Frozen Strawberry Crunch Cake

We had company
 over this week and I knew I wanted to make something fresh and light.  The weather has been amazing with this sudden heat wave.  It feels like summer!  I decided to try a new recipe from  It's called Frozen Strawberry Crunch Cake.  I had most of the ingredients because I had just done a big grocery shop and I didn't want something super processed. 

box Nature Valley Granola Bars
cup brown sugar
cup flour
tablespoons melted butter
egg whites
cup sugar
cup heavy whipping cream
ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 
cups freshly chopped strawberries
1. Put the Nature Valley granola bars in a food processor (I used my Ninja and it worked great) and process until you achieve a course crumb.
2. In a large bowl, add the crumbs, brown sugar, flour and melted butter and mix together. Then spread into an 8x8-inch pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Let cool. Then divide in half and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs whites and sugar and mix on high. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing for another 5 minutes.
4.  Continue to add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and softened cream cheese. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
5.  Fold the fresh strawberries into the cream mixture.
6.  In a buttered glass cake pan, press half of the crumb crust mixture on the bottom. Top with strawberry mix and then add the remaining crumbs to the top.
7.  Cover and freeze for three hours or more and enjoy!

I thought it was a good mix of sweet and tart.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.  The crumble on the top and bottom was very good and a nice change to just your typical base.  I had never used granola bars in a dessert like that before.  Next time I would probably use the whole package of cream cream instead of half since it wasn't super sweet.  

DIY Bird Feeders

I've made these DIY bird feeders with the kids the last few year.  It's fun to put them in the trees in our backyard and catch the birds having a little treat.  However, I had troubles keeping them together for some reason.  I couldn't find gelatin so I used lemon jello (which I have in the past and it worked) and it was an epic fail.  So I did a redo with gelatin but added too much bird seed.  So I tried a third time and they were much better.  Definitely not like last year but they still worked.  Sometimes you look at a pin on Pinterest and think that is so easy but for some reason it just doesn't work.  

Bird Seed Feeder Recipe
3/4 flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope of unflavoured Knox gelatin
3 tbsp corn syrup
Cookie Cutters
Wax paper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Stir well until coated.  Spray cookie cutters so they don't stick.  Pack tight.  Poke a hole near top with straw.  Let dry overnight.  Use twine to hang.

Here is my first failed attempt.  I tried using lemon jello and it wouldn't stay together.

Make sure to add straws for the holes.

Easter: the cross equals love

Most people that know me, know that I love celebrations and holidays.  And Easter really is the most wonderful celebration.  For many it's about colour dipped eggs and chocolate but it's about Jesus dying on the cross for each and every one of us.  What a sacrifice.  It's the perfect example of love.  While heavy, it really is a time to rejoice because Jesus rose from the grave and is alive.  As we did Resurrection Eggs with the kids this year, I was reminded how brutal Jesus' death was.  I hope I never take it for granted nor my children.  I pray they are in awe of what Jesus did for them.  With this being said, I do want them to partake in all the fun actives and traditions that come along with holidays.  I don't think you have to pick one or the other.  Keeping the focus on Jesus and you can't go wrong.

We spent the week and weekend doing fun activities, reading the Easter story, singing new songs ['My God is so Strong' is the song of the week] and having family time.  

Good Friday was a beautiful day so we got outside and went to Campbell Valley Park for a picnic, egg hunt and exploring.  Took in all God's beautiful creation.

Later that afternoon, the Easter bunny came early and he came to the park this year.  Normally he comes Sunday morning but he was on schedule the year and showed up early.  I set up a chocolate egg trail into the park by our house to a little covered tree area to their Easter goodies.  I think the chocolate was more of a hit.  The kids got to pick one toy at Target for their Easter treat.

Decorating eggs is a must.  I always find it a bit stressful.  It's so unpredictable with kids.  Fragile eggs and dyed water can be a dangerous combo.  But the kids did great this year.  They used spaghetti spoons to dip the eggs which worked great.  I also baked the eggs in the oven for the first time.  With a large amount, it works nice.  However I realized my oven needs to be cleaned because a few had some spots on them that I'm guessing is from my oven doors.  Once rinsed they were fine.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes

Started Easter morning having brunch as a family.  Made my Eggs Benedict casserole that is oh so yummy.  For recipe, see earlier Christmas Brunch post.

The kids were excited for church.  After the service, their was a candy buffet, petting zoo, games, crafts and egg hunt.  Oliver loved the petting zoo but Isla was not a big fan.  A goat tried to eat her dress.  Funny but scary for her.  

The afternoon was spent with family eating, playing Monopoly [which I won], jumping on the trampoline, playing basketball, Facetimed with Erik and a ate way too many goodies.  

Here is the Easter cake I made for the family.

Here is one of our Easter crafts.  I found these little bunny and carrot figurines at the thrift store and glued them on the lids of some old jars and spray painted the lids.  We filled with candy and they made for cute Easter decor.  I think we may have to give them away to avoid eating too much candy!

Hope you had a special weekend with family and stopped to remember the sacrifice that was made on the cross.

Off to the Market

Phew, we did it.  We pulled off our first market.  So many emotions throughout the weekend.  Started off with scared/panic which went to optimism and excitement and ended with joy and exhaustion.  My Vintage Wall and Lovely Little Day partnered up for the first time with a booth at the Vintage and Revamped Market in Cloverdale this past weekend.  So many unknowns going into the weekend but overall I was pleased with the outcome.  I learnt abit about the world of vintage markets, met some great people and had fun.  I know need to clean up the sequins tracked all through the house, the fabric drapping the kitchen table and paint supplies littering the garage.  What an adventure!  I need a break from all things 'crafty' and will eventually start focusing on the next steps which include setting up an Etsy store and rebranding my blog/Facebook page.  It's time for a facelift so to speak.  All in good time.  Right now I just want to enjoy the spring weather with my littles and use my spare time to just relax and be.  If I know myself though, it won't be long and I'll be at my sewing machine or heating up the glue gun.

Glad I took the risk and stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new.  

Here are some pictures from our weekend.  

Some of our happy customers.

My friend Ang from Ellahaus.

Erin from the berry project.

Cherise bought this wood rocking chair for her little one.

Photobook Review

I love taking pictures and documenting moments.  So it's no surprise I love photo books.  Once I realized how easy they were, I was hooked.  As I transitioned from a film camera to a digital, like many I had a plethora of pictures sitting on my computer.  What was the point of taking all these amazing pictures but not doing anything with them.  It was about the time Trevor and I got married that I adventured into photobook land.  I had just got my first digital SLR.  It was a wedding/birthday gift from my parents.  What a journey it has taken me on.  If only that camera could talk.  It's been on our honeymoon, to Europe, in the hospital rooms where our children were born, birthday parties, weddings and so many first moments as a family.  I'm on my second SLR and have to admit with iPhones being so convenient it doesn't get as much use but I have told myself I need to bring it out more this year.  It takes amazing pictures and for photobook purposes, you won't regret it because the quality for printing is way better.  I've kind of learned the hard way that pulling out the iPhone doesn't make for great photobooks even though it's so nice for posting online and capturing moments quickly.  

I've tried a few different company's and here is my opinion of my experience with them.

1. Snapfish:  they are similar to Shutterfly in that they always have really good deals and have plenty of design options. Quality is decent and the design options are pretty good.  For a nice, cost effective book it's a good option.  I have to say that I haven't used Snapfish for a few years and from what I can see on their website, they have made improvements with custom books and embellishments.  Not a high end feel but more fun and bright.  B

2.  Apple Print Products:  my sister in law made me a book of family pictures and I attempted one photobook but gave up on the book quickly because I wasn't completely impressed by it.  I found it quite basic and limited in design options.  Quality of the book was good.  I think they have found a niche in taking your pictures on your Mac or iPhone and easily transforming it into a photobook.  Quick and easy.  However, I would rather have a product I'm completely happy with rather than an easy one.  They are abit more costly too. Good options if you just want a photo album on pages.  B-

3.  Picaboo: I've only made one Picaboo book and it was a few years ago so again they may have made some changes but I found Picaboo limited in creative design and they were more expensive than some others.  Quality was good but the book didn't impress me.  They aren't about embellishments and don't have a scrapbook feel to it.  C

4.  Photobook Canada: I got a groupon for Photobook Canada before I had ever used them.  I was high dissatisfied.  The website was extremely hard to use and I lost part of my book at one point.  I tried contacting them and they weren't able to help me.  The book was decent quality but very basic and boring.  The book ended up being expensive even with the coupon.  I wrote to the company about some of my issues I had while making my book and that I wasn't happy with my experience and I never heard from them.  I would not recommend them. D

5.  Shutterfly:  Shutterfly is the company I have most recently made most of my books through for a few reasons.  I know their website and design options.  It's easy to use and I really like some their features.  I really like their storyboard feature.  You can organize all your pictures in the book as you want them to appear.  They hide the pictures also once it's been used so you don't accidentally duplicate a picture.  Their custom path is easy and has lots of options.  Multiple backgrounds, layouts and embellishments.  You have to be careful with the embellishments because it can look cheesy and overdone.  They have idea pages that enhance the book too.  They have good deals all the time so wait till a 50% off deals come along. A

I have heard good things about Blurb and hope to try Artifact Uprising with my next book.  Their books look high quality with nice, simple designs. 

Here are a few of my recommendations:  8x11 hard cover is a perfect size.  Pictures aren't too big so they are clear but not too small and hard to see.  Keep it simple with colours and backgrounds maybe 2-3.  Don't over load pages with stickers or embellishments.  I usually do one every other page or less.  I use the same background on both pages when the book is open.  Proofread, proofread, proofread.  Even have someone else do it.  it's amazing how you can miss an error.  Look for deals and wait if you can to order. 

I usually end of making 2 or 3 every year for my mother and mother in law.  It's my go-to Christmas and birthday gifts for them.  They love pictures of the kids and the whole family.  

Here is hoping I can find some time at the computer soon so I can finish my 2012 and 2013 photobooks.  It's easy to get behind and then feel overwhelmed.  

Since the new year, I have been using the Collect App with the hopes it will help organize my photos easily for my year end book.  Organzing photos for a whole year I find the toughest so I'm excited I may have eliminated that problem.  

Hope my review of a few different photo book companies is helpful.  Snap on and create beautiful memories!

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