Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

I found some pretty things this week

Like many out there in virtual land, I've been trolling through Pinterest and finding many, many things that I find pretty, inspiring and just plain pin worthy. Here a quick look at a couple of things I found this week.

Peacock feathers and orchids are an amazing combination. That vintage broach also works really well with this, I think.

Now, this would be vacation. Blue, blue, blue in the most beautiful shades. Please come pick me up for a Caribbean tour!
Super cute and reminds me of the DIY art I made for D's room.

I think this would be cute for a kid's room, family work station or a colourful office. Looks like it would be really simple to create.

We've been working on restoring our front door this week. I'll post more on that later - but let me tell you, it looks nothing like this! Wouldn't this make a great statement when welcoming guests to your house?

Have a great weekend!

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A little rainbow on a rainy birthday

My husband celebrated his birthday yesterday. We both had the day off and enjoyed some time without the kids including lunch at a sushi restaurant. Then we had family over for dinner, cake and gifts. I wanted to do something in rainbow colours because of a rainbow my daughter drew on her father's gift...all those colours make a dreary day a lot more happy, don't you think?

I had seen the above love notes banner on either Oh Happy Day or A Subtle Revelry. I can't remember, but I loved the idea which I implemented on coloured craft paper. I debated to print it out on the computer, but thought hand written notes would be more personal and special. I also used Jordan's idea for the crepe streamers, cutting each side of them to make them more fluffy and fun.
Matching all of the colours are the flowers, which I gathered in a serving dish with some floral foam. I got the flowers at the grocery store on sale after the Easter weekend and they'll last a couple of days I'm sure.
My husband is not a big icing cake lover, so I opted for a lighter fruit covered Strawberry Cream Cake. The cake itself is quite dense, close to a short cake, but the cream and berries make it fresh and light. Everyone loved it. I got it from the Martha Stewart website and it was a breeze to make. Nine out of ten times in rains on my hubby's birthday, but I think the berries and all those colours made the day a little brighter and happy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two dozen and lots of colour

We tackled the yearly Easter egg colouring yesterday and had a great time. M is old enough now to be quite patient with the process and limits the mess to a minimum. D participated a little and then moved on to playing with his cars.

I tried the Martha Stewart marbelized method for the first time. I do like how they turned out, however, I'd try to get some more interesting colour combinations next time. I also learned that the most essential thing is to really stir that olive oil before dropping the egg for the second colour - it will make a huge difference in the end result. M was a little too eager at some points and we ended up with only minor colour differences on some eggs.

We coloured two dozen eggs. I colour hard boiled eggs - I find them to be more stable than blown out eggs and we manage to eat a lot of egg salad around the Easter weekend.

Now all I'm hoping for is slightly warmer temperatures on Sunday so we can hunt outside - much more fun than lampshades and couch cushions.

Have yourself a Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Decorations

I don't do a lot of Easter decorations. I have a wreath for the front door which kept blowing off with the horrible winds we've been having recently. I have a couple of Spring branches in a vase and then I take the candy my mom sends us from Switzerland and put it in jars.
This approach allows for a nice display and keeps little fingers (and mine) out of the candy for a bit. The kids get to choose one piece of candy if they eat all their dinner and we have the larger chocolate bunnies on Easter weekend. I start putting the candy out the weekend before Easter.
I wish I had a robins egg blue lacquer tray to gather the cake stands and jars, it would make a nice colour statement and would make it easier to move everything from the dinner table.

Do you decorate for Easter? Do you enjoy Easter candy?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Display, store or recycle?

That seems to be the ever recurring question in our house. Both our kids come home with massive amounts of art work and craft items they created in daycare. This is in addition to painting and colouring we do at home. Obviously we can't keep every scrap created by our children, but at times I wonder how much we should keep and when we should just say bye bye.

We have this little art wall leading down to the family room, it's flexible and allows us to switch pieces up easily. We also hang many items on the long family room wall and each child has a box dedicated to storage of their art. M is not even four years old yet and that box is pretty full. I also don't think the box lends itself well to actually seeing what's in there, so for me it's not the optimal solution. I assume with time we'll be more radical in secretly putting kids creations in the recycling bin and only keeping the truly amazing stuff.

Are you a radical art recycler or do you hold on to every piece? If you keep them, how do you store them?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Will they eat it for breakfast?

My kids are not great breakfast eaters, one day something works, the next couple of days I can't get them to eat anything. I've tried bread, cereal, waffles, fruit, eggs - nothing seems to give me consistent breakfast eating results.

Right now that's not the end of the world as they get a late breakfast at daycare, so I'm not too worried about them going hungry until lunch. However, M starts school in September and I want her to start the day off with something in her more late breakfasts.

So, on my hunt to try different things I found again in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook these Blueberry Lemon Muffins. Muffins tend to be so high in fat that I avoid them, but these are a healthier option and my son actually ate them all week. These are easy to make.

Makes 12
    * 1/2 cup firmly packed light/dark brown sugar * 4 tbsp margarine, chilled * 1 cup lemon lowfat yogurt * 1 cup blueberries * 1/2 cup yellow squash puree * 1/4 cup egg substitute * 2 tsp pure lemon extract * 1 tsp grated lemon zest * 2 cups all-purpose flour * 1 tsp baking powder * 1 tsp baking soda * 1/2 tsp salt

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.
* In a large bowl, beat the sugar and the margarine with a wooden spoon. Stir in the yogurt, blueberries, yellow squash puree, egg, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
* Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just to combine, but do not overmix - the batter is supposed to be lumpy.
* Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 13 to 16 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.
* Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze up to 1 month.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crafted Art

When I changed D's bed from a white crib to a red bed, we somewhat changed the colour scheme and I needed more red. Also the space above the crib was now a big empty wall that needed to be filled.

Knowing that I would not be getting an expensive piece art for that space and knowing that M. liked her name above her bed I opted for a canvas take on his name. I used different wall paints, sharpie pens, some buttons, craft paper and a lot of glue to create a simple and colourful canvas that included the colour red.

You'll note that it's hung higher than it should be given the space, but I wanted to keep it just a bit higher to lessen then chance of having it knocked or pulled down by busy toddler hands.

This was a homespun, inexpensive way to get more colour in his room and I am quite happy with the results.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday cookies

M. wanted to make chocolate chip cookies right off the bat this morning. My enthusiasm was limited - now that spring is slowly getting here adding cookies to our repertoire is not going help the summer look. But my daughter managed to persuade me and I chose a 'healthier' option from the 'Deceptively Delicious' cookbook. I was hoping I would not like the healthy cookies, but once they came out of the oven I had to admit that these were delicious indeed.
What made me think that these would be a perfect cookie for me not wanting to eat them? The added chickpeas - yes, you read it right - chickpeas in cookies, who would have thought?

Here goes the recipe, go ahead and try them, I'll be bringing at least half the batch to work tomorrow to fight temptation.

Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup soft butter or margarine
2 large egg white
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cups raisins (optional)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

-Preheat oven to 350 F.
-In a large bowl beat sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg whites and vanilla, then add the chickpeas and chocolate (and raisins/walnuts). Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix until a thick dough forms.
-Use a spoon to drop dough on cookie sheet. Press with fork to flatten (I did not do this). Bake until golden and just set, 11-13 minutes. Cool.