Mickey’s Christmas Carol

christmascP12049760I’m just going to update a few seasonal posts that were late. Sorry about the delay, hopefully you can still make use of the ideas. For our final Christmas movie night we did Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I looked everywhere for a goose but I couldn’t find anything under $50. Since my husband wasn’t keen on trying it for our actual Christmas dinner, I decided to do the “before” version of the Cratchit’s dinner. More our style anyway. So I went out and got a cornish game hen and we did it with a glorious new stuffing recipe based on one found here. I’ve put the recipe with the changes I made below (I removed the walnuts and olives changed the raisins to cranberries and made it vegetarian). I guess that turkeys in the store are getting larger and larger and portion sizes are increasing all the time but because I am a vegetarian, the hen only had to serve 3 people and it was the perfect size! I will buy them more often after this, just for a surprisingly easy dinner. We had plum pudding with sauce for dessert (it was a favourite of my mum’s) and I was thrilled that the kids actually liked it! I used a store bought pudding and found the recipe for the sauce here but I’ve posted it below with the changes I made (we just removed the brandy for the kids).

IMG_8604_smStuffing
Ingredients:

1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
5000 mL each, chopped onion and celery
90 mL butter
1  apple, peeled, cored, chopped
180 mL dried cranberries
250 mL vegetable soup base stock
5 mL poultry seasoning
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Method:
1. Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 45 mL butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side. Note, if you aren’t working with somewhat dried-out day-old bread, lay the cubes of bread in a baking pan and put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to dry them out first, before toasting them in butter on the stove top. The bread should be a little dry to begin with, or you’ll end up with mushy stuffing.
2. Sauté chopped onions and celery on medium  with the remaining 45 mL butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread. Add chopped apple, cranberries, and parsley. Add 250 mL of soup veggie soup base stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add poultry seasoning, and salt & pepper to taste.
3. Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every ten minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Yield: Serves 8-10 (lots of yummy leftovers).

IMG_8650_smPlum Pudding Sauce
Ingredients:
250 mL Sugar
15 mL Flour
45 mL Butter
5 mL Nutmeg
2.5 mL Salt
5 mL Vanilla
500 mL cold water
Method:
1. Combine ingredients and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

For the craft, I told the kids that we would take the money that we usually spent on the craft and put it towards the charity of their choice. We talked about all the different sorts of things they could donate their money to. My daughter decided quickly, and gave money towards a well in Africa with World Vision. My son had more trouble. He thought and thought but he couldn’t decide. And here is where it gets funny. He had been asking about Grand-Santa from Arthur Christmas and how he spits out his teeth when he eats his mince tart. He was horrified that he could actually do that and I told him a lot of older people have dentures they can remove. So out of the blue, all of a sudden, he says, “I want to give my money to people with no teeth!” So we did.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday with a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year! God Bless Us, Everyone.

Wall-e

Wall E Wallpapers wall-e_dvdHappy Earth Day everyone!

Our Wall-E night was a bit action-packed so we will be watching the movie this weekend instead. I had intended to do it this past weekend but it was the new baby’s 6 month birthday. We had a nice little party with my sister and her family and we gave him solids for the first time (Gerber Baby Rice Cereal Starter) but he had an allergic reaction to it and broke out in hives and his eyes swelled shut. It was terrifying! After 1.25 mL of child’s benadryl and an hour of cuddling he was almost back to normal. It’s actually relevant to the movie night because even the plain rice cereal baby food is full of extra additives and ingredients you just don’t need. We switched to Healthy Times Organic Baby Rice Cereal today and he had no problems at all.

Anyway, for the snack we did Wall-e cookies. I found a cute recipe here but I simplified it a little and skipped the white icing and just made the eyes and rivets with some chocolate icing and cinnamon hearts. I used my favourite shortbread recipe from here and they still looked pretty cute (Recipe below).

Wall-E Cookies
Ingredients:
500 mL butter, softened
250 mL white sugar
10 mL vanilla extract
1 L all-purpose flour
Chocolate Icing
Cinnamon hearts
Pretzels

Method
1. For the cookies, preheat oven to 180˚C. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add flour and mix well. Flour counter and rolling pin, roll out dough and cut out eye shapes from the template pieces. Place on baking tray and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
2. Working with one cookie eye at a time, ice an iris with chocolate icing using a piping bag. Add three rivets to the eye piece. Place a cinnamon heart in the centre of each iris.
3. Use more of the icing to attach each completed pair of WALL-E eyes to the top of pretzel.

For the activity, first the kids and I planted some seeds and raspberry bushes in the garden that they picked out. We had gone for a tree but they were all pretty pricy. Next year, when we are in our forever home.

Then, we picked the garbage off the grass around our house and my son made a sign that said “Happy Earth Day! Don’t Litter Please”. While he was doing that, my daughter was working on researching the oil sands and writing a letter to Steven Harper and our MP asking him to cancel the plans for the Enbridge pipeline. Here is a link to info about it at the greenpeace website. Hope everyone has a great evening!

Beauty and the Beast

Our plans have been quite up on the air with a date change for our trip. We have been keeping up with the movie nights though and I have lots to share with you. So without further ado…

Beauty-and-the-Beast-Diamond-Edition-box-artWe did a lot of movie nights over the break after Christmas and caught up on a few outstanding crafts. Beauty and the Beast was a new one and perfect for a snowy winter day. We made a cheese souffle for dinner and it was surprisingly easy! It didn’t rise as much as I had hoped and it fell a little for the photo but it was still amazingly delicious. So much so that my carnivore husband asked for it for both New Year’s Eve dinner and his birthday two days later. I found the recipe here and I highly recommend it, I’ve posted it below.

IMG_8834_large

Cheese Soufflé
Ingredients
30 mL finely grated Parmesan cheese
250 mL whole milk
37 mL unsalted butter
45 mL unbleached all purpose flour
2 mL paprika
2 mL salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
50 mL (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

Method:
1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 205˚C. Butter 1.5 L soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
3.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
4. Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 163˚C. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.

IMG_8887_largeThe craft was actually quite a bit of work but so worth it in the end. We decided to do a bookmark because both Belle and our family love reading. I found an image here and converted it to black and white. I printed it and redrew the lines in a darker black marker. Then I showed my daughter how to use the exacto knife and she cut out all the white pieces. We then glued scraps of coloured tissue paper to the back and enclosed it all with a piece of white tissue. It turned out so nicely and she was really proud of herself. Here it is with a few of the books on her reading list for 2013. We also started her and her brother up on goodreads so they can record the books they are reading. They have challenged themselves to reading 100 books this year and if my girl does 60 by the trip I told her she would earn a visit to Blizzard Beach. Yes, I am bribing her. Anyone have any good suggestions for books for kids 7-10?

Just a little extra, the kids made autograph book pens. Toby did fireworks with some gift wrap and red duct tape. Eveie took the red and some green as well and made the Beast’s rose.

Arthur Christmas

Arthur+Chirstmas+Wallpaper+00221692706_700x700min_2Okay, I know that Arthur Christmas is not Disney but we did a movie night anyway because it is so great. It zipped under our radar last Christmas because we were so excited to see The Muppets when they came out at the same time and we didn’t notice it.
List of favourite Christmas movies
A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim)
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Mickey’s Christmas Carol,
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated, 1966)
White Christmas
The Bishop’s Wife
Elf
Arthur Christmas

IMG_8483_smFor the treat we had mince tarts.
GrandSanta: “I can’t eat that. It gets in me teeth.”
This was the recipe we used, I even added one more apple and it was lovely. Also, instead of putting it in a single pie, we used the filling and made tarts.

Apple Mince Tarts
Ingredients:
5 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
30 mL butter
10 mL lemon juice
125 mL white sugar
3 mL ground cinnamon
1 mLground nutmeg
7 mL vanilla extract
500 mL prepared mincemeat
1 package of pie crust
1 egg yolk
15 mL water

Method:
1. Preheat an oven to 230˚C.
2. Place apples, butter, and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the mincemeat until thoroughly combined, and set the pie filling aside.
3. Cut the pastry rounds out with a large teacup, then fit into muffin tins; pour the filling into the crust. With a brush dipped in water, moisten the edge of the bottom crust. Top the tarts with a second crust and pinch together to seal. Cut slits into the top crust for steam vents. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with water, and brush the yolk mixture over the top crusts.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 175˚C. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 15 to 30 more minutes.

IMG_8503_smFor the craft I’d suggest letters to Santa. The kids had already sent theirs long ago so my son made one for the baby. He drew the S-1 sleigh from the movie. Inside the card he asked Santa for all sorts of crazy things like a toy squirrel and a onsie with a Canadian flag on it.

Lady and the Tramp

ladyjMV5BMjAwNzA3NTk0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzkyNDEzMQ@@._V1._SY317_CR8,0,214,317_Lady and the Tramp is a sentimental choice of mine because it was my mum’s favourite movie and she and my dad remind our family of the two of them. My mum was definitely a lady and the characters even look like the two of them together. So I wanted this movie night to be in her honour.

IMG_8477_smFor the craft we made a special ornament. I used a small lady and the tramp ornament (the Disney store had them on sale) but you could use any figurine. The dollar store and Michael’s craft stores have clear plastic ornaments that you can fill but I needed a larger one so I got it at Loomis. We filled 1/4 of the ornament with fake snow which you can find at the dollar store), then added the ornament. After sealing it, we hot glued a ribbon around the ornament’s join to make it look more like a whole piece of glass.

IMG_8338_smWe had the obvious spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. We just did plain pasta with a bit of sauce stirred in for taste. Then a very simple and easy meatball.

Meatballs
Ingredients:
900 g ground beef
375 mL fresh bread crumbs
65 mL chopped onion
125 mL milk
7 mL salt
2 eggs

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 190˚C.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Shape into little meatballs, about 1 inch in size. Place the meatballs into a rectangular baking dish.
3. Bake at 190˚C for 60 minutes.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

LionWitchWardrobeWallpaper8001199778826I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post. Having a newborn slows you down more than I thought! I’ve been keeping up with the movie nights and photo documenting them but I haven’t had time to write out the details. It was a choice between blogging and laundry and I chose clean socks for the kids. Things are starting to get a little better though and the baby is starting to sleep more so I thought I would do some today. We have done a Christmas movie a week for the month of December and I thought I would write about them all today in case anyone wanted some ideas for the holidays ahead!

IMG_8434_smThe first weekend of December was Narnia. We only watched The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe because my son has not read the other two books yet. And oh, how I wish they would do the other movies in the series! These books were my favourites as a child along with Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. I read them all hundreds of times.
For the snack we made hot chocolate and turkish delight (of course). The hot chocolate was just 15mL of cocoa, 30 mL of sugar and 500 mL of milk. Combine the cocoa, sugar and 15mL of the milk in a mug and blend. Heat the rest of the milk and add the paste when the milk has reached the desired temperature. The turkish delight now, that was another matter. Having tried it once in my childhood I always believed that it was a food based on a dare.
“Mum, may I have some dessert?”
“Well love, all we have is icing sugar…”
Actually, it wasn’t bad homemade and the kids loved it. That being said, the recipe we followed made a ridiculous amount. One piece is enough for even the most sweet toothed child. I had a serving the size of a postage stamp. I found the recipe here but it comes with a handy serving size calculators so If you do make this, cut the recipe into 2 instead of 12 (oh, I also skipped the pistachio nuts so it would be nut free). I’ve included the directions below. Also, make it a day in advance to give it lots of time to set.

Turkish Delight
Ingredients:
65 mL water
125 mL granulated sugar
7 mL light corn syrup
20 mL orange juice
7 mL orange zest
1/2 envelope (.25 ounce) unflavored gelatin
30 mL cornstarch
20 mL cold water
2 mL vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Method:
1. Bring 65 mL water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C) on a candy thermometer. Set aside and keep hot.
2. Stir together orange juice and orange zest, sprinkle with gelatin, and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 20 mL cold water, then stir into hot syrup. Place over medium-low heat, and simmer, stirring gently, until very thick.
3. Remove syrup from heat, stir in orange juice mixture, and vanilla. Sprinkle small pan or bowl generously with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the Turkish delight into the pan, and let cool in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until set, 3 to 12 hours.
When cool, sprinkle the top with another thick layer of powdered sugar. Cut into 1-inch squares, and dredge each well with confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

IMG_8501_smFor the craft we made a lantern night light. I found the idea here. I got the lantern at the dollar store (score!) and I used a larger vintage preserving jar from the goodwill so we took an old spool of thread and covered it with glue and fake snow (which you can find at the dollar store) to prop it up a bit higher. We added more fake snow to the jar, glued the lantern to the lid and volia!  The idea backfired slightly because I’ve come into my son’s room countless times since then to find him asleep over a book by the light of this tiny lantern. He’s going to ruin his eyes, but I have not got the heart to take it away yet, I’m just so happy that he loves reading so much and I remember doing the same thing as a child.

Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros

When we did a double bill movie night, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros my daughter and I spent the evening yesterday getting the craft ready while the boys were at speed skating. We had lots of girly fun and made a piñata that she named Burrita (her head looks enormous in the photos, don’t know why). We researched the history of the piñata online and found out the donkey is in tribute to the one that carried Mary to Bethlehem. Burrita was very, very solid and well made which suited my daughter just fine because she became very attached to that piñata. She only let her brother hit it three times, then she whacked it down and didn’t want to hit her anymore because she was so fond of her, so we popped a hole in the bottom and pulled the candy out. The kids pronounced it their favourite movie night so far (I am pretty sure it had something to do with the candy).

For this craft you’ll need a large cardboard box, masking tape and clear tape, scissors, string or ribbon to hang it with, several colours of tissue paper, white card stock, markers and something to go in the piñata (we used candy but you could do anything, toys, colouring books and crayons, games, books, etc.). I found this site which was very helpful for starting us off on figuring out how to make our piñata. There were a few things we did differently: we made 4 tubes with card stock for the legs and two cone shapes out of card stock for the ears. The body and head were two separate boxes and the trap door at the bottom was much larger but even then it was probably too solid. We also drew eyes on card stock with marker and added them for extra beauty.

The recipe which I’ve posted below was for a South American style granola bar with quinoa, dark chocolate and dried fruit. We skipped the peanut butter and nuts and just used sunflower seeds but it was still really delicious. Again, I put the kids to work de-shelling the Spitz sunflower seeds and it took them almost an hour for them to get me half a cup.

Quinoa Granola Bars (Serves: 18)
Ingredients:
500 mL regular oats
250 mL quinoa flakes
125 mL sunflower seeds
125 mL dried fruit (raisins, cherries, berries, etc.)
125 mL dark chocolate chips
60 mL vegetable oil
80 mL maple syrup
45 mL sunflower sunbutter (optional)
60 mL light brown sugar
5 mL vanilla
2 mL salt

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚C. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with vegetable oil.
2. Place the 60 mL vegetable oil, maple syrup, sunbutter, and brown sugar in a microwave proof bowl or measuring cup. Microwave gently on low heat for 30 seconds or so, or until ingredients can be whisked together easily. Whisk in the vanilla and the salt.
3. Mix the oatmeal and quinoa flakes together in a bowl. Coarsely chop the seeds and dried fruit, and stir them into the oatmeal mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Add the liquid mixture to the oat mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are well coated. The mixture should be sticky and should start to clump together. If it doesn’t, and it seems dry and crumbly, add more maple syrup until it does.
5. Press the mixture down firmly into the pan. Grease a small piece of aluminum foil and use it to compress the mixture down into the pan as smoothly and firmly as possible.
6. Place pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until grains appear toasted and smell fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Finish cooling pan in the refrigerator, and for best (least crumbly) results, wait until mixture is well chilled before cutting it into bars.

Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone is another one of my childhood favourites. We spent the morning doing the craft and preparing the treat. The kids are watching it right now and I am in seventh heaven listening to them absolutely kill themselves laughing.

We did Sword in the Stone cupcakes (which my daughter baked) with grey icing and I printed off cupcake liners with a rock pattern on them because my husband said they looked like cupcakes with grey goop on them (which I suppose they were). I got the outline here and just added rock clip art to the inside of the pattern. The kids cut the liners out and my son loaned me some of his swords from his toy knights and there you go! I also went and bought a pair of silver goblets from the Goodwill and the kids decorated them with sticky jewels from the dollar store.

Then for the main craft the kids made hats. My daughter made a Merlin hat from purple construction paper and we had a great idea and attached the long skinny left-over piece of fluff from the Aristocats tissue box as a beard and eyebrows. My son and I made the crown with gold sparkly paper and red tissue from the dollar store. My daughter decorated her hat with stars punched out of my son’s left-over crown scraps and he decorated his with more sticky jewels. I got the instructions for the crown here. So for supplies for the two hats, you’ll need purple construction paper, sparkley gold paper, a star hole punch (if you have one), red tissue paper, sticky gems, a grommet, tape, scissors, and glue.

Tron

Instead of a movie night this past weekend we welcomed a new baby into our hearts, so I am posting a movie night we did this past summer. As a child, my husband loved Tron. When the new one came out he thought that the original was so much more exciting and ground breaking but he was still very happy to step back into that world with his son. They both had a great time watching this father/son double header story.

 

 

 

For the snack I made chocolate “Disc” cupcakes with glow stick bracelets on top. We also had blue Gatorade and added the kids glowing ice cubes from Artist’s Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. My daughter’s cube is loosing it’s glow so we have to go back soon to replace it! Finally, we added bright blue icing around the edges of some Oreos and the kids had them for school that week.

Then we went out to the park with our dog for a disc game. The kids had painted Frisbees black and glued glow necklaces to them. Again though, my husband couldn’t get enough of this and the next day he and my son found a paper craft of three light cycles: Clu’s here, Kevin Flynn’s here and Sam Flynn’s here on the Disney site. They spent many happy hours assembling, and then racing the light cycles. For materials for both crafts all you need are black paint, Frisbees, glow necklaces, scissors, and glue.

Dinosaur

It has been so long since I saw Dinosaur that I made volcano cakes for our dessert but I think I was getting it a bit mixed up with Fantasia. My husband said that flaming marshmallows as meteors from when we went camping this summer would have been more true to the movie. (My daughter tried to put the flames on her marshmallow for her S’more out by waving it in the air, and instead, it burned even brighter and was sent flying towards her brother, almost causing HIS extinction!) We were too busy trying to avoid conflagration to take photos and I am NOT staging that! And a volcano is still appropriate as learning experience because it is a possible reason for their eventual extinction. And it was more yummy than a burning marshwallow! ANYWAY!

I was inspired by this site for the recipe. Instead of a pudding cake from scratch though, I just used regular chocolate cake mix from a box and made them in tall biscuit pans (I found some at Home Sense). You then take red and orange chocolate wafers (I got mine at the Bulk Barn), melt them carefully in the microwave, and dribble them over the cooled baked cupcakes. First dribble the red in an x-shape, then the orange in another x, then swirl another spoonful of the red on top.

For crafts we just did a couple of kits from the dollar store. My son loved the excavation of the dinosaur egg so much he said he would like to change his university major from astrophysics to archeology. We also built a model out of wood which he also enjoyed. I find that with two children with such different tastes, it’s sometimes easier to take turns with their crafts and activities.

Oh! The fun thing was I let them watch Doctor Who’s Dinosaurs on a Spaceship on Friday. Then Saturday morning after figure skating and hockey we stopped at the Salvation Army to see if they had any of the Disney movies we were still missing on VHS. While we were there we saw THIS! My daughter bought her for $10 for the new baby. I remember when these first came out a couple of years ago but I thought my son was getting too big to justify the expense because at the time they were something like $500! We named her Tricey in honour of Doctor Who and the kids have been feeding her for two days now. So it ended up being a very Dinosaur-y weekend!