Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Dinosaur Birthday!

We had a birthday in our house this month.  My sweet middle child turned 5.  He's a pretty easy going kid who loves dinosaurs!  This would be the first real kid party full of games that we've had for him (past birthdays have been more of the let the kids play type parties, not so much the organized type of fun).  I had a blast looking up ideas on Google and Pinterest.  And it payed off.  All the kids had fun, the guests ranging in age from his 2 year old sister to a 9 year old friend.  One of the kids said partway through, "This is the best party ever".  Most telling was my now 5 year old who declared he wanted the exact same birthday next year with the exact same guests - exact!

We started off with make your own candy necklaces.  This was a great way to get the kids started in on something without letting their energy abound through the entire house. 
I picked a variety of candy and cereal for this, pretty much anything that you could loop onto a string (Froot Loops, Lifesaver gummies, chocolate covered pretzels, fuzzy peach rings and sour patch keys)

I then had them go on the hunt for dinosaur eggs that I had hidden throughout the house.  To make these I started the day before following a recipe I found on (
It uses a combination of soil, sand, flour and water to work and of course there is a mini dinosaur inside to 'hatch'.
They were pretty excited to find a real dinosaur inside.  That's my 7 year old with his discovery.

Next, the kids became paleontologists digging for dinosaur bones in their bucket.  The dollar store really helped me out with this one as they had dinosaur bone kits available.  I buried a kit for each of them in a bucket of sand. I also labeled all the buckets with their names so that it became their goodie bag to take all their dinosaur stuff home in.  I used an old vinyl table cloth as their dinosaur exploration space on the kitchen floor to keep the mess contained.  I also had a large bucket set in the middle so they could dump in their excess sand. 
It was pretty messy, but I had a great couple of mom friends handy with wet towels and wipes for clean up once the kids were finished.
Our next activity was a relay game.  Each team had a dinosaur chomper toy in hand to pick up puzzle pieces on the other end.  They had to use the dinosaur chomper to pick up a piece at a time to bring back to their puzzle tray. 
Once they had all their pieces, they began to assemble the puzzle.
Next up was pin the tooth on the T-Rex (a take on pin the tail on the donkey).  I drew the T-Rex on a piece of tag board paper and then cut out triangles for teeth.

Before we ate, we made Faux "Lava Lamps".  I found this one on Mom to 2 Posh Diva's blog site (  They aren't lamps in the sense that they don't light up, but they work so see the 'lava' bubble around in the bottle.
What You Need:
clear bottle(s)
food color
alka seltzer (or silimar effervescent tablet)
What To Do:
1. Pour oil into your bottle -
filling it about 2/3 of the way
2. Pour water into your bottle -
a little less than 1/3 to leave some room at the top
3. Add food color of choice
4. Observe what happened to the food color
5. Cut 1 Alka Seltzer (or similar) tablet into 8 pieces
6. Add 1 piece of the tablet at a time & observe the reaction.
The kids thought this was pretty cool!

Post party - my boys and one of their friends pulled out all the dinosaur toys in the house (some had been used for decorations) and had a great play.


Of course it wouldn't be a party without cake!  Instead of going the traditional way of making a dinosaur shaped cake, I baked my cake in an angel food pan to create a volcano.  Once cooled, I frosted it with chocolate frosting.  I also frosted the aluminum foil underneath the cake to make it look like it was all muddy. (The cake is sitting on a cutting board).  I took a little bit of vanilla frosting and dyed it orange-red to create a lava color.  Once I had the color I wanted, I put the dish of frosting in the microwave for just under 1 minute to liquify it.  I then poured the liquified frosting over the top to create the lava effect.  (Make sure you have foil turned up a the edges to catch the run off, makes nice little lava lakes. I crushed up some Fudge-E-O cookies and sprinkles it around as more mud and dirt.  I found some Candy Rocks to spread as well to enhance the effect.  The dinosaurs stomping around were from a dollar store packet.  We used sparklers instead of candles when we sang "Happy Birthday" to make it look as if the volcano was errupting.  Cool effect all around, I was pretty pleased with it.
I created this watermelon dinosaur thanks to (  It's a pretty fantastic site with all sorts of watermelon ideas.  This is much easier than you think.  Watermelon is super-easy to carve and the effect is awesome!

A great day all in all, now on to planning a Lego party for my older son in July :)

March Madness

                                                        March 9: 9*C

                                                            March 22: 25*C

                                                           March 29: -3*C


Why I love technology

My 2 year old daughter in the Maritimes talking to her 81 year old great-grandmother on the Prairies.

Words to Remember

"I'm going to invent things, I've decided to be very smart instead of very cute" Jeremy, age 5

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bucket List

My brother has a very cool bucket list. Just recently he worked backstage at a Megadeth show. He can also check off eating snake and being in a music video. Truthfully, I wouldn't want to do at least two of those things (I can check off working backstage, but mine was for Shakespeare, not Heavy Metal). But I think it's very cool nonetheless whenever he tells me about something new he's been up to. It's gotten me thinking about my own bucket list. Yet to come usually involves travel experiences (one day I will visit the Holy Land and go on an African Safari) more than adventurous pursuits. My dream list would include things like eating at the kitchen table experience of one of Gordon Ramsay's Restaurants or being on the Amazing Race (please start accepting Canadian contestants!).  Okay, and I'm a little jealous about the music video cameo ;)
As I reflect are 10 cool things that I can cross off my bucket list.
-been to a Paul McCartney concert (truly fantastic!)
-driven across Canada (a must for all Canadians!)
-parasailing (I'm really glad Dad and my brother talked me into this one, amazing!)
-gone to an All Star Sporting Event (my brother and I went to the Home Run Derby in Seattle)
-seen both the World Series Trophy and the Stanley Cup
-been up many tall places including the Eiffel Tower, The CN Tower, and the Empire State Building
-given my testimony to Nicky Gumbel in front of a whole conference of people
-been part of a game show audience (Wheel of Fortune and the long gone Classic Concentration)
-ministered on the streets of New York
-taken ballroom dancing lessons
And just for fun, here's the video my brother is in - he's the guy adjusting the mic at about the 3 minute mark :)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Be Nice - a little Mama venting

Once a week this year my oldest child has had an after school sports activity where there are a lot of other children involved. Part of parenting is dealing with the wait time with the younger siblings. Keep them busy, keep them entertained, keep them from complaining they are bored waiting for their brother. I usually come prepared with a few toys (and a bonus one in my purse just in case) and a couple of snacks. There are of course other younger siblings waiting in the common area for their older brothers and sisters to finish sports so we can go. The younger siblings have been okay with this. As kids do they come up with their own classic games to pass the time: follow the leader, races and tag being the favorites. What I don't get is the parents who blatantly ignore the younger siblings all together. For me it's a no brainer, I can keep an eye on my older son's sports while still supervising my younger children. Many of the other mothers don't seem to see it that way. They take the time to gossip and text instead.
This can get increasingly annoying.  Often, I would take my 2 little ones to another part of the sports complex for a change of scene and to keep them out of the line of fire of the 'unwatched' children.
A couple of weeks ago, my kids were having a great time playing with these other kids.  And then this little boy came over and grabbed my daughter's arm and squeezed as hard as he could.  My daughter screamed and ran to me crying and said, "no like little boy" (they are both 2).  I told her she didn't have to play with him, just stay away from him, she could just sit with Mommy instead for a while.  My other child continued to play.  As soon as my daughter was soothed she wanted to rejoin the fun.  Well the poor thing, this little boy must have had some interest in my little girl because he ran right up to her again and did the same thing.  The mother paid no attention.  I thought about moving my kids but there was this part of me thinking, "why should my kids miss out on playing with other kids just because this one mom won't take responsibility?" So I gave it one more chance.
Sure enough it happened again.  This time the mother noticed my daughter crying, not her son grabbing and hurting her.   She asked me what was wrong and I told her.  Her response?  "Be nice!" to her son.  That was it.  "Be nice".  Be nice?  Seriously, that's it?  He's 2!  What does "Be nice" mean to him?  Absolutely nothing!  There's no consequence in that!  There's no teaching in that.  Be nice is a nothing!  So frustrating!  It was at this point, I took my kids and moved somewhere else.  I felt bad that my son had to leave his fun times with tag, but I couldn't put my daughter through that again.  I mean what else are you going to do?  It isn't my job to discipline and monitor other people's children.  That was two weeks ago, since then, I haven't bothered going to that common area at all (although my son would like to), we go somewhere else, where I know we aren't going to have to deal with that.  Seriously - take responsibility for your children!
Here's what would "Be Nice"
-it would be nice if you watched your kid
-it would be nice if you put your phone away
-it would be nice if you gave your kid a consequence for hurting my kid
-it would be nice if you took your kid for a walk so my kids could play without fear
-it would be nice told your kid to keep his hands to himself
-it would be nice if you said "no grabbing"
-it would be nice if you said "grabbing hurts"
-it would be nice if you were paying attention so you could stop your kid from hurting mine


*on a side note, I know I'm not the perfect parent by any means so I usually don't rag out about other parents, but this has been driving me nuts for a while and needed to be said!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Charlotte Diamond!

Charlotte Diamond called me at my house this week! I'm seriously excited by this. For those of you who are not relating to kids music on a regular basis you may be going Charlotte who? She is a fantastic children's singer from BC. I've known her music for years now. Her songs are by far the most requested for re-visits from my littlest students. So how did it happen that she called me this week? Well, I'm getting my choirs ready for Music Festival. There was a song I really wanted my junior choir to perform but I could not find it in sheet music format. You have to have 3 legal copies of the song for use in festival (one for the adjudicator, one for the accompanist and one for yourself). So I had given up and selected a different song. That song simply was not working with the choir and this other song kept popping in my head. So I headed back on over to Charlotte Diamond's website and sent a message explaining my situation and asked it there was any way I could purchase single copies of the song I wished to use. At lunch there was an email from my husband, "Charlotte Diamond called, you can photocopy her song from the book, she will write you a letter of permission". What? She called my house herself! How fantastic is that!!!
He knew I would be excited to hear the whole story. He did clue in during the conversation that it was Charlotte Diamond, the children's singer. He didn't realize until I got home that she is the one who sings "I am a Pizza" - that thrilled him - it's his favorite to sing with our kids. Anyways she and I emailed a couple of times over the next day as I found out that the festival will in fact accept a photocopy of the music as long as I attach an original letter from her. She very kindly and graciously wrote the letter of permission for me and I'm just so happy about the whole darn thing!


This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to make a little taggie toy for baby

Two of my colleagues are expecting babies in about a month. Before they went on maternity leave we had a little shower for them. I had seen a little toy like this on Pinterest and thought it looked pretty cute and simple enough to make. Some of it was guess work as I'd made my own dear daughter a mini taggie blankie when she was smaller.  Some of it I did by guess work and some of it I was helped out by the trail left to me by Pinterest.  I first saw something similar on Tatertots and Jello which led me to Mmmcrafts which led me to Chez Beeper Bebe which had an amazing little Etsy story and tutorial (totally worth reading).  Here's what I did:

First I pre-washed some soft flannel (though any soft, cuddly fabric would do), folded it to double layer it and cut out a circle (making two identical circles).

I then cut a variety of pretty ribbons in varying lengths.  I folded them in half and pinned them on one circle (good side) facing in to the centre of the circle, so all the folded edged meet in the middle.  (This is probably the easiest step to get wrong as it doesn't seem to make sense, but it will - trust me!)

I then matched the other circle up and pinned it overtop all of the ribbons, good side facing in.   As you pin the outside circle on, you need to remove the inside pins that are holding the ribbons in place.  So basically, hold that ribbon down and re-place the inside pin on top so that it goes through all 4 layers (a fabric sandwich of flannel, ribbon, ribbon, flannel).  Continue on the circle.  Now you have a nice little packet ready to sew.

Now sew around the circle, leave a space a couple of cm (just under an inch) wide to turn the toy inside out.

Once you have turned the toy inside out so that all the ribbons are now on the outside you can start stuffing the toy with stuffing.

Once filled, sew up the little hole.

Use embroidery thread to stitch on a little face.  I'm certainly no expert at this, just go for it and see what you come up with :)

  There are my two little soft taggie toys ready to meet the new babies!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Around Here

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.