what we’ve been up to lately…

What To Watch If You Miss Downton Abbey
Felt Mushrooms
Chocolate Mousse Easter Eggs
Spring Woodland Easter Brunch

Easy One Bowl Brownies

Easy One Bowl Brownies: easy to make, simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and better than a store mix.  Promise.

These Easy One Bowl Brownies are a real old family favourite around here.

Easy One Bowl Brownies: easy to make, simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and better than a store mix.  Promise.

I grew up on them.  When I was in grade five my mom went from being a stay-at-home mom, to working as a housekeeper 3 mornings a week at, what we called at the time “the mansion”.  There was also a full-time cook named Rose.  Rose made these brownies at least once a week, and sometimes more, and it wasn’t long before my mom was making them too.  They’re super easy, and delicious, and that soon made them a stable at our house too.

Easy One Bowl Brownies: easy to make, simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and better than a store mix.  Promise.

Last week when my youngest Maddie decided she wanted brownie sundae’s for her Cruise Birthday Party, I turned to my old stand by brownie recipe.  I hadn’t made them for a while, and I have to say  I was reminded how easy and yummy they were, and realized I’d never shared them here on Life is a Party before.  If you don’t have a go-to brownie recipe, then now you do. 😉

Easy One Bowl Brownies: easy to make, simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and better than a store mix.  Promise.

Easy One Bowl Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Cream sugar and margarine together in a mixer.
  2. Add in the vanilla and eggs, and mix until well combined.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, and add to the batter, stir to combine.
  4. Add the flour and combine, without over mixing.
  5. Spray a 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick baking spay, and then add in batter.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees, for 25-30 min. taking care not to over bake, brownies should be still slightly gooey in the middle when done.
http://www.lifeisaparty.ca/2016/easy-one-bowl-brownies/

Easy One Bowl Brownies: easy to make, simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and better than a store mix.  Promise.

I hope your family loves them as much as we do.

Easy One Bowl Brownies: easy to make, simple ingredients you already have in your pantry, and better than a store mix.  Promise.

With Easy One Bowl Brownies, life really is a party!

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

This month there were lots of special occasions at our house and a few parties to celebrate them.  For our #YearofFeasting -where we have committed to host 12 parties in 12 months, this month we had a birthday party!  I shared 5 Tips to Create Pin-worthy Parties on a Budget earlier in the month to inspire you, and I put lots of those tips into practise when my youngest daughter Maddie decided on a Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party to celebrate turning nine!

We have been very fortunate and Maddie has enjoyed a cruise every winter for the last few years.  In fact, some of our happiest family memories have been created on board cruise ships, so it seemed like a fun theme for a party.

Our intention was to make our guests feel like they were getting on a cruise ship and taking a mini cruise, with some of our very favourite cruise ship activities as part of itinerary.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

I found some amazing free printables at Ian and Lola Designs that i just loved.  I used picmonkey.com to add text.  If you  don’t know this site, it’s great -easy to use and free, and will allow you to edit, and add text to images.  I used the large sign free printable and added text to make signs -like “Crusie Terminal” on the front door, and “Ship Boarding” for our little check in area.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

We sent guests a “ticket” invite, so when they arrived they had to sign in and get their sea pass, just like a real cruise.  My husband transformed our old sea pass cards into new ones for our party guests with a graphics program, complete with their names and the date of the party.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

At the sign in table they had to sign the registration sheet, and then they received their sea pass, which we hole punched and attached to a lanyard for them.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

As they signed in there was a ship photographer ready to snap a shot of them boarding -just like on a real cruise.  We set up a little backdrop of a net, and luggage, and made an anchor and life buoy out of cardboard -a quick and inexpensive project.  We asked our guests to pose with a hat -we picked up the captain and sailor hat at the party store and felt like they were the perfect props.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

After they boarded it was time for a welcome aboard drink.  We picked up a pina colada mix and made mini virgin pina coladas for them with fun little umbrellas, which helped get everyone in the cruise mood.

We decorated our living room with a few nautical touches and turned it into the “Sandbar Lounge”.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

Our first activity at sea was a napkin folding class.  On the cruises we’ve been on there are always fun little classes on sea days.  On the cruise your waiter is often an expert at napkin folding and loves to show the kids his or her tricks of the trade, and also the room steward often leaves amazing towel animals on your bed at night.  Cruising has come to mean fancy napkins and fancy towel folding for us.  So, when the classes are offered, Maddie enjoys going and learning how to do it too.  One time, we were given these great instruction sheets, which Maddie still had so we just photocopied for the party.

Napkin folding instructions

Maddie had a great time being the napkin folding instructor and teaching all her little friends, and grandparents how to fold the perfect napkin.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

After napkin folding class it was time for a fancy lunch in the main dining room.  Fancy lunches and dinners have become a real highlight of cruising for us.  In the early years the kids ordered from the kids menus and we had to bring electronics to keep them entertained.  Now, the girls are becoming real foodies, and have really enjoyed trying out new things and ordering off of the adult menu sometimes.  Maddie had a lot of fun coming up with her three course menu -which included lots of favourites from cruising.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

 

My husband Roland and friend Heather were the waiters and I was the chef for the afternoon.  It was a lot of fun preparing a kid-friendly, but fancy meal.  Just like on the ship, you could even order two desserts.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

I also made fun name tags for the “staff” with our names, and the countries we were from, just like on the real ship.  And we all wore our black and white “uniform”.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

After lunch our guests headed back to the Sandbar Lounge for karaoke.  On our last cruise, with great friends of ours, there was family karaoke one night, and our girls were brave enough to give it a try.  It was so much fun, and seemed like the perfect way to end the cruise party.  Our guests were a little shy, but we still had a lot of fun.

We sent our guest home with a little sea themed loot bag -there were lifesavers, gold fish crackers, cracker jacks, and chips ahoy cookies.  I made a fun little label for our “ships ahoy” cookies.

Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday Party: Great kids party theme where your guests sail away for the day with a house turned cruise ship!

We had a great time celebrating our girl with her own little cruise.

With a special Cruise Themed Nautical Birthday, life really is a party!

Paint Dipped Brass Candle Holders

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

Lately I’m in love with brass and all things golden.  And of course, my love affair with white is still going strong.  So for our #12MonthsOfDIY challenge this month, with us all doing some kind of diy makeover on a thrift store item, I thought these Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders would be perfect.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

I have to say that I really love how they turned out, and they were easy to make, and inexpensive -tick, tick, ticking all my boxes.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

I picked up the candlesticks at Value Village -I went a couple of times, and found some that I really liked.  I love shopping second hand, it’s like a treasure hunt to me!  And did you know that on average, North Americans throw out 81lbs of textiles each year -that’s a lot of landfill!  Value Village is one of the biggest recyclers of used clothing in the world.  Shopping second hand, and donating your old housewares and textiles is a great way to love the earth, and the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day, this Friday.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

I’m a firm believer that one girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure.  #RethinkReuse

Brass was hot in the 70’s, but it’s definitely making a come back.  And since I’m really into the whole geometrics trend right now, I tried to paint my candlesticks so that it looked like they’d been dipped in paint at an angle.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

To start my project, I took the stickers off of the candlesticks, and washed them.  You could polish them if you wanted them really bright gold, I kind of like their patina, so I left mine un-polished,

Next, I used some masking tape to create an angled line where I wanted to paint.

I used Fusion Chalk Paint, for a matte finish.  It took about 4 quick coats to fully cover them.

When they were dry to the touch we removed the tape.  They were that simple.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

I displayed mine on the fireplace mantel.  I love the simplicity of them.  They’re even making my brass fireplace trim, that I’ve been meaning to paint black for ages, look good.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

I thought about painting them in different pastels for spring, which I think would have worked really well too, but there’s just something about simple, beautiful white.

Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders: upcycle your old brass by painting them for a modern look.

With DIY Paint Dipped Brass Candlestick Holders, life really is a party!
Now it’s time to see the rest of the DIY fabric project ideas from my Canadian blogging friends.

From the top left, they are:

Upcycling Wood Bowls from Fresh Crush

Paint Dipped Brass Candle Holders from Life is a Party

Upcycling a thrift store leather coat into a DIY handbag from Sustain My Craft Habit

Pottery Barn Inspired Burlap Lamp Shade & Owl Bookends from Woman in Real Life

Thrifted DIY Jewelry Holder from Brooklyn Berry Designs

Upcycled Thrifted Mirror from New House New Home

Gold Wooden Treasure Box from Mommyzoid

DIY Roll-N-Go Travel Bag from Vin’yet Etc.

Scarf Throw Pillows from PMQ for Two

DIY Industrial Pendant Light from Love Create Celebrate

A Thrifted Shabby Chic Gallery Wall and Lamp Makeover from The DIY Mommy

Thrift Store Patio Table Tray Makeover from Time With Thea
12MonthsofDIY April Thrifted DIY Craft Ideas

Now it’s your turn to play along.  Mark your Instagram photos of a thrifted upcyled project with #12MonthsOfDiy and #AprilThrifting and follow all the hosts on Instagram for a chance to be featured on all our accounts.  (Look for all the details on my Instagram.) Can’t wait to see your projects!

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

Since it’s finally starting to feel like spring, these Mini No-Bake Berry Cheesecakes In A Mason Jar, are the perfect little treat.  They’re great topped with fresh berries, and portable enough to bring on a spring picnic, weekend adventure, or enjoy for a backyard bbq.

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

One of my family’s favourite activities this time of year, after feeling cooped up all winter, is to get outside for a walk.  We’re fortunate to have lots of great trails near by, and a few friendly farms.  I have some great childhood memories of visiting my uncle’s farm as a little girl, and being excited about feeding the animals, and seeing all the cute little baby animals being born in the spring.  We love visiting our local farmers market, buying fresh seasonal items, and supporting local farmers.  Did you know Gay Lea is a co-operative owned by 1,200 farm families in Ontario?  That’s a lot of local cows, and that’s a lot of great dairy products #BornOnTheFarm

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

Mason jars are the perfect serving piece for these little individual cheesecakes -cute, mini size, easy to serve and eat, and portable for spring adventures!

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

You could make these cheesecakes in any flavour, since the fruit topping is just jam.  I chose blackberry jar for mine this time, but any favourite jam flavour would be great…I’m thinking cherry, raspberry, or how about mango?  The skies the limit.

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp Gay Lea Salted Butter
  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 300 mL sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • blackberry jam
  • Gay Lea Real Whipped Cream
  • fresh blackberries

Instructions

  1. Melt the Gay Lea Butter and combine well with the graham cracker crumbs. Use a spoon and divide the crumb mixture between 12 -4oz. Mason Jars, and then press the crumbs down to create the cheesecake base.
  2. Next, combine the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla in a stand mixer, beating until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide the cream mixture between the 12 mason jars. Refrigerate the mason jars, until the cheesecake is set.
  4. Once the cheesecake is set, and able to support the jam topping, spoon about a teaspoon over the cheesecakes. Don't use too much, since jam is sweeter than pie topping which is usually used as a cheesecake topping. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  5. Just before serving, top each cheesecake with some Gay Lea Real Whipping Cream, and add a fresh berry. Enjoy!
http://www.lifeisaparty.ca/2016/mini-no-bake-berry-cheese-cake-in-a-mason-jar/

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

The perfect finish to these sweet little cheesecakes right before you serve them is some Gay Lea whipped cream, and a fresh berry!

Mini No-Bake Berry Cheese Cake In A Mason Jar -the perfect cute, portable, easy treat!

With Mini No-Bake Berry Cheesecakes in a Mason Jar, life really is a party!

This month I’m joining with all the Gay Lea ambassador bloggers to give away ONE grand prize. To celebrate all of the delicious ways you can incorporate all of Gay Lea’s delicious products, we’re giving away a beautiful KitchenAid Stand Mixer! Approximate retail value: $450.
The grand prize giveaway will be open from April 4, 2015-April 30, 2016.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’ll also be giving away 1 year of free Gay Lea product (12 coupons for free Gay Lea product) to one reader from Life is a Party!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Readers may enter across many blogs, they may only win on a single blog.
Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unfortunately unable to enter the giveaway.
Winner(s) can expect their prize in approximately 4-6 weeks!

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Related Posts with Thumbnails