Corn Chowder and Biscuits

Is there anything better on a cold day than a nice warm cup of chowder? This corn chowder is easy to make, and it is delicious. Pair it with some flaky homemade biscuits for the perfect comfort food combination.

My corn chowder recipe is based on one created by one of my oldest and dearest friends. (Thanks, Darc!) 

Here's what you'll need:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 tbsp flour
4 cups milk (I use 1%... but you can use 2% or homo for a thicker, richer chowder)
1/2 cup blend (10%)
2 containers of Knorr Homestyle Stock Bouillon (or 2-4 tbsp of OXO chicken stock powder)
2 cups frozen corn
1-2 cups diced, pre-cooked potatoes (not soft)
grated cheddar cheese (for garnish)

Melt butter on low/medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Gradually whisk in flour. Slowly add milk (whisking constantly). Add chicken stock, and continue whisking.

Add remaining ingredients, and heat on low until thickened.

Garnish with cheddar cheese and serve with homemade biscuits.

You can click here for my favorite biscuit recipe

Do you have a favorite comfort food when the weather gets cold? Give this corn chowder and biscuits recipe a try, and let me know what you think.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Simple DIY HOCKEY Party

All three of my boys are huge hockey fans, so it was no surprise that my oldest son chose a hockey theme for his 10th birthday party. Today, I am sharing the simple details from our DIY hockey party.

We rented a gym, and invited all our guests to join us for a morning of floor hockey. We asked everyone to wear their favorite jerseys. We also asked each person to bring his/her helmet, hockey gloves and hockey stick. I wanted to make sure no one got hurt!

I put together a "pin the puck on the ice" game, but the main party activity was floor hockey. I made a fantastic score board from dollar store foam core, and the kids enjoyed updating it. 

Of course, all the activity made the kids very hungry and thirsty, so we had a well stocked "canteen". I had tons of healthy snacks, "easy to grab" treats, water, and juice.

Of course, we had some easy DIY cakes too. I used a special pan to make a jersey cake (with my son's number) and a rectangular pan to make a "half ice" cake.

Here's another version of a hockey cake using the same "jersey" pan.

When the party was over, everyone left with a couple of party favours. We had some gum with a clever "I hope you had an 'EXCEL'lent time!" note, and the kids collected hockey cards from our prize punch. You can find the tutorial for the DIY prize punch here.

I have a feeling that this won't be our last hockey party. It was a huge success and a lot of fun.

Do you have a hockey fan in your house? What do you think of our simple DIY hockey party?

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. By clicking on the link for the jersey pan, you can purchase the pan and support my blog. Thank you!

Coffee Shop Chocolate Chip Muffins

Don't you just love the chocolate chip muffins they sell in coffee shops? Today I am sharing my favorite recipe for chocolate chip muffins. They taste like they came from a coffee shop, but you bake them at home for a fraction of the cost.

Note: This recipe is based on one I found at Little Sweet Baker. You can find her recipe here.

You'll need:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I like a high quality semi-sweet version)
1/2 cup melted (salted) butter (cooled)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (I used 1% milk because that is all I buy... but you could use whole milk for a richer taste)
1 tbsp real vanilla extract


1) Grease a muffin tin, and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix in chocolate chips. Set aside.
3) In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugars together. Then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
4) Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.
5) Divide the batter into muffin tins. If you use an ice cream scoop, you can evenly divide the batter between the 12 muffin tins.
6) Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Let the muffins cool slightly before removing them from the muffin tin... but they are delicious if you eat them when they are still warm.

I also freeze them individually, and pop them in my boys lunch bags when I need them.

These muffins really are delicious. My boys love them with a glass of cold milk, but I opt for a nice hot cup of coffee. If you give these chocolate chip muffins a try, let me know how they turn out. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

10 Netflix Movies the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Every Friday night, we have "family movie night" at our house. We have pancakes for supper, and we snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie together. It is one of my favorite family rituals, but it can sometimes be difficult to find movies that everyone agrees on... so, today I am sharing a list of 10 movies that the whole family will enjoy (and they can all be found on Netflix).

Some of our favorite Netflix movies are:

1) Inside Out
2) Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked
3) Despicable Me 2
4) Home
5) Diary of a Wimpy Kid
6) Penguins of Madagascar The Movie
7) Lilo & Stitch
8) Mr. Peabody and Sherman
9) The Pacifier
10) How to Train a Dragon 2

We all look forward to our family's "night in", and we try to make it extra special when we can.

Here are some simple ideas for creating a fun-filled family movie night:

1) Make movie night a tradition by having it on the same night every week. It gives everyone something to look forward to.

2) Pair your movie with a favorite meal. (We always have pancakes for supper on movie night, but Pizza Friday would be fun too.)

3) Pick a good family movie... one that everyone will enjoy. If consensus is difficult, let the kids take turns making the selection.

4) Use special dishes. (I have popcorn bowls from the dollar store that we only use on movie nights.)

5) Set the scene with a special sign or two. We have a “Movie Snacks” sign and a “Now Playing” sign that we use.

6) Get comfy. PJs are the perfect attire for family movie night, and it makes the transition to bedtime (after the movie) easier.

7) Have movie snacks. Popcorn is always a good choice, but pick whatever your family enjoys.

It’s also fun to “mix it up” some weeks by adding something special. E.g. Choose a fun theme, have an outdoor screening, make a craft to go along with the movie, or bake a special treat.

Does your family have a favorite movie to watch together, or do you have a special "family night in" tradition? I'd love to hear about it!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure: I receive special gifts and perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix.... however (as always) the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

30+ Creative, Easy, and Inexpensive Valentine DIYs, Crafts, DIY Valentines, Decorations, and Treats

Valentine's Day is a wonderful way to spend time and love with our family and friends... and it's the perfect time to craft, DIY, decorate, and bake. Check out 30+ of my favourite creative, easy and inexpensive Valentine's Day ideas below.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tarts - These tarts are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The PERFECT Valentine's Day treat. Get the recipe here.

Valentine's Day Hot Chocolate Bar - A simple dollar store hot chocolate bar is perfect for serving friends, family, and/or party guests on Valentine's Day. Find out how easy it is to put together here.

Top 15 Valentine's Day Crafts - These crafts are high quality, inexpensive, festive and fun... and there are fantastic projects for all ages (kids and adults).

FREE Valentine's Day Artwork - Download the artwork for FREE here, print it, and pop it in a dollar store frame. Cute, right?!?

Pom Pom Valentine's Day Wreath - This high-end wreath is made from one of those tacky (and inexpensive) tinsel wreaths you can buy at the dollar store. It's easy to make, festive, and fun!

10 High End Dollar Store DIYs - These 10 DIYs are easy and inexpensive to make... but they look high end. I love them all, but the tissue paper heart is gorgeous! Find instructions for creating all 10 DIYs here.

Heart Headband - A simple and adorable Valentine's craft for kids. Great for working on fine motor skills too.

"I love you to pieces" printable - A wonderful card for kids to make for family and friends, and kids will love tearing and gluing the bits of paper.

Love Bugs - This is one of my favourite kids' crafts for Valentine's Day. Kids of all ages will love this one. There is a "how to" video too!

LOVE BUG KITS (class valentine) - What could be more fun than gifting this adorable craft kit? You are going to LOVE this one!

Boho Valentine's Day Wreath - Simple, inexpensive, and fun to make. I love this little wreath... and the pom poms are super-fun to make! Find the written instructions here... or watch the short video below.  

Candle Holder - Simple and fun... and made from a jar out of the recycling bin. Easy peasy!

Valentine Mailboxes - Perfect for a classroom... but great for home too. Old fashioned and fun!

Heart People - This craft is simple, but totally delightful. You can't beat a paper craft for kids.

Kiss Countdown - A fun DIY and a wonderful way to count down to Valentine's Day.

Argyle sweater wreath - Nothing beats a holiday DIY, and this cozy wreath is a wonderful (and easy to make) piece of Valentine's Day decor.

Felt Flower Wreath - If you like DIY farmhouse decor, you will love this handcrafted felt flower wreath.

Inexpensive Valentine Tablescape - Easy, inexpensive, and fun. You can't beat this $7 vignette.

Felt Rosette Wreath which can be used to create a fantastic Valentine's Day porch

Felt Rosette Wreath {with tulle embellishment}

DIY Valentines:

Homemade Valentines are definitely more heartfelt and more fun. This collection includes tons of free printable Valentines and tags... and there are many fantastic "non-candy" ideas that are perfect for class parties. I love the Superhero masks and recycled crayons, but they are all wonderful!

Valentine Treats:
Valentine's Day is the best day to indulge in a special treat with someone you love. I have made all these treats, and I guarantee that they are simple and delicious!

Here are the links for the simple DIY Valentine's Day treats:

Isn't this a wonderful Valentine's Day collection? I've included everything you need for a creative, easy and inexpensive holiday. Happy Valentine's Day!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS -- These ideas are fun too... 

Don't miss any of the fun....