Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays

We have been busy around here finishing some final Christmas projects, baking cookies, reading stories, visiting with friends and enjoying all the season brings. It's been a little chaotic but still magical.
Tonight we are bundling up to walk around our neighbourhood, as we have most nights, to see all the lights. Tomorrow we will be wrapping those last few gifts, planning for our Christmas feast and enjoying the company of family. I will be taking a break from this space for the next few days. I wish you all a very happy holiday and I will see you here again before the new year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For the Tree

Not that our tree is lacking in ornaments in any way, but somehow it's just doesn't feel quite like Christmas unless we have hung a few newly made ornaments. This year I ended up making a whole basket full of wrap scrap ornaments. My favorite is the star made from Girasol Rainforest scraps with a mother of pearl button. With a toddler in the house, softie ornaments are a big hit with mom and dad as well as our little one.
I've also tried to get April involved in making some ornaments this year. We made a few popsicle stick snowmen and clothespin penguins with a friend. Just today though we made these salt-dough Santas. One for our tree and one for a gift. I think these will be treasured in our family for years to come.
Here are the instructions if you'd like to make some for your tree:
Make a dough from 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Roll out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Have your child press his/her hand into the dough. Cut out the hand print then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a straw to make a hole for the string. Bake for at least 2 hours at 250 degrees (this time will vary based on the thickness of your hand prints). Decorate as desired once cooled.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Festival of Trees

Every year the Fairmont Empress hosts the Festival of Trees. Local businesses can sponsor and decorate a tree then for a donation visitors can vote for their favorite tree. It's been many years since I stopped by the Festival of Trees but as April is starting to really enjoy all the lights and decorations that make an appearance this time of year we decide to pay a visit.
The trees were all so unique and beautifully decorated. Though I do think it is a bit too tempting for a toddler to simply pick things off the tree when stuffed animals are used as decoration. Nonetheless we had a great time, it really put us in the holiday mood.
The display continues into the new year so if you are in the area, stop by, it's a fun and quick walk.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Boughs and Berries

Last week went went on our annual hunt for foliage to dress our home with for the holidays. I always like to go on a day after a very windy night, so as not to cut much from the plant but rather to collect wind-fall. This year April really enjoyed taking part in the hunt for the perfect bough. Things got a little messy but we came home with a big basket full of greenery.
Beyond the aesthetic of these arrangements, I love the smell. It so vividly reminds me of holidays past. I also appreciate the living arrangements. They eventually dry up and remind us that another season, more floral, will soon be upon us.
Do you bring things from nature into your home this time of year?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tree Day

As April grows I think tree day is getting better and better. I loved sharing the experience of choosing and decorating a tree with my little girl. We went to our favorite tree lot and took our time choosing the perfect tree. Of course it's more than just the shape, it's the smell, the feel, everything. The perfect tree must be the complete package. Together we found our tree and with pure delight brought it into our home.
We were lucky, April napped while Daddy and I got the tree just right and hung the lights. April as so delighted to wake up to a brightly lit tree. It warmed my heart to unwrap those ornaments that are just saturated with memories and to hang them with my child. Of course it was equally special to hang ornaments that were made especially for her. We took our time, put each ornament in just the right place, we sang and danced to Christmas carols then turned down the lights and sat by the fire while we enjoyed our masterpiece.
It smells wonderful, it look wonderful and it makes our home feel wonderful. This beautiful symbol of nature has made the perfect canvas for displaying our memories and handcrafted pieces of art. It feel like Christmas has truly begun now that we have had our tree day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Art Kit

I really enjoy giving gifts that are activity based. Whether tickets to a show, passes to a museum or a kit such as this one I feel the recipient gets more than just something to store in their home. This art kit was some what inspired by the book First Art. I used some Heather Ross canvas to make a drawstring backpack so April can take her art supplies wherever she wishes. I covered a good quality sketching pad with a piece of fabric, sewed a small drawstring bag (made from more Heather Ross fabric) to hold her beeswax crayons and a small case of watercolor paints with a little brush.
April already enjoys the art projects we do at home. I'm excited about these new materials. So far we have just been using soy crayons and printing paper. April loves tracing things like her hand or magnets and we are learning about the colors. I've read that the beeswax crayons produce beautiful colors and I'm hoping they are more sturdy that the soy ones (that seem to crumble if used too furiously). I also decided to invest in a good sketch book. I would like her art to hold up and good quality paper helps.
I really love this project, I felt good making it and I know it is sure to bring my daughter hours of fun and creativity. What sorts of kits do your children enjoy? Are they homemade?

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Wreath, this year

On Saturday I did my annual wreath making class. I look forward to it every year. It's a break from the housework, the kiddo, all the rushing that seems to come with this season. I love the way the greenhouse smells. All the pine and cedar and the smell of the ginger snaps and hot cider they always have for us.
I decided to take a break from the usual red and green I do for our wreath. I still did the green (of course) but added brown, pink and gold this year. I love it! It makes me smile whenever I walk up to our door.
Now that the wreath is up, I'm reminded that I have yet to bring in the winter berries and greens. I'm planning a walk this week to collect our usual materials. I'm looking forward to makings swags, centerpieces, and filling the vases and jars around my house with all the beautiful boughs and berries.
How are you welcoming this holiday season?

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by Soulemama

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Salmon Run


The salmon run is on at Goldstream Park so we took advantage of a beautiful fall day and went to witness the amazing journey of these creatures. Salmon come to Goldstream so spawn then die. The river bed was full of fish fighting their way up-stream. They are huge, sometimes I forget how big these fish are, and so very determined. It really reminds you that the journey may be rough but the rewards can be great. Watching these fish gives me new motivation to work through difficult and trying things. I'm glad April got to see it, she was pointing out all the fish and birds. April loved all the splashing and made sure we all paid attention if there was some splashing going on.
We also enjoyed the other sights fall brings to the park. The trees were beautiful orange and yellows and there were plenty of leaves for collecting. Days like today are what get me through the long, dark winter ahead. The sun was warm and made the day all the better. The salmon run is an annual wonder that shouldn't be missed. I'm thankful we got to see it this year and have a day in the sun and leaves at the same time.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Things have been pretty quiet in our home lately. We have been nursing a couple colds, cutting new teeth, making new friends and tending to the homestead. The fall garden is slow but still alive. Our bees are wet and grumpy, best left alone at this point. The chickens love the mud and still lay 5 eggs everyday. Zooey hates the rain and spends most of her days whining and then chasing squirrels. The days are shorter and colder. It is wet and grey. We are definitely hunkering down for winter. That means, however, that I finding myself with wool in my hands once again and we are starting in on all the food we put by this summer. A lovely reward for a seasons work. Here are a few picture from the past month.

Hope you all have had been well lately and that we will see more of each other on this space.

Friday, October 19, 2012

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Saltspring this year

This past weekend we made our annual trip to Saltspring Island. This is trip is normally in celebration of the apple festival, however due to bug infestation and disease the apple festival was cancelled this year. We decided to go to the island anyways.
We had a beautiful hotel room overlooking the harbor and was backed by a lovely organic farm. We enjoyed a delicious zero-mile dinner, visited the local farmers market where we scored some delicious gluten-free treats and a beautiful garlic braid. We ate lunch in the park and enjoyed the fall colors and then we ate some amazing dairy-free sorbetto (better than any ice cream I've ever had!). We finished our day with a relaxing walk through Ruckle Park.
The next day was our farm day. We visited our favorite cheese factory and their lovely goats and chickens. We stopped by a glorious lavender farm. I'm pretty sure I should live on a lavender farm in my future. We also paid a visit to Apple Luscious. It was painfully obvious that the bugs have ravaged their apple trees. Such is the trouble with organic farming.
It was a lovely, relaxing fall vacation. The falling leaves, crisp air, beautiful colors, all made for some beautiful days. Loving the new season.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Some Days...

...we just have a tough time. The other day April did not want to eat but was displaying all the signs of low blood sugar. So we got creative. I'm sure most of you have seen or heard of this idea but it is so fun. We just filled a muffin tin with a bunch of goodies, sat down on the floor and had a snack. This day we had strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, grapes, apple, banana, Daiya cheese, tofu, raisins, graham crackers, cheddar bunnies and some Chex cereal. Even I enjoyed it. Some days you just have to do something out of the ordinary.