Monday, December 10, 2012

Five Minute Tree Skirt

Isn't my new tree skirt pretty?  It couldn't have been easier to make.  There is no cutting, sewing or gluing involved and only took a couple of minute and TWO things.  Can you handle it?

It all started with this fabric.  I bought several meters of it a couple of years ago and have used it in different ways in my holiday decorating over the years.  Sometimes it gets wrapped around a banister, sometimes it gets used as a curtain valance.  This year I decided to wrap the base of our tree in it.  If you can't find this particular fabric in your area, any sheer fabric will do.  The gold writing on this one does add an extra special touch.

The only other thing you need is a short string of white mini lights.  I wrapped the lights in the fabric and then arranged the roll under the tree, fluffing as I went.  The bulky fabric conceals all of the cords for my lights and adds a pretty backdrop for our Christmas train.

If you have a real tree please exercise extreme caution if you want to try making this tree skirt.  Electric cords and water really don't mix.  Also, I like to check to make sure the fabric isn't getting too hot where the lights touch it if the tree is on for long periods of time.  Safety first!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I love hoarfrost.

I snapped this picture with my phone on our way to church this morning.  Walking in hoarfrost makes me feel like I am living inside a black and white picture.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Is this thing on?

I haven't forgotten about blogging. I have just not felt like saying much lately.  I have broken out of my rut over at my food blog. Head over there to see what the photo collage is about!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Fall's arrival brought my knitting mojo screaming back.  I finished a pair of socks that have been dogging me for far too long, cast on another pair that I am knitting along with another friend, and I made dinner late by finishing off this little vest yesterday.

The magical combo of fat yarn and big needles made this a pretty quick and painless project to knit up.  The recipient couldn't wait to put it on.

I think I finished it just in the nick of time.  I may or may not have seen a few snowflakes drift past my window a little while ago.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not What I Was Planning

Today I was going to show you some pictures of a happy boy frolicking in a pile of leaves.  Or, maybe today was the day I was going to talk about my weekly ritual of baking bread for my family.  Instead, you get a different story.

It all started earlier this week when Matthew complained that his ear hurt.  I could see nothing wrong with it and he had no other signs of infection so I chalked it up to him getting whacked on the side of his head by a sibling and went on with life. A day passed and his ear was still tender but I could see nothing wrong with it.

Yesterday his ear was so tender we couldn't touch it so I decided to pin my boy down and take a good look.  Lo and behold, I saw a stone lodged in there.  We headed off to the walk-in clinic where as luck would have it, our own GP was working a shift.  He and his nurse tried to get the stone out but it was stuck fast.  Matthew was sent home and I was told to wait by the phone while my doctor consulted with a general surgeon at the hospital.

The surgeon here was not comfortable with taking the stone out, so very early this morning my dear friend Mindy and I took Matthew to a hospital an hour away that has an ENT doctor. We were told Matthew would be seen in between the ENT's regular cases.  I resigned myself to the possibility of a  long day.  I was pleasantly surprised by only a one-hour wait in the triage area.

 It was determined that the stone was indeed stuck very tightly and that the best way to remove it would be under anesthetic in the OR.  We were shuffled off to the day-surgery ward where Matthew was prepped for his little procedure.   This took about another hour.  The anesthetist knocked him out with a little gas, the ENT got out his spelunking tools and the rock was removed.  The whole procedure took four minutes.  He woke up very quickly and in good spirits.  After inhaling a popsicle in post-op and spending a little time monitoring vital signs we were on our way home shortly after lunchtime.  With a pit-stop at McDonald's.  Matthew needed a cheeseburger very badly after fasting all night and half the day.

I couldn't get over how nice everyone was to us and how kind and patient they were with Matthew.  They all got a good chuckle out of him and his little stone.  He charmed everyone he talked to.
Mindy is a superhero friend.

Waiting for the doctor.

The doctor left his cool toy behind!
Waiting some more

Waiting is easier when you can play with Mindy's phone.

Boo Bankie helps a boy be brave.

What all the fuss was about.

Why did he put the rock in his ear??  We asked him many times and he always told us that he "fell on it."  I asked him again right after his operation and maybe it was because there was a little sedative left in his system, but it was then that the truth came out.  He told me his teacher was talking very loudly and he was tired of it so he stuck the stone in his ear so he wouldn't be able to hear her anymore.

I told him next time he wanted to do that he should use his elbow instead.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Days

Last week Emmett and Charlotte went back to school.  This year Emmett is in grade 4, Charlotte is in grade 2.  Charlotte started in a  new school this fall, as I took her out of French Immersion andenrolled her in her big brother's school. Charlotte is not missing her long bus ride at all and seems to be settling nicely in her new school.  I am not missing the parking nightmare at her old school and trying to juggle two school schedules!  Matthew started Kindergarten there today and handled drop-off like an old pro.

Here is the obligatory First Day of School in the Front Yard picture
Here's another one

Charlotte takes her Big Sister duties very seriously (when it suits her).

Settling in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Harvest Time!

These were so good--I wish I could have grown more of them.
I seem to only grow vegetables in miniature.

The world's tiniest cantaloupes

It's a good thing my family doesn't depend on my gardening skills to eat.  What you see here is about all I got out of my garden this year.  There was one more tiny zucchini that we ate, a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes and maybe two more handfuls of beans, but never enough to make a whole meal from.  Ants ate my potatoes.  Oh well.  I can try again next year, right??  Or maybe I should just let a CSA do my gardening for me next year.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Now you are five.

Where's there's cake...

And new Lego...

There must be a little boy who is turning five.

Happy Birthday, Little Man! You've grown up so fast!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer is over??

The end of August went by in a flurry of activity.  Emmett and I went to summer camp.  It was his first summer at this camp, and once I did a little math the director and I realized that I had been going to this camp for the better part of 15 years.

There are no pictures of Emmett doing camp things since I didn't feel it was appropriate for me to stalk him with my camera as no other moms got to stalk their kids at camp.  He did really well and barring a few shy waves in the dining hall and our evening visits to get his bedtime meds, the only time I really talked to him was when I wandered down to the archery field to watch the Golden Arrow competition.  I scored major points with his cabin mates as I speak fluent Skyrim and Plants vs Zombies. (at first I didn't want to contribute to the video game talk with my game that involves killing mystical creatures with battle axes and other medieval weapons, but the boys were already talking about Call of Duty and Halo so I figured their parents were OK with a certain level of video game violence.)

I came home quite ill since most of the campers coughed on me at one point in the week or another, but thanks to Richard and my respite worker, I was able to relax and do very little but cough on the couch for a couple of days when I got home.

I had some special patients in my cabin this week: 

This is Ruby, the camp Director's dog. She was first in the water for polar bear swim every morning!

This is Ginger, another camp dog. She wanted to make sure I was OK after a fire work was set off after campfire one night. She stayed the whole night in my cabin, just to be safe.

We had a special visitor at camp!
I had plenty of human patients as well, but I don't feel right about posting pictures of other people's children on my blog without their permission, so suffice to say I saw my fair share of bloody toes and runny noses (and one puker) and leave it at that.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Makeover Madness Part 3

 This past May, my country minted it's last penny.

Inspired by Epbot's penny desk and the fact that pennies in my country are going the way of the one and two dollar bills, I decided to make my own penny mosaic. I just happened to have an old end table that was in dire need of a little attention and a piggy bank full of pennies that I had put off rolling for over a year.

I am glad I chose to do this project without the kids around.  Every step was rather time-consuming, but I am really, really happy with the end result.  I followed Epbot's instructions (posted above), but I started at the center of my table and worked outward. I polished my pennies before pouring the epoxy on as they became very tarnished as I handled them during the gluing process.  I laid my pennies out in a random fashion, trying not to pool the different colours too much, except for one spot where I clustered six pennies, one with the birth years of everyone in my family plus one for our wedding anniversary.  There are mostly Canadian pennies, a bunch of American pennies, and three 20-cent Euros. The years of the pennies range from the 1940s till now.

The edges are a bit wonky where the epoxy dripped off a couple of sharp penny edges, but the table is in a low-traffic area so I am choosing to believe the wonkiness adds character.

OK. You came for the pictures, didn't you?


Products I used: Martha Stewart acrylic craft paint in Satin Black as a base for the pennies, 3 in 1 Advanced Craft Glue for gluing the pennies down, and Varathane Bar and Table Finish to finish the top.

August Photo a Day keywords: Somewhere you sat.  The table is resting beside my living room sofa.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Makeover Madness Part 2

 Here is part two of Makeover Madness.  Stay tuned for my last installment when I will show you the most ambitious project I tackled while the kids have been gone!

Here is a preview, which will also be my Photo of the Day:
Keyword: Coin
Want to see today's makeover?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August Photo-a-day Challenge.

Inspired by Laughing Lady and enjoying her pictures and stories all through July, I have decided to do a Photo-a-day challenge for August.   I don't have an iPhone. I don't Instagram.  I decided to do this challenge anyway, with my point and shoot camera and share my pictures here.  You might not see them every day, but I will try my best.

Fat Mum Slim is hosting the challenge and has come up with the prompts. Check them out and play along if you'd like!

I decided to participate late in the evening last night so you get a two-for-one today.

Yesterday's prompt was OUTSIDE.  Today's prompt is ONE.

This brave little sunflower is the only ONE I have growing OUTSIDE. It popped up in my rosemary pot, which is right under my bird feeder. It is the lucky survivor of regular weeding sessions. 

If you decide to play along, leave me a comment so I can see your picture, or put it on Twitter with the hashtag #photoadayaug so everyone playing along can find it.

Stay tuned for more Makeover Madness.  I have two more projects to show you!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Makeover Madness: Part 1

My kids have gone off on their annual trip with Grandpa and Grandma. I have been using this time to spruce up my house a bit.  My first project involved painting over my old and rather dated bathroom counter tops. Here are the "after" shots.  If you want a peek into the process and see which products I used, read on.

Friday, July 6, 2012


It's Summer.  Life is slowing down here so there isn't much news to report.

Would you like to meet our new pet?

Her name is Lady.  She is a squirrel that has been coming around  since she discovered we have an easily accessible bird feeder.  She is quite fearless and will let us get quite close to her.  You can even talk to her and she will look at you and talk back.

 If the dots on her belly are any indication, she has recently had babies or will be having some soon.

She is a funny little thing and has a real personality.  She loves lounging on our deck and will fight the Blue Jays for her share of the peanuts we put out for them.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

File Under:

Some Day He Will Thank Me For This

Yesterday Matthew pulled Charlotte's tutu on over his PJs and danced merrily around the house while spinning her pink Barbie umbrella like a jaunty parisol.

I did not take a picture and post it online to humliate him in the future.

Do I get some sort of prize for that??

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Nine years ago I had no idea what I was getting into.  Nine years ago we started on a journey, he and I.   He started teaching me lessons. He started by teaching me to throw out the self-help books and trust my instincts.  He taught me how to be a mom, but not just any mom, a mom for HIM.  No one could be Emmett's mom but me.  No one but me could handle the curveballs life has thrown us.  No one but me could figure out who to bring into our circle to help us and who to politely (or not-so politely) ignore.  No one but me cheers harder or is more proud of how far we have come together.  No one knows the struggles we face better than I do.

You are my smart, handsome and special little man and I am so glad you chose me to be your mom.
Happy Birthday, Big Guy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Caught on camera.

I caught the tallest and shortest members of my family goofing around on the deck today.  Aren't they cute?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birthday Girl

1 Cake + 18 Cupcakes + 2 Parties = 1 very lucky, newly-minted 7 year old. (Last week.  Oops)

Happy Birthday, my Charlotte!  Try to stay a little girl just a wee bit longer, please?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Through their eyes.

 I did this interview two years ago. In honour of Mother's Day coming up, I thought I would ask the kids the same questions to see how the answers have changed.  If you look back, you will see that Emmett has not changed much,  but Charlotte has.  Matthew has never been interviewed before.
It is fun (and also rather illuminating) to see how your kids view you.  If you do the interview and blog it, please let me know in the comments so I can read yours!

Here are the previous installments


Emmett, age 8, Charlotte age 7, Matthew age 4

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Emmett--You always say "Hello" to me in the morning?
Charlotte--Charlotte do not suck your thumb.

2. What makes mom happy?
Emmett--When I'm nice to you.
Charlotte--Not sucking my thumb.
Matthew.  Pee and poop on the potty.

3. What makes mom sad?
Emmett--If I lie to you about cleaning up my room.
Charlotte--When Matthew hurts you.
Matthew-Fighting you.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Emmett--Well, you have nice jokes.
Charlotte--Funny jokes.
Matthew--Me laugh.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Emmett--Ok, I have no idea.
Charlotte--You liked dolls.
Matthew--You were a little baby when you were little.

6. How old is your mom?
Emmett--I don't know how old you are.
Matthew--You are Big years old.

7. How tall is your mom?
Emmett--I don't know.
Charlotte--I don't know.
Matthew--Um, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Emmett--Now it's playing Skyrim.
Charlotte--Go shopping with your friends.
Matthew--work on the computer.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Emmett--Play with Matthew. And that is kind of obvious to me, isn't it?
Charlotte--Play with Matthew.
Matthew--Boring stuff.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Emmett--To make video games.
Charlotte-Will sing famous songs.
Matthew--Work on the computer again.  Every day you do.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Emmett-Playing video games.
Charlotte-You are really good at exercising.
Matthew--Eating and working and going on the computer to do work.  That's what you are good at.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Emmett--I don't know.
Charlotte--You are not very good at doing cartwheels with your glasses on.

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Emmett--Clean the house.
Charlotte--Taking care of your kids.
Matthew--I don't know.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Emmett--I don't know.
Matthew-Breakfast and lunch and dessert.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Emmett--I forgot.
Charlotte--That you say "Good job" for me doing something.
Matthew--Climbing a tree

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Emmett--Maybe I can draw you in one! (and he did!)
Charlotte--You would be like Candice (from Phineas and Ferb)
Matthew-- An evil guy.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Emmett--When Dad and Matthew are gone we went shopping.
Charlotte--we go shopping.
Matthew--We love to hug each other.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Emmett--I don't know.
Charlotte--We both have the same skin.
Matthew--We are not the same.  You are a girl.s

19. How are you and your mom different?
Emmett--Same answer as the other one.
Charlotte--I have blonde hair and you don't.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Emmett--You are happy at me.
Charlotte--Because I am your daughter.
Matthew--No.  I'm not coming in.

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Emmett--I don't know.
Charlotte--To the store?
Matthew--I'm not talking to you.  
This is Emmett's depiction of me in a dungeon, getting ready to fight bad guys.

Friday, April 20, 2012

One is Silver and the Other's Gold...

Isn't it funny how when two kids meet and they are the same height they almost always befriend each other?

Yesterday, after Matthew and I got home from a lunch date with a friend of mine, I wandered into the house and left Matthew playing outside.  He decided Ding Dong Ditch was a super fun game with the front door and I lost interest after two rounds.  I figured he'd come in when he was ready.  After a few minutes I heard him yelling and looked out the window to find him running circles around a little boy and his mom on the sidewalk.  These are neighbours of ours that I have seen around but have never formally met.

Matthew fixed that in a hurry.  Before we could blink, the two little boys moved from the sidewalk to the backyard where they happily amused themselves digging  a hole in a pile of dirt. (Why do I have toys??)  I shrugged and invited the little boy's mom into the back yard where we made small talk.  I told the voice in my head that was listing off my to-do list to be quiet.

 It turns out this mom and I have something in common.  Her little guy is 3 1/2 and doesn't speak yet.  She is navigating the therapy world.  She does have the added challenge that she is new to Canada and does not speak English very well.  I told her a bit about what we have gone through with Emmett and her shoulders sagged with relief.  Not alone anymore.  She hugged me.

By this point we had moved into the house.  Matthew and his new friend were just fine,  there seemed to be no language barrier between them.  The little boy's mom politely ignored the dirty dishes on my table and the messy counter tops. 

Two hours flew by.  We exchanged phone numbers.  I invited her to playgroup.  We said goodbye.

I am thankful to Matthew that he found someone that is almost my height to play with too.

*In the video you see American Girl Scouts Singing Make New Friends.  We sing it in Girl Guides in Canada too!  If you are a Guide, then I apologize for embedding this song into your brain for the rest of the day. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meanwhile, elsewhere in BlogLand...

I was recently interviewed by Elizabeth Flora Ross for The Mom Pledge Blog.  She is doing a series on women, the different birthing experiences they can have and the perceptions surrounding them.

I was honoured to be chosen to talk about my experience having a homebirth.  I hope you stop by and read the story.

Here is the apple pie story she references in the interview.  Elizabeth was quite tickled by it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My boys

Emmett and Matthew have a pretty great relationship when they aren't trying to kill each other.  Today was a fine example of a big brother helping a little brother with his bike on the way to the park.  My heart grew three sizes watching Emmett being so kind and patient with Matthew today.

Oh, and just so you know, Charlotte is not forgotten about.  She was half a block ahead with her Dad helping her out.  She would also like to share this picture of a butterfly she took in our back yard today: