Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

 (*New family photo secret: Put on great Christmas cartoons, set up camera with timer, and go!)

From Our House To Yours, Have a Wonderful Holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Looking For A Touch Of Christmas Around The World

When we are travelling, we try to keep our packs as light as possible, but of course want to bring home the odd memorable souvenir. An incredibly light and easy collection is Christmas ornaments. The best thing about this is that each year after being tucked away and out of mind for 10 or 11 months they are unpacked and a whole pile of memories are gone back over at a time of year when good memories seem to be most appreciated.

Some of our ornaments are not quite as seasonal as others. Some were just last minute desperate purchases - usually keychains that we turned into ornaments but somehow, for us, they fit in.
One of my favourites is a small wooden door, hand carved at our request by a gentleman in Zanzibar, Tanzania - very indicative of this island's beautiful and ornate architectural style.

Collecting Christmas ornaments on your trips is a fun challenge, and one you can appreciate anew every year as you decorate and enjoy your tree!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homemade Play Dough

This has been on my list of things to do for just about forever. Now that I finally made some homemade play dough, I see that I was silly to not do it before. It took less than 5 minutes to make 2 yummy smelling colours of dough.

Owen was eager to taste it, though I continuously told him that it would not taste good. He finally licked it, and then continued to do so several times, all the while thinking he was being hilarious, and I think deciding that it was, in fact, delicious. I'm sure he's already planned a full on taste test for his next go at the dough...

Levi was completely engrossed in his creating for a long time.
Being that it is totally edible, you can easily use all your cookie cutters, and cooking utensils as play tools for the dough. I put out all our Christmas cookie cutters for them to use.

I cannot find the site I used anywhere! It was a site showing recipes for all kinds of play dough. Well, there are hundreds of 'em online so I think it would be okay to share the one I used anyway...

1-2 cups of flour (1 cup was sufficient for me)
1/2 cup salt
3 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 packet kool-aid (the packets that would otherwise make up a full pitcher - not the single serve's)
1 cup boiling water

Put flour, salt, and kool-aid in a bowl.
Add boiling water and mix thoroughly.
Once it has cooled slightly and is mostly mixed, it works well to blend it with your hands.
(The recipe said to start with 1 cup flour, and after the boiling water was added to add more if necessary.  Our dough was just peachy with 1 cup of flour.)
Store it in the fridge. I have our's in snap lock containers.
So simple!

 Just look at that concentration!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Favourite Children's Christmas Books

Just thought I'd share a few of our favourite reads this Christmas season:


"As dry leaves, that before the wild hurricane fly, 
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew
With a sleigh full of toys, and St.Nicholas, too."
~ Clement C. Moore

I LOVE those first two lines.
 I have been hearing those lines, this story, every Christmas Eve for my entire life. My brother's and I would cosy up next to my Dad while he would first read to us from the Bible about the very first Christmas, and then The Night Before Christmas. Our family copy of The Night Before Christmas was identical to the one above, only I picked up my copy at a thrift store. 
This Christmas Eve tradition is definitely one my husband and I will carry on with our kids. 

On that note, 1 week until Christmas Eve!
I hope you're able to take things slow, and just enjoy. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

{This Moment}

{This moment} is inspired by Soulemama, and beautifully done by so many. It reveals a moment from our week that is special enough to stand alone, without need for expression, or explanation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


With a number of life changing events in our very near future, saying things feel busy is an understatement. My "nesting" instinct is in overdrive, and my anxiety rivals my excitement in equal anticipation of all that is to come.

This week we found ourselves on a mini-break to introduce our little boys to what will become their new hometown. You could say it's preemptive damage control. I have no idea how much this move will upset their busy little minds, so we are doing our best to prepare them. 

I sought out children's books on the subject recently, but for their young ages there was nothing I could find that worked, and two I read brought up a series of fears that I don't even think are on their radar. I don't want to introduce an upsetting idea that hasn't even crossed their minds, so goodbye to that plan! 

We will be about a five hours drive from where we currently live, so it's not too crazy. Weekend visits are completely within our reach, and the boys do travel well (thank goodness).

Our first couple months in the new house will zip by in a flash between visiting family, exploring, new baby, and of course (!) general exhaustion. Time will only tell, when it comes to how we all feel about our new home once the dust has settled... 

Friday, November 23, 2012

{This Moment}

{This moment} is inspired by Soulemama, and beautifully done by so many. It reveals a moment from our week that is special enough to stand alone, without need for expression, or explanation.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yarn Along ~

I love seeing what other's are reading, and creating each week through Ginny's Yarn Along, and every once in a while I'm all ready to play along! Looks like it's one of those weeks :).

I am really enjoying this book, Simplicity Parenting. I put it on hold at my local library, and waited patiently for it to be my turn. Months later, I finally had it in my hands. Unfortunately, it was an incredibly busy couple of weeks, and I was maybe one quarter in, when I had to return it. I wasn't going to wait another 5 months! Bought, and delivered. I feel like it's a book I'll look back on anyway, so worth buying I'd say.

The knit, is the Baby Bamboo Singlet from Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders. Before this, I have knit a couple dishcloths, and approximately one-third of a baby blanket. I am loving seeing something come together like this. It's amazing what two sticks and a ball of string will do!! I started yesterday and am just finishing up the back. This is very quick for me - the girl who spends 2 months on a 2 hour dishcloth!
I even started my first gauge swatch but, I'll admit, I was totally bored with it by the halfway point and too excited to just get started. If this ends up fitting a doll, or a 5 year old instead of a newborn? It is, most definitely, my own fault.


*The Yarn I'm using is Paton's Bamboo Silk

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Granny Squares

After a couple of squares, years apart; the odd start, stop, and unravel; and a final pull toward just starting something (anything!) creative, I finally put hook to yarn and started making granny squares.

Initially, my intent was partially unknown - meaning would I just keep making more and more, until I had sufficient numbers for a blanket? But no. These lovelies want to be a cushion, so a cushion they will be.

It took about 3 squares before I could stop referring to how-to's, and now it's smooth sailing. The best bit? A cushion is super quick! I've only about 6 more squares to do, and then it's just joining them together. Yay! For once, I'm not going for the huge lifer of a project.


*The pattern I'm using is from Mollie Makes Magazine, Issue #13

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vintage Quilt Blocks

My parents visited Brimfield, Massachusetts, back in September for the massive antique fair that takes place there 3 times yearly. Luckily for me, their trip to Brimfield happened to be en route to my house! I say luckily for me, because my mom brought goodies!!

One of the treasures she arrived with was a stack of vintage quilt blocks - some finished, and some not quite. I can't wait to get down to finishing them, and creating whatever sized blanket they may cover. From what I have read about using vintage quilt blocks, you are better to wash them as a whole when they are already completed in a quilt. The strength of the backing material (which should not be vintage, as the vintage blocks need the support of new fabric), and finishing, will help to keep them together. I suppose though, that it may be worth knowing, before you venture to spend the time on quilting them, if they will completely fall apart!

Just look in the last photo at the hand stitching. This is a pretty big pile of pieced quilt blocks. That makes for an incredible amount of time spent stitching by hand. Just amazing...


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hotel Stays and Healthy Eating

I'm not sure the two go together...

We try.
It helps to have a refrigerator in your room, so you can load it with yogurt, fruit, cheese, and a few veg. Then all you need are crackers, and you can call it "lunch".

This probably doesn't look all that appetizing to most of you but, hey, this is the kind of "lunch" our kiddies will eat, and it works well when all you've got happening is a hotel fridge.

When it comes to eating on the go, let's be honest, I stink. We visit the science center regularly and there is always at least one family sitting down to a proper healthful meal - like a massive container of rice and vegetables. Well, as for us, what you see above? That's pretty much our take everywhere, on-the-go food.  I have some learning to do...

Maybe one day I'll figure it all out, and have a big post full of fabulous belly-filling ideas. Until then, if you want to hang out in our hotel room during the lunch hour - I hope you like cheese and crackers.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Hotel Living And The Games We Play

My husband has attended, or taught training for work, several times in Orangeville, Ontario. We always look forward to these weeks away, as it's a change from our normal routine and we can almost pretend we are on holiday. I escape the majority of the usual daily chores from home, we eat pancakes every morning, and we have the added bonus of swimming in the in-house pool every day (the highlight for our boys). Generally things are fairly easy breezy.

Where things tend to go sour is in the daily routine. I mean, our younger son's daily routine of sleeping. Now, I know that in life there are always times when routine's need to be altered. Our older son has always been fairly flexible in that way. Our younger son, on the other hand, goes absolutely bananas should his routine go off in the slightest.

And even when the bed is there, the bed is cozy, the time is right, and the milk is warm, something can throw the whole darn thing off.
How do you get a little one to nap, when he has recently learned that a playpen cannot contain him? How do you have a little one sleep when he has invisible toothpicks prying his exhausted eyes open? How, please tell me, HOW do you encourage relaxation in a room that is as bright as the sun outside it's window??
And lastly, how do you maintain quiet in said room when you have a 3 year old non-napper who has no where else to go?

I believe what works with travel changes completely everytime. One thing under two's are not, is consistent.
We have discovered a few tricks along the way, but then they don't always work.

This afternoon, napping was, well, just not going to happen. I placed our usual binder clip stash down the middle of the two curtains to lessen the outside light.  I tried using the luggage rack, a couple of hiking shoes, and an ironing board in countless configurations to hold the curtain closer to the wall, and yet still the light beamed through that window.

Our general routine finds my older son and I passing the time in the hallway colouring, reading books, kicking a ball, snacking, or watching cartoons on the laptop. We keep the hotel room door slightly propped by the lock (about an inch) so I can hear the little guy if he wakes. Today's hallway fun included the exciting afternoon game of - put Owen in the playpen, sit down in the hallway, wait 3 minutes, hear little sounds at the door, see the little man peeking at me through the crack in the door, go in the room and put him back in bed. This went for a few rounds.

At one point, I thought I heard a noise, peeked through the crack in the door, and instead of coming to the door, there he was sitting. In the dark. On the couch. Oh boy.
Well, I couldn't keep this game up all day.  30 seconds after that, there he was tearing up and down the hallway, laughing his head off, chasing and kicking a ball with big brother.

You totally won today little dude.  But... Tomorrow we will play again.

Friday, November 2, 2012

{This Moment}

This moment is from a little while ago, and pretty much my (fabulous) excuse for no blogging between August and October!

{This moment} is inspired by Soulemama, and beautifully done by so many. It reveals a moment from our week that is special enough to stand alone, without need for expression, or explanation.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Inspiration Board

I joined in on Sarah Ahearn Bellemare's online workshop Pages and Paint back in July. One component of her workshop found us creating, or, in my case, switching up and adding to, an inspiration board.

An inspiration board is, quite simply, a collection of things which inspire, and appeal to you.

Sarah's inspiration board was the wall directly beside her workspace. She used tape that wouldn't damage the paint and plastered stuff up that way. Other's had a small bulletin board, or even a shelf.
The "boards" of each person in the workshop were a wide array of sizes, shapes, and styles.

The beauty of this goodness, is that it doesn't require a huge amount of space. A small piece of wall, or shelf will suffice for your little collection of happiness!

My current one has space for all kinds of bits, but as we are planning a house move, my new home will call for a much smaller version. That may be tough, whittling down all my favourite paper ephemera... I suppose I'll just need to update it more often!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Despite the cold, and rain we still had about 40 kids come to our house. It's difficult to judge purely on the treats we began with in our bowl, as many never made it out of our front door.

A colouring, cookie baking, cookie decorating, icing and sprinkle eating, pumpkin carving, sweet munching kind of day.

Printable colouring pages from,

 This Brown Sugar Cookie recipe is well-loved

Papa Bear getting in on the fun

 "When you said decorate, you meant taste, RIGHT??"

Trying out their treat giving skills on Daddy

Watching and waiting...

Happy Halloween!

Ps. I can legally get totally excited for Christmas now!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Edmonton Trail System

Every time we visit Alberta, Jim plans to venture along one of Edmonton's many trails. Every time, it seems, we fail. This past trip we made it a priority, and are so glad we did!

There are 160km of trails within the city. Amazing, right? To me it is. You would never know you were even in a city hiking along these beautiful paths.

Until, of course, you pop out of the woods, and there it is!


He is actually "smiling" here. Doesn't he look happy? ;)

Anyway, we will try extra hard to always include one of Edmonton's many trails during future visit's!