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First Camping Trip of the 2015 Season!

Arriving and setting up.

It will come as no surprise to some of you that we chose Achray campground in Algonquin Park for the location of this season's first outing with the pop-up tent trailer. (If you've never heard of Achray and want to learn more, click here and here for details.) Nature was so kind to us! We had beautiful weather, with beautiful people and left with beautiful memories. So, I'd thought I'd share some of this beautiful with you ... … [Read more...]

Mothering & Milestones

mothering and milestones

It's been a while since a new milestone was hit around here. Or, at least, it sort of seemed that way with kids that are almost seven and thirteen. No new words, no first steps, no bedtime rituals to master ... . But I realized this past Mother's Day though that Stella is pushing forward into new milestones. She often stays up past her mom's bedtime (lame as it might be), she now listens to the news, and she makes her own lunches and does her … [Read more...]

Sharing the Magic

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Someone's big sister taught him the magic of climbing trees. On Saturday morning, he was confident enough to climb on his own. Once reaching a top branch, he looked out and proclaimed, "I think it would be amazing to read a book in this tree." We couldn't help but shrug and nod in agreement. Later that same day, his two special friends came out to play. One had a Minecraft book with him. Next thing I know, Max is tearing through the house … [Read more...]

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Fairies

Stella is grade 7 now. I remember those years as being confusing and rather overwhelming. She's handling it quite well and still managing to maintain her own sense of self despite the ever increasing social pressures that come with high school. In thinking about this, I re-read a post from September 2009. Stella was in grade 2 then. I thought you might enjoy the memories too. ************ My daughter’s tastes are what many refer to as “tomboy.” … [Read more...]

Hungry

hungry

My boy is changing. The most common thing I hear these days is: "Wow! Did he just grow another inch?" On the one hand, I'm thrilled to witness this amazing change. On the other, I have an irrational longing to kiss his now-gone chubby cheeks and to press my thumb gently into the soft pudge on the top of his hand. My boy is changing. His appetite has changed too. Over and over again, we hear: "I'm hungry!" So much so, that Stella created … [Read more...]

Stupid Things My Family Does: The Golf Ball Challenge Edition (Part 2 of 2)

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Wondering what this is all about? Here's Part 1 so you can catch up. In my rush to squeeze in some extra golf-ball hunting before the impending deadline, I had not grabbed my phone on the way out the door. (No, not for tweeting ... for telling the time!) This was why I had no idea that the church mass was already finished as I strolled down the street back from the golf course. I could hear a car slow down beside me. The man inside it was … [Read more...]

On Trying Something New

kerry and i

I'm always trying to encourage my children to try something new. Whether it's a new food or an activity, I want them to have these opportunities. I don't expect them to like everything they try, but I believe that the simple act of trying has value in and of itself. I don't think I'm unique here. I think most parents feel the same way. And yet, as parents, are we modelling this kind of behaviour to our children? Are we trying new foods? Or we … [Read more...]

No, I’m Not Ready for My Canoe Trek.

Groovy Moves course, Pure Life Adventures

These days, the most common question I've been getting from colleagues and friends and a few strangers is: So, are you ready for your big trip up to Northwest Territories? Well, it's on my list. And to be fair a lot important things don't get done on my list. I run out of time. Or energy. Or a combination of both. Plus, I've been really busy getting work done so that I can actually take a holiday. Oh, and there were the birthday parties, … [Read more...]

Birthday Anticipation

Birthday Anticipation

  Birthday anticipation ... can you remember that feeling? That the days could not come fast enough until you'd wake up and it would be your birthday. YOUR birthday. A special day all for you. You would be one year older on that important ladder of years. 3, 4, 5 ... oh, and then to hit the double digit of 10! Or even more exciting perhaps was to hit 13 and be, officially, a teenager. Now, another year is just another year. They are … [Read more...]

When Your Daughter Wants to Play Football

Full range of mouth guards

As part of a social shopper insights study, I was compensated to write this post. Yes, that means I got paid to go shopping. It's tough work if you can get it, but I'm definitely grateful for the opportunity to pick up some outdoor sports gear for my family. Thanks Collective Bias!  My daughter is a book worm. My daughter is the smallest kid in her class. And my daughter wants to play football. Hubby and I aren't sure where the interest in … [Read more...]

It’s Friday, Friends. Let’s Shoot for the Stars!

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is just so darn cool that he has my kids shooting for the stars. I love it because it gives me an excuse to remind them to study hard in their maths and sciences if they want to be an astronaut. p.s. Is it just me or are you secretly developing a crush on him too? … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day Play-by-Play (Or alternatively titled: Read, Nap, Repeat.)

dime-in

1. Wake up, but pretend to keep sleeping so I don't ruin the breakfast-in-bed "surprise." 2. Start to develop caffeine headache while pretending to be asleep, consider ruining the "surprise." 3. Surprise breakfast-in-bed arrives! With pancakes made by Stella herself. 4. With it, a sweet little face handing me a handmade card and a flower he has been growing at school. 5. Also, a sweet little face handing me a diamond ring. Oh, … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: The Sizzling Cheese Balls

chick biscuits

I’m going to tell you right of the bat that I’m not exactly the best cook. Don’t get me wrong, I love to make food. So awhile ago I tried to make cheesy chick biscuits. I started by mixing all the ingredients in the bowl and the likes, but after that it all went down hill. I rolled the batter out and it stuck to the wax paper I was using. Then I realized that we didn't have any cookie cutters, so I just said “cookie cutters are like SO … [Read more...]

20 Dollars of Cheer

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It's March 22nd. The snow is heavier than ever. It's getting me down. We Canadians get really quite desperate for Spring and I think I've hit that desperate phase. So I treated myself to 20 dollars worth of flowers from my local grocery store. They have a variety of blooms that go for 3 for $20. I picked some yellow tulips, pink tulips, and some pretty white flowers that I don't know the name of. I spread the flowers out so that I could … [Read more...]

With Apologies to my Husband on Valentine’s Day

cook

Dear Hubby, There's no easy way to break this to you. I thought the heart-thumping joy when seeing his face would fade, but alas, it's been four years now and I need to accept that my love for him is simply far stronger than even I could have imagined. (That's right, I'm telling you that I'm in love with another man via my blog. If being in love with another man doesn't have you running for the door, that surely will.) While I've always … [Read more...]

My Cosmetics Quest: Favourite Shampoo & Conditioner Brands

Green Beaver Mint Shampoo

My quest to use safer cosmetics is progressing slowly (but surely). In contrast, changing over the family's shampoos and conditioners can be done in one quick and easy swoop. Since day one, I've been more careful to read ingredients on the products I used with the kids, so I've had some years to try quite a few brands. … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: Better Late than Never!

Red roses with silver

Our family was visited by not only Santa, but the stomach flu over the past few days. As a result, our Christmas dinner was delayed from December 25th to today. 10 adults and 4 kids will be arriving in a couple of hours! It will be so nice to have everyone here. We have the new dining room table set up pretty for all the adults, and a separate "kids table" for the four cousins (I always loved being at a kids table when I was a kid, didn't … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: Tasteful Vignette and a Merry Christmas Shout-Out to You!

Tasteful Christmas Vignette

If you celebrate Christmas, then please accept this big huge "Merry Christmas!" right at ya' -- from me to you! Wondering what's the inspiration behind this lovely and oh so terribly tasteful Christmas vignette? It's our "special" family holiday tradition! Well, technically speaking, it's not actually a tradition yet, because this is the first year we've done it. But I was interviewed and asked what "special holiday traditions" I celebrate … [Read more...]

BIG Bedside Tables Reveal!

Master Bed - Wenge Wood

I love piles of books--waiting to be read, half-read, already-read, or just looking pretty. Hubby jokes that the pile get so high on my bedside table that one day he's worried he'll find the pile collapsed on top of me. (I figure there are far worse ways to die!) Because of my book-collecting affliction and the long rectangle shape of the master bedroom, he thought BIG bedside tables were in order. No more tall, toppling piles. These tables … [Read more...]

Books for Tweens: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Book cover for: The One and Only Ivan

Stella goes through books like I imagine most kids go through cheerios. You'll find four or five hoarded under her pillow case, others scattered about on her bedside table with an overflow pile on the ground beside the bed. Her massive, double-sided bookcase is already filled and she's reluctant to part with any of them. I used to indulge her taste for books with constant trips to Chapters. But between the cost and the sheer volume of books … [Read more...]

Where did that Baby come from?

Picture of It's not the stork book

We have a beautiful addition to our neighbourhood gang -- a new baby! In trying to explain to Max, who is 4, that his friend has a new baby sister, some questions arose. Yes, *those* kind of questions. Stella, our 10-year-old daughter, immediately jumped right into this and offered that he could borrow her book It's NOT the Stork. "Um, I'm not sure Max is ready for that book," I blurted out. You see, Stella is like a walking encyclopedia. … [Read more...]

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