|Posted on February 27, 2012 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
Sorry about missing last week's installment. It was Family Day and well, I spent it with the family. This week it is all about getting creative at home.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - No Spill Paint Cup:
Summer is around the corner and all those yummy frozen drinks come in these plastic cups. This idea for re-using them as paint cups is brilliant. The kids can easily see the colour and the lid prevents spills and drips.
Source: Muffin Tin Mom
These are perfect for home and I'm sure a few preschools and kindergarten classrooms would be happy for cup donations!
DIY - Make Your Own Sidwalk Chalk:
The recipe is simple and uses limited ingredients but the fun you can have with the kids this summer will be limitless.
Source: Smashed Peas & Carrots
Liquid Sidewalk Chalk Recipe:
This will be a really fun activity for our street party this summer.
DIY - Homemade Finger Paints:
These finger paints are easy to make, inexpensive and the ingredients are all found in your pantry.
Source: Easie Peasie
You can make a rainbow of colours easily with a little food colouring and using old baby food jars is a great way to recycle too!
Build It - Lego Table:
An IKEA Lack table can be transformed into the perfect Lego building station. This is a great spot to display those amazing structures your kids make. Even better, this project can be done pretty inexpensively and requires little to no DIY skills.
Source: Ordinary Mom
Janet Murphy (Ordinary Mom) had a great tip for gluing down the bases - "Make sure you use a lego piece to space them properly apart. I started to push them flush together before I wondered if the pieces would work across the seam. I am glad I did as there is a TINY gap required between the plates."
Add a bin that fit under the table to store all the Lego pieces and you have the perfect Lego building station!
Win It - COLOURS TO GO Colouring Wallet
Robyn over at Knit Purl Mama tested and reviewed our COLOURING WALLETS on a recent trip with her kids. Now she has two to give away. Head over to her site and enter by end of day February 29th for your chance to win. Good Luck!
Source: Knit Purl Mama
Hope you found some inspiration. Until next week...Susannah
|Posted on February 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
Our kids have been begging to go to the CN Tower. This Family Day weekend we finally made the trek.
I logged on the night before and bought our tickets. Within 2 hours they arrived in my in-box ready to print (see Money Saving Tip #1 below for more on this). By pre-ordering them it also meant we could skip the line-up to buy tickets when we arrived and that is always a good thing.
The kids had heard about 360 the revolving restaurant. They thought it sounded like fun and wanted to eat there. A brief glimpse at the formal (and expensive) menu made me believe this was a better fit for a romantic dinner sans kids so we opted to eat before we went up. I have since learned that elevation to 360 Restaurant and the Look Out and Glass Floor Levels is complimentary with the purchase of a main entrée by each guest so if you take that into account it wouldn't be as expensive but I still think we made the right decision for our family. I didn't know about Horizons, a more casual restaurant on the Look Out level, which would have been good for us all. Next time for sure.
The day of our visit was a mixed bag of weather. Worried that this might be the quickest trip up the tower ever (and $70 down the drain) I threw a notebook and some snacks into my bag so we could do some activities while up there. We were lucky. It was a very quiet day at the CN Tower. We were able to slowly walk through the museum area en route to the elevators and give the kids a bit of history and trivia before our ascent.
As expected, the elevator ride and jumping on the glass floor proved to be the big hits with the kids. We had a great time looking around at the different parts of the city, looking for landmarks, our house, dad's office, etc. The kids thought it was hilarious when we went out on the observation deck because one side of the tower was sheltered and the other side was so windy you could barely walk. We went around at least 3 times.
My nifty notebook proved useful. I wrote the letters A through Z down the sheet and we searched for things that began with each letter. The kids had a blast with this and came up with some really creative ones. Some favourites were 'sunbeams shining on the lake', 'skaters at Harbourfront', "Aquarium site" and "blowing kids on the observation deck". We kind of cheated on Z (zillions of buildings) and X (Exhibition grounds) so if you do this and find good ones, be sure to let me know.
It was a great day. The $10 I saved on tickets was quickly spent in the Souvenir shop that the elevators conveniently drop you off in. To keep the memory alive a little longer I created a wordsearch for them using words that reminded us of our day at the CN Tower. It was a fun activity that encorporated some of our list from our view at the Top of the World! The kids really loved seeing a Toronto landmark up close and personal. Both my husband and I think it was probably 20 years since we've been up the tower so it was fun to see it again through the kids' eyes.
Money Saving Tip #1:
A friend had given me the tip that you can purchase a family pass ahead of time at the Costco.ca website for $69.99 (+ tax). The same tickets would have been $79.96 (+tax) at the tower. So, I saved about $10 by ordering through Costco BUT the Costco pass is for 4 people of any age so if you had 4 people over the age of 13 your savings would be over $25 and that's significant.
Money Saving Tip #2:
If you are visiting Toronto or plan to explore more of the city I would suggest looking at the Toronto City Pass. It gives you entry into:
It is valid for 9 consecutive days from the first day of use and there are some other terms in the fine print that you should read first. Again you can buy cheaper passes at the Costco site or buy directly from the City Pass site but at $58.40USD (City Pass)/$52.99 CAD (Costco) for an adult and $34.50 USD (City Pass)/$31.99 CAD (Costco) for a child it would be a great way to see some amazing attractions at a fraction of the cost.
|Posted on February 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
The kids and I had a great time working on homemade Valentine's for their classmate's this year. The ideas were some that I had mentioned a few weeks back, my daughter chose friendship bracelets and my son chose Superhero valentines. We worked on them on and off over a week so that it didn't seem overwhelming (my poor girlfriend was drowning in melted crayons and embroidery floss when I spoke to her on Sunday) and the kids were really into it. We didn't save any money doing our valentines this way but we did have a lot more fun and they were so proud of the results.
As for Valentine's for the family, I went the homemade route for those too. I thought it would mean more to them in the long run. I can't wait to see their faces after I give them each their Valentine. Inside I listed about 15 reasons that I love them. They ranged from sentimental such as "I love you because you are caring" to the obscure "I love you because you always offer to help grate cheese (and steal half of it)". On the cover of each I printed out the poem below on a heart shaped piece of paper.
We shouldn't really need a date on a calendar to remind us to celebrate our love but with life moving so fast, sometimes it is good to have a reminder. Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!
|Posted on February 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
It is Monday morninig, time for the latest installment of Mesmerized Mondays.
Do you think your kids would eat more if the food was "cute"? They say that we eat just as much with our eyes as with our mouths. Why would it be different for kids?
Here are some inspirational ideas that range from simple to sublime.
For those of us who may not be quite so creative or just want to send something a little more special in the lunchbag, why not try one of these great sandwich cutters. Lunchtime just got a whole lot more fun!
I am pretty lucky, my kids are generally really good. That being said, they both have their moments (don't we all?) where I just want to shake my head or tear out my hair. Usually this results in them losing out on something they love (i.e. dessert, choosing the tv show, etc).
I came across this idea this week for the uh-oh jar and thought it was brilliant, especially because the number one reason for losing a treat in our house is not helping (or complaining about it) when asked.
The Uh-oh jar is filled with strips of paper that have an extra "chore" on them. If someone misbehaves they pull out a piece of paper and have to do that chore. It's a win-win. Way better than a time-out for them, more help around the house for me and hopefully overall we see better behavior.
We've managed to lose two pairs of gloves this week. Gloves are just like socks. Everyone who lives in a cold climate knows that there are always some singles hanging around at the end if the season. This squirrel is so cute. It might not be for the first time crafter but part of the charm is that it doesn't need to be perfect.
Just imagine the cute hinterland of colourful animals you could create with gloves from your whole family.
This water bottle is perfect, it is spill and leak proof but best of all the Contigo Autoseal Kangaroo Water Bottle with Compartment has a built-in compartment so you can carry keys, your ID, money and more when you're on the go!
No more bulky pockets when you're running. Keep your valuables with you when you are at the gym. I plan on picking one up so that I am ready to join my friend for the spring running season!
The Toronto Zoo introduced it's newest family member this week, a baby polar bear lovingly raised by the amazing veterinary and wildlife care team at the Toronto Zoo. My family loves the zoo. We've had a membership since the kids were toddlers. Always a great place to wander, get fresh air and exercise and of course see some amazing animals. This is just one more great reason to go. I for one can't wait to see him. Read more about his story at the Toronto Zoo website.
Now the zoo is looking for the perfect name for it's polar bear. Why not drop in, see the little guy in person and enter the zoo's contest to name him. The contest ends on March 16, 2012.
I hope I've provided you some inspiration this week. Until next Monday....Susannah
|Posted on February 6, 2012 at 6:00 AM||comments (1)|
It is that time of the week again. Time for another installment of Mesmerized Mondays.
Smiles All Around:
This is a simple and delicious snack for the kids that is bound to make them smile. Someone suggested substituting the mini-marshmallows for pieces of a mozzarella cheese-string, love that idea. I can't wait to make these for the kids!
Photo and Idea: Disney Family
I stumbled upon this video the other day when I clicked through to Lil Blue Boo's blog for the Homeopathic Hot Pack I highlited in last week's Mesmerized Monday blog. I was prepared to meet an amazing woman who is talented, creative and generous in her knowledge. I wasn't prepared for what else I'd find.
Ashley and her family have been thrown a curve ball, the super scary "C" word. Her story is developing daily and she is documenting her battle in her blog.
Photo & Video: Lil Blue Boo
Her Rite of Passage video above had me sobbing at my desk. It marks a huge milestone in her battle with cancer. It highlights her bravery but also the vulnerability and uncertainty facing herself, her husband and young daugther. I am following her journey, wishing their family well and praying for her health.
Reduce, Reuse, Recyle = Fun & Games:
In my house bubble wrap garners almost as much excitement as Christmas presents. I don't know what it is about kids and bubble wrap but they all seem to love it. When I saw this idea for a hopscotch game made from bubble wrap I knew we had a hit.
Photo & Idea: Giver's Log
I'll have to scour the office for some bubble wrap and try this with the kids. For safety reasons I would make sure to do this on carpet or tape the bubble wrap to the floor so it doesn't slip.
The photo says it all, use old milk or bread tags to help identify which cord is which in your power bar.
Photo & Idea: Apartment Therapy
Photo & Idea: There I Fixed It
An old shoebox and toilet rolls can fix that problem. The crazy jumble of cords in my desk drawer be warned, I'm coming after you!!
This last week I couldn't have been without my H2O Steam Mop X5. I only got it a few weeks ago and I know it sounds CRAZY but it makes me so happy. We were a house full of germs last week, we had step, ear infections, stomach bugs, etc. You name it, we had it. I became fanatical about steralizing everything in the house using the atachments on my new H2O Steam mop.
Photo: Showcase Canada
Not to mention, my floors have never been so clean and I love that it uses nothing more than water (very hot water) so there are no chemicals floating around after cleaning. I got mine at the Showcase store at the local mall but I'm sure you can get them other places too. Just an FYI - I in no way get anything for promoting this product except for sheer joy at sharing how much I love this mop.
There you have it, another week, another round-up. Until next week...Susannah
|Posted on February 4, 2012 at 9:15 AM||comments (0)|
It is just over a week to go before Valentine's Day. Instead of heading out to the store for pre-made Valentines, why not have the kids try their hands at one of the ideas below. Homemade Valentines - the perfect way to show how much you care and a great way to spend a few creative hours this weekend.
I love that the first 3 ideas use basically the same materials but are each unique. You could do a different one with each kid and not break the bank purchasing materials. Also, the skill level needed for each of the three is slightly different therefore making them perfect for kids of different ages.
For full instructions, click on the images.
Valentine Bookmarks: (doing this with my son)
Valentine Friendship Bracelets: (doing this with my daughter)
Valentine Hand-off Card:
I love these. I will definitely try these next year or maybe as part of a loot bag or invitation. So cute.
The instructions for this one don't link so I will give a brief step by step.
I hope I've inspired some Valentine's creativity for you and your family to try this weekend. For even more ideas, check out my 'Valentine' board on Pinterest
|Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
I am not a big fan of winter. Truth be told I am really a hot weather girl who could easily live by the ocean and soak up summer rays for the rest of my life. However, the reality is that I live in Canada and winter is a big part of our lives and our winters can be COLD.
I was not brought up in a cold weather loving family. We didn't spend our winters skiing or playing hockey. As an adult I have had to learn to embrace winter and all it has to offer which I must admit is easier when you have kids. Their excitement over fresh fallen snow is contagious and this year I was really looking forward to getting out on the ice with my kids, hitting the tobaggen hills and maybe even trying my hand at skiing. The only problem is, this year has been unseasonably warm with almost no snow to speak of and any that we have had has basically melted as it hit the ground.
That is why this morning was so spectacular. My family woke up to the sight of fresh snow and quite a bit of it. My son was chomping at the bit from the moment he caught a glimpse of it to get out and FINALLY make a snowman.
Breakfast done, we bundled up and headed out back. The snow was perfect packing snow. His dream was going to become a reality. It didn't take long to stack our three snowballs. A search of the yard yielded two small branches perfect for arms. A quick dip into the crisper found the requisite carrot for a nose, two cucumber slices for eyes and 5 blueberries for a frosty smile. We had to briefly break for our own snack (more carrots) but then the building continued.
Our snowman was given the name "Max" and he proudly graced our lawn for about 1 hour. As the sun rose in the sky and the day got warmer (10C) Max first lost his head and by the time school was over he was merely a memory. Thank goodness for the photos because no one would ever believe that we built such a grand snowman as Max.
Now if only we can get enough cold days in a row to keep the outdoor rink across the street frozen long enough to play some outdoor hockey, my winter loving son's dreams will have been realised and Spring (or even better - summer) can come at any time.