A No-Bake, No-Sew Night of Treats!

It has been a crazy week around these parts. With the insanity of Christmas winding up and Moose having a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy earlier in the week, we were up for a) something calm yet fun to do together and b)something that wasn’t going to take Mum hours to set up and take down. The kids have been dying to bake something, since we haven’t done any baking in over a week, but I really didn’t have the energy to completely destroy the kitchen with three bundles of fun. Plus, I put away their aprons accidentally into a box for storage. 

Sooooo, what’s a Mum to do? Check the pantry to see what we can scrounge together is what THIS Mum does! I found various melt able chocolate chips, sprinkles, broken candy canes and mini marshmallows, so naturally, I decided we’d make some delicious bark! 


Bonus points because I made our elf deliver it! Two birds with one stone, folks. If you can, do it!

The kids were pretty jazzed, but I wasn’t too fond of the idea of having no aprons while dealing with stainable chocolate et al. Gah! Why did I pack the aprons away??? 

So I did the only natural thing…I rifled through my DiSaStEr of a sewing area and found a huge piece of stretchy, knit, non-fraying fabric. Perfect for some kind of quick and (soon-to-be) dirty no-sew, one piece aprons! 

Armed with a crayola marker and a fleeting idea, I drew out a quick apron pattern on the wrong side of the fabric and crossed my fingers. (I don’t have an official pattern here because I sort of just fly by the seat of my pants when I get creative. It’s as daring as I get! 

Turned out that the creation I came up with worked beautifully for what I needed. I adjusted the length for each of the kids, tied them on so we could get to work!

Finished product looks ok. Not stunning but gets the job done! I cut out an extra strip of fabric to tie around their middles. 

Cut-out apron for baby bird (taken after she’d worn it…hence the chocolate stains!)


This is the general pattern I used. Not much to it!! Feel free to copy if you are like me and only sew with a limited amount of prep work!

Now, back to the bark. I’ve always been a purist and melted the chocolate on the stove, but this year, for the sake of time, I tried the microwave technique. It worked perfectly! Sooo, we started with melted chocolate chips, spread out into parchment lined dishes. After we had some nice spreading going on, I gave each kiddo a wood skewer and a few lobs of melted white chocolate for them to swirl. 


Even a two year old can make this beautiful!

Then, because we had them, we added blobs of melted blue candy melts! 


They look surprisingly cute!

After this, we went crazy (CRAAAAAAAZY) with sprinkles! 


Sooooo many sprinkles! Soooo many marshmallows! 

They were so proud and couldn’t wait to grab a piece! 

Lookin’ sugary! 

I will say that sometimes you have to get messy to make memories. Heck, our house is testament to that every day of our lives! But, it’s nothing to stress over. Just go with the flow, run with it. Everything will work out fine! If you can get away with ‘no-bake’ baking, do it! Same with no-sew sewing! Makes everything super easy and fun!! 

Enjoy the chaos that are the holidays, whichever one(s) you celebrate!  


Other ideas? Pop ’em up! 

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Elf on the Shelf Inspiration!

A couple years ago, our two oldest were gifted an elf on the shelf. For those who are unfamiliar, the elf (aka creepy, dead-eyed, stick-thin plastic and fabric doll) comes to keep tabs on the members on the house by day and travels to the North Pole at night to report to Santa. Nobody can touch the elf or (s)he loses its magic and needs to recuperate in the North Pole for a few days. (Oh, am I hoping for someone to touch him this year!!).  Every day, the elf is watching from a new vantage point…at least this was the initial idea. Cute, right? Well…..

Somewhere along the way, Elf on the Shelf went berserk and started doing crazy things, sometimes naughty, and/or providing things for excited-for-Christmas kids to do. Every. Single. Day. For 24 days. 

I’m sorry to say we fell into the trap of doing fun things with our elf (which Moose named Chunky) the first year. Now we are on year 3, and to be honest, it’s getting a wee bit daunting to come up with things for this stuffed toy to do. Our space is VERY limited so many of the ideas I’ve seen can’t really work with us, so we’ve had to get pretty creative. I thought I’d put some of the shenanigans Chunky has done in the last 3 years here in case someone is looking for yet another exciting idea for their own elf to do. Please, PLEASE add any outside the box ideas in the comments…its only the sixth day and I’m grasping this year. I have a few more things planned (including the Christmas Eve box that Chunky always brings before leaving until next year, and the letter with a map of a route to take to look for Christmas lights in our jammies after bathtime one night), but more ideas are more than welcome! 

Anyway, here are some of the silly things our elf has gotten into! Hope it can inspire any elf owners out there! 

Chunky somehow managed to get new pairs of mittens inside of a balloons! How delightful (this is what they are waking up to. I’m waking up to horrendously sore fingers from messing with these balloons)

He braved the chilly night air to surprise the kiddos with some outdoor decorations! Wow, that elf is selfless!

Felt scraps cut into geometric shapes make for fun creative play! Ahhh, what a fun way to use up scraps.

Chunky has some sick obsession with underpants. Here is an underpants swing/hammock. Moose had a chat with the elf about the fact that there was a shortage of underpants pranks thus far this year.

We don’t typically have sugary cereal so 2 years ago, they were totally convinced that these were ‘elf cheerios’. #momwin

Baking adventures are always a great hit! If you’re going to bake with them anyway, have the elf bring the ingredients. Everyone wins!

Slap some food colouring in the milk for a crazy morning surprise! Frankly, it looks disgusting but they LOVE it. We did green Year 1 and purple Year 2…

This one I have seen before…turning everyone into Rudolph (this was year 1. For year 2, we added moustaches)

Another year 1 online find: candy cane zip line! This one was done in haste when the whole family had a stomach virus and sick-as-a-dog Mum had to do something last minute.

Always include an elf in the bathroom day!

Because clearly I’m not busy enough, I helped Chunky write a book for Moose and tiny Baby Bird during Year 1. We still read it often.

Styrofoam balls in the living room. This was an all-out riot! Nobody was injured, they practiced their hand-eye coordination?? Maybe??

Oh yay. Something for Mum to scrub off the mirror. ūüėź

Teeny tiny pancakes for breakfast. Cute but time consuming!! They ate every bite though.

This one I’ve seen a hundred times. Year 2 excitement when Moose and Bird were in love with the Minions.

If you feel like wasting lots and lots of wrapping paper…have at ‘er!

Yes, Chunky got all crafty and crocheted them dolls last year. Year 1, he made them hats.

Again with the undies…flying from the ceiling fan.

Decorating with Post-it notes…not just for office pranks anymore! (Although lots fell off the wall)

Snap, Crackle, Chunky? Took them ages to find him!

Cans of stuff they won’t eat make a cool drum set!

Oh Chunky, it’s called ROCK climbing, not SOCK climbing! A good way to replace socks, mitts, etc…let the blasted elf bring them!

Itty bitty doughnuts (aka Cheerios in icing sugar, cinnamon, chocolate and sprinkles)


Store-bought gingerbread house/family/train/whatever kits! Easy, they love it. 
Some other things we’ve done and o can’t find the pics:

-Scavenger hunt for Christmas ornaments that have been hidden

-Various craft kits

– elf colours (or if mum/dad is too lazy or strapped for time, scribbles) in Christmas colouring book and puts completed pages all over the house

-crayons and blow dryer on canvas craft

-string lights in the kids’ bedrooms

-writing letters to Santa: paper, crayons, stickers, etc put into mailbox to use 

-elf takes selfies with sleeping family members and prints off pics (or just sets wallpaper on tablet/phone)

-elf goes onto the ‘elf yourself’ app and makes a video of the whole family dressed as elves. 

There are so many more! As I get time, I’ll add more! Please let me know your awesome ideas! I need more!!

Alright, time to sleep before they come charging out of bed, searching for Chunky!
-K.

Fall Leaf ‘RE-LEAF’

I love fall. I mean, I LOVE, LOVE it. Every condescending meme related to fall calls to me. I AM that person. There is just something inherently cozy about the autumn. Sweaters, scarves, pumpkins, chrysanthemums, corn stalks, hay rides and the leaves. Oh, the leaves! Pretty sure I can’t put into words my love of the sensational colours, the brisk walks while ¬†crunching through fresh falls, that intoxicating smell and the crafting.

Crafting with leaves is always fun with kids. There’s so much you can do with leaves, from just sorting games by colour, shape, size to making collections, to photography, leaf rubbings to wreaths and so much more!

Today was the first real day our two big maples gifted us with some coloured jewels on the grass so we jumped at the chance to get our crafty pants on.

I decided to start simple this year and do an old-school basic relief picture (re-LEAF picture if you will). I know that many bloggers have done their own takes of this craft that are more involved (cassiestephens.blogspot.com has a nice post about this) but for my little posse of artists, we kept it very simple. ¬†They still turned out pretty cute so I’ll take it!


This one doesn’t take too much. You could probably grab what you need right now in your house and do this craft! We used tiny canvas from the dollar store (in comes in packs of three which works perfectly for us) or you can easily use cardboard or card stock.

If memory serves correctly, the common practice for this craft is to use spray adhesive but we just used some masking tape on the backs of the leaves.

Lastly we used regular old aluminum foil. Sorry baked potatoes, you had to share today!

We headed out to get a good collection of leaves to choose from. The kids had a blast comparing all the ones they found (nerdy mum helped them identify all the species).  Sprout did a little taste testing of most of them too (and got pretty miffed when I went fishing for leafy bits in her mouth).


Wha? I definitely am NOT eating this leaf. 

After a little leafy manhandling and fun with the tiny rakes (they are in for a REAL treat when all the leaves make their mass exodus), the kiddos picked out their favourites to make their pictures.

The premise is very easy. Slap little rolls of masking tape on each leaf’s pretty side and stick it to the canvas.

Not glamorous but it does the trick. You can use spray adhesive on the canvas then just stick the leaves on but I didn’t have any and felt safer using tape.¬†


Press firmly to get that tapey goodness on there.

Now grab a strip of aluminum foil and carefully lay it over top of the leaves. Wrap the edges around the back to stick it in place. You can tape it on there but we didn’t bother (though I’ll probably go back and tape it now I’m thinking about it). ¬†Then, GENTLY rub or press all over the foil to press in the print of the leaves.

He’s a pro at this, even though he came home not feeling well today. Fresh air usually helps!¬†

She was ever so careful! (Slightly atypical). Well done, kiddo! 


See? So easy, even a baby can do it!

Make sure all areas are pressed so you can see the leaves (and the pattern of the canvas too if you use that). Then you’re done! Slap that beauty in a frame and you’re golden! They’d make awesome teacher/grandparent/whoever gifts.

NOTE: you can also cover the whole thing in cheap black spray paint then blot off parts to enhance the shadowing.

Looks great!


My reluctant crafter loved this activity too! 

Hope you are able to make this one with your littles (or on your own) too! Let me know if you do!

Love those leaves while they are pretty and not crusty and brown!

K.