How to Make a Holiday Wreath!

wreathgirlsLast week we hosted a Wreath Workshop (which was just for moms, no kiddies allowed, which meant there was wine)! If you missed the workshop but would like to make your own wreath follow the instructions below.Materials

1 bough of pine

1 bough of evergreen or any other type of Christmas greenery

1 coat hanger

Pliers

Pine cones

Ribbon

Green Wire (can be purchase at the dollar store)

Cranberries

table-top-wreatwreath-workshop-whole-roomDirections

ImageStep 1: Using gardening shears cut off sections of your boughs that will be good size for your wreath. Using your pliers turn your coat hanger into a circle. It’s best to use a somewhat flimsy wire coat hanger, as the stiff ones are harder to manipulate. Once you have formed your circle you can begin designing your wreath. For those of us with Type A personality you can lay out your whole wreath in advance and get the exact look you desire. For those of who are a bit more whimsical you can create as you go along. Select pieces from your boughs and attach them to the wire circle by using your green wire. You should work with one very long piece of wire as opposed to continually cutting pieces. You need to affix your greenery by simply wrapping the green wire around the coat hanger as well as the piece of bough.

wreath-girlsStep 2:

ImageYour wreath will slowly begin to take shape, a trick to making a full wreath is to use two different types of boughs. However, if you prefer the look of one you can stick to just one. Once you have completed your wreath you can use your gardening shears to give it a bit of a haircut if needed. Now you can get all fancy and add all sorts of doodads to your wreath, or you can just leave it plain. To attach the pine cones I took the green wire and wrapped it around the pine cone, making sure it was not too visible. You can attach the pine cone to the wreath using a “twist tie” method. The trick is to hide the green wire within the pine so that it’s not too visible, it blends really well so it’s not too much of a difficult trick! Also remember when adding your pine cones that things in 3’s are usually the best combo for design. You can now add a ribbon to your wreath so that you can hang it or you can place it on a table and add some candles.

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Gingerbread Workshop!

img_7200Looking for an easy and fun activity for your next holiday party? Try doing gingerbread houses, everyone loves them and they’re so fun to decorate. We used muffin tins to sort out all the candies and made our gingerbread houses out of graham crackers (which are easier for little hands to manipulate). If you’re feeling adventurous you could make gingerbread houses from scratch, or buy pre-made kits from a shop. Gingerbread houses are a great way to keep your guests entertained – turn it into a contest with prizes and everyone will want to play! gingerbreadtableimg_7197img_7200img_7197img_7193img_7204gingerbreadtablekitchen-wallkidsgingerbread

Tips for hosting a Halloween Parties!

img_6965Maybe, you’ve decided to host a last minute Halloween Party – cause either you like a challenge or you’re just plain crazy. On the topic of last minute decision making, if you’ve forgotten it’s Halloween altogether, check out our collaborative post on Rebel Mama for quick and easy costume ideas! We’ve hosted quite a few halloween events this past month, with our biggest yet to come, here are our tips:

  • Have a plan – or a schedule and keep on top of it, bored children pumped fill of sugar are a terrible combination.
  • pick a couple halloween games the kids can play (Anna Luther from myLifeandKids has soooooo many great ones)
  • have an easy (non-messy) craft, the dollar store sells great halloween foamies (which come with stickers) so no need to worry about glue. You could pre-cut orange pumpkins and have the kids decorate them. If you’re throwing a party for older kids and don’t mind a little mess – check out HGTV for a whole gallery of ideas.
  • Cookie decorating is a great activity for halloween but does come along with lots of mess – so use your discretion. For little hands, I recommend keeping the icing in bowls and giving them spatulas to spread it with. For medium size hands, you can fill squeeze bottles with icing and for the bigger hands go all out with icing bags.
  • Don’t go crazy, keep it simple (as long as you’ve got candy most kids are happy with that).

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Food Fit For a King!

ImageThere were so many things I said I would never do as a parent and then I became one. I swore my baby would be on a schedule, I would not give him a soother, I would never have him in our bed, the list goes on and on. However, there was one thing I said I would do and have so far stuck to it and that’s making my own baby food. This way I know what’s going into his little tummy and since he’s well into solids now it’s actually pretty fun concocting new recipes and experimenting with all the purees! My biggest issue (and I’m sure many others) is that there’s never enough time in a day. Being a working mom and having others watch your baby means you don’t always get a say about what goes in their tummies. Plus, since I enjoy food so much I’m not really into basing our meals around his simplistic tastes. So, I was only really left with one option: a 3 hour cook fest that results in enough food for Ollie’s little tummy for 2 weeks! Here’s how to make food fit for a King!

You can buy all vegetables and meat/fish from your local market, it’s worth the extra expense to buy everything organic (especially some fruits and veggies) and to make sure your meat/fish are antibiotic/hormone free. I use coconut oil instead of olive oil as it’s a healthier alternative when you’re heating the oil up to high temperatures.

You will need to have small containers to store all your food. You can use ice cube trays however, I find that the little cubes tend to get freezer burn. There are so many great little containers out there for making your own baby food, they’re worth the purchase as they keep the food air tight.

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Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Butternut Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Basil (a handful)
  • Oregano (a handful)
  • Green Onions (1 bunch)
  • Mushrooms (1 pint)

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  • Steak
  • Salmon
  • Chicken

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  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Butter 2 tbsp
  • Coconut Oil
  • Boiled water approximately 1 L (you can just boil the kettle and use that water, it’s easy to pour it that way).

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Step 1: Squash

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake all the squash first as it usually takes the longest. Use a baking pan and put about an inch of water in it. Cut the squashes in half and take out all the seeds. Depending on your oven the length of time will vary, expect about an hour. You can tell when your squash is done by pushing a fork into it, it should slide in very easily. Peel off the skin of the sweet potato with a peeler and place in blender of your choice. For the butternut and spaghetti squash you can use a fork to get the squash out and then use a blender of your choice. Once each squash has been blended you can dole them out into your little containers.

Step 2: Mushroom Pesto

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The trick here is to make a lot of this as it’s absolutely delicious and you can mix it with some rice pasta and presto you’ve made dinner for yourself at the same time! Chop up all your ingredients. Heat 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan, add your chopped veggies and cook until mushrooms are browned. Place in your blender and add some boiled water, puree until it reaches your desired consistency.

Step 3: Pear, Apple

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the fruit in half and place in a baking pan with about an inch of water. Bake until fruit is very soft to touch. Peel off skin and remove cores, place fruit in blender, you may need to add just a bit of boiled water to get your desired consistency.

Step 4: Salmon, Chicken and Steak

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Use the coconut oil to cook all 3. Simply melt some coconut oil and pour about a tbsp over the chicken, fish and steak. Bake in the oven at 350 for approximately 30 minutes (depending on your oven and the size of fish/meat). Once the meat/fish have been cooked you can put the salmon and chicken separately, in the blender using some boiled water to reach your desired consistency. For the steak, you can chop it up into very fine pieces and once it’s mixed with other purees you reduce the choking hazard.

Step 5: Broccoli

Steam the broccoli, steaming is one of the better choices to cook any food as it helps to keep a lot of the nutrients in.

Step 6: Creating your meals!

ImageThis is the fun part (as if you weren’t already having fun)! You can make as many different combinations as your heart desires. Here are some suggestions (which seem to work well with the O-man but every baby is different).

  1. Chicken, mushroom pesto, tiny bit of applesauce, sweet potato
  2. Salmon, broccoli, pear, spaghetti squash
  3. Steak, sweet potato, mushroom puree
  4. Chicken, apple, sweet potato, broccoli
  5. Sweet Potato, broccoli, pear, spaghetti and butternut squash

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The sky is really the limit! Just make sure you know your child’s allergies and make sure they’ve tried all the foods you use before combining them as otherwise you’ll have no idea what caused the tummy upset. If you’re interested feel free to join us for our exciting Baby Nutrition Workshop next weekend!

Mini Cake Workshop!

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Looking for a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Join us for our fun Mini Cake Workshop! Learn how to mask a mini cake with buttercream icing and decorate your cake with Fondant.

When: Sunday, April 21st

Time: 2-4pm

Cost: $30 per registrant

(children under the age of 5 need to be accompanied by an adult).

$10 per child under the age of 5 years.

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Baby Nutritrion Workshop!

LoblawsJust wanted to let you know that we’ve partnered up with Loblaws and will be offering a very fun and informative Sunday afternoon.

We will be meeting a nutritionist/dietician at Loblaws at 3pm, her name is Melanie Byland (you can read her bio on our Staff page).

She will be focusing her interactive talk on the nutritional value of different fruits and vegetables and will help us plan meals/diets for our babies.

We will be returning to Seasons just before 4pm where we will spend an hour making food for our babies for the week! You are welcome to bring containers or we can supply (for an extra charge) to bring your food home. We will be making a variety of fruits and vegetables.

There will be staff(s) onsite to watch the babies (in the studio downstairs) so that we can focus in the kitchen.

If you would like to partake in this fun afternoon please let us know, spaces are limited! If your babies has any allergies please notify us.

When: Sunday, April 7th
Time: 3-5pm
Loblaws: 3pm
Seasons 4-5pm
Cost: $45 (plus HST)
Materials: containers (supplied by Seasons for an extra cost or supplied by you for free 🙂
Food: Supplied by Seasons!

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

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Today was our last Creative Treats class with ICS, its been such a wonderful term! For our last class, we wanted a project that the students could complete in one class, so we made amazing Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses. The houses are so cute and so easy! Plus without using too many red and green candies, no-one seemed to notice we were making them in March and not December! Follow these easy steps to make your own:

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Ingredients

  • 1 batch of Royal Icing 
  • 4 Graham Crackers (full size) and one split into two pieces
  • 1 zip lock bag (or a piping bag)
  • Lots of candies for decorating!
  • 9×6 piece of cardboard wrapped in tin foil
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Muffin tins are a great way to separate your candies.

Method:

Step 1

Fill your zip lock bag with icing and using your hands push it all to one corner of the bag. Cut a small hole in the same corner of the bag (and by small, we mean very, very tiny, think like a tip of a pencil).

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Step 2

Take a full size graham cracker and using your zip lock bag, squeeze icing along the base and side of the cracker. Place the cracker with the icing side down onto the tinfoil, this will secure into place. Working quickly, take the graham cracker that has been cut in half and attach it to the larger cracker.

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Step 3

Repeat step 2 until you have constructed a four sided house. To attach the roof you need to line the top sides of the house, the roof pieces actually rest on top of the walls. You can put a strip of icing down the middle to make sure it’s really secured. You should wait about 5 minutes before starting to affix candies so that your house does not collapse. If you’re not feeling the roof you could always make a bungalow, just put one graham cracker down flat as the roof!

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Step 4

Decorate 🙂 Use the royal icing to attach the candies to your house. Be creative and remember to have lots of fun.

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The students needed to transport their houses home in one piece, so we wrapped them up in cellophane and added a ribbon. They make the perfect gift!

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Cellophane and ribbon complete this delicious craft!

Rainbow Cakes!

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Check out these amazing Rainbow Cakes made by the ICS students!! Not only are they cool to look at but they taste yummy too! It was also a very easy recipe to do! We used cake batter and icing gels, we simply separated the batter into six bowls and used the icing gels to make the colours of the rainbow. We then used a spoon to scoop the different colour batter into a mason jar. We put the jars in a 9×13″ brownie pan with about an inch of water and baked them for about 40 minutes at 375F.

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