28 September 2011

Makes Me Happy: A Sauna on the Beach

Somebody's heart and soul goes into this project each summer when he hauls the components out of the shelter of the forest to reassemble it on the beach. The winters here would otherwise tear it apart. Located an hour's dirt road drive from the highway and no electricity, it's an impressive feat. And he shares it with anyone who comes along. Just don't forget to stoke the fire. That makes me happy.

27 September 2011

Playful Learning: Poetry Box

I'm taking this super inspirational e-course with Mariah Bruehl of the book Playful Learning. Our homework this week is to experiment with creating a playful learning box. I decided to do one on poetry. I definitely didn't take the easy road here, I wasn't sure if Spud would be interested but it was a great success! A very fun way to spend a weekend morning!

· Dollar store bin
· 2 library books as reference and introduction to types of poetry (Barron's Rhyming Dictionary and Raps, Riddles and Concrete)
· A tin with strips of words for glueing (free printable here)
· Paper
· Alphabet stickers
· Stencils
· Scissors, glue, pencil, eraser, crayons — and Sharpie upon request!

Spud was definitely intrigued by all the things he found in the box. With some encouragement and direction he took to the project hesitantly at first but with determination through to the end. I read a few samples of short poems from the book. We talked about how they didn't all rhyme but that they all seemed to paint a picture or evoke an emotion through words. We also noted that they tended to use very few words to convey their message. Finally, and this was tough for Spud, sometimes poems break the "rules". He busted out of his shell a little bit and was pretty proud of his work in the end.

So here it is ... Spud's first poem:
One midnight underneath the
moon a cozy country
barn house in tree shade.


26 September 2011

Write-A-Poem Printable


We've been dabbling around in poetry of late, Spud and I, so I made up this activity to do this past weekend. It's a pdf now waiting to be downloaded here.

Simply print, cut, paste, and enjoy. And leave a note to let us know how it went. I'm putting together a post of what we did with it soon.

24 September 2011

Guest Post on whipup: Custom Lunch Bag

I've been bursting at the seams with excitement to share this! I'm guest posting on one of my favourite blogs, whipup, today! Pop over and check out how we made Spud's fleece-lined lunch bag out of my Spoonflower Robot Gear Garden fabric. It fits our tiffins and a newly acquired round stackable lunch thingy we found at IKEA. Leave a note if you like.

Look at the bottom of the lunch bag! Not gonna lie ... pretty happy with the way it all turned out.

23 September 2011

Homemade Sushi for Lunch

So, keeping in line with our Friday-school-lunch-avoidance-plan we made homemade California rolls last night so Spud's could have one in his lunch today. Look at that little fish container full of soy sauce! It's all worth it just for that.

This was the first time making sushi as a family and we are totally doing this again. It was a fun, casual roll-and-eat sort of dinner with all the makings laid out on the table. At some point Spud exclaimed "I can't believe I'm eating a California roll I made MYSELF!".

And the parents snuck in a tuna roll and some tuna sashimi too.

17 September 2011

Happy Weekend: Blueberry Pancakes

Well, we ran out of syrup this morning. Improvise! Blueberry coulis from some of those millions of blueberries in the freezer and vanilla yogurt. Yum. Happy weekend everyone!

16 September 2011

Mini Macaroni Pie

We whipped up 6 of these, mini macaroni pies, last night. That's a Ritz cracker crust in all its fatty and salty glory. It all started with a little negotiation session with Spud where he announced that he feels left out when he doesn't get school lunches. We've done the program in the past, for one day a week, and it's fine. He gets his fill of macaroni and cheese, pizza and California rolls. But Hubs and I thought it would be better to save the money and instead make a promise to include one of the above said items, or variation thereof, each Friday. Well, at 10 o'clock last night, it was pretty much the last thing that we wanted to do, but together we made it happen pretty painlessly. And we watched Master Chef in between oven checks. Here's the recipe (modified from epicurious):

1.25 C. Ritz crackers, crushed
1.75 C. cheddar cheese, grated
2 T. butter, melted
2.25 C. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. milk
1/4 C. cream cheese, cut in pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 6 cups of a muffin pan. In a bowl, combine the crackers, 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese, and the melted butter. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups and press firmly in the bottom and up the sides of the cups.

In a large bowl, mix the macaroni with 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, and cream cheese. Stir the milk mixture into the macaroni.

Divide macaroni mixture into each cracker crust and top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake about 25 minutes or until cheese is browned. Allow to cool a bit before unmolding.

So here is this school year's first "homemade school lunch".

· mini carrots
· apple chunks
· cucumber stars

· mini macaroni pie
· wiener octopus

Now we have 5 more mini pies. Hopefully these freeze well! Stay tuned for our pizza and California roll renditions.

14 September 2011

Makes Me Happy: A Rootbeer Float ...

... in a mid-Century-esque diner. Well, it was the whole experience that made me happy because I don't even like root beer. But Hubs does. A lot. And that makes me happy.

08 September 2011

Reading Nook

We've always wondered what we should do with this awkward space in our bedroom. Add a pendulum light, a bean bag chair, some artwork, a kid, and a stack of books, and you have a reading nook.

06 September 2011

Personalized Water Bottles

So, last year we pretty much went through water bottles, like they were, well, water actually. Spud is still learning how to keep track of his stuff. We came up with 2 ideas that might make this a whole lot less painful this year. Well, 3 if you include the natural maturation that happened over the past 10 weeks (one can hope, right?).

We searched high and low for cheap water bottles, since we know we won't have them for long; found these metal ones for $4. We bought two even though we know they will likely leak. Frankly, in my experience, so do the $20 ones once they've been dropped and bounced, as what tends to happen.

Next, I bought an oil paint Sharpie marker to doodle on them with, so they would stand out among the plethora of water bottles at school. One has my crazy doodles of a submarine and the other a trailer in the field. The latter has a sunrise coming up from behind, which I had to explain to Spud when he asked what the big spiky thing on the trailer was. I definitely didn't get too precious with my doodles ... because I'll never know when I may never see them again.

05 September 2011

Homework Caddies

I posted about the idea of having a homework caddy on ohdeedoh recently; a portable homework station is exactly what we apartment dwellers need, since we don't have room for a dedicated homework space. 

I found this simple solution at Michaels. Spud was thrilled to be able to decorate it.

I'm pretty smitten with his eye for composition at this point ... but that's an aside.

So that should more than meet any homework supply needs he has. But I couldn't resist making one that houses markers and pencil crayons as well.

This started out as a 6 pack of ... ahem ... beer. A lot of cutting, scoring, folding and double-sided taping and now Spud has 6 compartments to organize some of his drawing supplies too. I think Hubs called my process caddigami. Or was it oricaddy? I can't remember but it pretty much summed up the project.

04 September 2011

Gym Strip Bags

Another back to school project I've been working on: simple drawstring bags for Spud's gym strip.

I had some fun playing with some with the different fabrics in my Robot Gear Garden fabric collection.

03 September 2011

From Pants to Zippered Pouch in Seconds

Do you ever have one of those moments when you have an idea and you think "hey, I might be smarter than I thought". Well, it doesn't happen to me very often but it did the other day when I was turning Spud's too-short-for-him track pants into shorts. After I cut off the bottoms, I noticed they had cute little red zippers in them. 

So I ran the sewing machine along the two open ends, and now he has a zippered pouch to put his treasures in.

In fact, Spud could have two of these pouches AND a pair of shorts. That's a 3-in-1 deal I like. Smart, huh?

01 September 2011

Spring Cleaning — In the Fall


So it turns out that the first day of school is an excuse to have a spring cleaning — in the fall — for us. I've been using the day after Labour Day as a deadline for all kinds of exciting projects. Including organizing Spud's school papers from kindergarten and grade 1.

First I bought this box at an office supplies store, and some hanging folders, then made some labels, and started shoving it all in.

About 3/4 of it went into recycling but there are a lot of real keepers. My favourites are the stories Spud wrote over the school year. Totally precious.

Now here is our inbox for all the bits of paper we collect in the months coming up. The idea is that at the end of each year (or more likely the beginning of the next) I'll sort through the inbox and file away the keepers in the big plastic file box. Of course none of this includes his artwork yet. That's a whole other category I'm tackling next.