$10 at Target

Last month, I got an opportunity for a quick stop in at Target.  I had the kids with me, so after they got their time in the toy department, I squeezed in a few minutes in the beauty, health care and the dollar sections.   Spending time in Target is a treat to me and even though I had my two little shadows with me, I managed to find a few things.

Want to see them?

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The pom poms were from the dollar section and the plan is to put them on the end of my son’s Santa hat (I’ve got until next year to do this now).   The First Aid to Go kit is now in my car’s console. The Savon soap is patiently waiting on my counter to be used. The small pack of band-aids are in my purse along with the tissues.  All perfectly needed and useful items.  Can you believe that all the items came to just under $10??

They did!

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Maybe it is a good thing the kids were with me, as I’m sure I would have spent a lot more!

linking up with: Shelbee on the EdgeSincerely PaulaGood Random FunA Little Bit of EverythingBy BMG

An Easy Girls Room Update

When we moved back into our house after the renovation, my daughter was just two.  So, she really didn’t have a say in how her room was decorated.  She received her big girl bed from her brother and I bought a dresser to match.  Yes, I said match – please don’t hate me!

I asked a designer friend for a suggestion on a pink for the walls. She recommended Benjamin Moore’s Fairest Pink Magnolia.  It turned out to be a lovely shade of pink and complemented nicely with the dark brown furniture.  After painting the room,  I found the rest of the decor:

  • pink and white checked bedding from Ikea
  •  an oversized piece of art from Craigslist
  • an inexpensive drum shade from Home Depot
  • wall art from Umbra

And voilà, we had a sweet little girl’s room.

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Fast forward five years and this little girl has a lot more stuffies, books and ideas of her own.  She asked if we could refresh (my word, not hers) her room.  Sure!  I was all for it.  I told her we needed to start with new bedding and we could pick a wall colour after that.  A quick trip to Homesense (TJ Maxx or HomeGoods for our American readers) and we found our inspiration!  First up was the heart shaped pillow that she just had to have.  Then, lucky for us, we found a quilt and pillow set in blues, pinks and more – complete with little Eiffel Towers. Done!

We took our bedding to Benjamin Moore and chose a paint called Slightly Teal.  It was quite strong when I tested it on the walls, so I ordered it at half strength and it was more subtle.  We cleaned the Umbra flowers off the wall and I painted the room while she was at school one day.   After that, we moved the furniture just a bit, made the bed and re-hung the big art piece we already had.  It wasn’t easy figuring out how to centre it with the bed and dresser at different heights. So, I kept it centred over the dresser and will find something else to put over her bed to balance it out.

Part of the refresh was decluttering; we gave away a few stuffies, recycled some old art work, and broken toys went into the garbage.  Clearing out really made a difference.

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We both love the new bedding and wall colour.  It does complement well with dark wood tones and because the bedding isn’t too little girl, she could probably keep it for the next 3-5 years.

We also tidied up the other side of her room, but I’ll share that at a later date when I’ve hung all the artwork.

It was such a quick and easy to update her space.  Her room now feels fresh and new and she loves it.  Isn’t that all that counts?

linking up with: Sincerely, PaulaShelbee on the EdgeThe Pin JunkieDesign Dining & DiapersMom Home GuideI Should Be Mopping the FloorsCurly Crafty MomThe Happy HouseClaire JustineThrifty Decor Chick

* Reading for Kids *

My kids are pretty voracious readers. My son can pick up a book and be lost in it for hours.  My daughter is just finishing Grade 1 and is also reading some easy chapter books on her own.

Our kids did a lot of reading over the summer break, but that’s not the case for all children.  So, if you need a few books to ease your child back into reading before school starts, this might be the post for you.

I thought I’d share some of the books my son has loved over the past years.  Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are solid favourites and already pretty well known.  Here’s a few you might not have heard of:

Zac Power

This series by H.I. Larry is about a 12 year old boy and his older brother who are secret agents for a government agency.  The chapters are fairly short and easy to read.  Best for kids 8-10.

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Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby

My son received this for a birthday gift when he was 6 and it’s a fun series of books.  The Captain is 8 year old Eugene McGillicudy and he has adventures throughout his neighbourhood with a crazy cast of characters.  Easy to read and probably best for kids in Kindergarten to Grade 3.

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National Geographic Kids

Our family loves these books and pretty much all the National Geogrpahic books.  These are the books that we take to restaurants, leave in the car and bring along to appointments.  Lots of fun facts, great pictures and easy to read.  Also look for Myth Busters, Sticker Activity Books and more from this great organization.

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Ratburger by David Walliams

About 6 months ago, my son (aged 9) received Grandpa’s Great Escape by the same author and since then, he pretty much powered through all the books by David Walliams.  The writing is funny, the characters are unique and quirky and best of all, the kids laugh out loud when reading his books.

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The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

This one was introduced to us by friends about 3 years ago and we still love it!  The illustrations alone are worth it.  The story rhymes and teaches us about friendship in the most fun way.

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Geronimo Stilton by Geronmio Stilton

If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  We started when my son was 5 or 6.  They are chapter books, but they have a lot of colourful illustrations and the type is done creatively in different colours and types.  Geronimo takes us around the world on adventures with his sister and cousin.   My son still loves these books and now my daughter (aged 7) has started reading them, too.

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House of Robots by James Patterson

You may know James Patterson from the crime novels, but he also writes books for kids.  This series is about a boy entering Grade 5 who lives with a house full of robots.  We just picked this one up and haven’t read it yet, but the reviews are great and it looks like a fun read.

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MasterMinds by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman has written over 80 books!  This series is about a group of kids who think they live in the most boring town in the world.  Until….a friend disappears and the kids have to investigate what is really happening in their town.  Best for middle school age kids.  If they like this series, there are lots of others by Korman to choose from.

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Spy School and Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs

These books are about Ben a middle school student who ends up in a school for spies.  Super fun series and my son can’t wait to read Evil Spy School next.

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These are just a few of the books on our shelf.   What did you kids read this summer?  Please let me know in the comments!

linking up with:  Sincerely, PaulaGood Random FunA Little Bit of EverythingMom Home GuideShelbee on the EdgeCurly Crafty MomBy BMG

Pinned & Tried – Gift

This is the last week of school for those of us in Canada and it’s time to reward those hardworking teachers!

A quick look at Pinterest and you can find all sorts of great end of year gift ideas for your teacher.  The one that caught my eye was this:

end of year gift idea in a cup

So, I modified it a little and filled it with sunscreen, lemonade, lip balm and a gift card to the local mall and here is my result:

end of year teacher gift in a cup

I’m not a teacher, but I think they will love a gift like this.  A little personal, practical and fun.

What a great way to end the school year; with a successful Pinned & Tried!

linking up with: The Pin JunkieThe Jenny EvolutionMade from PinterestBonBon Rose Girls

Winning DIY

In between my struggle to get out of my grey clothes, I managed to do a sweet little diy for my hockey playing son.

If you know someone in hockey or another sport, you might find this an easy to remember a special game.

When he scored his first goal of the season, the Coach gave him the puck as a memento.  Since this puck was also the first goal he has ever scored while playing in a league for the past 2 years, I thought it would nice to somehow display it in his room.

We kept it pretty simple.  All we needed was a shadow box, white pen, burlap and glue.

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I gently cleaned the puck and when it was dry, my son wrote the date of the game on the face of the puck.  The control freak in me really wanted to do the writing, but the mom in me knew it was important for him to do it.

We cut a piece of burlap to fit the backing of the shadow box.  All the shadow boxes we found had black backings, so the puck would have just blended in if we hadn’t changed it.  Then we glued it on.

Lots of glue was needed for the puck and lots of patience for while waiting for it dry was what came next.  When the puck was securely on the backing, we put the shadow box back together.

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Such an easy project and a big win for my son and his room!

 

linking up with:  The Jenny EvolutionHappy HousieTiny SidekickMade From Pinterest

 

 

Celebrating Day 2, sort of…

Today is day 2 of my self-inflicted no grey challenge and what a special day it is.  Why?  It’s my daughter’s 5th birthday.  She has only one pair of grey tights in her wardrobe and that is it! No grey for that girl.  Pink, purple, and blue are her favourite colours. Stripes, flowers and animal prints are the patterns that dominate her wardrobe.  And sometimes she likes to mix those colours and patterns in her own special way (if you know what I mean).

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She’s a little bit shy and a little bit feisty and she’s a ton of fun! Watch out 5 here she comes!

Now, about my challenge…

I am proud to say that I wore no grey yesterday.  Well, almost no grey.  I wore a greige (does that count) and white striped scarf with my off white TNA Pomona shirt and TNA burgundy coloured jeans.  Today, I did wear grey pants, but I wore a pink long sleeved top and a jean jacket.  Sorry, but no pictures today.  Too busy celebrating 🙂

Wish me luck for the rest of the week!

A Pinteresting Valentine’s

Today’s post is Pinned and Tried – Valentine’s edition.  I admit, I like love to pin and I am a bit of a Pinterest Mom, but I’m not too extreme and like the simpler crafts and ideas.

Last year I pinned so many ideas, but didn’t execute a single one!  Fast forward to this year and both my sister and I have got a few Pinterest Valentine’s done and crossed off our lists.

Take a look at these sweet Valentine ideas:

My sister did this “handy” gift for her daughters’ teachers:

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This week, I put these jokes in my son’s lunch (from Kristen Duke Photography):

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The kids and I played this bingo game that we found on Crazy Little Projects:

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Lastly, we found these great teacher cards from Jolly Mom to give to the teachers:

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Aren’t these fun?

These are all such great and simple ideas to make Valentine’s just a little more special for everyone!  Hope you and your family have a super sweet day! Enjoy!

linking up with: The Jenny Evolution and The Pin Junkie

Weekend Time

This week, the Monday Listicles asks what do we do regularly on the weekend?  So, my sister and I thought we would do this list together and add a second list of what we would like to be doing on the weekend.

What we do regularly:

Her List:

  1. Laundry, laundry and more laundry
  2. Read the Sunday paper
  3. Something active with my girls (hike, bike, jump on trampoline, etc
  4. Stay in pj’s as long as possible!
  5. Order Pizza

My List:

  1. Hockey – watching a practice or game for my son
  2. Ordering in or going out to a restaurant
  3. Skating lessons with my daughter
  4. Drinking lots of coffee
  5. Going for a run

What we would really like to do on a weekend:

Her List:

  1. Plan, shop and prep all meals for the coming week
  2. Get a massage
  3. Have an entire day to myself
  4. Complete a DIY project
  5. Read a book

My List:

  1. Go shopping
  2. Get a mani/pedi
  3. Have an entire day (or weekend) to myself
  4. Have lunch out with friends
  5. Try skiing again

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Pinned & Tried – home

This is the home edition of Pinned & Tried.  As I have mentioned several times before in this blog, I love to pin!  Every night when the kids go to bed, I grab a iPad and do a few minutes hours of harmless pinning.

Months ago, I saw a pin of a farmhouse style of cabinet that was being used as linen storage in a bathroom.  I pinned it and immediately wanted something similar.  More pins would follow but I had yet to find my cabinet.  Here’s what I was looking for:

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I was scouring craigslist regularly obsessively, but could not find my cabinet.  There was a close call about 2 months ago, but I was too late.

So, what to my wondering eyes should appear last week, but a craigslist ad with my cabinet in my neighbourhood at a fantastic price!  I quickly made contact with the seller and then sent my husband off to measure it up and provide a deposit.  Within 24 short hours, it was mine!

With a little help from me, the neighbour and our friendly plumbers (who happened to be at the house), we got the beast cabinet up two flights of stairs and into the kids’ bathroom.

It is exactly what I wanted to fill a niche behind the door.  I’ve started filling it up, but now realize the towels look a little sad and I could use a few more accessories to make it a fun beachy style bathroom for the kids.

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But overall, I am really happy and this is one successful edition of Pinned & Tried – Home Edition!

linking up with: The Jenny EvolutionSuburbs MamaHome Coming

No Resolution Required

If I were a New Year’s Resolution kind of person, which I’m not, I would have both failed and succeeded all via our dinner this evening.

As a working single mom, I have relied on take out and convenience foods way more than I’m proud of over the past 3+ years. No time to plan, shop for and execute the healthy, nutritious meals I so wish I had been serving my girls. I also was guilty of sometimes doing things for my girls that they should have been doing for themselves because I deemed it quicker and less of a hassle if I did it myself.

This past weekend when one of them asked me for a glass of water I paused and said “2014! The Year Of Doing Things For Ourselves!”

I got raised eyebrows and a bit of a grumble and then she went and got herself a glass of water. Winner! So this afternoon on what was to be Taco Tuesday, my eldest (the one with the raised eyebrows) pulls out a library book she got today by some kid named Jack Witherspoon. Not just any book, a cookbook. And not written by just any kid, an amazing kid who survived leukemia and raises money for cancer research.

“Mom, can we make something out of this book tonight?”

There it was. The opportunity to nail both resolutions (if I had them). Home cooked meal and independence in one shot. I paused and glanced at the clock. 4:30 p.m. and it was dark and rainy. I didn’t want to go to the store but this is 2014 and I was going to get us all off on the right foot!

Off to the store we went with a list. By this time I’d realized that home cooked was going to have to do and that healthy was not on eldest daughter’s mind. Tonight’s choice, courtesy of Jack Witherspoon’s book, Fettuccine with cream, mushrooms, chicken and peas. But, hey, if it’s good enough for Jack, it’s good enough for us! And this is not a meal we have ever eaten together at home or anywhere else.

Back home, the girls chip in and are now fighting to help make dinner! One measures, one pours. One stirs, one tosses. Voila! In just 30 minutes we were dining on Jack’s Fettuccine. And it was pretty good. Okay, really good, if not a little higher in cream than I was planning on but…oh well! Mission accomplished. Eldest declares it awesome and stakes her claim on leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Now I know there are moms tsk tsking me knowing full well that most kids are more likely to eat different foods when they take part in the preparation. I KNOW that, people! Please see the beginning of my post where I say I had really been too time-crunched to plan that far in advance.

But that is soooo 2013! Tonight my kids did for themselves AND me AND we had a home cooked meal. During dinner we flipped through Jack’s book, aptly called Twist It Up. We twisted it up today, thanks to him. His book was published just two years ago. I hope Jack is still healthy and whipping up more of his fabulous recipes. We’ve already picked tomorrow’s meal, Rockin’ Chili. No resolutions needed.

20140107-201459.jpgPlease know this photo does no justice to the meal. By the time I remembered to take a picture this was all that was left and it had been refrigerated for an hour or so. Presentation is everything.

linking up with:  The Jenny Evolution