Saturday, March 30, 2013


I spent Good Friday home doing Easter crafts with Sophia and her "BFF".  We made so many fun things!  It was a great day.  I was feeling a bit bad for not having done any Easter Crafts up to that point...well, we made up for it!!

Easter Bouquets 

Made from Egg Carton Flowers and Hand print Lilies. 
The egg carton flowers were easy, I cut out the cups the night before to save time but I'm sure older kids could handled this on their own.  I used small curved cuticle scissors to easily cut a rounded petal.
I got the idea for the hand print lilies here

Cute Chicks

Then we dyed Easter Eggs and made some of them into cute hatching chicks.


Then we made these CUTE dipped strawberries that look like carrots.  I think I saw the idea on Pinterest but if you can dip a strawberry, you can make these.  They were super yummy too.  You can get the full instructions here.

Really, these were sooooo yummy!

What else....

Bunny Whiskers :+

These were super easy and cute!  I had the girls choose the colours they wanted and then I used a glue gun to attach the pipe cleaner and pom poms.  White glue would have worked but the glue gun is just so fast!!

Peep Kabobs

Easy...Peeps on a stick

I used the Wilton Retzel Bags that I bought at Michaels

Monday, March 18, 2013


So what's in your lip gloss?

Actually, the truth is, I'm not really sure.  I recently read an article claiming that 55% of the lip stick and lip glosses tested contained lead!  I've tried to do a bit of research on this topic and I've found that most of the articles claim the same thing....lead, and a bunch of other weird things.
So, I got tired of researching and trying to figure out the facts from fiction and thought it would be a lot more fun to just make my own lip gloss.
I'm not saying that I'll never use lipstick ever again but I've started looking for more natural alternatives for every day products and switching them up where I can.  I've found that so far, ALL of the natural products that I've been using not only seem to be working better for my skin but also have been saving me a lot of money.  I'll post more of them as soon as I can.  I wanted to try them out for a while before I gave them my stamp of approval.
We all know that Crayola Crayons* are non-toxic and come in more colours than you can imagine!  This lip gloss contains only three ingredients, Shea Butter, Castor Oil and Crayons (which also contain pigment and paraffin wax).  I added a few drops of food grade Peppermint Oil because I don't really like the smell of crayons.  
This was quick and easy and it feels lovely on my lips!  I have only tried two colours but I can't wait to try more.

*make sure to get Crayola, non-toxic crayons. 

Depending on the size of the container you have you can modify this recipe.  Also, half a crayon is a nice light colour but if you want a more opaque colour just add more crayon.
I am using containers that hold 10ml that I bought at the Dollar Store.  8 per pkg

1 tsp Shea Butter
3/4 tsp Castor Oil
1/2 Crayola Crayon
a few drops of food grade essential oil (I used peppermint)


Combine all of the ingredients (except the essential oil) in a glass bowl
and set the bowl over a simmering pot of water and wait until they all melt together

Remove the bowl from the heat and add the essential oil.

Pour it into your container and...

That's it!  It will harden up in no time and you will have a lovely lip gloss!

Purple Pizzazz and Wild Strawberry

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gluten Free

So I did it, yes, I have jumped on the Gluten Free band wagon!  I'll give you a quick history of what lead me to the decision to stop eating all things soft and yummy!  I promise, I'm getting somewhere with this story.
For most of my life, I was able to eat anything I wanted, never felt unwell, never gained a pound.  In my later 20's, a panic disorder that I think was always looming, hit me hard!  For the next 6 or seven years I struggled with this and as anyone who has anxiety can attest to, it ruled my life!  I tried almost everything...therapy, a naturopath, acupuncture, esodynamic therapy (correctology), books, Cd's, DVD's, on line courses, more therapy, and band-aid solutions like Ativan and Lorazipam.  Through all of this focus on overcoming my anxiety and avoiding things that made me anxious, my world became very small.  Not only were social gatherings difficult for me but working, sleeping even eating became something that I had to force myself to do every day.  I had also lost touch with most of my friends, through no fault of their own, I had become inaccessible.  Luckily, my now wonderful husband stood by me through it all, it cannot have been easy! 
During these years there were ups and downs, some of the above mentioned things worked better than others but the anxiety was always there.  Never the less, through these difficult years, I was able to accomplish a lot.  I owned my own business (a coffee shop), I got married, we bought a house and I had a baby.  There were many great times but there were also many dark times...
I had a major health scare when I was 31.  About a year post baby, I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease, not before having a major "Thyroid Storm" which resulted in severe weight loss and congestive heart failure.  Scary!
My anxiety only worsened after that.  By the time I was 33, I was at the end of my rope.  My family Dr had recently moved her practice and I was referred to a new Dr who would not refill my Rx for Ativan (my only salvation at the time) but did write me an Rx for Effexor, an antidepressant.  I filled the Rx but didn't take it...I'm not depressed, I have anxiety.  What if it changes my personality?  What if I don't feel like myself?  What if I experience all of the horrible side effects that they mention in the paperwork?  No, I'm not taking it.
After a late night heart to heart with a friend and a few too many glasses of wine, I came clean on just how severe my anxiety really was.  I was honest about the thoughts that ran through my head on a minute to minute basis.  With her encouragement, I started taking the meds the next day.  For that, I will be forever grateful!  It was a rough road.  The side effects I was so afraid of were a bit awful for about a week or two...headaches, hypersensitivity, anxiety (go figure) but I stuck with it and suddenly, the cloud lifted.
Did it change my personality?  No.  Did I feel like myself.  Yes, for the first time in 8 years.  Everything changed.  I started putting myself out there again.  Getting together with old friends, mending relationships.  The change in our family dynamics were astounding!  My daughter seemed to have also experienced a cloud lifting as well.  Although I tried very hard to hide my anxiety from can tell.
This is not to say that I was "cured" but that the looming feeling that at nay minute I could lose control was gone.  The thoughts were less and for the first time, all of the skills I had learned about dealing with anxiety were actually working.  I like to say that the ways of managing my anxiety described in the books at the time were like trying to teach someone how to swim while they were drowning.  I needed a life preserver, then I could learn to swim.
All of this new freedom meant nights out, drinks, food!  Things tasted good again and eating didn't make me anxious.  I decided to have "the summer of Angie!".  I was going to drink wine, eat whatever I wanted and gain some weight for the first time in a long time.  Well, that was a slippery slope.  I fell off the health wagon...hard!
I don't really have any regrets, I thoroughly enjoyed my 3+ years of overindulging.  Only problem is that my body did not.  I had gained about 40 lbs, my skin was awful, my hair was dry and frizzy, I felt lazy and tired all the time and my wardrobe had become, very uncomfortable.  I had a wake up call a few weeks ago when I caught a staph infection.  Are you kidding me?!!  Why would that happen to me and why did it spread so fast?  I was pretty sure I already knew the answers but I needed a kick in the butt.  I started seeing a naturopath and although she reassured me that my unhealthy eating and lifestyle didn't cause the infection, it sure didn't help me fight it off!
So, here I am today...four weeks Gluten, Sugar, Dairy, and Wheat free!  I can't begin to tell you how good I feel already!  Another cloud lifting experience, I can think clearly, my mood is elevated, I have more energy my skin has cleared and I've dropped ten pounds.  I feel like I have a new lease on life.  I've started a work out routine (I'm only on week one of that but you have to start somewhere right?)
I plan to share my successes and struggles along this new path.  I'm sitting here typing, eating a bowl of gluten free steal cut oats instead of drinking my usually fourth cup of coffee and I am actually loving it!

*Disclaimer:  I am not a Dr nor am I an expert in gluten free eating.  I'm a newbie and will probably make some mistakes along the way.  Let me know if you read anything that I've will really help me out!

How I Did It

I was a self proclaimed sugar addict!  Anything I could get my hands on.  Sugar in my coffee, white bread with Nutella, Gummy Bears, Skittles, and CHOCOLATE!!!
I quit the sugar cold turkey (including fruit for now) and really only had one day of unpleasant side effects...major sugar hangover!
The Gluten and wheat were cold turkey as well.  I spent the first week eating mostly veggies and meat.  I've broadened my horizons now and have Steal cut oats for breakfast and Quinoa about once a week  Otherwise, I'm trying to not over do it with grains.
I cut down on caffeine slowly.  Coffee and Diet Coke.  I now have a coffee in the morning and maybe one in the afternoon (I LOVE coffee) and NO Diet Coke.  Otherwise I drink 3L of water a day and green tea when I need something warm.
I eat spaghetti squash with my meat sauce instead of pasta and it's delicious!  I eat chili, lentils, sweet potatoes, meat, homemade soups, nuts, salads...there are so many things to eat!  I haven't tried any of the gluten free baking products yet because at this point I am still sugar free and plan to stay that way as much as possible.  I think sugar was as much a problem fro me as gluten was.
I plan to try dairy again in the future, I have never been a huge consumer of dairy but I do love a stinky cheese!!  Dairy has always seemed to agree quite well with me.
Another interesting find it that I was quite sensitive to raw vegetables in the past, especially dark leafy greens.  A huge green salad could send me to the bathroom for hours!  For some reason now that I've cut out other things, I can eat it!  No troubles?  Not sure why that has happened but I'm loving it!
Well, that's about it for now.  I plan to share the website I love and great recipes that I find throughout this journey.  I've also taken a before picture of myself in hopes that I will see a big difference but I'm not ready to show that one yet!  Here are a few photos of me through the years that I described...

Healthy, Happy Days.  There had been some tough times before this but when I got married and throughout my pregnancy and most of my daughters first year, I felt pretty good.

Grave's Disease in action...wasting away and feeling awful!

These look like great times and although they were, I was REALLY struggling.  I was running daily because I read that it helped.  It did "help" but I needed more.  So I was in great shape physically but not mentally.

Bring on the fun!  Mentally healthy and happy!  Loving life!  Physically...going a bit downhill :0)  I can't look back on these photos with anything but joy.  Although I'm not skinny, they represent pure joy for me.  I could almost weep!

Feeling great and on the road to recovery!  The center photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, post gluten free diet.  The other two were taken this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Salt Dough Beads

January and February are NOT my favourite months in the Great White North.  If it weren't for viruses and illnesses I might be singing a different tune...maybe we'd get outside and enjoy the cold instead of staying inside, loathing a cold!
So, we have to find things to keep us busy!  Sophia and I made Salt Dough Beads!  This was a great project since she was home for a few days were were able to work on them over many days.  They were super easy.

1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup luke warm water


1. In a large bowl mix salt and flour.
2. Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency.
3. With your hands, form a ball with your dough and kneed it for at least 5 minutes. The longer you kneed your dough the smoother it will be.

Store your salt dough in a air tight container and you will be able to use it for days.

Bake your creations at 200 F until they are dry. The amount of time needed to bake your creations depend on size and thickness; thin flat ornaments may only take 45-60 minutes, thicker creations can take 2-3 hours or more.

You can paint your creations with acrylic paints and seal with varnish or polyurethane spray.
You can let your salt dough creations air dry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The Theme

Think everything Candy Land!  I pulled out the board game and had a good look it and tried to think of things that I could easily incorporated into the decor that would make the house feel like you just stepped into a real life board game.
I use simple coloured construction paper to make the squares for the path to the door.

Over Sized Lollipop

I made as much over sized candy as I could!
Use two plastic table cloths of contrasting colour ($1ea). 
Bunched each lengthwise and then twisted them together. 
Use a hot glue gun to adhere it onto a cardboard circle in a spiral. 
Paint a wrapping paper roll white and hot glued it onto the back. 
Last, wrap the top with clear cellophane gift wrap ($1) and tie it up with a ribbon. 
Super easy!  Total cost $3 plus the cost of paint and glue.  I used leftover trim paint from a house project.

Giant Bon Bons

Use paper lanterns ($1ea)
Wrap them in Cellophane ($1 for a roll) and tie tightly on each side.
Total Cost $4 for 3 bon bons

Giant Candies

Use multicoloured paper plates ($1 for 25)
Wrap each plate in cellophane ($1) and tie at each end.
You can wrap about 4 plates with one roll of cellophane from the dollar store
Total cost for 4 candies $1.16

Bubble Gum Garland

This took a bit of time but wasn't difficult.  Depending on the age of your child, you could also get them to help. 
For about 8' of garland, buy 2 packages of gumballs at the dollar store ($1ea) and one package of Double Bubble ($1).

Use a nail or metal skewer to poke a hole through each gumball.
Thread a darning needle with string (or dental floss) and then start threading on the gumballs.  I used about 10 gumball to one Double Bubble. 
For the Double Bubble I poked my needle through the paper at one end and then out the other end.
Total cost ($3) plus the cost of string.

Rocket Garland

I cant say for sure how many packages of rockets you have to buy because I kept eating them but one big bag or 2 or 3 small ones from the Dollar Store should do the trick ($3)
Simply tie one end of the rocket to another using ribbon.  When you're all done, curl the ends.
Total cost ($3) plus curling ribbon but I have tons leftover from Christmas every year.

Bubble Gum Tree

Paint a Styrofoam cone yellow ($7) and glue Double Bubble gums onto the cone using a glue gun.  I had to use about three small packages of gum.($3)
Total cost $10  By far the most expensive decoration but I also used it as a game.  Guess how many gums on the the tree!!

Guess How Many Double Bubbles?!

Look who won!

Real Candy Decor

I didn't want to overdo it with the real candy because it can be expensive and I didn't want the kids to eat TOO much candy!  
I bought these small swirly pops they were about $10 for 24 lollipops.  I used them as decorations and also gave them out as the kids left the party.
Total spent on candy, about $25


Now before you say "I could NEVER do that" let me tell you, just try!  You can amaze yourself.  I went to my local Michael's store and asked them to put aside a large piece of cardboard for me and I was able to make all of these characters from the one BIG piece of cardboard.
I did use quite a bit of paint but I still have some paint leftover so I consider it an 

Lollipop Fruit Tray

I used a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread man pitas for the hummus.
Rolled cream cheese and cherry and peanut butter and banana sandwiches make the perfect shandwich pops.  Just ask your        bakery to slice your bread lengthwise.  Spread topping on a slice, add a row of cherries or a long slice of banana, roll up and slice.  Insert lollipop stick.

Colourful Goldfish are always fun!
The Cake

I used two square cakes side by side and iced them with boiled icing.  Then I used easy to find candies to decorate it.

Complete with an edible candle!
 The Games

This was the first year that we played organized games at the party, I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to go bit, it was a HIT!

Decorate your own lolly-pop!  I used a glue gun to attach a Popsicle stick to a paper plate and let the kids decorate their own while waiting for all the guests to arrive.

Musical Squares!  I taped colourful construction paper to the floor and it played out like musical chairs.  I played some "sweet" music.  Lollipop - Chordettes, My Boy Lollipop - Millie, I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow, Sugar Sugar - Archies, I am a Gummy Bear - The True Star

Pass the peppermint.  Sort of a relay race, because we weren't really crowning a winner in our games, we just split them into teams and had them walk down the hall balancing the peppermint on the spoon and then passing it off to their team member.  It was fun.

FREEZE!  I used the same music and they danced like crazy and when the music stopped they had to freeze!  last to freeze or first to move was out.  We played this a bunch of times, it was fun!

Make your own Edible Jewelry!  I had seen a post showing how to make a bead out of a fruit roll up as a stopper for the end of the necklace.  I chose not to do that and then wished that I had because tying the shoelace licorice in a knot just caused it to break.  The kids didn't seem to care.  Once they'd eaten their fill, we put them in their loot bags (boxes).

 Loot Box Time

Because Sophia's birthday is during the Samaritan's Purse / Operation Christmas Child collection time, we give out her loot bag "stuff" in a box for each child.  That way, if they want to, they can fill it with toys and surprises for a child in need

I added a little poem to each box, as well as the instructions that come with the box so that everyone would know what to do with it...Gumdrops, lollipops and licorice galore
So much candy, you'll float out the door
Once this box is empty, fill it with stuff
For a child who's Christmas this year could be a bit rough
For a boy or girl, whatever you send
Who knows, you might just make a new friend

This is one of the best parts!  We love filling the box with thoughtful things.  Sophia always has the best ideas. You get to choose things for either a boy or girl as well as the age group.  There are a few restrictions of things that you cannot include but our trouble is usually that we find too many things to fit in one box!  

If you are interested, follow this link to learn more:

Here are some pictures from the 2012 delivery :0)