Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ignorant Parents Deserve Atomic Wedgies

Prepare for a rant…

I think parents and non-parents would agree that sometimes it is tempting to scream “Control your child!!!”Obviously directed at the ignorant parent chatting up a storm with some other ignorant parent while their child maliciously attacks other children at a preschool style playground with a weapon of mass destruction.

I wish I were exaggerating, but such was the scene yesterday afternoon at the playground by my house. Okay, maybe the mass destruction part was an exaggeration, but just slightly. I would have taken photographic evidence to put here, but I was too busy trying to protect my children from what would certainly have been their sudden demise a serious injury. I mean what parent in their right mind sends a 4 year old boy into a playground full of other preschoolers with a large, heavy plastic sword!?! And sits idly by while said 4 year old wields it above his head, swings it wildly and swiftly whacks every innocent bystander in the gut.

I quickly collected my girls and removed them from the obviously dangerous situation until the terrorizing 4 year old left the playground. However, as is probably not surprising given that I am still ranting about this a day later, I regret my certain inaction in the situation. Unfortunately, I am an avoider and hate confrontation. Here is how my inner devil wishes I had handled the situation:

I quickly divest the 4 year old hooligan of his weapon, pick him up and deposit him in the baby swing, where is now effectively inhibited and his reign of terror ceases. I march over to the ignorant parent and call her out while waving the plastic sword in my hand. She stands up and I give her the biggest atomic wedgie that has ever been performed on a human being (thanks to her enormous granny panties), and then I whack her in the gut with the plastic sword and politely suggest that she collect her little hooligan and be sure to never return to my kingdom this playground again. The crowd cheers as I stand atop the playground slide with the sword held high above my head shouting "Freedom!"

Sigh… that feels better.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Make It Monday: Easter Eggs

If you’re looking for some fun ideas for decorating eggs for Easter than you’ve come to the right place. I couldn’t decide what method to use to decorate our eggs this year so I opted for a mixed bag. Sophie and I made Basic Easter Eggs, Marbled Eggs, Crayon Design Eggs, Polka-dot Eggs, Striped Eggs, an Easter Egg Chick and Tissue Paper Eggs.

Before you start hard boil as many eggs as you like and allow them to cool completely. Then pick your method of attack and have at it. Below are directions for the different methods that we used for decorating our eggs.

Basic Easter Eggs

What you’ll need:

¾ cup  Water
1 tbsp  White vinegar
Food colouring

Simply combine the ingredients in a glass adding as many drops of food colouring you need to get your desired colour.

Carefully place a hard boiled egg in the glass and let it sit there for a few minutes. The colour will be more prominent the longer you wait.

Remove the egg with spoon and set it on an upside down egg carton to dry.

Marbled Eggs

What you'll need:

Basic Easter Egg Dye (recipe above)
1 tbsp  Cooking oil

Add cooking oil to the Basic Easter Egg Dye. Place a hard boiled egg in the glass and allow it to sit for a few minutes. The oil will cause the dye to have a marbled effect on the egg. 

Crayon Design Eggs

What you'll need:

Basic Easter Egg Dye (recipe above)

Draw a design on a cool, dry, hard boiled egg with crayons. White crayons give a neat effect. 

Place the egg in a glass of dye, allow it to sit for a few minutes, remove and dry.

Polka Dot Eggs

What you'll need:

Sticky tape or stickers
Basic Easter Egg Dye (recipe above)

Simply stick a few stickers or cut out pieces of tape on your hard boiled egg. Place it in the egg dye, allow to sit for a few minutes, remove and dry, and remove the tape. We make a polka dot egg, but you could be creative with any shapes.

Striped Eggs

What you'll need:

Basic Easter Egg Dye (recipe above)

Wrap an elastic around a hard boiled egg. You can use an egg that has already been dyed if you want a two toned effect like this one. Place the egg in the dye, allow to sit for a few minutes, remove and dry, and remove the elastic.

Easter Egg Chick

What you'll need:

Basic Easter Egg - dryed (directions above)
Pipe cleaner
Googly eyes
Construction Paper - cut into the shape of a beak
Ribbon - tied into a small bow
Hot Glue

Twist the pipe cleaner to make feet and a loop for the egg to rest in. Using hot glue attach the pipe cleaner feet to the egg. Glue on feathers, googly eyes, construction paper beak, and bow. Voila!

Tissue Paper Eggs

What you'll need:

Tissue paper cut into small squares
Water in a spray bottle

Spray a hard boiled egg with water and stick the pieces of tissue paper all over it. Spray the entire tissue paper covered egg with water and allow to dry completely. Peel off the paper to reveal your creation.

Note: We used four colours of old tissue paper, but only the purple and green stained the egg. This would work better with brand new tissue paper.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Home DIY Part 2: Granite Countertop Paint in the Kitchen

The countertop redo is finally finished. I have to say I'm really impressed with the finished product. There is no longer any green laminate left in my house.

Here are the before and after pictures of the kitchen.

If you're considering taking on this simple home DIY project here's what you need to know. The product I used is Giani Granite Countertop Paint, which is sold in very conveniently packaged kits. The kits come in three different colours, Sicilian Sand, Chocolate Brown and Bombay Black. The kit I used was Chocolate Brown, which I applied leaving a lot of the black primer exposed.

The kits include:

Ironcore Primer
3 Mineral Paints
Clear Topcoat
2 rollers
1 foam paintbrush
1 sponge

In addition you’ll need:

A utility knife: to removeexisting caulking
Painters tape
Paint tray
Foil: to line your paint tray
600 grit sandpaper
Hand sander or wood block
Papertowel and/or rags for cleanup

Overall the process is really straightforward and simple. The trickiest part is applying the Clear Topcoat smoothly and efficiently so you don't end up with lines throughout. This is most difficult on long sections of counter, which for me was the breakfast bar in the kitchen. My tip, after trial and error, is to be sure to generously apply the Clear Topcoat and never let your roller dry. The videos are also really helpful. 

If you run out of any of the paints that come in the kit you can also buy them separately. I purchased my kit and an additional can of the Clear Topcoat at Walls Alive in Calgary. For more information click here to link back to my previous post on countertop paint.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Make It Monday: Footprint Butterfly Art

Spring is just around the corner! So we're celebrating with a fun Footprint Butterfly Art project.

I just can't resist handprint and footprint art. Maybe it's because kids don't stay little for long and any fun art project that allows me to preserve the precious little fingers and toes that get bigger by the day is a winner in my books.

What you'll need:
  • Fingerpaints: Or other art paints if you’re braver than I am
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Small paintbrush
  • Plastic lid: To use as an artist pallet
  • Scrap paper
  • Artist canvas: I got mine at the dollar store
  • Little bare feet: Preferably cooperative ones


Lather a generous amount of fingerpaints onto the sole of one the cooperative little feet using the foam brush. We did half in one colour and half in another, but you could get crazy and use more than that.

Press the little foot down onto your artist canvas. 

Repeat the process with the opposite foot. Aligning the print so that the left footprint is to the right of the right footprint; giving you the butterfly wings. 

Note: To point out the obvious there are no photos of Willow during this process because let's be honest, a 6 month old flailing about with paint on her foot does not leave any free hands for picture taking.

Tip: After trial and error I found the best method to get a wiggly baby's footprint on the canvas is to put the little tyke in the Jolly Jumper, hold her foot steady, and press it down.

The final step is to add your finishing touches using the small paintbrush and/or your fingers. Paint in the body, head, smiley face, and fingerprint antennae.

There you have it. Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time for a Home DIY Project: Granite Countertop Paint

You know how when you leave a little puppy cooped up in the house for an entire day it destroys everything? Well, it turns out it’s equally as dangerous to leave a notorious DIYing mother currently on mat leave for an entire week; especially when the children have a two hour afternoon nap at the same time and are in bed for the night at 7:30pm. Yes, Jonas has been gone since Sunday morning and by Sunday evening the things in my home that have started to annoy me started swirling around out of control in my head. In particular, the green laminate countertops in the bathrooms, living room and kitchen. Ugh. So, needless to say, I started a new home DIY project.

I came across this Giani Granite Countertop Paint and after reading several reviews and watching the tutorial videos on their site I decided this was exactly the project I would be undertaking this week. Purchasing new granite counter tops is definitely not within my budget, so this paint is what I needed to update my home. 

You can buy the kits at Walls Alive in Calgary, for $100. For other seller locations click here. Or you can buy the product online from their site for $70, but shipping to Canada is $35, so not worth it in my opinion.

It was actually incredibly easy to use. The tutorial videos are excellent. 

Here are my before and after pictures:


The process is very well outlined.

Preparation: Remove caulking, clean the surface area really well, and tape the edges. Don't rush through this step.

Primer: One coat of black primer. 8 hours to dry. Very simple.

Mineral Paints: Sponge on the mineral colours in order. 4 hours to dry. Sand smooth.

Clear Topcoat: Two coats of the clear topcoat. 4 hours and sanding in between.

Re-caulk: Replace the caulking that was removed around the counter edges and sink. I'd never used caulking before and I found this video on youtube very helpful.

Here's a photo of the process:

The colours will look dull until the topcoat is added. And then it will shine like a glorious new granite counter top.

The good thing about this paint process is that if you've covered up too much of the black primer you can always sponge on more after your mineral colours have dried.

I had a blast doing this project and it sure made this week fly by. I'm currently working on the kitchen and will post some pictures when I'm done.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Make It Monday: Grow Your Own Rock Candy

This is definitely a project for all ages. You don't need to be a parent to enjoy this one. Chemistry and candy all in one, a perfect rainy day project that will satisfy your sweet tooth a week later.

I'm sure everyone has eaten or at least seen rock candy. I recently discovered that it is very fun to make. I won't say it's foolproof because it's definitely finicky. But lucky for you I've put together a step by step tutorial here so you can try it out for yourself.

What you'll need:

- 1 cup Water
- 3 cups Sugar
- Clean Jars or Glasses
- Rough string or skewer sticks
- Pencils
- Food colouring (optional)
- Flavouring (optional)


  • Assemble your string or stick suspension: Fasten your stick or string to a pencil, forming a T. Test the height by placing it in your glass or jar. Ensure that the string or stick does not touch the sides or bottom of the jar. I used a small hair elastic to fasten the skewer stick to a pencil.

  • Heat the water in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir constantly until it has dissolved into a syrup. It is important to dissolve all of the sugar otherwise crystals will form on the undissolved sugar instead of on your string or stick.

  • Pour the syrup into your glass or jar. I used three jars for this quantity of syrup, which produced short rock candy clusters on sticks. If you want a longer rock candy cluster than pour the syrup in only one or two jars. The crystals will form as high up on the stick or string as the surface of the syrup.

  • Add food colouring and flavouring, if desired. The combinations I used were: Green food colouring with Peppermint extract; Red food colouring with Almond extract; and Blue food colouring with no flavouring.

  • Place your string or stick "T" into the glass or jar. If the pencil tilts due to the weight of the stick you can use small pieces of masking tape to secure it in place. Set the jars in an area where they will be undisturbed for 7 days.

  • Cover the jars with paper towel to protect the syrup from dust particles.

  • Watch the crystals magically grow!

  • After 7 days the crystals are fully grown and you have rock candy. Crystals will likely have formed on the surface of the syrup and bottom or sides of the jar. To remove the rock candy break away the surface crystals and lift out your stick or string. If crystals have built up too much on the bottom of your jar so that the stick or string is stuck simply place the jar in a very shallow hot water bath , this will help dissolve the crystals on the bottom of the jar loosening them from your rock candy stick.

  •  Allow the rock candy to dry. Along with your stick or string of candy, you can save the clusters that have formed on the sides or bottom of your jar. They may look something like these. 

  • Enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Fatherly Love

This picture is worth much more than a thousand words. So I'll follow it with just a few more.

The relationship that fathers have with their daughters is one that amazes and inspires. 

It's been nearly 10 years since my Dad departed this world far too early, but the memories I have of the wonderful times we shared together will always be with me.

For Jonas and I, we are still in the early stages of creating beautiful memories with our two little girls. And I know that Sophie and Willow will continue to love, respect, admire and adore their Dad, just as I did, and still do, mine.

Jonas is a special kind of father. He carries with him that non-nonchalant attitude that says "If you don't mind, then I don't mind" when it comes to brushing aside the little things, like shoes on the wrong feet, wildly uncontrollable hair with bits of crusted food in it, mismatched clothes, muddy pants, and so forth. 

But when it comes to the important stuff he's right there to be an everyday hero. Kissing bumps and bruises, cheering on even the littlest of achievements, and most importantly creating opportunities for learning and growth...

Patience, opportunity and building confidence = One proud little girl.

Pulling the sled with just a little helping hand.

While things in life might go a little quicker and smoother if you just put the little one in a sled or stroller on those long walks, the opportunity to test limits, try new things, fall, get up, and fall again builds an immeasurable amount of self-respect, confidence, and determination in children. This, Jonas knows and it just comes naturally.

I'm grateful everyday for the amazing husband and father that we have in our lives and I know Sophie and Willow are too.

One day last week, Sophie and I were heading out the door to pick up groceries, and after carefully making our way down the slippery front steps Sophie stopped in her tracks and exclaimed “Oh, I need to give Daddy a hug and a kiss!” I didn’t even pause at the obvious impracticality of it, being that we’d only be gone for half an hour; I just turned around and helped her up the steps and back into the house so she could give her Daddy a big hug and kiss before we ventured out for our short shopping trip. Yes, this little girl is just as grateful as I am. And so is this one...

She just doesn't have the words yet.