Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Lieu of Gifts

Oh a mother's pride, I am so proud of Madison. For her 5th Birthday, which was back in August, she agreed to have a Charitable Birthday Party for her and 5 of her friends. Guests were asked to make a donation to the Ottawa Food Bank in lieu of birthday presents.  Information about the charity and the form for a tax receipt were sent with the party invitations. We gave Madi the choice of 3 different charities to choose from and she still received presents to open from her family.
This is the thank you card she just received from the Food Bank, she collected 10 pounds of food and $120 which for every dollar generates five dollars worth of food into the community. She is really proud of herself and she should be. 

We will continue to have charitable birthday parties for our kids once they reach age 5 and are old enough to understand and participate.  We encourage more families to do the same, just think of the possibilities . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Little Valiant Knight

Here is my little Valiant Knight's costume, complete with armour, helmet and shield.  All made out of felt (of course) and the pattern was made from my imagination. The shield has cardboard inside and is re-inforced with paint stir sticks for stability, with a handle on the back.
And here he is Sir Carter riding his horse named Snowflake, with his "sword of truth and shield of virtue", oh the dragon slaying that is going on in this house now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gabe's 1st Birthday!

Gabriel a.k.a. Gabe, Baby Gabie, Gigi, Googoo, Mr. McGeeMcGoo turned one on the weekend! We can't believe that it has been a year since he literally dropped into this world and was caught by Daddy.  He truly is an angel, he is the sweetest, happy, easy going, most cuddly baby. He fills this family with much love and we adore him.
Madison made his Birthday poster for him with a castle and fireworks, she's so sweet. Carter would have helped but he fell asleep.
The whole family helped to make his birthday banana chocolate chip cake which Madison & Carter picked for him because apparently he likes bananas so much and they like the chocolate. We don't have a picture of the finished cake because Daddy cut into it before the party.
Here he is, the birthday boy, wearing his birthday crown, eating his birthday cake with his new birthday train in front of him to distract him from taking off his crown for the picture.
We got him a Heros Birthday train, so that every year he gets a new wagon to add to the train with birthday candles to blow out. How cool is that for a little boy to have?
I did manage to make him a felt birthday crown, which he will only get to wear on his birthday and every year he will get a new embroidered star.

Happy 1st Birthday Gabriel! We love you.

P.S. Carter just said the cutest thing, he pointed up to the sky and said very excitedly "Look Madi that cloud looks like you in your ballet suit!" He loves his big sister.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Cupboard of Endless Possibility

This is a picture of the kids craft cupboard which is in the kitchen right off the dining room since they do most of their work at the dining room table. I wanted them to have free access to it so they could decide when they wanted to create and what materials they wanted to use. Almost all of their supplies are kept here except for the small things that are choking hazards and of course there is a lock so that Gabriel can't get in.
Both Madison and Carter have been spending a lot of time experimenting with their water colour paints. I love how the morning winter's sun shines in the south facing dining room window while they work. Magical.
This is one of Carter's pieces created with their Stockmar beeswax crayons in both blocks and sticks. They each have a wire bound scrap book to draw in which keeps everything together and makes it easier to look back at their work. I try to remember to date things and write a description of the drawing since it isn't always so obvious!

They both love their Djeco stamps and stamp pads, Madison has the princess stamps and Carter has the knights, how surprising. Carter uses his at least once a day, he gets ink all over his hands and face and all over the table but when he's done he always asks for a cloth to clean up, puts the stamps back in their box and puts them back in the craft cupboard. Impressive. And of course Madison's are as neat & tidy as the day she got them.

I love their new craft cupboard. I love the endless possibilities and creativity it allows. I love the time we share together. I love their imaginations and watching how it materializes through their art. What more could a mother want?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In the Red

Lately I have been drawn to red knits, particularly matching red knits for Gabriel and myself from our heads right down to our toes . . .

This is my new-to-me (aka thrifted) red knit purse and matching hat, love them.
And this is Gabriel's Llamajama red merino wool hand-knit snuggle suit which is absolutely gorgeous. Sorry there is no picture of my lil' M.I.T. (Man in Training) wearing it but he could barely tolerate diaper changes today never mind one of mamma's photo shoots.
Like I said we match right from our heads down to our toes. I with my red "Dorothy" shoes that I thrifted awhile back and Gabriel with his red wool Padraigs. I love this picture of me holding his hands while he learns to walk, so sweet.

Reading over this post two things come to mind:
1) When Gabe is older he is going to loath the fact that we matched so much and
2) Although I have been putting off learning how to knit until I finished some felting and sewing projects I think this proves that I am drawn to knits and need to learn soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change and Hope

Congratulations United States of America on the Inauguration of 
Barack Obama.
Welcome Change.
Hope for the future,
For our neighbours and for our world.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Case of the Recorder

This is the case I made for Madison's recorder, its made out of pink felt, with blanket stitching along the edges and a "M" sewn with ric rack. The embroidered flowers are my first attempt at embroidery which I taught myself from a book. Of course when I gave it to her she was upset because she wanted both flowers to be pink and she wanted a handle on it but she seems pretty happy with it. I have to admit I'm pretty impressed with myself at the embroidery and that the recorder actually fits inside!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Sound of Music, Washing Dishes & Cruising

Madison is loving . . .
Sitting at her new desk and doing her "homework"
Listening to the Sound of Music soundtrack and of course singing along
Playing her recorder

Carter is loving . . .
"Helping" in the kitchen, especially washing the dishes
Playing with his castle, pretending to be a knight and slaying dragons

Gabriel is loving . . .
Rearranging his sister's dollhouse
Cruising along the furniture and walls
Playing with the china 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rainbow's End

We really are book obsessed around here! I thrifted these books for the kids awhile back and they have become our new favourites.  The series is called Rainbow's End, written by Jane Patience and illustrated by John Patience. They are the cutest stories ever and the illustrations are unbelievably enchanting.  They are a pleasure to read and fun to look at.

Here is the book's description of Rainbow's End:
"It is located at the end of the rainbow in Nutshell wood.  It can only be seen by humans when a rainbow is in the sky, otherwise it is invisible to everyone except the gnomes who live there and the woodland animals. The gnomes of Rainbow's End are jolly folk who are always busy. Lots of exciting and interesting things happen in the village and no one is ever bored."

We have Wooly Foot's Good Idea, Toby Claypot's Wishing Well and Toddy and the Fox. As far as I can tell there are 5 more in the series but I can't find them anywhere, not even at the library.  They are published by Peter Haddock Limited in Bridlington England. 

Madison sits at her new desk and copies the stories word by word in her little workbook, very studious, when she's done I'll share a picture.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Inspiration for it all

This is the book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections written by Amanda Blake Soule that was the beginning inspiration for this blog and much of the recent "goings ons" around here. The book has simple projects and activities for parents and children including a felt pencil roll, sewing upcycled children's pants, freezer-paper stenciling, embroidered children's art, birthday crown, bunting and many more. It is broken down into four beautifully written sections which include: Gathering, Playing, Living and Connecting.  This will be my new go to gift for new parents and like minded mothers.

She eloquently writes about:
- the importance of imaginative play and how to have fun with fewer natural toys
- having high quality art supplies available to your children and displaying their art
- creating together with "Family Drawing Time"
- exploring and learning through nature including creating a nature table
- sharing the tradition of handmade including knitting, sewing, embroidery and felting
- the importance of everyday family rituals and celebrating your family

Her blog SouleMama gives me that daily dose of inspiration that I need to get our families' creative juices flowing. Please have a look and bookmark it.

Thank you Amanda and the Soule family for sharing, your inspiration is so greatly enjoyed and appreciated and has changed our family life in so many positive ways.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mother-ease = Happy Mother

I finally got around to selling my Happy Heinys one size pocket diapers on a local used website. It was surprisingly easy to do and there were many people wanting to buy them. I plan on selling more of our baby "stuff" that we don't use. And the one bumGenius one size pocket diaper I had well I gave it away for free. Good riddens I say. I would never recommend either of them, quite the opposite, they leaked, they stank, the velcro was disgusting and it was a pain to stuff the inserts.  

Now I am now a proud cloth diapering mother using Mother-ease one size organic diapers with snaps and the cutest covers I ever did see. Gabe seems more comfortable and they launder much better. And the best part its a Canadian company and of course I bought them at my favourite natural parenting store 3 Little Monkeys. I still love my prefolds and would recommend using them for newborns as its more cost effective. Its amazing how happy new cloth diapers can make me!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The House of Books

We have a lot of books in our house and most of what we do has something to do with a book.

I bought this bread making book for myself about 2 weeks ago and have been trying to read it ever since. But it seems that every time I sit down to read it with a cup of coffee my coffee is cold and I have to pour a new one or someone needs something or the dog wants out or a diaper needs changing . . . bla bla bla you get the point.  I have been talking about starting to bake our own bread since the summer time and I am determined to learn how even if it is from a book.

This is the book Complete Guide to Sewing that I thrifted at "The Village" for $3.99, which is a steal since its almost like a tailor/seamstress textbook. I also bought myself Amy Karol's book Bend-the-Rules Sewing for Christmas. I plan on making a knight costume for Carter, some matching clothes for Madison and Sasha (her new Waldorf doll), some aprons and bags. You know all of this in my spare time. I know this picture is blurry but I chose it because all 3 of their little precious hands are on momma's book while she is trying to take a picture, so telling of my life.

And here is a pile of new-for-us books for the kids, I tell you its better than bringing home candy they get so excited. I absolutely love buying them books, both fiction and non-fiction and reading to them and watching how they learn and explore through books. I want to find them some nice book plates so they can write their own names and glue them in, so much fun.

Lastly I wanted to share a Simoninigan story. Yesterday the kids were happily playing together, that is until Carter (who's 3) bit Gabriel (who is 11 months) on the hand and boy did it make Gabe cry, actually they both did. Of course big sister Madison claims she rescued Gabe from the jaws of Carter "just in time, Mommy".  I sent Cart to his room to think about what he had done. Once I had kissed poor little innocent Gabriel's hand better, we went to talk to Cart about what had happened. Carter decided, with some encouragement, to apologize to his baby brother and asked to see his hand. Gabriel held out his hand for Carter to see and then grabbed his hand and bit him back and hard too.  Carter started to cry and Gabriel had to apologize to him. Of course all this made Madison laugh and honestly I couldn't help myself from laughing too. I guess it was a lesson of what goes around comes around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nature Table

We have been busy working on our first Winter Nature Table. We are using the table in the entrance so that Madison and Carter have access to it but Gabriel doesn't. Madi collected the bare branches with no leaves and Cart and Gabe collected the pine cones and evergreen boughs. The white play silk represents the snow and the candle represents the return of the sun.

The winter scene is this layered 4 Seasons Puzzle by Beleduc which was one of Madison's Christmas presents. She is really excited about the nature table, she takes it very seriously and enjoys showing it to any visitors and explaining what everything represents. I'm so proud.

This is Father Winter who is the personification of winter and my next crafting adventure. I've already made his head and of course his cloak will be made from felt and his beard from wool. I'm sure mine won't look like this but that is the beauty of hand made, I'll share a picture when I'm done. Although all crafting is now on hold as I have promised to finish Gabriel's (aka the baby who doesn't sleep) baby book and birth story for his first birthday.