As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and
create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not
only the world around you but also the world within you.
~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Rapunzel,Rapunzel, Let Down Your Long Hair!"

Like many little girls, my daughter has a major love for the character "Rapunzel". Since seeing the Disney movie "Tangled," she has been using my husband's ties, our blankets, scarves, and pretty much anything she could find to create her own long hair.
This summer while at the Disney store, I saw a Rapunzel braid that was easy for Anni to put on herself and that wasn't as heavy as many wigs out there. I thought it was a great design and gave the effect of having that sought after long hair. The only problem was the price tag of $25. I knew that there must be a way to recreate it!

Here is the Disney store version: (picture taken with an iphone)

Here is my version.

The yarn was bought at Wal-Mart. I loved this as it is so soft and doesn't tangle as easily as your traditional yarn.

I put an elastic at one end and used a dresser (because my husband is studying for exams and is not home......) to hold it while I braided.

I used little pieces of the yarn to tie the loop together and tucked the pieces of yarn in.

I made some flower clips that Anni can take on and off and change as she pleases.

I can't wait to see all the fun Anni has with her new "hair" on Christmas morning!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Family History This Christmas

Christmastime is such a great time to spend time with our families, and often we get to see family that live far away. I came across this article that I thought had some great ideas for ways to link our families (past and present) together a little better!

I know I am going to try to do a few of these this Christmas!

Go Here to check out the article!

The trivia game would be a blast, and I think I might have to do something like that "family tree" next year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Genealogy Fan Chart

The past few months I have come down with a severe case of Genealogyitis-----I love it! Here is an exciting link to check out! You can create a fan chart of your family tree by simply logging on to New Family Search.

What a great idea!

Genealogy Fan Chart

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Fun 2011

Since the Holiday season is underway, I thought I would share are a few of the activities and good finds I have come across. These are simple and affordable, so enjoy!

Storytime Advent:
Anni LOVES books, and so for our "advent" this year I wanted to incorporate the reading of Christmas books. I have been collecting Christmas books all year from the thrift store. I am going to wrap each one individually and have them in a box under the tree to open one each night. This will also help with her urge to open presents early.

Snowman Fun! At the Real Canadian Superstore right now they have "Snowmen Kits" for $9. The kit includes a nice big felt hat, scarf and all the accessories for a decked out snowman! This is going to be fun, and I am pretty sure $9 is cheaper than I could have made it for.

Gingerbread "Boys" or "Girls"--the cheater's version. My husband grew up with the tradition of making gingerbread boys each year. As I have kept up the tradition the last few years I have found the only downside is making the actual dough! Talk about putting your mixer to the test! This stuff is thick. When I saw that Pilsbury had come out with a tube of gingerbread dough for a couple dollars, I decided that was well worth it! I also found this at Superstore.! I have loved online shopping for gifts this year. is one of my favourite and most trusted sites. They have a real range of items for every budget. For example, my dad is so hard to shop for so I was excited to find him this WWII puzzle! He is a history buff and loves puzzles! Yeah for!

5.Nativity Window Stick-Ons -- I didn't know what to call these things, but you know what I'm talking about. Anni has been having fun playing with these on the window. They came on a sheet at Wal-Mart for $0.99.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Birthday Fun!

Birthdays are such a great time to focus on those special people we love! This year for Anni's birthday she requested a "My Little Pony" party. I wanted to keep it simple as I am realizing that a lot of times doing all the extra "fluff" just isn't worth the energy at this point in my life with two little kids to take care of. I did want to keep the party focused on Anni and the things we love about her.
When you have all adults come for the party it's easy to talk about things that aren't fun for the kids, so I made up a little "Anni Trivia" game, which also doubled as the centerpiece. This kept us talking about Anni and kept her engaged and at the center of the party.
I had made up questions and discussed them with Anni earlier in the day to make sure she knew what she wanted her answers to be. It turned out well and Anni loved having people talk about things she is interested in!
A few examples of questions are:
-What is Anni's favourite book?
-What does Anni love for a bedtime snack?
-Where was Anni born?

The party cups.....Anni helped me pick out stickers to apply to clear plastic cups.

For food we went with a homemade McDonalds night. Anni loves hamburgers from McD's so I made our favourite slowcooker hamburgers (which make things nice and easy!)
Here's the recipe:

1 lb. Hamburger shaped into patties (or use premade patties)
1 cup ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp onion (diced)
3/4 c. water
3 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1/2 cup salsa (the secret ingredient for a really nice flavour!) You can even use less ketchup or bbq sauce when adding the salsa if you would like.

Brown the hamburger patties on frying pan. Place in slow cooker. Mix up the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the hamburgers. Cook on low for 6ish hours.
Serve on buns with all the fixins!

We served the burgers with homemade fries with the seasoning found here, as well as a veggie platter. Simple but yummy!

Here is a couple of the gifts Anni received. Tess whipped up both of these and I thought they were so cute!

A personalized pie with beans inside:

The apron:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Wreath

If you are looking for a cheap and easy Halloween wreath to throw together in a matter of minutes, here ya' go......I used a wreath I already had, garbage bags cut into 1.5 inch wide strips and tied into bows. The spooky wood word is from the dollar store and was 3 bucks!

- Tess

Friday, October 7, 2011

Something Spooky!

Here is a little craft my daughter Anni and I have been working on. She is pretty into Halloween as her birthday is only a few days off from it. She has been having fun making our house "spooky" the last few days.

For this project I used some framed pictures/paintings guessed it, Value Village. Anni helped me paint over the old picture with craft paint. We gave it a few coats and then once dry we cut out some scrapbook paper we had and using Mod Podge we attached it to the frame. We covered the entire frame in the Mod Podge to protect it and seal it.

We then headed over to my crafty sister-in-law's house and used her Cricut to cut out some silhouettes that I found online. I used vinyl as I thought it would hold up well. ps---I learned that "dingbats" are what you call these images online that you can use on cutters like Cricuts or Silhouettes.

I picked up some black ribbon from Michaels and doubled up with a thick grosgrain and a sparkly ribbon, tied them in bows and attached to the back of the frames with a glue gun.

And there you have it! They were fun and Anni thinks they are sure "spooky"!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September Stew

Are you like me and have a freezer with lots of stew meat that is calling to be used? Well, I found this recipe on Pintrest and really enjoyed it! I made a few adjustments to work with what I had time for (the crockpot, not the oven). It comes from the great little blog Life As A Lofthouse.

Oven Baked Stew (which I turned into a crockpot recipe)
6 servings

1 (1 oz) package of Dry Onion Soup mix
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 pound lean Beef Stew Meat (cut up into bite sized pieces)
2-3 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
3 large Carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 an Onion, chopped
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 cup Ketchup

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large plastic bag, combine the dry onion soup mix, salt and paprika. Add in meat and shake the bag to coat meat with the seasonings. Place into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

Top meat evenly with diced potatoes, carrots and onion.

Mix the cream of celery soup and ketchup in a small bowl. Pour all over the meat and vegetables. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours.

(My directions differ here. I was using frozen stew meat so I defrosted it, then browned it in the frying pan and while doing so I sprinkled the paprika, onion soup mix and salt on it. After the meat was browned, I put it in the crock pot on low with the carrots, chopped onion, cream of celery, ketchup and potatoes. I cooked it on low for about 7 hours. It was yummy!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hutch Redo

I picked up a wood hutch off Kijiji a few months ago (actually my husband carried it down an apartment building staircase by himself.....what a good man). It was a steal for $40. I loved the shutters and was excited to try out my new paint gun and air compressor.
With the help of my knowledgeable sister-in-law, we sanded, painted and transformed this piece. I decided to leave the top wood and just restained it to a darker stain.
Unfortunately the top half of the hutch doesn't fit in the spot I have for it in my house, but I am really happy with how it turned out!



I lucked out and was able to sell the hutch I had for enough to cover the price of the new one, as well as all the paint and supplies for refinishing.
I think I may be addicted to painting and refinishing furniture! I have already purchased a wood desk to redo, but that may have to wait until the spring.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Kids Room

I have been busy trying to redo the little room for our kids to share. Our little Preston and Anni have become roomies and it has actually gone really well!
It was fun to try to arrange things to all fit in this little room, and to try to make things look new and fun using things we had, and by picking up a few things at the second hand store.
Here is how it turned out:

Anni's side of the room:

I love how the oversized picture (printed from Costco---only $2.99) turned out in the Ikea frame. It was a great pic and makes me smile every time I go in there.
-I made the clustered pom pom hanging by making some paper fans, and using this tutorial for paper doily pompoms. I bought the doilies at Dollorama.
The "A" was one I had and just painted, then hung inside the frame that I already had.

The Side Table:

-I found this little wicker footrest at Homesense on clearance for $15. I just couldn't pay the $75 for a nightstand that every store seemed to be asking, so this will work for now.
-Anni loves to read at night, so I put up a little Ikea shelf beside her bed where she can reach and place a few books that she wants to have by her bed. It is working well so far!

Preston's Side:

--I have been collecting embroidery hoops at Value Villages around the city for a couple months with this project in mind. The hoops ranged form $0.50 to $1.99 for the biggest one. I was able to use fabric that I had to place inside. I found the "P" at Goodwill! That was lucky! I think it turned out great and was cheap and easy!


-I found this mirror at Value Village for $6 and painted it. I also glued on a magnet that I had in the center top to add a little character.

There are still some little things to do, but the room is functional and nice and cozy for the kids. They are loving being roomies and it has been so nice to get our living room back!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baby Boy Sports Shower

Well, it was baby shower time again.....this time for a sweet little boy.
It was a lot of fun to put together this shower for a long time friend. Some fun decorations, with some yummy and easy food and a few simple games combined for a fun night.

My friend and her husband are both big sports fans, so I tried to incorporate a sporty look to the party, combined with a country feel for this small town family.

Here is the link for the "Peanut Butter Popcorn". The recipe directs to make balls with it, but I just served it in a big bowl and broke the popcorn into small chunks.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hair Clips

Here are some hair clips I made for an upcoming wedding for the little flower girls. One will be on a clip and the other on a headband because my baby doesn't have much for hair! The wedding is a vintage style wedding so the assortment of cute old buttons I found worked out just perfectly!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's a Shower!

I got to throw a friend a baby shower last week and had a lot of fun thinking of a few ideas of things to make for it!

Here is a few pictures and a recipe from the shower.

The button monogram. I have been wanting to try my hand at one of these for a long time, and thought it would be a cute addition to a little girl's room. I used a plain ol' glue gun to attach the buttons onto some cross-stitch fabric, and then some jewlery adhesive for the pearls and rhinestones. I used a small Ikea frame and attached it to the board using the glue gun as well.

The board is a 12 x 12 MDF board that I had cut at Home Depot. I used mod podge to adhese the scrapbook paper. I also did a thin layer of mod podge over the finished monogram and the cross-stitch fabric just to make it a little more durable.

The hanging lanterns I had picked up at Pier 1 a while ago. I wanted to make the neutral lime green a little more girly, and in keeping with the colours for the theme of the party I made some little rolled flowers out of crepe paper (streamers) that I had bought from the dollar store.

I attached the flowers using "Zots" (a scrapbook glue dot that can be found at Michaels or any scrapbook store), and used good ol' Scotch tape to keep the flowers together.

One of the little finger foods I made for the shower was some "Turtle Bites". They were a hit and were also easy to make! Here is the recipe, but watch out, they are addicting and very easy to justify eating as they are small!

Turtle Bites (recipe from Krystyn Jahn)

Two Bite Brownies (big box from Costco) 1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese 1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups whipping cream 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups icing sugar 1/2 cup pecan pieces

1/4 cup milk chocolate

First cut the center of the brownie bites out, not all the way through on each brownie and kind of shape the sides (a melon baller works well). Second, cream the cream cheese (works best if it has been out at room temp.) then add the icing sugar and cream together. Third, melt the chocolate on the stove top or microwave (I usually add a little milk). Fourth, mix it into the cream cheese mixture. Next whip 2 cups whipping cream and then fold into the cream cheese. Put cream cheese mixture into a large Ziploc and snip the bottom.

Caramel: In saucepan combine 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk. Stir continuously so that bottom doesn't burn and let boil for about 2 minutes. While hot, put a small amount in each brownie and then pipe the cream cheese mixture in using the Ziploc (be generous here!). Place a small pecan on to of each one and place in fridge to set up. Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Gift---from the kids

Check out Tess's great mother's day gift on her blog:

Happy Mothers Day

For my primary class this Sunday I made a little treat for the kids to give their moms. Feel free to copy it if you are in need of an idea! I just happened to have a bunch of baby food jars kicking around and was able to put them to good use! Who doesn't love HOT LIPS!

This i my favourite of all time quotes! This is what the complete quote from Sister Hinckley says:

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Great idea Tess!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Salad Dressing----Family Recipe

Tangy Salad Dressing.....From our Family to Yours!

This is a treasured family recipe of ours. This is my Great Grandma Karren's recipe, and I grew up always having a jar in our fridge. There was no jars of Mayo or Miracle whip around, just this good stuff! It is meant for potato salad, but also goes great on sandwiches, and my dad's favourite is on a toast with freshly sliced tomatoes and a little salt and pepper! Enjoy!

1 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 heaping tbsp flour (sometimes 3)
2 tsp dry mustard
4 eggs

Beat all ingredients and cook in double boiler until thick, stirring often and beating with electric mixer. When thick, put in Mason jar and cover with lid. Makes 1 quart.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Time!

I thought this was such a cute and simple idea! Check it out at Auntie Lolo Crafts! You could use this idea for any holiday, or even do a monogram. I made a similar one using a canvas from the Dollar Store for St. Patrick's day with a Shamrock shape and green, white and black buttons.

What are you up to for Spring crafting?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

50 Years Young

Party time! We hosted my mother-in-law's 50th birthday party at our house a little while back. For the decorations I found these paper lanterns at Pier 1 on clearance for $1.50 each (regular $12!). I got some old photos of her printed at Costco and stuck them in some frames from Ikea ($0.99 each) and added some buttons with Zots for a little embelishment on the frames.

(not the best pic......sorry!)

The meal turned out great! I have been loving my cookbook from Our Best Bites and everything came from there.

We had:

Green Salad

Cookie Pie with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce (I really like my recipe.....2 c. sugar with 1 can evaporated milk, 1 cup margarine and 1/2 cup cocoa......bring to boil and let simmer for 10 good and easy!)


We finished off the night reading through a scrapbook I put together with my sister-in-law which was comprised of letters from family to my mother-in-law and pictures of her life! It was a great evening!