Tuesday, 16 April 2019

EASTER BASKET IDEAS



One of my favorite seasons of  the year is Spring. And I love that Easter fits right in with the celebrations. I love putting together little Easter baskets for my kids and can't wait to share some ideas with you!

I always love including things I already need to buy them (swimsuits for summer, sandals, pajamas, sunglasses...), some crafty things, and a few little extra surprises for fun. And I usually include a couple of little treats too. I always remember getting sweets and I try to make it fun for my kids too.





I bought a cute little basket from Target a few years ago for the girls, and I've love reusing it each year. It saves me from hoarding too many baskets (I already have that big problem!) and I think it's sweet that they get the same basket each year for a memory.




Here's what I included this year in the kids baskets (with a few variations depending on gender and age...)

Sandals Each year brings a new pair of sandals! I have to get them for the kids anyways, and it's always more fun to receive it in a little basket than me handing it over to them!
Swimsuits Same goes with swimsuits! They grow quickly those little ones!
Dresses This year I got the girls some adorable spring swing dresses from @milaandrose The girls wear these ALL year round and I love that they are really affordable and hold up so well.
Pajamas I usually include some spring/summer jammies with the tshirts and shorts
Sunnies These are always a fun little add on. Ellie loooves her sunglasses! I got the pink flower ones from @wrenandrose
Books My favorite item to get the kids! I usually gift these early, so we can enjoy reading together leading up to Easter
Game Mostly for Ben who doesnt need any extra little things that the girls love!
Flower Seeds The kids love these. They take such good care of their seed plants and love to water them and check on them each day.
Stickers My girls still love stickers! I got theirs from Target.
Bunny painting craft These were only $1 at target, and is such a fun activity for a rainy afternoon at home
Bows Well, becuase we all love bows! Ellie got an adorable pink gingham bow from @wrenandrose. Maddie got some sweet tulle bows from @cutebirdkids
Calico Critter surprise pack Still one of the girls favorite toys to play with. This time I did a spring surprise critter. Let's hope there's no arguments!
Lipgloss/chapstick The girls just loooove chapstick!
Easter chocolates/sweets




I hope this gives you a little inspiration on what you can add into your little one's baskets!

Spring, we're so happy you're here!

Monday, 1 April 2019

MADDIE'S 6TH BIRTHDAY!



Last month we celebrated Maddie's 6th Birthday!



We had planned on throwing her an ice skating birthday party with our family friends and her school friends. Although I knew she'd have a blast at her party, I knew I wouldn't be able to set it up at the venue the way I would like to for a party. I came to terms with that, and decided to do a simple set up for her at home when we would do birthday cake on her actual birthday.



Each year I love doing a simple little party backdrop which sets the mood for celebrating. This year we went with a pale pink and silver theme. It seemed "icy" enough to match her party (which I'll be re-using the party decor for).




We've been getting a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for our kids for the last few years. It's their favorite cake for birthdays, and I really love that you can do alot to customize the cake. This year I went with a simple rainbow image. I asked for all white icing around the cake to give it a simple look. Then I added some cake toppers to make it a little more festive. I've been using reusable acrylic cake toppers for a while now and I can't say enough good things about them. They are reusable which means you can use them over and over again. And they add alot of fun without spending alot.






We did do some simple goody bags for the guests who were coming to the party. I loved the pale pink bags and little silver stars. We included snowflake cookie cutters (to match ice skating!), candies, and some other little goodies




Here's a few other tricks I love using to make birthday planning more on budget.

Dollar store balloons. They are super inexpensive and can alot of fun to your party. I've never met a kid who didn't love balloons.




Dollar supplies in your colour palette. My favorites are pastel ones. I really love getting simple dollar store plates and cutlery and then spending a bit more on some cute napkins/cups from a cute party store. Its like mix-and-match!

A pack of special napkins/cups are usually less expensive than the plates...and you often get alot more. And if you're setting a table, you can place the napkin right on top of the plate to make it more decorative.





Simple banners. For Maddie's birthday this year I re-used some banners we already had on hand. I did buy the triangle one from Michaels, but I used a coupon for 40% off to help a bit. But I've seen really inexpensive ones from Target that are just simple colors. They are perfect for adding a cute backdrop and can tie in your theme with just a simple color. And I always save mine to reuse. You can easily tape it to your wall with washi tape which usually comes off. Or if you have a mantle like mine, you can use some command wall hooks on the side and tie the banner to the hooks. I haven't taken my hooks off for months!






Mini Cupcakes. Maddie specifically requested no cake at her birthday this year. So we decided on vanilla cupcakes. To save a little on costs, I decided to purchase cupcakes at our local grocery store. I believe they were only $3 a box. They only had Valentines ones with heart sprinkles all over them. I decided to take all the heart sprinkles off and replaced them with my own cute sprinkles I have at home. This took less than an hour and I think they look adorable.





Fruit Salad. I love serving fruit at a party. Because you know kids are eating so much other junk already, it's nice to serve something healthy that they'll love to eat. I started doing this a few years ago because doing a fruit salad makes your fruit go SO much further. If I served plain ol' strawberries to a group of 15-20 kids, I would probably need 3-4 cartons of strawberries. In the winter that's pretty pricey. So I started doing a fruit salad and cutting up the fruit into smaller pieces. I usually use strawberries (quartered) , grapes (I half them), canned peeled mandarin oranges and sometimes pear/apple. I put them into a bowl with a big spoon to scoop. This makes the fruit last a lot longer at parties and parents are generally happy there is a fruit option.


Party hats. I love party hats because they are so fun to wear and scream party time! And they look so cute in pictures. You know its a party when there's party hats! I got mine this year in a pack of pastels from Daiso for only $2. Totally worth it in my opinion.





We loved celebrating our girl this year, and hope that some of these party ideas were helpful!





Tuesday, 12 February 2019

BEST SUGAR COOKIES


One of my favorite things to do with my kids is baking. Although it can get tricky with three young kids, I still love the process and outcome. I know my girls love baking with my as well, and I hope that as they get older we get to continue this sweet tradition.

I've always stayed away from sugar cookies as it seemed like so much work chilling the dough, rolling it out, cutting shapes and then decorating. I preferred simple drop cookies and felt most comfortable making them. But all my kids love sugar cookies and they always have so much fun decorating cupcakes. I've been on the hunt for a simple sugar cookie recipe and I can't wait to share it with you!



They are super yummy, easy to make (no need to chill the recipe!) and turned out really great.




Here's you go!

BEST SUGAR COOKIES

3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
3 cup flour

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add in sugar and egg. 
2. Once combined, add salt, baking powder, and vanilla.
3. Slowly add in flour and mix until combined.
4. Using your hands roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
5. Bake between 7-9 minutes. 
6. Transfer to a drying rack and let the cookies cool.
7. Ice and decorate cookies. Enjoy!

My husband loves buttercream icing and requested I make it for the cookies. I happily obliged and they turned out so tasty. 

I used the recipe from Jenny Cookies and they are perfect!




BUTTERCREAM ICING

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
3 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp whole milk

Cream the butter and Crisco together. Slowly add in sugar, vanilla and milk. Continue mixing until creamy.  

I separated my icing into three colors. I got some piping bags from Amazon and they worked great for piping the buttercream. (I got the bigger size bag so I could knot the ends so that nothing would come out that end. Perfect for little hands.) 
I took some plain white icing out first. Then added a light pink color to the mix. I took half of that out into a piping bag. Then I added more pink to the remaining icing and added the rest in another piping bag. 






My kids loved making these cookies for Valentines Day and had so much fun decorating them. 





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