Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pretend Play: Grocery Store

My kids love playing grocery store. So I created a couple of printable lists for them to go 'shopping' with their pretend food.

pretend play grocery store


My six year old  is always asking me to spell different words so I created these list for her to practice spelling her words.

pretend play grocery store printables,

My 4 year old son hasn't learnt how to read yet so I created blank grocery lists so he can draw what he wants to, or you can cut out the different food words and paste them with a glue stick to create a grocery list.

blank grocery list


I saved the two different lists - lined and blank - two to a page for easier printing

printable grocery list

And here is a list of different food items you can cut out and have your kids paste to their own blank list.

grocery store printables

I bought my kids a huge package of pretend play food which they use often to play grocery store or restaurant.

pretend play grocery store food

Or you can make your own.

Get these Campbell soup printables for wrapping can from Katie Day

grocery store printable food

Get all these cute play food printable free from Elaine Chen

printable grocery store food

And we also have a toy cash register, this one includes play food, a conveyor belt, microphone, grocery basket and play money.

grocery store cash register


And if your trying to teach you kindergartener to read check out these free printable sight words they can put together to make words. 

free printable sight words

Monday, August 21, 2017

My New Logo and Blog Header!

I have been trying to progressively update my blog as I go along. As you want to look more professional when dealing with advertisement companies and applying for sponsored post opportunities. So about six months ago I changed my blog spot addresse and purchased the actual name www.musingofanaveragemom.com But I still wasn't happy about the appearance.

blog header design


I was reading a Kijiji add and seen these amazing wall decals and went to the website to see more of them. I checked out the graphic design and the artist who was also from a small town in Ontario so I reached out to her to design me a new logo and blog header.

She asked me what I was looking for so I said I wanted to keep the same color scheme I currently have and wanted something soft, gave her a few examples of logos I really liked and something that conveyed the blog name: Musings of an Average Mom which to me is a bitter of a scatter brain mom if it's representing myself. She sent me a few logos and I loved them all!

blog logo design

Phoebe was great as she worked with such a vague description. Here are a few tip's she gives to clients:

Do your research - find other logos or designs you like to help your designer learn your sense of taste.
Decide what overall feel or emotion you want your design to have (eg, rustic, organic, industrial, calm, silly, lighthearted) 

A successful design will communicate a feeling or emotion to the viewer. You choice of "feel" will help direct your designer when choosing font styles, colours and layout. Pick a colour scheme (or let your designer know what colours you do not want if you are undecided) 

If you want to include images in your design, narrow down what symbols and images best represent you. The more information on your wants and expectations you can give your designer ahead of time the better!

I liked all the original logos but thought the 4th one was my favourite as I drink coffee like it's water and like the teal colour. So she ran with that and sent me a first draft.


blog header graphic design

I was blown away loved this blog header. Loved the concept of the coffee ring but thought the black of the notebook was two harsh for the feeling I was aiming for. And  a little to "neat" for me so she played around with it and we explored having a pink back ground for it as well. 


how to design a blog header



But I wanted it to remain white, and after the last final tweaking you can see the amazing end result at the top of my blog. ;) And if you haven't been here before or can't remember what the last one looked like here's the comparison:


new blog header design

Wow it's like night and day. My blog no longer looks like my 6 year old designed. Although she's more artistic than I am so it probably would have looked better than the original. Super happy my blog looks so much more professional which I am hoping will bring in more viewers (and advertisers)

I was so excited to upload my new header but when I first did half of it was cut off so after googling it uploaded it to Paint and clicked resize kept the aspect ration and changed the horizontal pixels to 1200. Boom! Amazing.

Now with a actual domain and professionally designed header starting to feel like a semi? proffessional blogger. 

And just a tip: try to have your thoughts collected before turning to a professional graphic designer as they often charge by the hour and like a clear direction of what you would like. Not an easy thing for this scattered brained girl.


If you wanted to contact Phoebe for a quote for graphic design you can check out her website here: https://www.thestickershop.ca/ or her amazing  custom wall decals on Etsy for kids rooms, nurseries, kitchens, bathrooms, even vehicles.

wall decals


So what is your input on the finished product? I personally am super happy. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

White with Style Review

I was once told I would make the perfect infomercial pokesperson. You know that actor who tries to purposely mess up a seamingly easy task like cutting the tomato and it just squirts everywhere, or pouring milk and just drops the whole container on the floor and it looks so forced - yeah well that's me... in real life.

white with style review


And when I got the opportunity to review the White with Style teeth whitening kit I was so pumped! I wanted to purchase a teeth whitening kit ever since I quit smoking six years ago (yay me!) as I knew my teeth wouldn't yellow anymore but of course that's not covered by insurance - is anything?

So I tried out the White with Style kit, and at first was daunted by the list of instructions (there is 11 steps) as I sometimes struggle following the 3 steps on making a simple bag of Sidekicks but it was actually fairly simple.

Here's the kit I received:

white with style kit


What's included:

Each kit includes 1 syringe (10cc) of our Custom 16% HP Teeth Whitening Gel Good for 10 treatments
Set of Custom Trays 
Mini blue light to activate gel with batteries 
Shade guide
Vitamin E Swabs (Not included with any Peroxide Free Variety)


You first mold the two mouths pieces in a pot of boiling water, similar to if you ever bought a drug store mouth piece to stop grinding your teeth, c'mon that can't be just me?

And don't take the mouth piece out of the boiling water with your fingers. Those warnings on things that seem common sense are usually put there for a reason. I once burnt my arm trying to reach the bigger rotisserie chicken in the back of the warming table. Someone told me I should sue but I feel like they cover it with the large CAUTION IT'S HOT! sign. Yep I can burn my self without even making dinner - I told you I was talented!

Now you have two molded pieces, your teeth are brushed and flossed your ready.

Put the gunk (teeth whitening gel) in each one of the teeth cavities (making sure not to overfill it) and shove it in your mouth.

Do keep track of which one was the top and which one is the bottom before filling (she says this from experience) remove any excess on your gums with the e swabs (fancy q-tips) and activate the gel with the blue light - for up to 30 minutes.

Try not to obsessively drool (as I did) and you can only keep them in for 30 minutes top. I only did 15 minutes the first time, as of the excessive warnings.  And then take them out.

I was surprised I could actively see a visual difference after the first use! Because you get like 10 uses (or so?) out of the kit with the option to purchase more refills.


Their products are fine for sensitive teeth (especially the peroxide free teeth whitening kit), caps, crowns or veneers . Which is great as I feel like all of my back teeth are more composed of more metal than actual tooth. Brushing is important children!

They don't recommend using it if you have braces, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Although pregnant woman are not allowed anything!

But can be used by vegans, vegetarians and people who eat mostly? Kosher food because they are:

FDA registered facility
99% Kosher
BPA Free
Cruelty Free
Vegan & Gluten Free 


And you can purchase the Sparkle White Professional Teeth Whitening Kit - regularly $269 for only $28 if you use the coupon code KristenS28, that's a nearly 90% savings!!! So it makes the price very comparable with other store bought tooth whitening kits.

If you melt your trays by leaving them excessively long in boiling water or your dog (toddler?) eats them or even if you just want to try it out on the boyfriend ;) you can order replacement trays here: http://www.whitewithstyle.com/product-p/trays.htm

So that's my honest review, I did get the product for free but I do recommend it as it visibly works after the first use, as you can see by my surprised face in the video if you use the link its an awesome price and hey if I can figure out how to use it anyone can.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

School lunch ideas

When my daughter started school two years ago  I struggled to think of different meal ideas as I was lucky if she wanted sandwiches twice a week.

school lunch ideas


I bought her a Shopkins food thermos, but you can purchase your own child's favourite character - initially I thought it was expensive costing around $15 to $20 but it gave me so many different hot lunch meal ideas, as they don't have access to microwaves in grade school.

kids thermos



Hot Lunches:


I usually make extra when I am cooking dinner and freeze them in individual size containers so I can defrost them the night before and heat them up in the morning as needed.

Some meal ideas you can pack in a thermos are:

- chilli
- chicken noodle soup (or any variety of soup)
- shephards pie
- chicken stir fry
- chicken fried rice
- pasta and meatballs
- brown beans (and hot dogs)
- Zoodles or Kraft Dinner
- chicken nuggets
- perogies and ham or bacon
- ravioli
- chicken or beef stew
- leftover casseroles

You can also purchase a custom set of cutlery for kids, as you probably don't want to misplace that one silver utensil out of your set of 16... she says from experience.

kids utensils


I also tried to come up with different varieties of sandwiches as Lily didn't like to eat the same lunch two days in a row.


Sandwiches: 


You can create a lot of different varieties of sandwiches by mixing it up a little: choosing a different grain, protein, topping and sauce/ condiment.


sandwich options


There are lots of different styles of sandwiches if you are a little creative you can make, chicken ceaser wraps, meatball sub, pizza bagel, ham and cheese pin wheels, diy lunchables with crackers, meat and cheese, etc.

And you can make things more fun by using sandwich cutters, and fun sandwich containers.

school lunch containters

Healthy Snacks:


I have two send two snacks for morning and afternoon and my daughter who has an amazing appetite started asking for more as she would eat everything I packed for her. Coming up with snack ideas can take a little effort especially if your a mom who's new to packing lunches, I feel so spoiled when my kids went to daycare and I didn't have to worry about it.

I tried to pack mainly healthy snacks including tons of fruit including:
- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples (with lemon juice), peeled oranges, bananas, pears, cantalope, honey dew, watermelon, peaches, kiwi, pineapple, cherries, grapes, and mangos.

healthy school snacks



I will peel and cut the fruit, or pack a container of mixed berries or grapes off the vine. When purchasing pre-packaged fruit cups get them packed in water or juice, syrup is just unnecessary sugar. You can also get apple sauce and dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, banana chips, etc.

I also like to pack fresh vegetables and you can include ranch, hummus or even cheez whiz for dipping including:
baby carrots, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, pepper slices, or cherry tomatoes.

Unfortunately most schools don't allow nuts due to allergies as my kids love peanuts, almonds and especially pistachios. But you can buy a school friendly peanut butter alternative which you can substitute if you pack apple slices and PB or ants on a log (celery topped with PB and raisins)

If we have microwave popcorn in the evening I will put the left overs in snack bags for tomorrows school lunch.

I also like to buy a large container of yogurt, add some sliced fruit liked strawberries and add a Ziploc bag with granola you can add to it once you are going to eat it so it doesn't get soggy. This is also one of my favourite work snacks.

yogurt, berries and granola

Other snacks I pack are: pretzels, yogurt tubes, granola bars, trail mix, muffins, cheese strings, crackers and cheese, healthy fruit roll ups or fruit snacks, cereal snacks (like rice krispies), baked goods - like no bake oatmeal balls.

I created a printable version for quick reference, as I find I sometimes run out of ideas myself and dislike thinking of what to make for dinner or am standing dumbfounded at the grocery store trying to think of lunch ideas.

School Lunch Ideas: Hot lunch ideas and various sandwich options

school lunch ideas


And here is a healthy snack ideas reference you can print

school snack ideas

Don't have time to print out the reference now? Pin it for later:

school lunch and healthy snack ideas


Do you have any school lunch or healthy snack ideas?? Please leave a comment as I would love to get more ideas, and update my list eventually.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Moana and Pua toilet paper roll Craft

Moana has been the most popular topic on my site for the past couple months so I decided to create baby Moana and Pua as my next toilet paper roll craft.

moana toilet paper roll craft


So you will need:
- black and white paper
- two toilet paper rolls
- glue stick and scissors
- a pencil and a red crayon (or marker)

easy moana crafts for kids

Pua was simple to make, I just wrapped the tp roll in white paper cut out the face and ears, making sure to leave some white space around the ears and glued them on the side of the face. Done.

easy moana crafts


For Moana I created a wave pattern on a piece of black construction paper and cut it out. I cute out the flower and bent it around a pencil a bit to give it more of a 3D feel. 

moana craft

I cut a thin strip of white paper and drew some half circles on it with a red crayon, to look similiar to the diaper in the movie. I cut out the eyes and pasted them on, and drew a bit of a rudementary face - drawing isn't exactly my thing.

moana activity

And here are the two of them together.

moana activities for kids


Moana printable ncraft

Hopefully you and the kids enjoy this craft and if you are looking for Moana crafts you can find them here:

Moana crafts


Or for more toilet paper roll crafts you can find the rest of them here: 

toilet paper roll crafts




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Moana gift ideas

I have a lot of people interested in all the free Moana birthday party printables I created so I decided to create a round-up of some gift ideas to go with it.

moana gift ideas


Moana dvd + digital copy + blue ray

moana gift guide


Moana tsum tsums

moana tsum tsum


Disneys Moana's Magical Seashell Necklace - lights up with a soft green glow

disney moana toys

Moana (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)


moana gifts

Moana lip balm - set of 6

moana birthday presents

Disney Moana Adventure Doll - 14 inches

disney moana doll

LEGO - Disney Moana, Moana's Island Adventure

moana lego

Moana backpack

Disney Pua Plush - small 9 1/2" 

Pau plushie


Disney Moana Girls Adventure Outfit, Age: 3+, Size: 4 - 6x

moana costume for sale


Moana tote

Get this unique Moana bracelet from Castleminis on Etsy

Moana jewellery

Disney Moana Choose Your Destiny (Meet the Characters)


moana books

Disney Animators' Collection Moana Mini Doll Play Set - 5 Inch    

moana play sets

Disney Moana art folio includes 12 washable markers, 33 stickers, two stencils, 30-page art pad, 16 watercolor paints, watercolor tray, and two paintbrushes 

moana art supplies


moana notebook

And here are the free Moana party printables I created including invitations, cupcake toppers, thank you cards, banner and games.

moana birthday printables

Or if you are looking for Moana inspired ideas you can find Moana free printable activities or Moana inspired crafts.

Moana crafts





                                                                                                                     



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