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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice Fun

If you are a regular follower of my blog you know that Christmas is not my favourite holiday; Halloween is!

Lighted Luminaries
So when Christmas comes around in December I go through the motions mostly because both my husband and I were raised in families that celebrate Christmas - so it is just something we do. 
But there is something else that we do in December that I love a whole lot more. Every December 21st we celebrate the solstice. 

I don't consider myself to be a Pagan or a Wiccan, I just like to celebrate something that has a much less commercialistic approach close to Christmas so that my kids are not completely taken in my the gimmies of the holiday season. 

I wanted to share with you, dear reader, what we do on this day so that you may have some ideas and may even implement them yourselves.
The winter soltice is the shortest day of the year. The day when winter is officially here. We spend a lot of time talking about the science invloved as well as the connection to the changes in season. 

We make garlands out of popcorn and cranberries and this year we will be making a bird feeder using pinecones and peanut butter and seeds.

Popcorn and Cranberry Garlands

We go for a winter walk and listen to the sounds that the animals make in the snow and hang up our garlands and bird feeders. We also collect sticks and berries that have fallen on the ground for a craft later in the afternoon.

Adding Raisins to the Bread.
We come home and have hot chocolate and marshmellows to warm up. 

Some years we go ice-skating, or tobogganing, we may bulid a snowman or an igloo. We like to spend most of this day outside experiencing the winter and celebrating it. 

When we are done outside the children help me bake braid bread and we put raisins in it. Each and every raisin is a wish for the new year. I love to listen to the wishes that little children make. They are so innocent and simple. 
Making the Luminaries.

When the bread is in the oven the children help me make Ice Lanterns. We place all of the sticks and berries into old hummus containers and put yogurt containers with rocks in them in the middle. We place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen we will put candles in them when it gets dark. 

We have a wonderful hearty meal all made with locally sourced ingredients, and I light our Yule Log. 
I love my Yule Log. My husband made it last year and it sits all year long on my mantle ready for the night that we give thanks for everything that we have.

Wonderful Feelings 

I seriously made this. 
We finish our dinner with a Yule Log Cake, and then go outside and light the Ice Lanterns to mark the shortest night of the year. 
The kids get ready for bed, and instead of watching TV or a movie as we do on Christmas Eve, we play board games until it is bedtime. 

The whole day just leaves me warm and fuzzy. 

I hope that this post was helpful to some of you and will maybe give you inspiration to do something like this with your families, or take some of the ideas here and incorporate them into different holidays that you may have. 

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season.

Friday, December 07, 2012

*Vlog* - "Work at Home" mom

I am a work at home mom. For most that means that they have a nice balance between home life and work life, so much so that they can actually get work done at home. I am not one of those moms.
Many people have told me that they "don't know how I do it!" 

Here's how. 

Do you have a good work/life balance? Any tips you would like to share?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Family Pet

As we all know life sometimes decides to kick you in the butt and throws things at you that you may not be expecting. This is exactly what has happened with our family. I wanted to share a little bit of our story and some resources in case you have to go through this as well.

Baby Leata
When I was 15 I found a little kitten across the street by my highschool. I was skipping science and she ran across the street into oncoming traffic…I lost my mind for a moment and ran out in front of a car to save her. She was mine at that moment. I yelled at the teens driving the car as I was convinced that they wanted to hit her, and decided to cut the rest of school that day and walk home.

My mom didn't want a cat, didn't want the responsibility. I promised that I would take care of her. I begged, I cried. I had an all out tantrum I am sure. My best friend was cat sitting for me as I did the responsible thing and called the SPCA to report her, to see if anyone was looking for her. I secretly hoped that she was just a stray, and it turned out she was.

Her Favourite Thing to Do
I brought her home one day and my family fell in love with her, and my mom decided to gift her to me for my 16th birthday. She made it clear that Leata was mine and mine alone, and I was in charge of all the duties that come with pet ownership. I would have promised anything that day and agreed.

She used to sleep in between my arms, curl up on my lap, give me kisses on my nose and ride on my shoulders like Luna from Sailor Moon. (which was my favourite show at the time). She would go on walks on a leash, she would try to steal my Doritos, and one time even came up and licked my chupa chup….she was mine all right. One day I thought that I had lost her as she swallowed a needle and thread that I had carelessly left out…I don't think I had ever been so scared.

Us in our younger years.
As the years past, she became more of a family pet, and when I moved to University she stayed with my parents. When I moved back, and then out with my boyfriend (who is now my husband), she came with. We decided to get another cat to keep her company, and then we started our family.

3 kids, and a dog later and Leata is an elderly cat who just likes to curl up on the couch and wait for us to go to her. A couple months ago she was diagnosed with renal failure. She started to pee on everything that we have in our basement. So much so that it will all have to be ripped up and reno'ed. She is now incontinent.

The vet has told us that it is time. We know in our hearts that it is time, so now we spend the rest of this month starting rituals to say goodbye. I just see the little kitten that ran to me so many years ago, and my heart aches.

To get my kids ready for this I have visited a couple pet-loss websites and read them a couple books. I really feel that you can never get enough information on how to deal with life's difficult situations. Not only does this help me, I hope that it will soften the blow for my 7 year old in particular.

Nothing can truly prepare you, but sometimes information can help. Here is what I found. I hope that they can help you as well.

1. Helping Children Cope
2. The Rainbow Bridge
3. When Children Grieve
4. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children 
5. The 6 Do's and Don'ts of Explaining Pet Loss to Children
6. Explaining Pet Loss to Children of Different ages. 
7. Sesame Street explaining the Death of Mr.Hooper. (circa 1970's)

If you know of any other resources please leave them in comments.

Such a pretty lady. She will be missed!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

*New Vlog* - Poo-splosion

Potty training is not my favorite thing in the world. I have had many a funny/ gross moment about it from my other two. Here and here are just two of the stories.

Here is the latest.

What is your most disgusting parenting moment?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Homeschooling, Kindergarten, and School Memories

I have been thinking a lot about what I am going to do next year. Next year all three of my children will be "school aged". 
Now, I know what you are thinking. I am a homeschooler. Why do I even care?
Well, the problem is that I care a whole lot and that is why I have no idea what I am going to do. See, in my province we get funding for our children's education when we homeschool, but this is only true for children between grades 1 - 12.
Kindergarten children do not get any funding. Yes, there are a couple boards that do offer funding for Kndergarten, but it is few and far between. (plus the driving to those boards would take me forever.
I really wish that the program my older son is in had funding for Kindy as it would be so much easier for me.

When we started down this homeschooling journey we looked at a lot of factors and you can go back and see how much I worried about it. If I was making the right choice, if he would be okay, if I could do it… all sorts of worries really. But as we have been on this path I am becoming more confident in my choices to homeschool my son. A lot of his doctors and his psychologist also commended me for tailoring this learning path for someone with ADHD.

But, my second son is nothing like my first. My husband wants to put him in full time kindergarten at the local school. Coupled with the fact that he can't sit to save his life and that 4 days is a long time at school for someone who hasn't been…the idea isn't really sitting so well.
My friends say just to homeschool Kindy, or to send him to the homeschool kindy school, or even skip kindergarten all together and just send him to the blended in grade 1…The problem is though is that I am torn. I want him to get as many good memories of Kindergarten as I did and sometimes I think everyday kindergarten would be the best option…that or the private school down the road.
My best memories of school were in Kindergarten. I know that they are old, and that Kindergarten is nothing like it used to be…but it was the first time that you were alone to make friends and be somewhat autonomous. I remember playing house and baking cookies, listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram - "peanut, peanut, butter, jelly."
I remember reading in this special nook (maybe not actually reading), sitting there with my friends, looking at all those pictures. I remember having a nap, which I know does not happen any more. I just remember this loving and caring teacher who let me learn as I wanted to, no pressure and being happy.
And I don't want him to miss it. This decision is going to be a doozy…I can already tell.


I'm participating in the Our Kids Private School Expo Blog Hop.  Yesterday's School Memories post  can be found at Raincoast Cottage.  Tomorrow, the fun is happening at Linkie's Contest Linkies
Join the conversation!
Twitter: hashtag #OKSchoolMem

Stay tuned for Twitter Party Dates and times!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Halloween!!!

Well it's finally Halloween! I hope that you all enjoyed this month of Halloween inspired posts and that you have a great night Trick or Treating.

Don't forget about the Switch Witch and the BuyBacks.

We now return to our regular scheduled programming.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

*Vlog* - Quick and Easy Halloween Treats for Kids!

Only one more day until Halloween!!

I decided last night in my sleep deprived haze that I would make a tutorial on how to make Frankenmallows and this cute ghost cupcakes!

Have fun!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Treats to take to School

A lot of you may be thinking by now that I must have nothing better to do that spend time in my kitchen. I promise you that this is not the case, I have actually spent more time blogging about this week of food than I have making it!

I have been trying in this series of blog posts to show you that making themed food is so easy and a really great way to show the kids that the holidays can be a whole lot more fun than just going Trick-or-Treating and overdosing on high fructose corn syrup.

In this post I am going to show you some really simple ways to make Halloween "treats" for school and in tomorrows post I will be sharing some more lunch ideas - so make sure you come back!

Ghost Yogurt

Even I run out of ideas when it comes to Halloween and every day I thank goodness that there is such a thing as Pinterest. Before I was a pinner there was half the ideas out there and they were incredibly hard to find.

The yogurt ghost was something that my son actually thought of, he saw the grapes and threw them into his breakfast one morning (not even in October) and laughed and said how it looked like eyes.

So grab a whole bunch of yogurts, take the tops of or spoon them out on to the plates at preschool add a couple grapes and there you have it! Instant Halloween!

Pumpkin Tray

What is easier than throwing some carrots on a circular serving tray? Nothing, that's right!

This is the easiest themed food ever. Honestly. Look at it.

All I did was take some carrots throw them on a tray, and then take two ramekins and fill them with hummus and put them on top where the eyes would be. I added cherry tomatoes (a staple in a Halloween kitchen) and cut up a red bell pepper to look like a mouth. I have also seen people use olives or another type of dip instead of the peppers.

Whatever works for you!! I promise all the kids will eat it and it is healthy!! Win/Win!

Bat Hummus

Hummus is one of the best things that you can feed your kids.

Not only is it chock full of protein but it also has great fats in it, is low in sugar, and it tastes good too!

I use hummus in a variety of my Halloween meal planning as it is just so easy to add to dishes, sandwiches and the like.

This was one of those times that the kids were looking to get some quick protein and I was in the middle of making the Pumpkin Tray and so I grabbed a dollop of Hummus, added a couple of olive eyes, snap pea ears and rice crackers for bat wings. (it was a stretch I know) This year I went out and got some blue corn chips to make my hummus bat even more bat-like.

I hope that this post can help you to see that it really is that easy!

Please keep sharing your ideas with me on Twitter and Facebook. If you need any more Halloween inspiration please follow me on Pinterest as well.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

So Easy a Kid Can Do It!

So are you getting pumped for Halloween yet? With only 3 days to go my house is buzzing with excitement.

This week is the week of Halloween Themed food in my household. I am sharing all of my creations on this blog, Facebook and twitter. I have been getting many comments about how much time it must take to prepare all these. Comments about planning and creativity.

I wanted to set the record straight. I am not that creative, however, I am a certified Pinterest junkie. 

Kits add a little something to pre-baked goods!
I don't think that there is a better website when it comes to keeping all of the holiday themed ideas in one place. My only critism is that I would like it if the folders had sub folders, just so my food and crafts were not on the same page for "Halloween" (this is only a problem when you have as many pins as I do.)

Some of the meals do look a little involved, but I promise that they are not. I choose the easiest ones for a reason. (that reason is laziness…..) 

My oldest son really loves to see all the creations and in the last couple years has shown interest in making spooky items for us all to enjoy. He is only 7 so they are more sweet than spooky - but I love that he is trying to get involved. 

Here are a couple of his creations. 

Spooky Apple. 

Can you see the face?
He honestly took a butter knife and carved the eyes out of this apple and then took a picture of it so I could "post it on my blog." 

I love it. It's just so simple, but conveys the idea that I wanted to show them at Halloween. 


Ghost Yogurt.

I shared this one in another Blog Post in this series.

Look how easy it is. He just put grapes in the top for eyes.

I love it!
This guy makes me laugh!
Monster Granola or Eyes Surprise Cereal

Continuing with the grapes for eyes theme, we have another great spooky meal.

If you add props it can make it that much more Halloween!

Seriously, if my son can do this, so can you!!!

Continue to follow me on both Facebook and Twitter to see what my family is eating this week - and please share your creations with me!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ghoulish Stew, Mashed Boo-tatoes, and Unicorn Brains

Are you following me on Twitter? I have been putting up the foods that I am currently doing this week in real time, so if you love this sort of thing make sure that you add me or like me on Facebook.

To keep in line with the easy Halloween Themed meals I thought that I would share a couple more of the most easy meals that you could possibly do! (Have you all figured out that it is all in the presentation of the meal?) 

Ghoulish Stew and Mashed Boo-tatoes. 

Stew is one of those things that can be Ghoulish in its own right. Add potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes or carrots and mash it up a bit to make it look like gruel and you could pass it off as anything. 

I like to make my stew in the slow cooker and here are my two favourite veggie and non-veg options. 

Once you place the stew in a bowl you take your regular mashed potatoes and place them into a Glad sandwich bag or into a cake decorating piping bag. 

Cut the tip off the plastic bag or add the biggest attachment to the piping bag and swirl the potatoes into the shape of a ghost. Add two peas or peppercorns for eyes and you have the spookiest meal of the week! 

I love this one the most and I got the inspiration from Pinterest. (giving credit where credit is due)

Unicorn Brains

When I told my kids that they were going to eat Unicorn Brains they were a little perturbed…Goblin Grins and Eye of Newt were to be expected, but Unicorn Brains was just too much for them! 

Once I explained that it was really just cauliflower they were much more adept to try it. Really, that is all it is. Just take a cauliflower, steam it and plate it up. 

In this picture I have it as a side to a purple mashed potato spider (cherry tomatoes for eyes and chow mien noodles for legs) and the head of a DeadMan meatloaf

See how easy it can be?!? 

Please keep linking your posts to me! I am really enjoying reading them all and seeing how creative you all are! Keep up the good work!! Only 3 more days until Halloween!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Monster Burgers and Severed Heads

I hope that you enjoyed yesterday's post on Halloween breakfast ideas.

Today I wanted to share a couple of my go-to recipes. A couple of my girlfriends feel that my week of Halloween themed food is just too hard to fit in to their busy lives, and yes it does look pretty complicated, but I promise that it isn't.

Monster Burgers and Severed Heads take absolutely no time at all and minimal planning. It's the one meal that you can just whip up within seconds and I promise that the kids will get so excited for it.

Monster Burgers

I got the inspiration for Monster Burgers from a girlfriend of mine named Gemma. She was always making incredible looking lunch ideas for her girls and Halloween was no exception.

Monster Burgers are easy enough, just take a burger - it can be Vegan, Vegetarian or 100% Beef and it will all work the same.

Make the burger as you would usually and then take a piece of bacon or Tempeh and place it so that it sticks out of the "mouth". Add some olives for eyes, and cut out shapes from peppers to add horns, or wings or whatever that you feel like doing with toothpicks! Get creative!

I like to cut out the shapes and leave the olives and cheese out so that the kids can make their own Monster creation. It is so much fun and not just for Halloween!

Severed Heads

If you can turn on an oven you can make Severed Heads.

Do I even have to explain it?

Take a bag of Smiles by McCain and bake them according to package directions. I like to over-bake them a little as it adds a "burned" look to the face.

Place them on the plate and add ketchup on their "neck" and Voila! Severed Heads. ;)

The great thing about these is that you can do a whole bunch of them at a time and you can add them to just about any dish.

I use them more than a couple times during the week before Halloween and they are such a hit. Pair them with a Mummy Dog and some Goblin Mouths (apple slices and almond slivers) and you have a great lunch!

And really, who doesn't like Burgers and Fries?

As always make sure that you are sharing your creations with me on Facebook or Twitter or in comments!

I love seeing what you come up with!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Eye of Newt, Scrambled Brains and Boo-nanas.

And so begins the week that my children wait for all year long.

In our house I make Halloween themed food for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (even some snacks) for the week leading up to Halloween. I admit that it is a little crazy, and maybe even has a little bit of an overachieving mommy vibe. However, I started this tradition when my oldest son was 3 and so now he expects it. (and it's fun!!)

Finding dinner ideas is easy, thanks to Pinterest, but breakfast and lunch are just a bit harder. As you all know I like to make things that are really easy. (and fast!) I have scoured high and low to find just what I am looking for and now will share them with you!!

Here are three of my favourite recipes to keep the spooky starting out right.

Eye of Newt

The picture says it all doesn't it?

Hard boiled eggs are such an easy thing to grab and make spooky. This week I will be making some new breakfasts just using food colouring and a food writer pen. (I will share those on Facebook, and Twitter for those interested).

For this recipe I just took a hard boiled egg and removed the yolk. I then dyed it green and scraped it back into the cavity. I used a red pepper to make a made face and also to add some veggies for fibre. I finished it off with two snap peas and almond slivers. I also had a full bowl of snap peas for them to eat once they ate the plated version.

Scrambled Brains 

I make scrambled brains a couple times during the week as they are so easy and the protein is what my kids need to start the day off right. If you are vegetarian, you can use a Tofu Scramble instead of eggs, as both look the same when finished.

Basically, just take the eggs/scramble and plate them so that they look like a brain. I use a quarter cup measure and put 2 servings side by side. You can then take ketchup and pour it around the "brain". It's really all in how you decorate it! Get creative!!

Boo - nanas

I love these and they are so easy to do! You can make them for any type of class treat as they are as healthy as you can get, (and incredibly inexpensive).

Just take a banana cut it in half and add eyes. I use carob chips, but you can use what ever you want.

There is also a recipe where you dip these in yogurt, coconut butter or in white chocolate - any will do!

With all my meals I add props to make them just a bit spookier. Use skeletons, bats, spiders and other Halloween items to make the dish look that much more "Halloween". The dollar store has many different options to choose from!

If you have any pictures of these recipes please feel free to share them with me or link to them in comments. I love seeing all the Halloween festivities!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

*Vlog* - Back from Blissdom Canada 2012

Here is my last post from Blissdom - I promise!! This is just for those of you who like to see the Vlogs instead.

Now, let's get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Blissdom Canada 2012 recap

Well, I am back from Blissdom Canada 2012. Did you miss me? I promise that I will get back to my regular blogs about Halloween on Thursday (and then some!)

I had a great time in Toronto, and better still my kids had a great time without me! My house is clean, I am renewed and refreshed and I got to spend the weekend with 500 other women (and a handful of men) that speak my language.

Love Marilyn!
Sitting in the Chair! My dream!!
I came in early for the conference as I won tickets to the Marilyn Denis show. This was a dream come true for me. I have been watching Marilyn for years with my mom and so to see her live and get to talk with her one on one was so great. She gave me a big hug and I got to sit in her chair…it's the little things you know….

Town Hall
Spent the rest of the day just walking around the city. It is SO big, and so so much faster paced than Calgary. I have to say that I actually got quite overwhelmed and had to retreat back to the hotel just to have a little quiet time. I love the city, but it also scared me at the same time.

Not even a 1/4 of the mall!!
That night I was waitlisted for the Road Rally (think Amazing Race), but in the end I got to go. (thanks Brooke!) We ran around Toronto being chauffeured by our wonderful driver Patrick and took many different pictures, videos and tweeted the whole time. It was so crazy and I am glad that all 3 of my team mates were from Toronto (lucky that way).

Next was the kick off party where we had Microsoft show us some neat things and I watched many women dance the night away with the Kinect dance challenge. (it was pretty funny)

It was at this party that I met Annie of PhD in Parenting. I felt like such a nerd and fan girl, but she was so nice and made me feel right at home. (thanks to Mara for introducing us - and thanks to Candace for showing me that she was there.)
Annie and I
Ann and I
Saturday was the first real day of the conference. It started with a welcome breakfast and we had a presentation by Dove. Next we had 3 micro-sessions to talk about things that we really wanted to learn.
The micro-sessions were by far my favourite part of the conference. I learned about analytics with Annie, How to Be an Expert with Candace, and How to Write a Book with Ann Douglas.

After lunch we had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speakers. While all of the talks were amazing in their own right, my favourite by far was Bonnie Stewart. Here is a post that she wrote that has some of the key ideas of that talk. It is something that we really have to take to heart as the internet is really just an extension of us in the real world and we must always be aware of that.

Jian and I
I was able to get my book signed by Jian Ghomeshi, the Sh*tty Moms, Andrea Nair, and by Amy McKay. (Bliss for a book lover like myself.)

So cute!!
Saturday evening my blogging girlfriends and I went to get our hair done and we dressed up as Mad Men Women for the karaoke costume party. We had planned this group costume for over two months and it was great to see it in action! It was too fun and I looked so cute! I could be a 1950's housewife every day! The party also gave me an opportunity to connect with other really neat people. I met Kyla from MommysWeird and I swear we were best friends in another life! I love this conference for stuff like that!

Hope I don't crash!!
The next day I went to the GM plant in Oshawa and learned all about the new technology that they are putting into their cars. It was pretty neat to see the "behind the scenes" and I really like how they listen to the consumer. I actually talked to them about integrated carseats and they discussed it with me. My favourite new feature that they showed us was that they have sensors that see the lines on the road and if you go over the line it vibrates your seat to alert you. How neat is that? I think it is for rumble strips (since there is talk about getting rid of them due to cyclist commutes).

Pretty Sweet!

I got to drive a Camaro (a new souped up edition) and do a slalom course, a doughnut course, and a fast breaking course. It was pretty neat and I joked with the drivers if they knew the Stig (since they all spoke french).

After the excursion was over we were whisked VIP style back to the airport to await our (delayed) flight to Calgary. The drive was great and I have to note that out of all the sponsors at Blissdom, GM were my favourite as the always had cars and drivers waiting for people, and if you were from out of town like me, that service was really invaluable.
My Ride

I learned a lot, not only about Social Media, Marketing, Books and Branding, but also about myself. I learned that I need to really look deep inside of myself and see what I want to do, apart from being a mother and a wife, and to take more time just for myself.

My kids survived, my house survived, my husband is capable.

Blissdom Canada 2013?? I think so.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Deep Fried Bats, Worms and Monster Toads

Did you all enjoy last weeks Halloween Food post?

I am finding it harder to make dinner foods since we have gone vegetarian, but lucky there is a lot of meat alternatives that can do the stand in.

Next week is the week that I make Halloween themed food for my family for breakfast lunch and dinner so make sure you are following me on Twitter to see it as soon as it is posted.

Today I have both a vegetarian option and a meat lovers option, best of both worlds so to speak.

Deep Fried Bat on Squiggly Worms and Monster Toads.

Remember how I said a couple weeks ago that Cookie Cutters are really helpful when cooking Halloween themed food. This is absolutely true when it comes to cooking vegetarian food for little ghouls and gals.

Yummy Alternative
We now eat primarily vegetarian with a little cheating here and there when we go out to eat. I know that other veggie families would like to join in with the themed fun - but have no place in their menu for a deadman meatloaf.

My kids were just as excited for this recipe and I am sure that yours will be as well.

What You Need: 

  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1each yellow, red, orange and green bell pepper. You can also use green, and yellow beans if your kids don't like peppers. 
  • 1 block of Firm Tofu
  • 1 package of linguine or shanghai or vermicelli noodles. 

Pretty straight forward.

  1. Boil water for Noodles. 
  2. Cut Tofu lengthways into half inch bricks. Press Halloween themed cookie cutter into tofu to make desired shape. Place tofu in hot pan with oil and cook until both sides are golden brown. Remove Tofu.  
  3. Place noodles in boiling water.
  4. Cut up the onion and sauté it in the pan with a little bit of oil. Add the garlic. Cut up the peppers in to thin long strips. Add them to the pan and Stir Fry. Add the sauce/seasoning of your choice. Remove from pan. 
  5. Add noodles to pan and re-season if desired. (skip this step if you want them plain). 
  6. Plate it up. Noodles on the bottom, beans or peppers on top, with the Halloween themed Tofu to finish it off. 


Monster Toads (Chicken).

This is one for the meat eaters out there. So easy. Make some peas or potatoes for a side and you have a full meal. Make up silly names for them though. Mashed Boo-tatoes or salamander eyes, the possibilities are endless.

My friend who blogs at Merry with Children shared this great roasted chicken recipe that is perfect for this Halloween themed delight.

What You Need

  • A roasted chicken. 
  • A red pepper.
  • Some olives (pimento or stuffed are fine)
  • Tooth Picks.

So easy that I don't even have to explain it. Just look at the picture. :)

Don't they look cool?
It's only 13 days until Halloween!! Are you all getting excited?! The week of Halloween (October 25 - October 31st) I will be posting every second day with cool meals to Spook your kids! Get ready for it!!!

As always follow my Pinboard to see all my inspiration!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

*Vlog* - Going to Blissdom 2012

As I said in my last post I am going to Blissdom Canada this weekend. I am busy packing and trying to figure out what to wear!
I am hoping to go to a couple micro sessions on how to read analytics, learn how to do an elevator pitch  and maybe improve my vlogging!
Until then, enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Switch Witch and Buy Backs

I was planning on writing this post next week, but I am going to Blissdom Canada so next weeks posts might be a little more about that and a little less about Halloween. Don't worry though, you can still see what I am doing over at Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

It's no secret that my son and I are allergic to dairy. I first became sensitive to milk as a teen and it has escalated from there. My son, on the other hand, showed symptoms of dairy allergy the very first time it was introduced it to him. I then had him checked out by our Naturopath and had the allergy testing formally done.

Being allergic to dairy really sucks. It is in everything. However, as an adult I can suck it up…my son, not so much. He gets really distraught that every "cool" thing has dairy in it. All types of chips (other than natural), all chocolate (unless it is from a health food store), and cookies, cupcakes, crackers and pretty much anything processed. This leads to a really healthy lifestyle, but he pines for the same things that his friends have. Goldfish and Dunkaroos - why cant you have a dairy-free option?!

The Whole Stash

Halloween is especially problematic. I would wager that 80% of the candy given out is chocolate, so to over come this we go twice the distance that we regularly would because when you sort it all out you are left with less than half the stuff they collected…and then when you take out the gross things (like black liquorice and no - name gummy candies) and the Jawbreakers (that they can't have yet), we are left with a 1/6th of the stash.

Milk Products

Now, obviously my kids are disappointed by this and so we came up with a couple ways so to soften the blow. After we go through all the candy we put half of the castoffs on the front porch for the Switch Witch to come and collect it and leave a toy for them instead. This is such a win-win for us as the kids are happy to give away the candy and I am happy that there are no tears!

Switch Witch to the Rescue!

Here is a great video by Mama Natural about the Switch Witch.

Another thing that we do is go to our local Candy Buy Back. There are many different incarnations of the Buy Back and not all operate the same way. For the most part they are organized by dentists who all have a party the day after Halloween and pay the kids a dollar a pound for their unwanted Halloween candy. (my particular dentist also donates a pound of apples to our local food bank for every pound of candy that collected.)

Isn't he Cute?!
This is great for us because the chocolate bars are going to get thrown out anyway - so does it really matter if it is my dentist's trash bin or mine?

I know a lot of moms like the idea of the Buy Back just not the trash part, and I agree somewhat, but not for the waste of candy, more for the adding to the landfill. My particular dentist made a great YouTube video that shows exactly why they throw out the candy and how they are hoping to convert it into fuel in the upcoming years. That way more families will get on board.

Are you a fan of the Switch Witch or the Buy Back? Or are you completely against them? Share your comments below.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Frankenmallows, Witches Hats and Monster Brownies

How is it already the second week of October?

We all know that half the fun about Halloween is the sweets, and what is more sweet than cakes and cookies? (other than candy of course!)

Every Halloween I volunteer to bring a treat to my kids' Halloween parties in their classes. Yes, I know I am the same mom who absolutely hates the cupcake in class, but Halloween is one of those days where there is going to be treats - no doubt about that - and by volunteering it makes sure that my kids can eat at least one cool thing…if not two or three..or four.

My favourite go to snack for these events are completely dairy free and can be made gluten free as well (with a little but more ingenuity).

So without further delay feast your eyes on these yummy treats, guaranteed to be fast and incredibly easy to make that even your kids can make them!

Frankenmallows, Witches Hats, and Monster Brownies! 

Franken Army
I love Frankenmallows. (Inspiration) These are my go to treat for Halloween. If I could give them out at the door for trick or treaters I would. These are absolutely the easiest treat to make, but they are a little time consuming since you will probably be making over 20 if you are sending them to a party.

What you need: 

  • 1 Bag of Large Marshmallows. Make sure that you get ones that are not all stuck together. Also, if you are Vegan you can buy some from a health food store that are not made with gelatin
  • 1 tube of Gel Food colouring (Green). You can get this at Michaels. 
  • 1 tube of Cookie Decorating Icing. (red)
  • 1 bag of Pretzel Sticks. If you are gluten free, there are options at the health food store. 
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips. We use carob chips as we are allergic to dairy. 
  • Coconut oil (any cooking oil or butter will do).
  • Popsicle sticks and a little paint brush. 
  • Flat styrofoam block

1. Take your marshmallows and stick them on the popsicle sticks just far enough that the wood peeks out a tiny bit on the top of the mallow.

2. Take your tube of green gel and a paint brush and paint the whole surface of the mellow. This is time consuming… place them into the styrofoam block with about a half-inch space between them.

3. Take a cup or so of the chocolate chips and melt them with a spoonful of coconut oil or butter… you can do this in the microwave, or a double boiler on the stove.

4. Take your marshmallows on the sticks and dip them in just far enough so that it looks like Frankensteins hair.

5. Use the cookie icing and pipe little dots to glue on two chocolate chips for eyes. Also make the mouth at this time.

6. Take a pretzel stick and break off a quarter inch piece and stick it into his head, repeat for the other side.

7. Eat them!!!

Witches Hats

So Yummy!
These are even easier than the Frankenmallows.

1. Find a chocolate covered cookie. (or make one if you have allergies - Girl Guide Mint ones are Dairy Free FYI)

2. Use the same cookie icing as the frankenmallows and squirt a circle in the centre of the cookie.

3. Plop a Hershey's Kiss on top. (they do come dairy free if you get the dark chocolate ones).

4. Yummo!

Monster Brownies

Just a sampling.
These are the easiest of all three. Seriously! These are such a great hit for parties or for a Halloween themed craft!

1. Bake some brownies. (I use a box but a great recipe from Dinner With Julie is also here.)

2. Cut them into different shapes.

3. Give the kids some candy eyes, pretzel sticks, icing, gummies, etc and ask them to make monsters.

Now, how fun is all of that!! I would love to see your pictures of these! Make sure you tweet them to me here.

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