Book Review – The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse

cover50769-mediumJust because the undead’s taste buds are atrophying, doesn’t mean yours need to - The Art of… Click To Tweet

The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse

A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide

by Lauren Wilson, Kristian Bauthus

Genre – Cookbook
Version for Review – Kindle/ PDF

I found this book really entertaining.  My husband is a “prepper” (see below for his posts on how to get prepared for an emergency), not necessarily for the Zombie Apocalypse, more for anything that could happen, fire, earthquakes, global warming, terrorists, the plague, etc.  We love watching the Walking Dead, and I love disaster movies (Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow are among my favourites) so this book is right up our alley.

I loved how the authors incorporated humour into the book.  It was a fun read, made me laugh a lot, and I actually did learn some new things.

“If you are reading this, it means that you are one of the few people on this planet being proactive about zombie-apocalypse preparedness. Good for you. Or, if you have acquired or found this book during the apocalypse, congratulations on still being alive.”

This is primarily a guide for food, how to find it, how to cook it, what is edible, what is essential to your survival etc.

I love the Zombie/Apocalypse themed names of the dishes they created.  Among them these are some of my favourites: Guerrilla Gardening, THE WOk-InG DEAD STir-fry, PREPPER’S PIZZA and APOCALyPSE nOWnIES.

Remember: Cleanliness is next to zombielessness - The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse Click To Tweet

The author goes into a lot of details on edible plants in North America  and provides some recipes for common plants to use with them.  This would be especially useful if you needed to rely on nature and your gathering skills to feed yourself.  They even advocate chamomile tea after a long day of brain bashing to help your anxiety and stress!

There are some descriptions on edible bugs as well, but being a vegetarian that is not for me.  Also information on hunting game, what to make and other things meat-eaters need to know to feed themselves.  Being a vegetarian, I fully expect to die of starvation or be eaten by my companions first.

They go into more details on how to make a compost, what plants are best and easiest to grow, and how to acquire seeds to grow said food.  After growing it they discuss how to ferment, can, and even make jam with it.

Overall it is a fun little guide with a mix of humour and genuine useful information and recipes to help aid your survival.  If you are looking for a book for a prepper then they will enjoy this one for sure.  If my husband actually read print books I would totally buy him this, alas, he only read things on his tablet, phone, or laptop!

Zombie

If you are interested in prepping for the zombie Apocalypse, or doomsday, the end of the world, ice storm, aliens, or whatever it is, check out these posts on how to prepare your family for any kind of emergency by my awesome husband Thor.

How to Ensure Hydration - th How to Prepare for a Food Shortage - IG How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency (AKA Prepping) title - ig

What are you doing to prepare for an emergency or apocalypse?  Please comment below.

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers!

Just in time for New Years Eve, here is a post from my sister (who usually posts each Tuesday) known for her jello shots.   Super easy and fun, you should make these for your New Years Eve Party.


 

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers! IG

In my early 20s I became the designated Jello Shot maker for parties with my friends. It drove me crazy when you would find little mostly empty, sticky little cups all around the house. I also thought it was a pain in the butt to eat the Jello out of those little cups. So I quickly jello 014jumped on the Jello Jiggler band wagon. By using less liquid in the recipe the Jello is firmer and I can cut it into shapes or squares and it will hold its shape. If you check out the Jelly shot test kitchen http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.ca/ you will see some beautiful inspiration for ways to display and style your Jello Jigglers.

Typically you use HALF the liquid when making jigglers. So I often just put in two boxes of the powder with the water for one box. For example, for normal Jello it is usually one cup of boiling water per box, with an additional one cup of cold water. So use one cup of boiling water, two packs of jello, and after it is dissolved add one cup of booze for Jello Shots or water for Jello Jigglers. I will then poor it into silicon molds or a brownie shaped pan, then pop it in the fridge. So easy!

I have gotten fancy and tried the Agar Agar powder to make them shower 023vegan friendly, but honestly they came out terrible. Jello has gelatin, which most vegetarians and vegans won’t eat, so Agar Agar powder can be used as a non-animal product replacement. For my vegetarian sister Hil’s bachelorette I went all out and tried a few different recipes. I found they were either too watery or too firm. We ended up eating some with a spoon!

I have also tried some of the more elaborate recipes I found online, but they require you to use many different kinds of booze and it just gets too expensive. I used to use better quality booze but over the years I’ve seen how fast they get sucked down, people don’t notice or appreciate the higher quality booze. Save it for drinks and get the cheap stuff for Jello.

A few tips

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Biggest batch I’ve ever made! There were a lot of people at the party I swear! lol

-Layering colors is fun and easy! Make one color, let it set in the fridge, and then make another color and poor it on top. If you want keep going and add even more layers following the same process. Don’t poor the second layer of Jello until it has cooled or it will melt the already set first layer and you won’t get the nice color distinction. But also don’t pour it on when it is totally cooled, because when you cut it the two layers won’t stick together.

-You can use hot water from the kettle, but for me I find I can be impatient with the dissolving process and get the ‘skin’ on the bottom, by boiling the water in a pot on the stove I never get the ‘skin’.

-You can use a shelled out orange peel for ‘orange slice’ shaped Jello, but I found it tasted a bit bitter due to the peel, so I’m not a big fan of that style.

-Name your favors! People love fancy names even for simple recipes; for example Strawberry Daiquiri (Strawberry Jello and rum). Simple. Classic. Delicious.

IMG_7015 (2)-Have fun with silicon molds; spray them with a thin layer of non stick cooking spray to help you scoop them out of the molds after they have firmed. Make sure they are really cold when taking them out of the mold to help hold the shape.

-Ice cube trays are another tool you can use as a mold. Again spray them with a non stick cooking spray. But when you are making lots they take up a lot of room in the fridge and can take a long time to scoop out of the molds. Plus I tend to cut mine a bit smaller. I like them to be ‘one bite’ sized.

-If you are layering colors I find it looks best to put the darker color as the top layer.

-Have fun with cookies cutters! Then you also have scraps to snack on. I will keep the ugly little scraps in a Tupperware and once the pretty ones are gone the guys will happily eat the mis-shaped ones.

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A jello rainbow for my gay friend’s wedding

-If I am making them for a group where we want them to look particularly good I will actually use a small ruler to guide me as I’m cutting them, it helps me make sure they are all the same size and looks better on a tray.

-Don’t cut them too far in advance or you will get a little ‘skin’ forming on the exposed sides of the jigglers, I’ll often start the night before with my first layers, finish my additional layers the next morning and cut them a few hours before I need them.

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Displayed on wax paper

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Using my pampered chef tray; hearts, fish and squares

-I have 3 inch high plastic containers from the dollarstore which I use for my Jello. I poor the mix in them and because they have lids I can stack them in the fridge. Then I use the same containers to display the cut jello shots, when working in bulk this works best for me, much easier to store and transport. Plastic wrap and tin foil sticks to jello so you don’t want to cover them with those. Wax paper works ok. For fancier parties where I am making less in quantity I will use serving plates but they are harder to transport. I love my Pampered Chef carry tray with the built in ice packs it’s perfect for Jello shots and keeps them cool.

-I like my Jello strong!  So I tend to use 1 cup of water to 1 cup of booze. But it does taste strong. Pour a bit less booze in your measuring cup and top it up with water for a shot less strong.

-Buy whatever colors and flavors of Jello (or no name Jello it really capital 002doesn’t matter) match the theme of the event or your tastes. I’ve found every Jello flavor goes well with Rum and Vodka, but I have also enjoyed Tequila, Amaretto, Champagne, and Peach flavored booze in my recipes.

-When possible opt for clear colored booze, more than once I have used dark rum and not been pleased with the color I ended up with.

-Lately I have been making a small batch of sugar-free jello shots for my mother in law, who is diabetic, she doesn’t have very many but it’s nice she feels included.

-JELLO SHOTS HIT YOU HARD! You may not feel it right away but its coming, go slow, and enjoy responsibly.11058397_10153713110814478_8480602770468283264_n

-Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers are also a nice addition. We have had fun making them lately for the kids and their parties. I used cookie cutters to make stars for Bee’s Dora themed 2nd birthday, she loves Jello Jigglers! But we all have friends who don’t drink so again it’s a nice way to make them feel included when we ‘Cheers’ Jello shots.

-I have had an occasion or two where we had young kids and drinkers at the same event. I didn’t want a little kid to grab a booze filled piece of Jello so I made the adult ones square and the kids non-alcoholic ones were fun shapes from silicon molds. VERY WELL LABELED! The trick is to make the non-alcoholic ones prettier and keep the adult ones out of reach!

Jello shots are a great way to bring some fun to a party! Click To Tweet

Some crowd favorite specialty flavors:

Rum and Cherry Coke- Instead of boiling water, boil a cup of Coke and use cherry Jello and of course rum

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Green circles are Amaretto Sour, Strawberry Daiquiri had a tiny piece of strawberry on top, and the purple squares had a chunky sugar topping

White Jello with colored squares- this one is a bit labor intensive but super easy. For the full recipe click this link http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.ca/2011/02/superbowl-jello-shots.html. This is not my personal favorite taste-wise, but it looks so pretty and my friends love it. It worked especially well with Christmas colors and a bit of mint flavor for a Candy Cane inspired treat.

Amaretto Sour- Boil water and use lime Jello powder. Add Amaretto and a splash of lime juice. This one always disappears first!

[bctt tweet=”A easy way to bring some fun to a themed-party is to make Jello jiggler shots! So easy and they look really pretty. ”

Please comment below, what is your favourite treat to bring to a party?  Are you a fan of the Jello shots?

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers! PT - Copy

 

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I did it! I survived a year!

DSC_0015I did not know if I would make it, but I did!  I survived a year with two children!  Two under two for the first three months was brutal.

As I sit here, the night before my baby turns one I cannot help but look back to this time last year, sitting in the same spot, hoping these were serious contractions that were signalling my impending labour and not just the start of another week of contractions and no baby.  Little did I know by sun up the next day I would be in the birthing tub having delivered my beautiful little boy from the comfort of my own home.

I did it! I survived a year! - Happy Birthday to my sweet baby Po! I cannot believe it's been a year, and even more that I was able to survive it with my sanity intact with a baby and toddler!

This year has been the hardest year of my life.  I have not slept through the night straight with no wake-ups since June 2012, to say I am sleep deprived is a humongous understatement.  When you are a mom of two young ones, working from home and juggling all the normal mom household jobs, it can be incredibly overwhelming and you learn a lot about yourself and those around you in the process.  I learned a few things over the past year that I thought I would share.

Come check out some of the things learned from a year with a baby and toddler. #Isurvived Click To Tweet

Second children really are different from first babies.  My boy can sleep anywhere!  He ignores noises and can sleep through his sister screeching.  He is pretty durable too, his sister loves him, but is a toddler so less than gentle and he really only cries if he is actually hurt, she can yank him around and steal his toys and he doesn’t make a sound.

Mermaid Paintings

I got these amazing paintings done by Lissa James as a present to my husband and I for surviving a year, the one of us in the birth pool was for him especially. Click the picture to visit her Etsy store and see what else she can do.

Tandem nursing is really HARD, amazing but hard.  I was hungry all the time and ate like a bottomless pit.  I had to adapt a lot to fit both kids nursing needs in and it was super time consuming.  The moments when I fed both kids were amazing and painful, looking down at the two contently nursing was adorable, especially when Bee held Po’s hand or started stroking his hair too.  I will write more on tandem nursing at a later date, in general I loved it, but I found it really took it’s toll on me.

Gender stereotypes actually do exist.  I never really bought into them, I hated all the pink stuff at the store, like you had to choose the “girl” or the “boy” airplane, kitchen, phone, etc. But my daughter is a major girlie-girl, more so than I ever was.  At two she loves make-up, dresses, tutu’s, purses and all those things.  My baby boy is a real BOY.  He loves to bang into things, knock things over, throw things and makes Godzilla sounds as he does it.   He loves playing with cars and stacking things to build, it is so fun watching his little personality come out and how different it is from his sisters.

DSCF6441Having two kids to entertain each other is amazing.  Watching Po chase after his sister, crawling as fast as he can is adorable.    The affection they show each other just melts my heart.  The way he snuggles against his sister, or she puts her arms around him and hugs and kisses him, it’s fun to see their little bond form.  DSC_0031When he was four months old they started playing peek a boo together and would laugh and laugh,  now they play hide and go seek.  I adore seeing them together and watching Bee “mother” him already.  He has already tried to walk to her, and she bent down with her arms out cooing “come on sweetheart”, I think they are on their way to being great friends.

I am amazed at how easy it was to adapt my heart to having two children, I was really worried I would not be able to love my new little boy as much as my daughter (crazy pregnancy worries), but as soon as he arrived I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with him.

IMG_5580I  also now understand the term “mama’s boy” because make no mistake he is SUCH a Mama’s boy!  He started saying my name by 5 months (maaamaaa) usually while sobbing when he woke up in hs crib. DSCF5809 He loved to snuggle, we co-slept and even as a newborn he would worm his way as close to me as possible, usually sleeping in my armpit.  When he started crawling it was towards me to not get left behind.   He loves kisses, hugs, snuggles and baby-wearing.  He is called my little koala as he is happiest snuggled into my  side and looks just like a little koala.

I love watching how his little personality has come out, he is such a happy boy, has a great laugh, and such a sweet innocent smile.  I cannot wait to see what kind of man he grows up to be.

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Bee at a Kid’s Play Place for the day while Mom & Dad rest with newborn Po

I literally could not have done this without my “village”. The support of my friends and family has been amazing.  Right from the beginning we had people taking Bee for the day, it was great, we got cuddles and rest with newborn Po and Bee got one-on-one attention and still got to come home for some cuddles with us at night. I have had people bring us over meals, frozen for whenever we need them and fresh to eat that night, people who cleaned when they were over, took care of cooking the meals, watched Bee so I could get my work done, and grabbed groceries for us.  People who were there emotionally for me to have coffee and vent together, or cry with when overwhelmed.  Friends who came to visit from far away, who slept over and had much needed “girls” nights so we could relax and de-compress together (usually involving wine and adult colouring books).   People who brought me Starbucks when I needed a caffeine boost and checked in via text messages or Facebook to see how things were going.

It takes a Village to raise a child and support a family, I am so thankful for my #village! Click To Tweet

I am so thankful to all my friends and family, I would be a mess without you and my life in even more chaos than it already is.  You guys know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my sanity for helping me in whatever way you did for allowing me to stay sane!

I did it! I survived a year! - Happy Birthday to my sweet baby Po! I cannot believe it's been a year, and even more that I was able to survive it with my sanity intact with a baby and toddler!

Happy first birthday to my little Po, I am so proud of you and cannot wait to see what adventures you have in store!  I know it will be tons of mischief and to be honest I am a little scared already!

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How to Ensure Hydration in an Emergency (aka Prepping part 2)

Welcome back to part two of Thor’s three part prepping prelection!

Last post was about how we can prepare for interruptions to our lives that will absolutely happen within our life time. We discussed what we can do to prepare shelter for power outages, snow and ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and unemployment. This post will continue prep discussions with hydration!

Keeping hydrated is a basic necessity. We can survive for 3 days without water.  We require lots of water and we need it often. 2 liters or 8-9 glasses a day will keep you well hydrated. If dehydration sets in you will have dry skin, become constipated,  dizzy spells, irritability and confusion, have low blood pressure, and will have a raised heart rate. These symptoms will make basic tasks much more difficult. For example, a raised heart rate will make any physical activity more exhausting.  Severe dehydration will lead to delirium and worse.

You need 8 to 9 glasses of water a day to stay well-hydrated. Click To Tweet

First thing to note is unless something major occurs, you can likely just turn on your tap and receive as much water as you like. The following is for situations where the power is out and you cannot contact the outside world, word of contaminated public water system has made it your way, or if the water simply stops flowing in its current yummy, clean state.

Are you prepared for an emergency? What about water for hydration? Do you know what to do in the case of a water shortage? Prepping saves lives!

You could simply stock pile jugs or barrels of water but this is not a renewable source and will dry up if the event lasts more than a week or so. Setting up rain barrels is a sustainable, refillable solution. It will even cut down on your water bill if you use it for watering your garden, for example. If word of contaminated water reaches you, turn the external shut off valve and enjoy what remains in your water tank. Without showers, those bad boys hold more than enough water to get you through many weeks. If you have a hot tub, you have a whole lot of water to play with. In a SHTF situation, you can fill an emergency bath tub storage container early in the event. This will effectively turn your bath tub in to a water source minus the nasties in the tub.61bJpv7XLsL._SL1000_

In the winter you could collect snow in barrels or bowls and bring it indoors to thaw, purify, and drink. If you are lucky enough to be on a private well, you have very little to worry about!

For the direst situations, you could pick up a Life Straw, a Time Magazine invention of the year winner. This straw removes virtually all bacteria and protozoa from any water source. This product is saving lives around the third world because it is effective and cheap. You can pick one up on Amazon for about 20 bux. Keep in mind that it will not desalinate water nor filter out chemicals, so don’t go sticking it in your swimming pool.

straw

I highly recommend boiling any water source that does not come out of a packaged bottle or your tap – when you’re sure the source is not contaminated. A 3 minute rolling boil should do it. Some claim you should add time depending on altitude.

If you are worried about salt or chemical impurities, boil it under a cool collector that funnels the condensed steam in to a container.

safe water

Glass or metal pot lids work great as you can clean them easily. The cool surface above will capture the steam and condense it back in to pure water. This pure water will be free of salt, chlorine, or other chemical additives.  Those of you with a chemistry background may have an actual condenser setups but for the rest of us, stuff found around the kitchen will do nicely. If you can, always boil your water as it is your safest option.

Staying hydrated in an emergency is essential to your survival, are you prepared? Click To Tweet

You will likely grow tired of drinking plain water so get a big ‘ol box of powdered Tang. One glass will also satisfy your daily vitamin C requirements. Nestea, chocolate milk, or other powdered drinks will keep the kids happy. Powdered milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D will also keep everyone healthy.

That does it for keeping hydrated! The next post will deal with how to prepare your family food stores! We will discuss healthy foods with long shelf lives, foods that satisfy nutritional needs, as well as other items that are invaluable when going to the store is not feasible.

Are you prepared for an emergency? What about water for hydration? Do you know what to do in the case of a water shortage? Prepping saves lives!

Please comment back with any thoughts or how you are prepared to keep your family hydrated!

Check out the first in the series of posts below, next and last segment comes out next Thursday.

How to Prepare for a Food Shortage - tw

How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency (AKA Prepping) title - pt

How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency (Aka Prepping 1)

Events like hurricane Patricia highlight the impact that natural disasters can have on our lives. All of us in the Great White North remember the impact of the ice storm of 1998. Many of us were without power for weeks. North America has recently been hit by wide spread power outages, fires, other hurricanes, and tornadoes. These events affect our daily lives and hinder our abilities to get out and get what we need. Most of us don’t grow our own food nor do we have the funds on hand to purchase our necessary day-to-day items if say the power was out and you couldn’t simply whip out your MasterCard.

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Many of us have both little and big mouths to feed. It shouldn’t take a natural disaster to make us think about how lightly we stock our shelves. There are a number of scenarios that would leave us feeling squeezed besides disasters – what about lost employment or a broken down car? Do you have enough food and supplies on hand to make it through financial hardships? This begs the question – am I prepared for likely interruptions to my family’s daily life?

‘Prepping’ as a topic has really taken off over the last few years. There are a number of large online communities, TV shows, and even local organizations to build a network of skillful people to help make it through tough times – no matter the scale. Some prep for the end of the world as we know it. This includes global economic meltdown, natural disasters on such a grand scale that life is irreparably changed, the zombie apocalypse, pandemics, continental shift, volcano eruptions disrupting our atmosphere, Alien invasions, and so on and so forth. As much as I love The Walking Dead, I am not one to wish for a cozy catastrophe or prep for when S*&^ hits the fan in unlikely scenarios.

How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency (AKA Prepping) title - ig I want to go over some preps that I have made for highly likely, but less invasive interruptions to our lives that will absolutely happen within your life time – power outages, snow and ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and unemployment.

Let’s hit the basics first – the rule of 3s. You can live for 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter (in serious weather, a matter of minutes), 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. First let’s touch on air – any event that disturbs your ability to breath – unless you have a set up like Brendan Frasier in Blast From the Past – you are up the creek. Even a gas mask is not going to do much in the long run so let’s just take for granted that the event does not affect air quality.

Are you prepared in the event of an Emergency? Ice storm, hurricane, tornado, flood, zombies,… Click To Tweet

As for shelter – the events we are prepping for you should be able to stay put and be fine, so unless you’re on the street, you’re covered! In the event of a power outage you should be prepared to keep your family warm or cool, depending on your climate.

In the case of a power outage, a wood fireplace is ideal in colder climes. Stock up on as much wood as you feel comfortable with, can afford, and can store. If that is not possible, blankets, warm clothes and cuddling are your best bets. Keep your core warm and get your extremities as close as you can to it. The greenhouse effect can be a life saver if you have big windows. During the day you should tarp off an area around your largest window facing the sun. This will keep the heat local to the area and help keep it as warm as possible. If it is summer time, staying out of direct sun is good enough shelter wise. You should have a working radio stocked with batteries to warn of potential bug out situations like flooding or fires. Bugging out will be a topic for a later post as it can get quite involved.

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Solar power is another big topic for serious preppers and the environmentally conscientious alike. The price has come down a great deal over the last few years but it is still a decent time and money investment. Solar chargers and stoves are a thing and will make your life a lot easier for cooking without power. Some of you already may have solar arrays on your property if you live in rural areas. Many governments give tax breaks and incentives to install solar arrays. Some even guarantee handsome rates for injecting energy back in to the grid. Living off grid is also possible with a good array and a battery bank. Who wouldn’t like to live without ever having to pay another energy bill? Something to think about.

That does it for now. Check back in a few days for follow up posts on preparing water and food supplies! I hope this post was helpful to you and if not, I hope it gave you some food for thought.

How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency (AKA Prepping) title - pt

Please comment back with any thoughts about stocking up or preparing for the worst!

Check out the other two posts in the series as well.

How to Ensure Hydration - th

How to Prepare for a Food Shortage - IG

Never too old for a Nerf War

Never Too Old For A Nerf War - You are Never too old for a Nerf War! A fun activity to do for a party or just an awesome time with your friends.

Having a big ole Nerf War was on my bucket list of things to do! My friends and I may be in our late 20s but we are all big kids at heart. So for my buddy Nick’s 26th birthday about 20 of my friends joined me in a battle royal Nerf War we’ll never forget.

How to do a Nerf War

We asked our guests to bring a nerf gun and I grabbed 5 used Maverick Nerf Pistols on kijiji for $5 each. I find these are a good intro gun for the price tag. Luckily, I have too much time on my hands so I grabbed some nerf 1plastic friendly spray paint and painted my guns. Then I ordered 150 Nerf compatible foam bullets off Ali express, $15 with free shipping but did take a month and a half to arrive so plan ahead.




Are you a kid at heart? Enjoy a #nerf war at a party or an epic activity with your friends Click To Tweet

Time To Party

On the day of the party we raided the house for flat pieces of cardboard and things we could use to hide behind. Originally I was trying to tie down the cardboard pieces but my friends had a lot of fun moving them throughout the game so next time I wouldn’t bother. We hung a tarp behind a ladder to help gather the darts on the shooting range. Then we just used empty pop cans on a ladder for targets. I had all kinds of ideas for targets but we hardly used the shooting range, it was much more fun to have human targets.

We enjoyed some target shooting but the main event was Capture The Flag. Next, we used face paint as war paint on our checks to nerf 5distinguish the teams. Green team had a section on the front yard as a base with blue in the backyard. We played some rounds where if you were shot in an arm you would not be able to use that arm etc, and others where if you were shot you were out or received a time out. We didn’t take it too seriously and adapted the rules as we went.

Before the party I bought plastic trophies at the dollar store and nerf warfound some cheep Nerf type guns. I cut off the cup part and used a glue gun to glue a gun to the trophy stand. Add some spray paint and we made trophies for our MVPs. We voted on a male and female MVP which was a fun way to end the party. I had expected it to be a onetime event, but now that we have the guns and ammo it would be easy to have a re-match!

Would your friends enjoy a nerf war?  Have you ever participated in one?

 

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Birthday Celebrations

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis month is my birthday!  I am so excited!  I am not normally a big birthday person, but this year I have my son and daughter to celebrate with.  My daughter now understands birthdays and tells me happy birthday on a daily basis now leading up to my birthday and eagerly talking about my birthday cake.

Growing up instead of a cake my mom used to make me lemon meringue pie as that was my favourite.  Oddly enough, when my husband and I started dating we compared notes and found out that he also had lemon meringue pie on his birthday instead of a cake too!  I think meant to be is definitely the right term here! Unfortunately, with kids, they KNOW you are supposed to have birthday CAKE.  So, it looks like birthday pie is out for awhile so we can enjoy cake together with the kids.




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I am six months pregnant here, and my daughter does NOT look impressed about birthday squares instead of cake!

For the past two years I have been lucky enough to celebrate with my little family, including my daughter.  The two of us spend the day together, shopping for new baby/toddler clothes, eating a fun lunch and just enjoying our time together.  In the evening we have a family meal with or without a dessert/cake (husband sometimes forgets lol!) and play some games together as a family.

 

For my husbands birthday this year I threw him a Minecraft party, just for family who was in the area.  But celebrating with kids is just so exciting.  It brings birthdays, holidays, and celebrations to a whole new level.  Even just a backyard BBQ was super fun, Minecraft decorations, cake, it was great.

 

10984480_10153898998359478_4259542623066329990_nFamily Traditions

Minecraft BirthdayOne of my family’s traditions is the “Jack Corner Pie”.  This was a random but really fun tradition we did growing up on everyone’s birthday.  At the end of the meal/dessert/present opening whatever, out would come a big pot or bowl covered in a towel with a bunch of strings protruding from it.  Each string had someone’s name on it.  You would find your name then on the count of three everyone puled out their string to find a little surprise gift at the end.  Usually all dollar store or cheap things like chocolate bars, a book, sparklers, stickers, flower seeds, kitchen gadgets, whatever.  It is always a really fun way to end the celebration and bring everyone together.  My daughter is so used to loot bags at parties it’s easy to say people get this instead.  To be clear: she doesn’t need a loot bag, she likes giving them out!

I love being able to celebrate with my family and cannot wait for my first birthday celebration with my completed little family.

Birthday Celebrations What do you do for Birthday Celebrations in your family? How do you like to celebrate? These are some of my familites favourite traditions.

What are your favourite ways to celebrate birthdays?

Want to read more posts on birthday’s and celebrations?

 

 

 

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Osgoode Medieval Festival

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My sister, the kids & I on the wagon ride

 Hear ye, hear ye, we had an awesome day today at the Osgoode Medieval Festival.

Thor and I have been going for five years, we discovered this little gem when we first moved to Ottawa before our wedding and found some awesome things here to incorporate in our wedding, since then we both have had a soft spot for it.  Year after year we return and this year was no different.

I find every year it gets better and better, but that may be because we enjoy it more with our kids too.  Seeing them enjoy themselves and explore really makes it so much more special.  Bee is at the age where she can sit and enjoy some of the entertainment so cuddling while watching is great.

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Bee trying to copy the highland dancers

One of the highlights for me is the Highland dancing.  I love watching the Highland dancers.  I have Scottish ancestry and love Scotland (Thor and I honeymooned there) so listening to the music and seeing the dancing just gets me so excited.  Its really fun to see some of the same girls year after year and see how they progress with their dancing and ability.  I desperately hope Bee is interested in it and maybe joins in a few years.  Last year she tried to go dance with the dancers with her arms in the air, even though she had just learned to walk, it was really fun to watch. This year she stayed by us, but was still lifting her arms and trying to imitate the dancers legs, maybe she will be a little highland dancer after all!

Yummy bread, all gone now!

Yummy bread, all gone now!

I love wandering in the vendor’s area and seeing the fun pieces they bring to market.  Bea’s Bread is a mandatory stop for me.  This year I was even able to track her down in advance and order a few loafs of our favourite bread, Pina Colada.  I really enjoy this delicious bread!  In fact I am eating it while I write.  I also got a Garlic Scape bread, I love it with butter/margarine with some sliced cheddar cheese on it.  I have been pregnant two different years for the fair and the bread is a great food to satisfy my cravings (and snack on for the way home) with all the tasty different flavours.

I also found some good finds at The Beckwitch, I cannot write about it though as I bought it for a Christmas present for someone.  I find the Medieval Market is a great place to look for little stocking stuffers, jewelry, jams, jellies, fancy salts, sauces, etc.  Tons of natural products as well offered by different vendors, sprays, soaps, salves as well as some costume help and even some different sword and knife stalls.


 

Some of my tips for attending the Medieval Fair:

  • Get there early as parking fills up fast.
  • Bring a hat, sunscreen, light sweater, muslin blanket, parasol, etc., the sun gets really strong and there is not a lot of shade.   Even with sun screen Bee got burned so wrapping a muslin receiving blanket around her and cuddling with her Auntie under a parasol helped protect her. 
  • Bring water bottles for everyone.  All of us were super dehydrated and went through all our water, we even downed a few more bottles on the way home.  There was a Fire Safety booth there where you could even fill up your water bottle for free.
  • Get a spot
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    Knights of Valour

    for the jousting early.  It fills up quickly and can be hard to see sometimes.

  • We bring a picnic lunch and saw a lot of other’s did to.  During the jousting (which is an hour) is a great time to sit and eat it.  Not to mention bringing your own food is a lot cheaper than buying from the vending trucks and much healthier.  But, on the bright side they have some vegetarian options so even if you choose to buy lunch there is a lot of variety. 
  • Bring cash, not everywhere takes credit cards.
  • Tons of people dress up, so if that is your thing go for it.  Fairies, princesses, knights, robin hood, jesters, etc.

 

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Po & I post-nap

I babywear so Po (or Bee when she was little) can nap on me during the jousting.  Everyone is over watching the jousting, which is too loud for their little ears while sleeping, so getting a half hour to wander the venders (ALONE!) with a sleeping baby on me was really fun (Bee and Thor were eating lunch and watching the jousting).  I loved the quiet time, the breeze, shopping, it was one of the only moments all week where I got a little peace and quiet. 

My favourite way to round out the visit is to go on the horse-drawn wagon ride.  Anyone who knows me knows I just LOVE going on horse rides.  Whether sleigh rides at a cabane au sucre, hay rides at the apple orchard, or wagon rides.  I don’t think my husband knew when he was marrying me he was agreeing to go on horse rides whenever and wherever they crossed our path. Anyways, I love the ride, it is super relaxing, the breeze is great, and Bee liked meeting the horses and going for a ride.  She was pretty wiped by then so I think it was good to give her a break from all the walking.

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Our awkward attempt to hold the kids up for a photo op.

If you have no plans tomorrow I suggest you go to the festival for some cheap family fun.  At $10 an adult you cannot beat that!

Fairies in the Park

Po photo booth photo

Bee’s photo booth photo

This past weekend I went to a lovely family event called Fairies in the Park.  It was amazing!  We all had so much fun and plan to go back again next year.  The sight of all the children, babies, toddlers, teenagers, moms and even dad’s in fairy outfits was really fun.  What a great sight of everyone participating and adding to the magic.  I was really impressed with the magical feel of the atmosphere and the location.  It was located at St. Lawrence Park in Brockville and there was even a beach for the kids to play at.  We lucked out and the day was absolutely gorgeous. Plus the event was FREE!!  We had a whole gang of us meeting up there with babies and toddlers from Ottawa and Montreal.

Some suggestions for anyone who plans to attend next year:

  • Bring lots of sunscreen and hats, we all got a lot of sun.
  • Come prepared for a few hours at the beach, bathing suits, towels, beach toys, etc.11351211_10155772102940245_6028256683075779372_n
  • Bring a picnic lunch, cooler and lots of drinks as there are not really food vendors there.
  • Bring a few blankets to set up with, park it under a tree and then you have a home base to go back to throughout the day.
  • Bring extra clothes/outfits for the kids (and maybe yourself) the bathrooms are not necessarily close (I had Bee in a pull-up or she would have had an accident for sure) so they may not be able to make it in time.  Plus there is a beach, sand, and lots of play structures to get dirty at so extra clothes mean it doesn’t matter when they get super dirty and wet.
  • The main parking lot (which is still a decent walk) filled up really quickly so get there early to get good parking, the overflow lot was pretty crowded and chaotic apparently.11291755_10155772093305245_418636114_n
  • Bring cash, not a lot of vendors accepted cards and there were some really cute stands with very reasonably priced items.  Bee’s aunt bought her a cute hair barrette for $3 and one of my friends got her toddler some cute wings for $3 too.  So bring lots of change!
  • Bring some extra “fun” money to any event (like this one) to do something frivolous with, especially since this event was free.  We spent the $10 at the fairy photo booth by Creative Sparkes to get both the kids photo’s done (above).
  • Everyone dress up!!  Baby, toddler, kids, boys, girls, moms, dads, everyone!  It adds to the fun.  You can find some cute wings at the dollar store (especially around Halloween, it’s never a bad idea to stock up), dress them up with some ribbon and jewels if you want, and voila an easy costume.  If you want to put more effort in, princess crowns, wands, tutu’s all make for cute outfits.  Boys are a little more tricky, but my sister made Po a costume that kind of looked like Peter Pan or Robin Hood with a set of wings.  Po got a lot of compliments!   I saw other boys dressed as Peter Pan, knights, pirates, and lots with regular clothes and wings!
  • One of my friends brought a pop-up wagon that was magical!  So much easier to lug all your stuff (including tired toddlers to the beach and back to the car).
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There are lots of play structures, swings, slides, etc. to entertain all the little fairies during the day when they have energy to burn.

 

They had a few activities, fairy dancing, fairy yoga, and fairy stories I believe, but we didn’t really hear when they were happening and I think our toddlers were too young to really appreciate those activities anyway.  Hopefully next year they will be more into the fairy aspect and not just the beach!

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A better shot of Po’s wings and outfit. I decided to dress Bee up more as a fairy princess, hence the dress instead of a tutu.

Grab a bunch of friends, adults and kids and head to Fairies in the Park next year, you will have a blast.  Thanks to New Leaf Wellness for putting on such a creative fun event, we cannot wait to see what you have in store for us next year! 

Did you go to Fairies in the Park?  What as your favourite part?

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