Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter at the Farm

Last weekend we met up with good friends at a local farm for a day of Easter fun.  The children were treated to a day of face painting, egg decorating, magic shows, farm animals, egg hunts and delicious homemade baking.


We have never visited a farm at Easter before and this sunny Sunday seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I hate to think about it but I know that there won't be many more years where our kids are at that magical stage of belief and wonderment.  We had to seize the day.


Face painting was a must.  The kids could choose from a variety of different options but three out of four stuck with the theme and chose bunny noses and whiskers.  My little puppy decided he could chase the bunnies with his face paint.

We snuck inside the barn to try our hand at some magic and to warm our toes.  Being the city girl I am, I completely forgot that we were going north and that rain boots might not suffice.  The magic show was all about bunnies and of course the pièce de résistance was the live bunny that he magically produced at the end.

But the highlight of the outing was the Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the Easter Bunny himself.  The kids lined up with their baskets, the Easter Bunny gave them the green light and they were off to collect as many eggs as they could.  It was a bit of a free-for-all but with the number of eggs scattered, no one was left out.


Of course our little bunnies (and puppy dog) came back with baskets filled.  The farm had set it up so that you traded your plastic eggs for a goody bag filled with real Easter treats.  It didn't matter if you had one egg or a bushel full, everyone got the same treat in the end.  


Even the Easter Bunny himself got a treat -  the opportunity to catch my husband's famous juggling expertise.  Everyone was in the Easter spirit and those plastic eggs came in handy once again.

Farms all across the country host Easter activities.  If you get a chance this weekend, take the opportunity to visit and support one of your local farms.  It is always great to get outside and it proved the perfect family outing.  I really hope this becomes a new family tradition -  for the next few "magical" years at least.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lasagna Soup - A new twist on an old favourite!

I have a hit on my hands.  Last night I tried a new recipe for Lasagna Soup.  I hoped it would be a success seeing that Italian food is always a favourite in our house but you just never know what kind of reaction you're going to get with kids.



I love how simple soup is to make. It is perfect for those days when you need a quick meal. It re-heats perfectly so you can make it ahead.  It is even great with company; just add some crusty bread and a salad to round out the meal. 

This recipe delivers the traditional flavours of lasagna but is far simpler to make.  By using a can of Campbell's Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup as your base you eliminate the need for a variety of spices.  I had everything except the Malfada Corta noodles already in my fridge or pantry.



Cooking is about experimenting so you should never be scared to substitute.  In this recipe you can interchange any short noodle.  In fact, I couldn't find the Malfada Corta noodles in my grocery stores so I used a pasta called Tripolina Lunga which looks like really narrow pieces of lasagna noodles.  My daughter broke them in half as we added them to the soup.  They were perfect although I would definitely suggest breaking them into quarters next time. 


 There is something so soothing about homemade soup.  It is warm, it is filling, it is my comfort food. My kids tend to like store bought soup better than anything I make but this recipe had them begging for more - literally!

My son asked if I could make it every day and my daughter wants it in weekly rotation.  They fought over who was going to get the leftover portion in their lunch today.  I would call that a resounding success.  The only change I'll make next time is to double the recipe.



Considering how easy it is to make, it is surprising that more people don't make their own soup.  After this huge success I will definitely be trying more of Campbell's homemade soup recipes.


Lasagna Soup

Image:  Cook with Campbells

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (454 g) extra lean ground beef
  • 1 box (900 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Ready to Use 30% Less Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced fresh tomato
  • 2 cups (500 mL) whole wheat short lasagna-noodle-shaped pasta (mafalda corta)
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Spray large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven lightly with cooking spray. Brown beef well at medium-high heat. 
  2. Add broth, soup, water, garlic, oregano, pepper and tomato. Heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in pasta and reduce heat.
  3. Cover and cook at gentle boil until pasta is tender - about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

This post was generously sponsored by Campbell’s, but the opinions and images are my own. For more quick and easy meals kids will love, visit CookwithCampbells.ca.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour! - Revisiting Get Together Get Creative

Happy Earth Hour everyone!  Tonight at 8:30 p.m. everyone across the world is encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour to conserve energy.


While the lights are out, take the opportunity to play a board game with your family, chat with friends and neighbours or take a walk to look for stars. 

Today we're revisiting "Earth Hour - Get Together, Get Creative", a post from last year.  It has fun ideas you can do with your family and friends during Earth Hour and they all use recycled materials which make them extra earth friendly!




Hundreds of millions of people across the world will switch off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. Join them and help make a difference while teaching your kids some valuable environmental lessons.

One great way to pass the hour is to host an Earth Hour Party with friends and neighbours. Because the point of the evening is to take us back to nature, the simpler the better! Round up some flashlights, put out some candles and get ready for some fun.

Host your own Recycled Art Party during Earth Hour. Put out a long table with a variety of materials salvaged from the recycle bin. With candles in hurricanes, mason jars or lanterns lining the centre of the table, children young and old can get their creative juices flowing and take home an earth friendly keepsake. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Sapling Holder:


I love the idea below because it uses recycled materials but it would also be a great vessel for growing a sapling or a small houseplant that would further help our earth!

Image & Idea: Unknown

Materials Needed:

  • Tuna/Salmon/Canned Meat can (cleaned thoroughly)
  • Plain clothespins
  • small glass container (votive containers are perfect)
  • potting soil
  • small houseplant or sapling

Directions:

  1. Clip clothespins around the edge of the can.
  2. Fill the glass container with soil.
  3. Plant the plant/sapling in the soil.
  4. Place the glass container in the can.

If you can't find saplings, plant seeds. Kids love watching them grow and when they get bigger you can transplant them outside.


Make Your Own Recycled Bird Feeder:


Image & Idea: FamilyFun.com

Materials Needed:

  • Empty 1 litre pop bottle with lid (thoroughly cleaned and dried)
  • marker
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • craft knife
  • small eye screw
  • twine for hanging
  • bird seed


Directions:

* Prepare the holes for the wooden spoons prior to the party so people do not need to work with knives by candlelight.
  1. Mark a spot about 4" above the bottom of the bottle with the marker. Mark another spot on the opposite side of the bottle in the same spot.
  2. Repeat step 2 again a few inches lower but going the opposite directions (you should end up with a mark on all 4 sides of the bottle)
  3. Use your craft knife to cut a hole big enough for the handle of your wooden spoon to pass through at each mark.
  4. Remove the cap and screw in the small eye screw.
  5. Fill the bottle with birdseed.
  6. Replace the cap and string a length of twine long enough to hang from a tree.
To make this project even more fun, have the kids decorate the spoons before inserting them to make them truly their own!

More Ideas:

How about an air guitar concert with cereal box guitars...


Image & Idea: The Fraker's Acres


...or create an amazing Recycled Garden...


Image & Idea: Laugh, Paint, Create

...or some funky bracelets made from old t-shirts?


Image & Idea: Lil Blue Boo

Still looking for more inspiration, take a peek back at "The Lowly Cereal Box gets Upcycled".

Don't forget to turn off the lights and help save our planet. Happy Earth Hour Everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Bunny Hats & Noses

This is a fun craft to do with little kids right before Easter. They will love dressing up as their favourite chocolate toting bunny and pretending to deliver some holiday cheer!



Materials Needed:

  • White paper plates (the thinner the better)
  • Bunny Hat Template – use the image as a guide
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Cotton balls
  • Red/pink markers (optional)
  • Popsicle sticks (1 per child)
  • Pink pom-poms (1 per child)
  • Grey, brown, black or pink pipe cleaners (3 per child)
  • Small paintbrushes

 Directions:

 

Before the party:

  1. Cut out a bunny hat for each child attending.
  2. Set up the table/craft area with a bunny hat, a pot of glue, a paintbrush, a pile of cotton balls, a popsicle stick, a pink pom-pom and 6 whiskers (3 pipe cleaners cut in half) for each child.
 
 

During the party:

Bunny Hat:
  1. Have the children paint glue on the top of their hat and stick cotton balls all over it until it is fully covered. Let dry.
  2. If using markers, the kids can draw pink or red centers on their bunny ears.
Bunny Nose:
  1. Place a dab of glue at the top of the popsicle stick.
  2. Hold the three pipe cleaners together so that their ends are even.
  3. Twist the pipe cleaners around the top of the popsicle stick so that you are left with three even whiskers on each side. The glue will help secure them.
  4. Glue the pom-pom on top of the pipe cleaners where they are twisted on the popsicle stick.
  5. Allow them to dry.
 
 
 The kids now have the perfect bunny costumes for playing all their fun Easter games.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter Bunny Hopping Relay:

The Easter Bunny Hopping Relay is a fun game to play with kids of all ages at your next Easter party! You can increase the difficulty for older kids or keep it simple for the younger crowd. No matter who is there, they will be sure to love this game that combines egg and spoon races, obstacle courses, and relay races.
 
 

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Large spoons
  • Easter baskets
  • Bunny ears (optional)
  • Pylons (optional)
 
 
 

Object of the Game:

The Easter bunny needs help filling his Easter baskets. Teams will hop relay style while balancing the eggs on their spoons. The team that delivers all the eggs to their basket first wins the game.

 

 

Directions:

  1. Divide the kids into even groups with 5 or 6 kids on each team.
  2. Line the kids up at one end of the room and place the Easter baskets on the floor at the opposite end of the room.
  3. The first child in each group will be handed a plastic spoon, a plastic egg, and a set of bunny ears (if using).
  4. Hand each of the other children a plastic egg to hold onto.
  5. When all teams are ready, an adult will yell ‘Go’.
  6. The first team member must hop to the basket while balancing the egg on the spoon.
  7. When they drop their egg into the basket they will run back, hand off the bunny ears and the spoon to the next member on their team.
  8. That child will now complete steps 6 and 7.
  9. The game is run as a relay with each team member taking their turn to run the course. The winner is the first team to get all of the team member’s eggs in their basket.
Note:
  • If an egg falls – younger kids can just pick it up and place it back on their spoon and continue. Older kids could be sent back to the start again with their egg to make it more challenging.
  • To make the game more challenging you can add pylons to the course that the bunnies must go around while hopping and carrying their eggs.

 
 
Throw in a couple of chocolate eggs to weigh down the plastic eggs if they are too light.  The kids will get an extra delight if they know they are really delivering chocolate eggs!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Shakers & Music Makers!

Every party needs music and an Easter party is no different.  The kids will have a blast making these shakers then dancing all over the house to the sound of their own music.



Materials Needed:

  • Scrapbook paper, wrapping paper or construction paper -  cut to size of toilet rolls
  • Toilet Rolls (or paper towel rolls cut into 3 pieces)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Packing Tape
  • Mini cupcake wrappers (1 per child)
  • Rice, beans, or lentils
  • Small paint brushes
  • Plastic eggs (preferably the ones shaped as bunny heads)
  • Glue gun

Directions:

  • Before the party, tape one end of each toilet roll closed with packing tape. 
     
     
 
  • Set up the table/craft area with a toilet roll, a pot of glue, a paintbrush, scrapbook paper, a plastic egg, and cupcake wrappers for each child.
  • When the children are sitting down, fill each toilet roll about 1/3 full with beans, rice, or lentils.  To make your band more interesting, fill each shaker with different fillings or mix the fillings. They'll all have a slightly different sound! 
 

  • Use a piece of packing tape to seal the end.
  • Have the children paint the outside of their toilet rolls with glue.
  • Use the scrapbook paper to cover the toilet roll.
 

  • Glue the cupcake wrapper to the top end of the shaker to cover the tape.
 
  • Have an adult attach the plastic egg on the top of the shaker with the glue gun. 
 
  • Allow to dry.


 
Your party will be a hit as the kids dance, march and shake their way around making beautiful bunny music!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Tw-Easter - Easter Ideas for the Tween Set

Tweens are awesome! They fall some place between little kids who love the magic in holidays such as Easter and teens who are too cool for school and wouldn't be caught dead searching for eggs.  With tweens you're never quite sure which way they are going to bend on any given day.

A traditional egg hunt and Easter treats may go over well with them but just in case you might want to try one of these ideas instead.  They still incorporate holiday cheer but they take on a slightly older spin on traditional Easter ideas.

Candy Coloured Nail Polish:


Instead of filling the traditional plastic eggs with chocolate I love this idea from eighteen25.  Hide a small bottle of candy coloured nail polish inside instead. 


Image & Idea: eighteen25

I don't know a tween girl who doesn't like doing her nails!

 

A Magical Easter:


What better time than Easter to learn how to pull a bunny out of a hat?  This magic kit allows kids to learn over 100 tricks.  That will keep them occupied for a while.


Image: Mastermind Toys
 
 I love the possibility of a magic show after Easter dinner and it is a great alternative activity when you don't want them hanging out in front of a screen all day. 


Easter Bunny Facial Kit:


Isn't this bunny adorable?  It is simply made by folding a facecloth and adding some embellishments.  Now you just need to add a tube of face scrub in a delicious scent and you've got the perfect tween facial kit. 


Image & Idea: A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of Sugar has beautiful step by step directions to turn a facecloth into this adorable bunny.


Egg Shaped Microscope:


Okay, this one is kind of for the parents too because it looks really cool.  It is a handheld digital microscope (43x) that hooks up to your computer.  You simply hold it over top of an object, focus it and take videos or still images. 


Image: Mastermind Toys


Your dentist bills will be less and think about how amazing their school science reports are going to be after this Easter. 

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fresh - goes express!

My daughter and her friends have this new game they play at recess where they are fairies and wizards fighting off the bad witches.  One of the things she says they need is small pieces of food for energy.  She asked if she could take carrots.  Who am I to say 'no' to that? 

So, I pointed her in the direction of the T-Fal Fresh Express and installed the wavy edge cutter.  After peeling the carrots she loaded them into the machine, pressed the red button and in seconds she had perfectly cut 'fairy food'.



That night also happened to be homemade pizza night.  My son, the best pizza assistant ever, wanted to help.  Of course he wanted to grate the cheese but I have an old triangular grater that inevitabley leads to grated fingers, blood and band-aids.  Not this time.

I quickly switched out the wavy cut blade from T-Fal Fresh Express and loaded in the fine grating cutter.  I cut a few pieces of cheese and showed him how to load them into the machine.  He quickly got the hang of it and within seconds we had perfectly grated cheese.



As we loaded up the pizza we realised we didn't have enough cheese (I think a lot was eaten) so we grated some more.  It literally took less than 10 seconds. 

My daughter, feeling left out of the fun, asked to make our salad.  Out came the grating blade and in popped the slicing blade.  A carrot, some red onion and a piece of cucumber later, our salad was well on its way. 



I was pleasantly surprised that there was very little food waste.  My big food processor has too much space between the blade and the presser.  I always end up with wasted bits of food.  I would say that the T-Fal Fresh Express had almost no food waste at all.



When I saw the T-Fal Fresh Express in the Canadian Tire Desitnation Home Guide I was skeptical that this little machine would be able to do the job.  I've tried small machines before that just didn't have the power and/or the blades weren't strong enough so all you ended up with was mush.  The T-Fal Fresh Express exceeded my expectations.

I love its compact size.  I have a very small kitchen and it fit on a tiny piece of counter I have between my wall and stove.  I also love that all the pieces store on it so that you don't lose any of them. The cord retracts so that you don't have long cords on the counter, another plus.  Most of all I love that everything goes in the dishwasher.  I didn't rinse the attachments and they all came out perfectly clean.

 
 
It has cut my prep time for some meals significantly.  The kids are begging to help.  What more can I ask for from a kitchen appliance?  I am already envisioning a beautiful layered salad at our upcoming Easter dinner and I know the kids will be more than happy to help me make it.

This post was generously sponsored by Canadian Tire, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit the Canadian Tire Destination Home Guide

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

7 Luck of the Irish Guinness Desserts for St. Patrick's Day!

There is nothing that screams Irish more than Guinness so in honour of  St. Patrick's Day this Sunday I've put together a group of Guinness desserts for the adults.

 

Guinness Chocolate Pudding:


This recipe from Closet Cooking combines Guinness with the delicious taste of chocolate.  Not only is Guinness used in the pudding recipe, it is also incorporated into the whipped cream for a double whammy of Irish cheer.



Image & Recipe - Closet Cooking

Guinness Ice Cream:


Ice cream sounds daunting I know but this recipe from Foodista for Guinness Ice Cream sounds surprisingly easy.  It only has 5 ingredients and the most difficult step is boiling beer.  That doesn't sound too difficult now, does it?


Image & Recipe - Foodista

Dark Chocolate Guinness Rice Krispie Treats:


The Sweet Chick has taken a kid's dessert and turned it into a dessert the adults will be fighting over.  With Guinness in the rice krispies and in the icing they will be a huge hit.


Image & Recipe: The Sweet Chick

 

Sweet & Salty Guinness Pie:


I am a sucker for anything that combines sweet and salty.  It is a flavour combination that I can't resist.  Now Kids in the Sink is throwing in Guinness.  Delicious!


Image & Recipe: Kids in the Sink

Guinness Float with Coffee Ice Cream:


Feeling like something a little more playful?  Why not try your hand at Fader magazine's recipe for a Guinness float.  Made with coffee ice cream, salty peanuts and chocolate sauce it is a drink and dessert all rolled into one delicious glass.


Image: The Post Social

Chewy Guinness Oatmeal Cookies:


This is a Guinness dessert you can take on the go.  Off to a St. Patty's day party?  Be the guest that gets invited back.  Take a batch of this No-Frills Recipe Chewy Guinness Oatmeal Cookies for the host or hostess. 


Image & Recipe: No Frills Recipes


Guinness Cake:


The traditionalists who prefer cake for dessert can make this delicious Guinness Cake.  I first shared Brian Leth's recipe with you last father's day.  It was a hit then and will be a hit again this St. Patrick's Day.


Chef Brian Leth's Guinness Cake - Image courtesy of People Magazine

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Feeling lucky?  Enter to win a Kathy & Kim Originals prizepack.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kathy & Kim Originals Review & Giveaway


My kids love things with their names on them.  My son can find his name on everything from keychains, to pencils, to toothbrushes.  My daughter on the other hand can't find her name on anything (except maybe Christmas ornaments). 



 
 
It's not just my kids either. Kids (and adults) love personalized items. With the multi-cultural nature of our country it can be difficult for many kids to find their names on generic items found in big box stores. In come Kathy & Kim Originals to the rescue.
 

Kathy & Kim Originals is a web based boutique offering personalized, one of kind items. From iPhone cases, to backpacks, to water bottles; they have something for everyone in your life. 


Kathy & Kim Originals is always coming up with new and innovative products. One of their latest and most popular items are these amazing shatterproof 11 oz. poly mugs
 




These mugs are great because they are completely shatterproof which means that your favourite cup can never be broken.  Think about how great these would be at the cottage or around the pool.  Without the worry of them getting broken you can put out a pitcher of water and let the kids help themselves - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  
 
 
My kids and I first tested them out with hot-chocolate.  I have to admit that I was a little worried about putting hot drinks in them because they aren't ceramic but it turns out they are 100% PBA/H free.   The material also keeps drinks at temperature longer than ceramic mugs.  They were a hit with us all!

I wanted to put ours in the bathroom because the kids are always mixing up their drinking cups. I would never dare to put a ceramic mug in the bathroom because we have ceramic tiles and I know that one would inevitably end up in pieces on the ground. Because these are shatterproof they are perfect!
 
 

 
Of course the kids had other ideas.  Both of them felt that they didn't want their mugs getting all 'gungy' with toothpaste (see...already their favourite) so they vetoed my bathroom idea and are now using them daily at breakfast and dinner.


 
 
 
Kathy & Kim Originals offers a specially priced Loot Bag Combo that includes a minimum order of 10 Poly Mugs that can be personalized to the guests at your party. You can make them all the same to match the theme of the party or mix and match designs, the choice is yours. These are the perfect loot bags because undoubtedly they will be cherished by each guest when they go home.  
 

Loot Bag Combo - 10 mugs in your choice of the same pattern or mix & match patterns.

Win a Kathy & Kim Originals Loot Bag Combo:

 
One lucky Creative Mama on a Dime reader will win a Kathy & Kim Originals Loot Bag Combo. That is 10 poly-mugs personalized just for you!
 
 


The Kathy & Kim Originals Loot Bag Combo has a retail value of $80 and contains ten 11oz. poly-mugs in your choice of either the KKO characters or Starring You designs.

Contest Ends Sunday March 31st, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Contest is open to Canadian residents only. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18+ to enter. Winner has 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or a new winner will be chosen.
 
Use the form below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...