18.5.17

Recipe: Anna's Taco Soup with Corn Chips

by Robin




One of the perks of my work as a Community Dietitian is working alongside some fabulous home cooks.  Together we create delicious meals for our programs.


The English School Lunch Program is a project that I started several years ago.  We provide a hot, healthy lunch to a group of moms and kids who are New Canadians.  Our lunch program extends their English-as-a-Second-Language learning day, which would otherwise be just a very short morning.  And their children get to experience a wonderful school readiness program.  It's win-win-win!


Another side benefit for me is working in the kitchen with incredible women; learning and laughing together as we better understand our cultures and our lives.  The very best part of my work week.


I was fortunate to find a great cook and friend when I hired Anna to lead the kitchen.  That girl has skills!  The women coming to learn are thrilled with Anna's cooking - and so am I - I get to take her great recipes home.  And today, I get to share one with you!


Anna grew up in an Old Colony Mennonite community in Mexico.  She left in her teens and made a new life for herself in Canada.  She writes about her journey on her blog, Mennopolitan.  It's a fascinating read!



Recently, when we had family visiting, I made Anna's Taco Soup alongside our Mexican Lasagne.  It was an absolute hit!  And the best part: there was enough left over that Ed and I ate some delicious lunches for the rest of the week. 




Here's the recipe...

4.5.17

The Most Amazing Minecraft Party Ideas: Crafts, Food, Games, Decor and more!

by Robin




Our first Minecraft Birthday party remains our most popular post here on the blog.  Maybe this is how you found us?  It's the post that has outed us as bloggers with other parents we know in real life.  (I'm not sure why we don't talk about blogging with folks we know in town, but we tend to hide it under our proverbial bushel.)  I have a bunch of parents I know come up to me, "Hey, I didn't know you had a blog! I found your Minecraft post online?!"


Yes, we are shameful at self-promotion.  Anyhow...


We did a Minecraft party theme for our son two years in a row.  It was THAT popular with he and his friends!  With good reason - it's such a fun theme - and to lift our bushel a little bit: we had some pretty fabulous party ideas.



Highlights from our first party:  

Minecraft Birthday Party: Printables, Crafts and Games 

We made some simple swords and the kids had a blast "crafting" them with paint.

For the "loot bag" gift we made these Creeper t-shirts for all the kids to take home.
You can get our free Creeper printable and full instructions here!

Making Minecraft torches from dollar store finds and another free printable!






Our second Minecraft Party had a slightly different theme: Night!  


All kids know that the Night mode in Minecraft has even more adventures - and we built on this creepier theme with some cool activities.  


Even More Minecraft Birthday Party Ideas, Games and Printables 2.0

Another free printable to make another super-cool t-shirt for the kids to take home. The eyes glow!
The kids all LOVE these shirts and it makes our son feel super special when he sees his friends wearing them.


This game that Ed devised was an absolute hit with the kids - it doesn't photograph well - but it was so much fun!  You can get a free printable and instructions here.


This cake amazed the kids - it looks just like a Minecraft cake!
The true beauty of it: it was incredibly easy to make.

There are a ton more ideas that I've found from other bloggers that I'm thrilled to share with you.


I wrote this post with an ulterior motive.  Ed has gone and convinced our son that a Splatoon themed birthday party would be fun.  I've heard it involves water guns filled with paint.  Of course, that sounds amazing to our son!  Of course, that sounds like a nightmare to me!  I gathered some more Minecraft ideas in hopes that I can lure him back to something that won't ruin everything we own and end the party in the ER.


Maybe you'll find ideas you like here, too!  That's the real important reason.

1.5.17

Essential Tips: How to Build a Treehouse your Kids will Love for Years

By Ed




I had a treehouse as a kid. I remember the day of its building, despite the fact that I was very young.


I'm sure that it was actually built over a couple days and many of my remembrances about it are skewed by time, but the thing I remember most was the feeling of awe: "This is MY treehouse" - the idea that I was going to get a space to call my own was all that mattered. (Bedrooms don't count - you have to clean them and ask permission to put posters up).


This treehouse was my kid-only-space and I wanted that for our kids too.  And nothing I have every made has elicited so many scincere and joyful "Thank-you, Daddy's!". 


And who doesn't love treehouses? There are now DIY shows about their construction and Pinterest boards full of ideas so incredible that the kid in all of us screams, "I want that!".


I wanted to put one in our back yard, but we lacked decent trees to make it happen. Now that we have the Mobile Home Makeover weekend property, though, the dream of being a treehouse owner once again seems doable.


Here's what we did...

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Recipe: Anna's Taco Soup with Corn Chips