wanting to leave her crate 😦

Note the punctures from the coyote’s teeth

Starting to feel better but chose other “safe” places to hang out  like in the girl’s dollhouse.

Back to normal and getting spoiled as usual and loving it!

Battle scars – such a toughie.

I grew up on a farm in the country and never had to many fears of nature but I suppose ignorance is bliss. Now that I am a mom and trying to be “responsible” I have developed concerns. My main fear when I moved here were the bears. We had a territorial one who, days after we moved in, climbed our 5 ft deck, put its rump against our door and left us a nice little parcel on our doorstep (but that is another story). Yes, bears were my biggest concern and coyotes were not really much of a thought. I have seen them frequently close to our house and take down deer on the lake so I  always knew we had to watch out for our dog, but when something actually happened, it shook me to the core. My first instinct was to find the coyote and shoot it. How could a creature that would do something so violent be allowed to be out there lurking with the potential to attack again? It was when I had to explain to my daughters why a coyote would do this that helped me put things into perspective. I told them the coyote has to eat and coyotes eat meat. The coyote doesn’t know Daisy is a loved pet, it just sees food and maybe it hasn’t eaten for many days and is very hungry. A coyote has to eat just like we do. Nature can sometimes be cruel but it is the natural balance that has to occur in order for life to exist. Actually, I have told them this many times when they see how cruel nature can be, whether it is a snapping turtle eating a gosling, a snake eating a frog, a pack of coyotes cornering a deer. As gruesome and cruel as it seems, it is just, well, natural.

I will end with this photo I took a couple of years ago. Whenever I think of that beast in the dark night that attacked Daisy, I try to think of this image. A beautiful creature who can miraculously thrive independently in the wild.