The not-a-party birthday party

We’ve celebrated 13 — nearly 14 — kiddie birthdays so far between our two children, and we have learned a LOT. We’ve figured out which parties are the most expensive, which parties require the most effort (before, during and after) and which parties we swore we’d never repeat.

There’s the house party, which can feel incredibly claustrophobic and requires cleaning your house twice — yuck. There’s the rent-a-venue party, which is typically the biggest party and can make your bank account weep. And then there’s a third kind of party, which has become our favourite — the “outing.”

Cake pops make excellent “portable cake.”

We started this tradition last year, and I don’t see us changing it anytime soon. Last year we took our daughter and a few good friends to Clay Cafe to paint pottery, and it was awesome. We took our son and a few friends to the local rec centre for rock-climbing and a swim, and we just repeated that this year for our daughter’s birthday.

Since it’s not a “party,” we’re not shelling out the hundreds of dollars to book the party room and rent the leisure pool. We’re just paying for a family day pass (or two family passes, depending on the number of friends) …

How does it work? Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 

DIY $20 wooden doormat

Sometimes I’ll get an idea for a project and tackle it the very same day, and other times it’ll take me years to actually get around to completing it.

I came across the idea for a wooden doormat at least a year or two ago, and now that I’ve finished one, I can’t wait to make more of them. It’s one of those rare DIY gems where the project is inexpensive, fast, fun to make, and the results are awesome.

Determined to finally make one of these wooden doormats, I pulled up a Pinterest tutorial and skimmed the simple materials list: 16 pieces of 2×2-inch lumber measuring 24 inches each, six feet of quarter-inch sisal rope, and a 3/8-inch drill bit. It was so simple, in fact, that I never went back to read the instructions — I am weirdly rebellious about instructions — and things still turned out perfectly.

DIY $20 wooden doormat {Heather's Handmade Life}

During a home improvement store run I asked my handy husband to pick me up four eight-foot-long 2×2-inch boards (less than $15 total) and a 50-foot package of sisal rope (less than $5 for way more than I needed for one mat) …

DIY $20 wooden doormat {Heather's Handmade Life}

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

DIY $20 wooden doormat {Heather's Handmade Life}
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Easy mini pizza hack

Easy mini pizza hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

You guys know I HATE cooking and only ever post “recipes” (I use that word very loosely) on the blog if they are (A) incredibly easy to make, (B) super-fast, (C) prevent us from wasting something, and/or (D) get me out of the kitchen in record time so I can go sew something or paint something.

But we had a big family “party” over the weekend to celebrate C turning six. Having 20-ish people in your house for dinner either involves cooking or cleaning out your bank account for a ton of pizzas to be delivered. So we always choose cooking.

Darling Husband had bought a new BBQ for the occasion since ours recently got the boot to the curb during Clean-up Week. So, of course, we decided to make hamburgers and sausages.

AND OF COURSE, he bought ninety-trillion packages of hamburger buns. I made 20 hamburger patties. You do the math. *sigh*

So what does one do with the eighty-nine-trillion remaining hamburger buns?

Freeze them, you might say? Nope — remember, we got rid of our deep freeze when I turned the laundry room into The Most Epic DIY Studio Ever.

And so I squashed them with my (still-kind-of-annoyed) palms and made mini pizzas with them …

Easy mini pizza hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

I loaded the squashed bun halves with pizza sauce, grated mozzerella, and chopped pepperoni, and baked ’em at 425F (the same temperature we used for regular pizza) for about 15 minutes.

THEY. WERE. DELICIOUS.

Easy mini pizza hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

This is really all I have to say. I hope this helps you, especially this summer during BBQ-every-damn-day season, if you also have a husband who ALWAYS OVERBUYS FRIGGING HAMBURGER BUNS.

(I love you, babe. I do. But sometimes I wonder if you are single-handedly keeping the folks at Wonder Bread in business?)