Monday, July 20, 2009

My Absence Excuses

My lack of postings are due to the following excuses:

:: no internet access, but just with my username (hmmm ?)

:: the camera was last in Scott's possession which he thinks he left in the shed which has the basketball sized hornet's nest in it!

So once I get these two issues dealt with I will be back to regular postings but for now I'm taking my time and enjoying the lazy days of summer with the kids (poor Daddy has to go to work).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Medieval Festival

We went to the Upper Canada Village Medieval Festival since Sir Carter is so interested in knights and castles. It was incredible and we going back next year but in costume. Carter and Gabe can be knights, Madison a princess, I'll be a gypsy and Scott can wear a Peter Pan hat!

Madison and Scott making candles.

His sword is bigger than him!

This was a real Heavy Armour Jousting Match, they actually went at each other full force and knocked each other off their horses.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Upper Canada Pioneer Village

In keeping with our learning about pioneer living we took a family trip to the Upper Canada Pioneer Village to explore what life would have been like for Canadian pioneers in the 1860s. I was the most excited and interested and would like to go back by myself. This part of Canadian history really interests me and I can't stop reading about it. There is something that captivates me about truly living off the land and a simplier way of life. Our pioneers worked hard and endured many hardships yet their lifestyle still appeals to me. I do believe that I am a 19th century soul livng in a 21st century body.

Here a few of the many photos I took with a link underneath in case you want to read some more.


Tinsmith's Shop

General Store

The Dressmaker's Shop

The School House

Spinning & Weaving

Monday, July 6, 2009

Crafting Duathlon

This shirt and skirt for Madison was my crafting duathlon combining both knitting and sewing. Its the Summerlin from Kathryn Ivy. The bodice is knit and the bottom portion is sewn on with a matching skirt. It is knit with Sublime Organic Cotton dk and the fabric is a 100% cotton. I made it really big so that it will fit her longer. We are both really happy about how it turned out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vacation Notice

We are currently on vacation and won't be posting regularly but,

Please come back and visit us next week for some exciting posts about . . .

:: The Upper Canada Pioneer Village
:: The Medieval Festival
:: The Canadian Bushplane Museum
:: The Norgoma Historic Ship Museum
and other Simoninigan antics!

Take care friends and Happy July 1st (Canada Day eh!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice means to me . . .

:: A trip home to the the Sault (not the Zoo, Carter) t0 visit my roots

:: Having my Madi home with me all to myself

:: Being in awe of Mother Nature, especially through the children's eyes

:: Trips to the Farmer's Market & many fresh summer salads

:: Many a Field Trip in our nation's capital as we explore our hometown as tourists

:: Working on the kids' fort in the backyard

:: Camping sleepovers in the tent (in the backyard)

:: Sipping homemade lemonade and iced tea

:: Pulling weeds from the garden 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Little Big Boy

Carter found a friend caterpillar yesterday and named him "Harry".  He giggled as he walked across his fingers and was so gentle with him. Eventually he did drop him in the grass and couldn't find him but continued to look and call his name. "Mama I can't find Harry and I've looked everywhere for him, I think he's lost". I hope he didn't step on him while looking!

I can also officially announce that Carter is fully potty trained now! We are so proud of him and he is also very proud of himself. We put him in underwear starting last Saturday morning and he tried and tried all day with no success. Now since Sunday he hasn't had any accidents and dry diapers in the mornings! It took one day. There really is something to be said about waiting until the child is ready and not the parent and not focussing on their age. Oh, and some gummy worms as bribes and cool underwear help too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pow Wow

(check out the belly on Gabe)

We took the kids to experience their first Pow Wow. It quickly became obvious just how underexposed they are to our native culture. There is nothing like seeing a pow wow through a child's eyes. They were so full of questions, loud comments and had no problem with pointing at people. This didn't bother me at all and no one else seemed to mind. I tried to answer all of their questions as best as I could.

Of course I have acquired some books on Ojibway heritage and ceremonies to learn more myself and hopefully pass some culture onto my children. The best book I found is The Mishomis Book The Voice of the Ojibway by Edward Benton-Banai.

It really was an amazing thing to experience with the kids, the drum drumming, the men singing, the people dancing, the circle of community surrounding them.

Its a start, the kids and I can learn together.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Polka dot Dress

Polka dot dress + matching head band = Happy little girl

I sewed Madison's doll "Sasha" a polka dot dress and matching head band, made out of an old pair of my pajama pants and no pattern. The addition of the bias tape as a belt is Madison's doing, she does like to accessorize. She has now put in a request for an apron, bloomers and a knit sweater . . . no problem, Sasha is going to have a better wardrobe than me!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our Little Ballerina

Pictures from Madison's ballet recital last weekend. 
What can I really say about this, the pictures say it all. 
She is absolutely beautiful. 
It still brings tears to my eyes to think about her up on that stage. 
She takes her ballet very seriously and practices all the time at home. 
Our little ballerina. 
I love you Madi.

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Gratitude

A new spring/summer linen table cloth made from a thrifted piece of linen for $2.99!

Today I am thankful for . . .

:: The lilacs my kids keep picking me from our neighbours' tree

:: A husband who doesn't quite get my craft obsession but is understanding none the less

:: Watching my daughter's ballet recital over the weekend

:: Setting a date for a weekend fabric shopping trip with a dear friend

:: Knitting & watching my children playing using their imaginations

:: Dinner already made this morning in the slow cooker 

:: A 5 year old who loves to hang the diapers on the clothes line

:: Looking forward to the Crafty Mamas coming over tonight

Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Garden is Planted

We planted our vegetable garden last weekend (and I'm just getting around to posting the pictures now). This is the first year we have been in the same house long enough to plant and grow and hopefully eat and store our own vegetables. I have been reading about and planning my vegetable garden for years, so it was amazing to finally get my knees dirty and my hands into the earth.

It's important to me that the kids learn where their food comes from, how to grow it and experience the pleasure that comes from preparing and eating food you have grown yourself. Both of my grandfathers were amazing gardeners, unfortunately I could not learn from them, their knowledge and wisdom died with them, what a missed opportunity. I have to follow instructions from a gardening book. My wish is that gardening becomes second nature to my children and becomes intrinsic to them.

Almost everything was sown directly into the ground which is more cost effective, especially if you want organic plants.

I couldn't resist this garden plaque, it seems that they made it just for me, how perfect!

I have been using this book From Seed to Table A Practical Guide to Eating and Growing Green by Janette Haase. Its a month-by-month guide to growing a significant amount of food in a small home garden.  She provides clear instructions for the gardening year from planning to planting to harvesting, storage and seasonal recipes.

The Earth is mother, 
Of all that is natural,
Of all that is human.

-Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), German abbess, poet, mystic and composer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pioneer Philosophy

In keeping with the pioneer theme we seem to have going on around here lately I have posted up some new words of wisdom. This pioneer philosophy is well suited as our new mantra.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

School Reading

I've been doing a bit of my own unschooling, which stemmed from Vintage Chica's "Summer Un-school", that I signed up for a couple of months ago. The controversy that followed absolutely astonished me and I had to read up on the topic some more myself.

I still don't get why the "radical unschoolers" have a problem with calling it "Summer Un-school", to me its like someone stated in the comments, why would a vegetarian/vegan discourage someone from trying vegetarianism/veganism? The opposite should be true, if you really are that passionate about your philosophy/lifestyle then you should be encouraging others to try it and not feel threatened by that. You certainly cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

Enough said, well except: thank you to Erin for hosting Summer Un-school on her blog and for so gracefully and articulately taking all the "heat" for it, what an amazing opportunity you have given our children and our families to learn and to grow. And thank you to all the other unschooling mamas who are sharing their experiences.

My oldest attends our local public french immersion primary school and loves it. The challenge we have is that Canada is a bilingual country (english & french) and since we live in Ottawa (Canada's capital city) bilingualism is a necessity. Both myself and Scott were never given the opportunity as children to attend french immersion school and are now only english speaking. If we were to homeschool our children we would not be able to teach them french, they would have to take french classes and would not have the benefit of immersion. Thus, if they at a later time wanted to or needed to enter the school system they would have to take the english stream. This is a major consideration and obstacle.

This summer I will take the kids lead, help them to learn, to explore, to grow, at their leisure, on their own will. I will follow their own natural curiosity, I will be their social convenior, their chief researcher, their chauffer, their exploration companion, their documentarian, the carrier of the library book bag. I do have activities, crafts, field trips, adventures planned to fill in some gaps but we will have our summer un-school.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sheep Shearing Festival

We have been waiting all year for this (well mainly me) . . . The Canadian Agriculture Museum's Sheep Shearing Festival! Considering how wool, in its many forms, has become such an important and present part of my life and the kids', it was an awesome experience to learn together how a sheep is sheared and what happens to the wool after.

First the sheep get their toe nails clipped and then they're sheared.

The whole process only takes about 2 minutes.  Although it may look like the sheep is struggling she was actually quite docile and the sheep are not harmed.

We learnt that Canadian sheep are primarily sheered for the beneficial health reasons for the sheep. The wool from a Canadian sheep only sells for about $2 and it costs $5 to sheer them. Whereas, the wool from a sheep in New Zealand for example would fetch around $30.

Madison and Carter got to try their hands at carding the wool and feeling the lanolin. They both gave me their carded wool to knit something with. There were also spinning, knitting, and weaving demonstrations. I can't wait to learn how to spin wool with a drop spindle which is something I plan on learning next winter.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Sleeping with his stuffed Willy (named after our dog) and his Waldorf doll

"What do you mean I'm not supposed to be in the pots and pans cupboard?"

"Oh I'm not going inside Mom, I love it out here . . . that is unless there's something to eat in there!"

Pressing his face up against the window after his sister and brother just finished drawing with their window crayons.

Climbing into the tupperware drawer.

Why stand at the train table when you can sit right on top of it to play?

Riding in the wagon helping to collect firework for our backyard campfire because he always wants to do whatever his big sister and big brother are doing.