Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sunshine Cake

This recipe came in an email newsletter that I subscribe to and we were excited to try it.

We really liked it. I took some to work and it got good reviews there too.

It is more of a pound cake than a light fluffy cake, which is not mentioned in the recipe. We had all the ingredients in the house and my daughter and I had a great time making and tasting it, together,

We also used some of it to make bread pudding for dessert one night which was also very delicious.

 The recipe can be found here at the Eagle Brand website

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kids Craft - Homemade Wrapping Paper

We actually made this project for a birthday party but 'tis the season for wrapping and gifting so here it is.

I try not to buy wrapping paper for gifts whenever possible. Our city does not accept it in the blue recycling bins, which means it goes into the landfill and, to me, it seems like a lot of money to spend on something that is so short lived. We reuse gift bags, use the Sunday comics and I also use a lot of fabric gift bags. I love the fabric gift bags because they can be reused for gifting or other purposes indefinitely.

I do love a beautifully wrapped gift but there are ways to present something beautifully without commercial wrapping paper.

My daughter loves to be involved in organizing and wrapping the gifts that we give. We usually get some holiday baking and hot chocolate and make an afternoon of it. We have lots of fun together and at the end of the day, all the gifts are ready to give.

Making your own wrapping paper using brown kraft paper is very easy and inexpensive. It is a great project for kids of all ages.

I bought rolls of kraft paper, on sale for $0.49 each right after Christmas last year. We have used them all year for crafts and to wrap gifts and packages.

Kraft paper (you could also use blank newsprint or newspaper)
Stamps and Ink Pads
Markers/ Crayons
Painter's Tape
Scissors (to cut the paper to size)

1. Cut the piece of kraft paper to size. We do this before we start stamping to keep the paper size manageable. If we have a large or heavy package, I sometimes wrap it in blank paper first and then we stamp the paper. It makes it easier to manage.

2. Tape the piece of paper to a flat surface. We use painter's tape to ensure that it will come off the paper with minimal ripping or tearing.

3. Get stamping. Decorate the paper with stamps and markers or crayons.

4. Allow the paper to dry. When dry, remove the tape slowly and wrap the gift.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cupcake Christmas Tree

This cupcake Christmas Tree is one of our favourite holiday traditions. It is easy to make and no matter where we take it; school, the office or family gatherings it is always well received. It is a great project to do as a family or even to involve all the kids in a school group. We always save a few cupcakes to taste test after the tree is done.    

This year we made the tree to take to the Christmas party at my daughter’s school. 

It is very easy to make and can be adapted to make other shapes for Christmas or any other occasion.
Cupcake Christmas Tree

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Project of the Month - December 2012

I love earrings, big, small, dangly, sparkly; all of them - I love them. I have multiple piercings in my ears so I can wear more than 1 pair at a time and I really like to mix them up and have some fun. When we go on vacation my favourite souvenir is always a pair of earrings. Right now, my two favourite pairs of souvenir earrings are from San Antonio, Texas and Eumundi, Queensland, Australia. When I wear them I remember all the fun I had on the trips that I made there.

I had some peacock feathers from birds that my Uncle Wes had on his farm. I have been storing them and keeping them safe for years waiting for a blast of inspiration to hit me. I finally decided that I was going to try my hand at making earrings with them. Peacock feather earrings, even though they seem to be all over in the shops now, seem exotic to me and these ones will be special because of where the feathers came from.

I bought some beads and findings from a bead shop in Saskatoon, SK the last time we were there for a visit and got some tips from the girl that was working there as well.

I had enough feathers to make four pairs of earrings, one pair for me and the other pairs as Christmas gifts.

I asked my friend Emily from Prairie Dust to help me make some earrings with my collection of beads and feathers. She said yes and they ended up being more her project than mine - which was okay with me. I had tried a few times before asking her for help and had ZERO luck trying to make them on my own!

She made me four gorgeous pairs of earrings - here are some pictures of her beautiful work!

A close up of each pair

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chai Shortbread

These are one of my most favorite cookies to make. We usually only make them at Christmastime or for a special occasion because otherwise I would eat WAY too many of them. They are a healthier cookie so I guess having a few extra is not all that bad. 

They are very easy to make and we also had all the ingredients in the cupboard already so I did not have to go out and get anything special to make them with. They are excellent warm from the oven and just as tasty the next day.

I initially got the recipe from a Cooking Light magazine that I had picked up in the checkout line one day. They looked easy to make and I thought that they would be a nice change from the regular shortbread that we usually make.

We used our KitchenAid mixer to do the heavy work for us. We started by creaming the butter & sugar together and then added the dry ingredients and then the water.

The recipe I used for Chai Shortbread is here on the Cooking Light website  

Or you can click the link to follow it here Chai Shortbread

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grocery Shopping - Make a List

Want a very easy way to save time and money in the grocery store? Make a list!

You can waste a lot of time wandering around the store trying to remember what you needed and then trying to find it in the store.

Years ago, when I was grocery shopping with a baby in tow, I made up a grocery list to make shopping easier for myself.

I put all the items in categories, grouping similarly stored items together. Fruits, vegetables, frozen goods, canned goods, dairy, household items, etc each have their own category. I left a couple lines at the bottom of each category to add things that were not on the list.

I print out a stack of blank lists and keep them in the drawer. Evey week, I take a new one out and keep track of the things that we need on the next grocery shopping trip.

When I hit the grocery store, I start at one side and work my way to the other, while getting the items on the list. It eliminates wandering through the aisles trying to find what I need from a scattered list and keeps me from getting distracted and spending money on things we do not need.

I can complete my grocery shopping in about 30 minutes instead of 60 minutes or longer. Here is a copy of my Grocery List to print out and take with you on your next trip.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Project of the Month - November 2012

Another month - another project.

Several of our friends are expecting babies in late summer and fall this year. I love to make something special, and unique as a gift for a new baby. A keepsake that they will have while they are small and that they can hold on to as they grow up.

I decided to make sets with blankets, bibs and burp clothes, all backed with super soft minky, as gifts for all these new babies.

This is the before shot, a big pile of fabric

And this is the after - all ready for gifting!

Warm, snuggly blankets.

Completed sets with a blanket, 2 burp cloths, bib & a rattle football!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Hot Dogs - Mummy Dogs

This super easy dinner idea is our Halloween Night tradition. We have these for supper before we go out trick-or-treating. They are like piggies in a blanket with a fun Halloween twist.

We saw the idea in a Halloween magazine that we picked up at the grocery checkout a few years ago.

They are really easy and inexpensive to make and kids LOVE them! This “recipe” makes 8 mummies.

Halloween Hot Dogs - Mummy Dogs

Monday, October 15, 2012

Carrot Pineapple Muffins

MMMMMM more muffins!

We love muffins at our house. I love that they are easy to make and I can make them healthy as well. My daughter says that she loves them because they are yummy and she gets to make them with mom.

We usually bake a healthy treat like cookies, muffins, breads, or scones once a week. It is a fun activity for my daughter and I to do together and we make something healthier and better tasting as well as less expensive than we could buy in the grocery store.