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September 30, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 30, 2013


The weather...
Mix of sun and cloud, wind and rain!  Lows of -1C this week, high of 18C.  

Right now I am...

Typing this post up while enjoying my morning cup of tea.   

Thinking...

about all the things I have to do this week to prepare for Miss S's birthday.

On my reading pile...

Still reading Pride and Prejudice.

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Baked chicken with Spanish rice and green beans
Tuesday: Gammon steak with baked beans and poached eggs
Wednesday: Baked salmon with broccoli and rice pilaf
Thursday: Barbecue pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes and salad
Friday: Leftovers/buffet night
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Spaghetti bolognaise with salad

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Work on shop orders

On my to do list...this week

Grocery shopping
Final shopping for Miss S's birthday
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Clean Marlin

What I am creating this week...
Birthday cake, cookies and party decorations.

Looking forward to this week...

Miss S's pottery painting party.

Looking around the house...

Miss C building Lego, starting to decorate for fall, floor needs mopping.

From the camera...


If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

September 27, 2013

Homemade Pizza Crust


This is a very easy crust to mix up and something the girls really enjoy helping with. 

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water (110F / 45C)
1 tbsp white sugar
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425F. 

2.  Stir water, sugar and yeast together in a large bowl until dissolved.

3.  Add the olive oil and salt and stir again. 

4.  Add the flour and stir together until well blended. 

5.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

6.  Pat dough into pan or onto a pizza stone using your fingers. 

7.  Top with your favourite pizza toppings.

8.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. 


Enjoy!

September 26, 2013

My Daily Schedule



I like having a daily schedule.  Schedules provide a basic structure to my day and help the children feel secure as they know what to expect next. But remember you also have to be flexible with your time when you are a mom to little ones!

To make a daily schedule, set up a document in Word or Excel with columns for the time and the tasks you have to do.  Start by looking at your day.  Are there tasks you have to do at a certain time?  For example, waking up at the same time every day to ensure your children are at the school bus stop on time, after school activities, nap times for the little ones and meal times.  

Next, schedule tasks that you have to do without the children.  These are tasks such as paying bills, menu planning or writing blog posts when you need a block of time to concentrate or are too dangerous to do with small children present, such as shredding paper or ironing.  Schedule these in for nap times or after the children have gone to bed for the night.  

Remember to also schedule play times in with your children and any rest times you need.  

Here's what my daily schedule currently looks like.

Morning

5:30 am - Up. Breakfast. Pack Miss S's lunch and books into backpack.  Miss C normally hears me and will wake up at this time.  

5:45 am - Prepare breakfast for the girls.

6:00 am - Shower and dress.  The girls dressed and ready.

7:00 am - Walk Miss S to school bus stop.  In summer Miss C and I head to the park to play after saying goodbye to Miss S. 

7:20 am - Arrive home and start one load of laundry.  Check email.  

7:30 am - Washing up / empty dishwasher.   Clean kitchen.  Meat out to defrost for dinner. Play with Miss C.  

8:30 am - Snack.

8:45 am - Cleaning /weekly tasks.  Swap laundry to tumble dryer.  Miss C plays independently or will help me with chores.  If it is errand day, we will go out at this time and come home for lunch time. 

10:00 am - Play with Miss C.

11:00 am - Lunch time.  Prepare Miss C's snack for preschool and put into backpack.  

11:30 am - Nap for Miss C.  Clean up from lunch.  Check email / work on blog or Etsy shop orders.

12:00 am - Fold and put away laundry.  Cleaning / weekly tasks.  

Afternoon / Evening

1:00 pm - Miss C up from nap.  Dressed and ready for preschool.

1:30 pm - Take Miss C to preschool.

1:45 pm -  Work on blog or Etsy shop orders.

3:00 pm - Collect Miss S from school bus stop.  Collect mail.

3:15 pm - Snack.  Make Miss S's lunch for tomorrow.  Sort mail.  Miss S. starts homework (spellings).

3:45 pm - Collect Miss C from preschool.

4:00 pm - Dinner prep.

5:00 pm - Dinner time.

5:45 pm - Clean up from dinner.  Play with girls.

6:45 pm - Miss C has bath and goes to bed.  I lay out her clothes for the morning.  Miss S tidies up toys and does more homework (reading or math games).

7:15 pm - Miss S chooses her clothes for the morning, then has a bath and reads a story.

7:45 pm - Miss S's bedtime.

8:00 pm - Pick up toys and then relax.  Read blogs.  Crafting time.  Time to myself or with DH.

10:00 pm - Bedtime routine.  Read.

10:30 pm - Lights out.


What does your daily schedule look like?  

September 23, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 23, 2013


The weather...
Chilly and windy.  I think it's time to turn the heating on in the house!    

Right now I am...

Drinking my protein shake and planning my day.  

Thinking...

About my life and changes that may be happening later in the year.  

On my reading pile...

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (one of my favourites!)

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
Tuesday: Beef hash with jacket potatoes
Wednesday: Chicken pie with mashed carrots
Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Friday: Leftovers/buffet night
Saturday: Fish and chips
Sunday: Roast beef with trimmings

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Work on shop orders

On my to do list...this week

Grocery shopping
Take Miss C to the dentist
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Prepare goodie bags for Miss S's birthday
Plan Miss S's birthday cake and buy ingredients
Dig out garden and prepare for winter
Buy a gift for my friend's little girl's birthday and make her a birthday card

What I am creating this week...
Fall wreath

Looking forward to this week...

Family photos this weekend.

Looking around the house...

Miss C playing on her keyboard, delicious lemon and vanilla scent coming from the air freshener on my stove, breakfast dishes to wash.  

From the camera...


September 21, 2013

Announcing: 31 Days of Autumn


I'm excited to announce that I will be linking up with The Nester to enter her 31 days challenge.  Last year there were over 1,200 bloggers who linked up and wrote on a topic of their choice every day in October. 

I have decided to write about autumn.  I love the smells, the crispness in the air, the colours and the food!  I shall be sharing recipes, craft ideas, family activities and autumnal fun.  

What do you love about autumn?  I hope you'll join me every day this October.    

Will you join me in this challenge?  What will your topic be?

September 20, 2013

Bloglovin

Just wanted to let my readers know that I am now on bloglovin.  Please be patient with me as I figure out the site!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thanks everyone!

Roast Beef Italian Soup

Roast Beef Italian Soup

This soup is a great way to use up any leftover roast beef and vegetables you may have in your fridge.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 cups diced roast beef
2 cups beef stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp dried basil
8 - 10 button mushrooms, chopped into quarters

Directions:

1.  Heat olive oil in a saute pan and cook onions for two to three minutes.

2.  Add the peppers and cook for another two to three minutes.

3.  Add the beef, stock, tomatoes, oregano, basil and mushrooms to the pan.

4.  Cook over a medium low heat for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  When soup has cooked to desired consistency, taste for seasoning and serve.

Enjoy!



September 18, 2013

Our Favourite Playdough Recipe

Playdough Recipe


One of the girls' favourite activities is playing with playdough.  This is our favourite recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup salt (I use table salt)
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil (I use canola)
food colouring, if desired

Directions:

Put the flour, cream of tartar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Add the water and vegetable oil.  Heat over a medium low heat.  The mixture will start to thicken and be lumpy.  Add food colouring, if using and stir.  The dough will clump together in a big lump and will no longer be wet.  Turn out onto wax or parchment paper and leave to cool for about 10 - 15 minutes.  Knead until smooth and you have playdough!

This stores really well in a ziploc baggie for a few months.   

Have fun!

September 16, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 16, 2013


The weather...
Beautiful today.  High of 26C.  Cooling down for the rest of the week with rain. 

Right now I am...

Planning out my week.

Thinking...

That I hope my niece has a happy, fun birthday today.

On my reading pile...

Sisters of the Quilt by Cindy Woodsmall

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Chicken curry with rice and naan bread
Tuesday: Fish fingers, peas and salad
Wednesday: Dinner out (to celebrate our anniversary)
Thursday: Cheeseburger pie with salad
Friday: Homemade pizza
Saturday: Dinner out with family
Sunday: Roast chicken with trimmings

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Work on shop orders

On my to do list...this week

Grocery shopping
House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Make invitations for Miss S's birthday

What I am creating this week...
Invitations, birthday cards, updated recipe binder.

Looking forward to this week...

Dinner out on Wednesday for some quiet time with DH. 

Looking around the house...

DH has left for the airport (business trip), Miss C is watching tv, dishwasher is on, washing machine is whirring away and we have fresh air blowing through the house.  Not a bad start to Monday.  

From the camera...
The weather...
Cooling down but still sunny this week.  

Right now I am...

Making lunch and planning the rest of the day.  

Thinking...

That I would love a nap today!

On my reading pile...

Yours, Faithfully by Sheila O'Flanagan  

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Homemade mac and cheese with broccoli
Tuesday: Baked chicken with Spanish rice and green beans
Wednesday: Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches
Thursday: Chicken fajitas
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Baked salmon with salad

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Work on shop orders
Grocery shopping

On my to do list...this week

House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Start planning Miss S's birthday party
Listing items to sell on Kijiji
Change bed linens

What I am creating this week...

Freezer meals

Looking forward to this week...

Enjoying the nice weather while it is here.  Maybe I will sit on the deck and read for a while when Miss C is in preschool.  

Looking around the house...

Not too bad.  I managed to get quite a lot of work done last week.  Dishes need to be washed and put away and there's an ironing pile to tackle.  

From the camera...
- See more at: http://simplejoysofhome.blogspot.ca/#sthash.xX3Dqcne.dpuf
Bunting Birthday Card
Bunting birthday card I made for a friend's birthday

If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

 

September 13, 2013

Granola Recipe

Granola Recipe

Granola is a staple in our home.  We enjoy it with yogurt, as a snack on the go (with added dried fruit and nuts), as cereal with milk or sprinkled over ice cream.

Ingredients:

2 cups quick cook oatmeal
1 heaped cup mixed nuts (for example, almonds, walnuts)
¼ cup mixed seeds (for example, poppy)
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups dried fruit (for example, raisins, cranberries)
Up to 5 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
Up to 5 tablespoons olive oil

Directions: 

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. 

2.  Put your dry ingredients, except the dried fruit, on a baking tray (lined with parchment paper).

3.  Stir well and smooth out. 

4.  Drizzle as desired with the maple syrup / honey and olive oil and stir again. 

5.  Place the pan in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

6.  Every 5 minutes or so, take the granola out and stir it, then smooth it down with a wooden spoon and put it back into the oven. 

7.  When the granola is golden, remove it from the oven, mix in the dried fruit and let cool. 

8.  Will keep in an air tight container for approximately 2 weeks.

September 11, 2013

5 Simple Ways to Show Your Child Love


Here are 5 simple ways to show your child that you love them.

1.  Spend Time With Them

Send your child a card in the mail with a coupon for them to spend time with you doing something they enjoy. Watch a movie, play board games, go ice skating or out for lunch or ice cream.  Try and aim for both mom and dad to have an individual date with each child once a month.  

2.  Tell Baby Stories

My girls love to do this.  Look at baby books or photo albums and talk about when they were born and how excited you were.  Tell stories of when they were young and what great family times you had together.    

3.  Create Family Traditions

Family traditions are special to your family and really help create a bond.  Eat dinner together each evening, read stories before bedtime, have a special song you sing when you travel in the car, have a dance party every Friday.  You can also have certain things that you do on holidays.  For example, make gingerbread houses at Christmas or hunt for eggs at Easter.  These help shape your family and create memories full of happiness and comfort.  

4.  Be Present

Be present in the moment with your child.  If you are building Lego, focus on just doing that.  Try not to run through your to-do list in your head or check email on your phone.  When watching your child play soccer, encourage them from the sidelines.  If your child is talking to you, give them your full attention.  Bend down to their level, look them in the eyes and really listen while your child talks to you. Make them feel important because they are!

5.  Tell Them You Love Them

Hug them, kiss them, tell them that you love them every day.  Write love letters and notes of encouragement and leave them on their pillow before bed, in their lunch boxes or send them in the mail.  Children love to hear that they are important to you and make you happy.


September 09, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 9, 2013


The weather...
Cooling down but still sunny this week.  

Right now I am...

Making lunch and planning the rest of the day.  

Thinking...

That I would love a nap today!

On my reading pile...

Yours, Faithfully by Sheila O'Flanagan  

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Homemade mac and cheese with broccoli
Tuesday: Baked chicken with Spanish rice and green beans
Wednesday: Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches
Thursday: Chicken fajitas
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Baked salmon with salad

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Work on shop orders
Grocery shopping

On my to do list...this week

House cleaning
Paperwork/filing
Start planning Miss S's birthday party
Listing items to sell on Kijiji
Change bed linens

What I am creating this week...

Freezer meals

Looking forward to this week...

Enjoying the nice weather while it is here.  Maybe I will sit on the deck and read for a while when Miss C is in preschool.  

Looking around the house...

Not too bad.  I managed to get quite a lot of work done last week.  Dishes need to be washed and put away and there's an ironing pile to tackle.  

From the camera...
My new book!  Bought from my local bookstore for only $5.99.  Can't wait to read it.  

If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.


September 06, 2013

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger (more or less depending on preference)
vegetable oil
1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with enough water to make the cornstarch dissolve
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
6 button mushrooms, sliced

Directions:

1.  Put the water, brown sugar, white sugar, white vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder and ginger into a measuring jug and whisk together until combined.

2.  Add about 1 - 2 tbsp oil to a pan and once heated, cook the chicken pieces over a medium heat for a few minutes.

3.  Add the sauce (from the jug).  Gently stir together.

4.  Add the cornstarch mixture and stir in.

5.  Add the vegetables and stir.  

5.  Cook for approximately 15 - 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

6.  Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as needed (add more sugar or vinegar).

6.  Serve over rice.

Variations:

You can add pineapple chunks, yellow pepper, yellow onion, green onions (scallions) or whatever combination of vegetables that your family enjoys.

Happy Eating!

September 05, 2013

Preschool!


Miss C had her first day of preschool yesterday.  She was a little apprehensive, but when we arrived, she couldn't wait to start playing.  A few hours later, when I went to collect her, she was excitedly telling me about all the fun she had.  She can't wait to go back!

September 04, 2013

Homemade Ice Packs


Homemade Ice Packs

Ice packs are great for keeping food cold on picnics, fixing "boo-boos" and helping ease the pain and swelling from bumps and bruises.  Homemade ice packs can be customized to suit your family.  


Rubbing Alcohol Ice Pack

Put 1 part rubbing alcohol and 3 parts water into a zip top bag.  Press out as much air as possible and place into a second zip top bag.  Food colouring can be added in your child's favourite colour or just to distinguish the bag as an ice pack.  Freeze flat.

Washcloth Ice Pack

Fold a washcloth into quarters.  Wet it thoroughly and place into a zip top bag to freeze.  For children, use their favourite colour or character/superhero.  You can also use a red washcloth for any boo-boos that bleed.  For adults, use a small handtowel.

Sponge Ice Pack

Soak a sponge in water and then freeze in a zip top bag.  This is ideal for children's lunch boxes as they are safe and not too expensive should your child lose one (or two!).  

Water and Salt Ice Pack

Add 2 tablespoons of salt to 2 cups of water and put into a zip top bag to freeze.  

Corn Syrup Ice Pack

Fill a zip top bag about 3/4 full of corn syrup.  Add food colouring if wanted.  Place into freezer.  

Tips:
Double bag the baggies (with zips on opposite ends) or vacuum seal to help prevent leaking.  Wrap all ice packs in a cloth before using.


Have you tried any of these?  What do you use in your family?    

September 03, 2013

First Day of School


Miss S was very excited to be starting school today.  She was jumping in the hallway until I was ready to leave and we ended up waiting at the bus stop 20 minutes early!

Happy First Day of School Miss S!

September 02, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 2, 2013

Hello!  How was your weekend?

We had a great time.  DH and I took the girls out to see the Planes movie on Saturday afternoon, which we all really enjoyed.  Then most of Sunday was spent at our local amusement park.  We had a little rest before celebrating the end of summer with dinner out at Earl's.

Now on to Happy Homemaker Monday.


The weather...
Sunny with highs in the late 20s, but showers appearing by the end of the week.  

Right now I am...

Watching the girls play as I type this post.  

Thinking...

That I'm looking forward to school starting and figuring out our new routine for the year.  

On my reading pile...

The Shunning by Beverly Lewis.  

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Barbecue pork chops with butter and herb pasta and veggies from the garden
Tuesday: Spaghetti bolognaise with salad
Wednesday: Sweet and sour chicken with rice
Thursday: Homemade pizza with salad
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Ham steak with homemade chips, peas and salad
Sunday: Roast beef with mashed potatoes and veggies

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Write grocery list
Prepare the girls for back to school
Pick veggies from the garden (have the girls help me)

On my to do list...this week

House cleaning
Grocery shopping
Paperwork/filing
Book hair appointments
Clean Marlin
Clean the outside of the windows
Clean my front porch
Change bed linens

What I am creating this week...

Homemade bread

Looking forward to this week...

School starting and getting back to a routine.  

Looking around the house...

Laundry to be done, toys to be picked up, paperwork to be moved from the dining room table. 

From the camera...

Enjoy a great Labour Day with friends and family.