Monthly Archives: September 2012

meet huckleberry

Long story short, we decided that our natural state is to be surrounded by lots of pets and animals.

Which means we invited this sweet 8 week old Akbash, Maremmas, Border Collie cross into our wee home.

He is calm and alert; sweet and playful.

His name is Huckleberry; Huck for short.

He’s destined to be big and smart.

My dad and step mom picked up his brother last week and since their farm is only 20 minutes away from where the puppies were, we thought we’d stop in for a visit and play date.

Everyone is adjusting well.  The cats didn’t even bother hissing and Soma just gave him a quick sniff.  We thought the first night would be rough, but he settled in and slept the whole night.

We think he is the perfect addition to our little family.

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Posted in ellenberger organic farm, family, life, our cabin | 7 Comments

fawned friday

 

01) Everyone should have two dogs.

02) It is time to get rid of the tattered sports bras.  Too bad this pretty is sold out.  Good thing this lovely isn’t!

03)  It’s true.

04) A  little red house with no doors or windows and a star inside.  Love this.

05) Methinks I will be getting some manly stocking stuffers here.

06) Already thinking about simple, festive Christmas decor.

07) Must make our next project.

08) I have been wanting these prettyful flats for years.

09) These fine feathered printables will surely make their way onto our tree and special presents this year.

10) I find myself wanting colourful skinny jeans.

 

{fawned fridays are inspired by miss fawn}

 

Oh, and every fiber of my being wants to delete yesterday’s post, but I won’t.  I have so much to be grateful for and let be real, if Mike forgetting to replace my bank card is the worst thing I have to deal with in a husband (and it truly is) I am doing pretty great.  Now I will crank some Serena Ryder and bake cookies and pies with my two wonderfully curious children while my husband works away at his fulfilling job.

It is true, I get a little stir crazy sometimes, but it really is a charmed life I lead and I thank all the powers that be for that.

 

go gently + be wonderful

 

e.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, fawned fridays, life, wellness | 15 Comments

there it is

I have come up against my wall.  The place where I start to balk and resist even though I know it is in my best interest to keep moving forward.  I have become more familiar with this wall, this exact place, than I would like to admit.

We made it through our vacation only missing one or two scheduled workouts, but then Mike went back to work, Mike’s mom went back to Newfoundland, daycare was up and running again.  Life went back to normal and I felt alone and bored.  I eat when I feel powerless.  I feel sad when I am out of control and make things worse by giving up on the things I know make me better.  It is self sabotage at its best (or worst), I just can’t figure out the why of it all.

Last night I took Poppy to her third ballet class and she, yet again, found the toys, books, and charity lollipops in the waiting area far more interesting than ballet.  She refused to participate and then pushed out the door claiming she was done and wanted a snack.  Feeling more frustrated than I should have, we headed to the grocery store.  After an hour of shopping and finally remembering to pick up some key items (and on sale even!) I got to the cash register to find Mike had borrowed my bank card and failed to put it back.  Of course, I did not realize this until everything had been rung through.  We have a VISA, but I don’t carry it.  So, embarrassed and furious, Poppy and I went back to the car empty handed.  I spent the 25 minute car ride home alternating between plots on how I would torture my husband to moments of inner reflection and calmness.  In the end, anger won over reflection as that has always been my pattern; it is what I have learned.  I was still furious when I got home and let Mike know it.  Anger never makes me feel better, but she is a cunning seductress in the moment.  After a heartfelt apology from Mike, I couldn’t help but wonder what about this relatively tiny blip made me so angry.

The answer was that it made me feel powerless.  I felt dumb,  frustrated and embarrassed.  It ruined my one outing of the week.

It is hard for me to admit, but there are days I wish we lived in town; days I wish I could walk to the grocery store for the one ingredient I am missing, head to the park to burn off steam, do some window shopping or even just mail a letter.  I don’t feel comfortable walking here as we live on a fairly busy road mainly used by quarry and logging trucks and cottagers.  There is a  nice side road just a quick distance away, but it is winding with a lot of blind corners.  Three days per week I am tied to the house with daycare.  The option to head into work with Mike so I can then take the car is there, but spending the entire day out and about with two young children is not exactly my idea of fun.  I am a homebody by nature and am also an only child, so I do alone time like a boss.   I don’t crave more social time as many well-meaning friends and family think, I just need time to myself.  Just a few moments per week that don’t feel like hostage negotiations or the Hurt Locker.

Moving here has been empowering in many ways; we build our own furniture now, we make more of our food from scratch, we feel more settled with who we are, we are doing things we have long dreamed of doing, and we have tapped into a great community of homeschooling and otherwise like minded people.   But it has also come with transitions I thought about, but had no idea would be so difficult to overcome.   The isolation, the lack of transportation, the expensive groceries, the long commute to, well, everywhere.   I miss having our mail delivered and our garbage picked up.  It drives me crazy that I have to rely so heavily on Mike to run errands and mail important documents on time.   It makes me crazy that I can’t seem to find a sustainable way to bring in a small income.  It frustrates me that I have all this time at home and never seem to have time to finish things without Mike home.  I feel discombobulated most of the time.

I wear quartz and tourmaline with the faint hope that some of the gemstones’ powers will rub off on me.  Unfortunately though, I fear the inner work that needs to be done lands squarely on my own shoulders.  Parenthood and marriage have brought me to my knees with the issue I struggle with most: powerlessness and selflessness.   Conquering that struggle is so much more than simply knowing it, but it is an important step.

And so, I will continue to work through the annoyances I feel when doing the workouts that, just weeks ago, enlivened me.   We will try shifting workouts to the evenings and, instead, spend the cool mornings sipping coffee; warmed by fire and lit by the rising sun.  Fall calls for comfort and easing into our day so .  I am in it for the long haul and I have the rest of my life to perfect it all.  Instead of running, I will stay with this uncomfortable feeling; try a new pattern for once; see it through to the other side.

 

All will be well again.  It is, after all, my most favourite time of year.  The time when good and happy things happen.  This year will be no exception to that rule.

 

go gently + be wonderful

 

e.

 

P.S. Yes, I am very well aware that this post could also be entitled “first world problems”.

Posted in family, life, our cabin, wellness | 13 Comments

we’re getting kind of good at this

After an entire weekend devoted to work on our entertainment cabinet, it is finally complete.

As many of you may have noticed, we live in a 104 year old cabin so much of the wiring could not be hidden in the walls since they are made of giant logs.  One wall contains huge tats of wires, panels and plugs.  We did our best to place the biggest pieces of furniture and curtains in front of it to both hide and keep the kids out, but it has been a thorn in my side since day one.  We originally thought we would pay someone to build a false wall there, then we thought we would build it ourselves, and then we decided to build a very large cabinet that would nearly perfectly cover most of the wall.  These plans fit the bill perfectly and since we had such great luck with Ana White’s plans for our harvest table and Poppy’s bed, we jumped right in.

With the addition of a chop saw (an early birthday present from Mike’s dad) and a Kreg Jig the project, though time consuming, was fairly simple for us newbies.  That being said I am glad it is done.  It contains a lot of blood, sweat, tears and maybe even a little piece of our marriage.

We used pine and finished it with two coats of “White Oak” stain.  We placed four drawer pulls and will be making the remaining door knobs from driftwood or cut antlers.  Though we don’t have a big television (actually it is just an old computer with a 20 inch monitor) we decided to leave the large opening since we may one day get a real one again.  It cost a bit more than we had anticipated, but when you factor in our learning of new skills, the quality and strength of the piece, and the feeling of pride we feel when looking at it, I would do it all over again.

Last night, the living room was put back together and, while I made supper, Mike chopped wood for the wood box.  We sat fireside last night and again early this morning.

Fall is no longer a whisper and I couldn’t be gladder.

Posted in craft, homesteading, life, our cabin, recipes, tutorials + DIY | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

fawned friday

01) There is just so much bliss in this photo, I can hardly handle it.

02) Our Polish neighbour at our family cottage used to make these for all the time.  Perfect Christmas decor!

03) I want to wear bumble bees in my hair.

04) Funny dog truths.

05) I think I have always {secretly} wanted to be a ballerina though I don’t have the ankles for it.

06) Looking forward to apple picking at Avalon Orchards next week!

07) Such good words.

08) This plays out as a slow motion movie swagger in my mind and makes me giggle.

09) I overdosed on short hair in my zero to 20 years, but this is how it should be done.  So gorgeous.

10) Must do some folk art murals on the out buildings.

11)  One last minute find.  Watching the anvil and forge part made me remember just how much I loved watching my dad make horseshoes.  Thanks for sharing Brandon.

 

{fawned friday inspired by miss fawn}

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Posted in fawned fridays | 3 Comments

watercolour portraits

I love Pinterest.

I love becoming inspired and creating the tutorials and ideas I find.

This DIY watercolour portrait tutorial definitely makes my top 10 list of favourite DIY pins to date.

This craft is incredibly simple with a high quality finished product.  I was able to do the one of Silas in about an hour while two kids napped and the other two watched the Magic School Bus, drew pictures, and climbed the counter to see what I was up to.  The one of Poppy took a bit longer due to the tiny details of Smitten’s face (masking fluid would be ideal for the more detailed pictures), but with Silas napping and Poppy painting with her own paints I was able to finish it in one sitting.

These are just begging to be framed and wrapped up as thoughtful Christmas gifts.

I have long wanted to learn watercolour painting, but usually just end up with a lot of muddy colours and can never seem to get the results I am hoping for.  That being said, it is tremendously therapeutic and meditative for me.  Knitting, crocheting, and sewing usually make me twitchy.  Seriously, it’s unnerving.  But when I paint, it is all I think about.  My mind easily slips into a silence I rarely know and serenity comes.

Just had to share with you!

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Posted in craft, photography + writing, recipes, tutorials + DIY, wellness | 6 Comments

painting rocks + thoughts on unschooling

I had all sorts of grand plans for Dancing Rabbit Daycare.  With Poppy being the oldest of the four children, I quickly realized they were unrealistic.  Instead of spending hours doing structured crafts and exploration they spend most of the day half naked in free play and exploration.  When we do do crafts, it usually lasts about 20 minutes and then I spend the next hour cleaning the house, the children, and the bathtub.

In their freedom, they have begun making up games of their own; the newest being a dragonfly hunt in which they run around the yard searching for imaginary dragonflies (don’t worry, no real dragonflies were harmed).  They discuss strategy and work well together.  Another favourite is when they all hold onto a stick or rope and pretend they are a train travelling around the yard.  Silas’ personal favourite are Peter Pan sword fights on the rocks and logs with great agility.  Their favourite toys generally aren’t toys; things like rocks, sticks, and dirt are most often played with.  They enjoy the dump trucks and diggers and love making mud and soup with rocks, dirt, grass and water.  They enjoy taking water from one place to another and will do it with great purpose.  We play a game in which we guess if an item will sink or float and then throw it in the wee pool to find out who was right.  I have been doing some reading on unschooling and am fascinated by it.  I realize their play is their work.

In the last few weeks I have noticed a shift in Poppy as she becomes more measured in her crafts.  Not so very long ago, she was the girl covered from head to toe in whatever medium we were working with that day (namely glitter, glue and/or paint) and usually smearing and sprinkling it on every surface available to her (human or otherwise).  I always tried to let her experience it as she needed and wanted, but it was exasperating at times.

This week we went into the field in search of items to use to make collages and Poppy surprised me with her enthusiasm.  She was the first to think of using the many feathers scattered through the yard.  She found leaves and flowers and stayed with me for the duration of the task, placing each item with excitement into the basket.  We said hello to an especially lovely beetle and a fluffy caterpillar before heading back in to begin our craft.  Inside she put just enough glue on her paper and carefully picked her leaf or feather to place.  She was so proud of her completed work and when I taped it up high on the kitchen door she demanded I give it to her and I later found it hanging at her level so she could admire it.

Yesterday, while the little ones slept, I took the two older ones out to paint some big rocks they had found.  Poppy usually prefers to paint her entire body (and I mean her ENTIRE body), but with this craft she took her time and chose the colours carefully.  She used a small brush and layered the colours in one concentrated place in a way that they were all visible.  It was like a beautiful gem.  They declared they were painting happy and scary monsters.

I was only there to ask questions and provide the paint and wash cloth.  I didn’t interfere or make any suggestions.  I just let them sit in silence and put the paint where they wanted.  They decided when their creations were complete and then we placed them in the sun to dry.

I am learning to trust.  My gut is drawing me into unschooling, but it is still something that makes us both a little uneasy though I have a hard time articulating why.  I think it is mainly due to the  misunderstanding attached to the term and process.  What if our children are behind?  Will people think we are neglectful and dumb.  Poppy has been testing our trust since the early months.  She was very slow to talk and has refused to show any interest or motivation to potty train while she has excelled in other areas such as coordination, and knowing all her colours, numbers, letters, animals, etc with great confidence from a very early age.   Any effort to teach her things such as using scissors or how to complete puzzles and games on the Ipad usually just makes her freeze up and resist.  Then I will spy her doing it nearly to perfection all by herself a few weeks later.  I see myself in her ways;  I preferred to learn things alone where I could make mistakes without being corrected.  Even when I really wanted to try something or learn something I would often bow out if it made me uneasy.  This can be disabling in many ways, but I would have appreciated it greatly if I hadn’t been pushed (with the best of intentions)  to be something I wasn’t.  It is a fine balance for sure; honouring who they   are while learning that challenges can be good.  Silas, on the other hand, is a proficient talker with an insane vocabulary and incredible coordination and imagination, but doesn’t have the same interest in letters and numbers that Poppy has.

My biggest question is how would we ever deal with any “delays” with confidence?  How do we tap into the trust?   Of course, these are more our issues than our children’s so I will continue reading and watching.  For anyone interested I am currently reading The Unschooling Handbook and The Unschooling Unmanual and wanting to watch this documentary.  Some other videos I have come across here.

So, who out there is unschooling?  Any tips, thoughts, references?

 

go gently + be wonderful

 

e.

 

 

Posted in craft, dancing rabbit daycare, family, homeschooling, life | 28 Comments

our tiny dancer

thanks to Kira (of Bedrock and Brambles)for being on the ball with the camera

Photo by Kira of Bedrock and Brambles

Last night was Poppy’s first ballet class.  Oh my sweetness, how am I already the mama of a wee ballerina?  Is it really possible?

She was very excited, but I was a little hesitant to buy all the gear and committing to the full cost of classes before she even tried it so it was a bit of a trial.  She has a tendency to be a little timid when trying new things (a bit like her mama).  We dressed her rather creatively in some tights and a tutu, and Mike arranged to come home early to take care of the daycare kids and Silas so Poppy and I could fly off to our first dance date.  Silas was heartbroken that he wasn’t going too; he wanted to be a purple ballerina after all.  Poppy comforted him by telling him she had to go to work now.

We were so happy and grateful to see Kira and Fern already there and with an extra body suit for Poppy to wear.  We quickly changed her into it and she excitedly followed her teacher and other girls in.  When she realized I wasn’t going in with her she froze up a little so I sat beside her for the first few exercises and then slipped away.  She kept checking to make sure I was still close by, but the feathers, pinwheels, and lily pads were all a little too fun to resist.  Of course, when everyone was in a neat circle she was prancing around and grinning at herself in the wall of mirrors and when she was to be prancing around she would stand still or dart back to me.  I had a feeling it would be a bit like this picture, and I wasn’t entirely wrong.  I knew she was having fun and I had no expectations of her following all the directions, but I was a little worried the other parents would wonder whose child was running interference in the class and cringing when she would crash into the other girls.  It was then that a more seasoned mom saw I was stressing and comforted me by saying “They told you this is to be expected right?  It is totally normal”.   I relaxed; I need to do that more when it comes to letting my kids be kids around other parents.

She wore her tutu to the grocery store and when we got home, Silas ran squealing down the driveway to greet us.  Poppy exclaimed “Hi Silas!  I’m a ballerina Silas!”.  Silas has been proudly wearing an old tutu of Poppy’s with his green dinosaur tshirt ever since.  We may just have two tiny dancers on our hands.

I couldn’t be happier and can hardly handle the cute of it all.

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Posted in family, homeschooling, life | 9 Comments

a working vacation

I didn't know chickens yawned until meeting this guy. He won second prize

T’was a busy staycation of 2012.  Mike’s mom arrived from Newfoundland 11 days ago, and we took full advantage of the extra set of loving hands.  We toyed with the idea of making the trip to Newfoundland because the sea and family are calling to us, but money and logistics didn’t work in our favour this year.  Who would take care of the chickens?  The dog?  The rabbit?  The cats?  There are so many other things around the home begging for our time and money.  This time next year, I hope to be posting pictures and tales of the majestic island.

So yes, we had a staycation (though it was more like a working vacation).  We shopped sans kids, stopped for silly photo booth photos, made a cake, went to the fair, moved wood, organized sheds, made a bed for Poppy (not to mention a room of her very own), had corn and manure for the garden delivered with love from Ellenberger Organic Farm, the rotten fence post was finally removed and replaced with the ingenuity of my dad and the grunt force of my husband, Mike went fishing, we spent a day looking for shoes, we had the first meet up with some seriously great homeschooling families, we made plans to have Poppy try ballet, I organized and re-organized furniture and clothing, we finally made it to the Highland Cinema in Kinmount for a date night where we ate licorice and natchos (yes, with a T) and it is my new favourite place to watch movies.  Oh, and we began the construction of a major entertainment unit (ours will be either white washed or white) which will cover our lovely wall of wires.  It is only half done after nearly three days of work, but I will post pictures when it is complete.  We even managed to stick to our early morning workouts for the most part.

It was nice to feel productive and get a little more organized, but it also made me realize we need to start making time for the fun stuff as well as the busy stuff.

We also celebrated a certain sweet boy’s second birthday last week.   We had planned on having a little gathering with the grandparents, cousins, etc, but when that all fell through we decided a trip to the Kinmount Fair was in fact ideal.  What little boy wouldn’t want to spend their day at the Kinmount Fair eating cotton candy, looking at chickens, cows, horses, ducks, and rabbits, snakes and riding “Dumbo”?  I mean seriously.  We started the day with apple pancakes, and ended it with a “Honey A Pooh” chocolate cake.  They also enjoyed the early Halloween costumes we picked up and spent the evening dressed as Peter Pan and Merida (of Brave) costumes complete with sword and bow and arrow.

The week before our vacation was also busy with company, birthday celebrations, and a trip to the Toronto Zoo.  I will be posting pictures over the week to come to catch up.

Today the house was quiet as Mike and his mom left early for the long drive to the airport.  The daycare kids were to come today, but cancelled last minute so the kids and I had a simple day of snuggling, folding laundry, making bean soup, picking tomatoes, reading, watching the Magic School Bus, dress up, a daring sword fight and even a nap (for Silas and me).  The evenings are cool and I crave the heat of a fire, but we’re holding out for that perfect moment to welcome the fire back into the hearth.

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Posted in celebration, craft, ellenberger organic farm, family, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, Uncategorized | 9 Comments