Category Archives: feather + anchor

little bird turns five + two of twelve




This weekend we celebrated Poppy’s 5th birthday. Excuse the cliche, but my, oh my, where has the time gone?

On Valentine’s Day we went to watch the Lego Movie and pick up your requested birthday present; a Princess Anna dress.  On your birthday, we had planned to go for a play at the YMCA, but they were calling for freezing rain so we stayed local, picked up some party favours for your guests, made pizza at your request, and watched the Disney Planning DVD that arrived.

On Saturday, you finally got to wear your birthday party dress.  Clementine wore her Elsa outfit and Silas had to be bribed to wear his Kristoff/Hiccup outfit for a photo opp.  You spent the morning twirling and singing “It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!  It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!”,  “Happy Birthday to Poppy!” along with “Let it Goooooo” from Frozen and you could barely keep your fingers out of the frosted blue cake we made.

Soon the house was filled with friends and family dressed as fairies, princes, dinosaurs, unicorns, butterflies, and princesses.  Nana made a bunch of the cutest edible Olafs and brought fresh eggs for everyone to take home along with their party bags.  You were rather confused as to why people brought gifts and asked who they were for.  You were just so over the moon to have your dress and a house full of fun people.  There were a couple impromptu story times and a couple crazy accidents (a cracked rib and a somersault down the stairs, but everyone is recovering well).  Overall, it was a loud and happy time.  It felt like an important party for you; as though you suddenly went from being a baby to a little girl.  It made our hearts swell to see you so happy with your friends.

That night, and the next night,you slept in your party dress.  You finally took it off and wore jammies to bed last night.

  • Your love for your sister grows more intense with each day and you go to great lengths to get a giggle out of her.
  • I had no idea you found a bow tie I mad a few years ago and placed it on your kitty, but I got a good laugh when he sauntered out of the kitty litter box what had to be hours later, looking very dapper indeed.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books,  Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch treasury.
  • You love watching Barbie, Equestria Girls, Frozen, How to Train your Dragon, and Clifford.  You love playing with your growing collection of My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Merida, Anna, Elsa, and Rainbow Dash.  (There is a sentence I never thought I’d be writing when my parenting adventure began!!)
  • You’ve been singing songs from Frozen nearly non-stop.  When I ask if you want to learn more of the words to it you say “No, you learn it.”.
  • You adore painting.
  • We discovered that your 6 year molar (46) is making an early appearance!
  • Last week, we traced your bodies and then drew onto your bodies whatever you pleased.  You gave yourself chicken pox, because you’re rather obsessed with drawing chicken pox.  You then drew the path your food takes through your body.  You asked me to draw a heart in your chest.
  • You love watching the Disney Planning DVD to see where the princesses and Captain Hook live.

  • You’ve always been one to prefer household objects to toys and I’ve started documenting your rather interesting and entertaining sleeping buddies and quotes.  It has turned into a little project that has been enjoyed on Instagram and Facebook.  Daddy and I decided if we were to ever create a book out of these pictures and conversations it would be called “Bed Folk + Pillow Talk with Silas”.
  • The other night, he wanted to sleep with Poppy. I thought it would be endless playing and giggling, but they fell fast asleep as soon as the lights were out. Silas hates it when the lights first go out and Poppy comforted him saying “it’s ok Silas, you can see me. I’m with you.” I love their love.
  • You really do say the darnedest things.  Here are a few more examples:
  • Silas: I was talking to The Perogie Man.
    Me: Who is the Perogie Man?
    Silas: Um, just the yummiest guy in the world.
  • Poppy: Mom, I want a brown baby.
    Me: Well, we don’t have brown skin so we can’t make a brown baby.
    Poppy: Oh, right. I love our baby.
    Silas: I want some brownies.
  • Me: Do you guys want some milk?
    Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
    Me: Um, yes. I think so.
    Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D.
  • You hate having your hair washed.  The other night you said you didn’t want your hair washed “…because it would turn into a girl’s hair”.  After it was washed, you were distraught that your hair “looked different now”.
  • Just yesterday morning, you woke up early with Daddy and wanted to wear some red mittens and a toque.  Once they were on you exclaimed “Look at me Daddy!  I’m gorgeous!”.
  • There is no jealousy or animosity, but you keep a safe distance from little Clementine.  Every once in a while I see you two sharing a flirty little smile though.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books, the Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch Treasury.
  • You love watching Equestria Girls, Clifford, How to Train Your Dragon, Clifford, Barbie, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Dinosaur Train.  You play with pretty much anything that isn’t technically a toy, but do enjoy playing imaginative games with Poppy.

  • You remain super happy even though I think your teeth are coming in and you have developed a rash/eczema on your back and tummy.  We are trying to get to the root of the rash, but can’t be sure yet.
  • You don’t often make strange with people.  You seem to take your time watching them carefully and then smile.
  • You usually wake 1-3 times in the night and nurse right back to sleep.
  • We finally captured some giggles on video.  It’s adorable.
  • You’re now wearing 6 month clothes.
  • We’ve started giving you little bits of food (the rash began before food was introduced), but you’re not overly enthused.
  • You love playing with the remote and crinkle-taggy blanket I made years ago.
  • You seem to have super human ab strength and can do a full sit up.




  • Mike saw a big moose sauntering down the middle of the road on his drive home one night.
  • We had our big load of logs delivered.  $875.
  • We’ve begun planning and saving for our Disney Trip 2017.  We are super excited.
  • We’ve begun working through a grade 4 french workbook to see what we remember.
  • Mike continues to enjoy playing his ukulele.
  • I am struggling to find my balance in many aspects of life.
  • I am starting to wonder if my hair will ever stop falling out.
  • In an act of self preservation, I am not allowing myself to even think about spring right now.
  • We are hoping to get a YMCA membership for the family.  It is over an hour away.
  • Our community is lobbying for a recreation center and indoor pool, but I won’t hold my breath.
  • Making plans to get the kids and I out of the house more often throughout the week.  I am thinking one day out locally (Early Years, Kinder Gym, etc), one day out in either Peterborough or Lindsay (Early Years, Chapters story time, YMCA drop in craft or gym time, groceries, YMCA land class etc.), and one day out as a family to do swimming lessons and other errands.
  • I don’t regret moving to the country, but I still struggle with feeling so isolated.
  • A second car is what dreams are made of.
  • In all honesty and if we had our time back, we would have approached my parents about buying a tiny plot on their farm, and built a tiny home so we could help with farm work and they could spend more time with the kids.
  • I often daydream about finding another family to build a tiny house in our woods so we could begin our own intentional village.
  • I made my first batch of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  It was delicious and simple.  A game changer.
  • I still hate meal planning.
  • I crave meditation and jogging.
  • I have grand plans of writing letters and sending care packages to friends and family.
  • I suck at blogging these days.
Also posted in 365 photo project, 52 portraits, celebration, family, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, photography + writing, the anchor, Uncategorized, wellness | 4 Comments

soul fever

To be honest, I don’t know where to begin.

Life is good.

That seems as good a place as any.

We are blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed with a wide eyed, smiley babe who warms my heart and smells ever so sweetly, a fiercely brilliant little boy who doesn’t miss a beat or a chance to make us laugh, and an intensely loving, super adaptable, whip smart little girl who will turn 5 next month.  I am blessed to be madly in love with a bearded husband who is ever-present and, after 10+ years, still makes me weak in the knees.  We are blessed with a warm home in the country, freezers and cupboards full to overflowing with food, warm duvets, hot coffee and tea, wonderful friends and family, perfect health, good benefits, a great job, chortling chickens, playful and ever tolerant pets, good books lining our shelves, and a toasty woodstove to and dry our clothes and roast marshmallows by.

And yet.

And yet, I seem to be suffering some sort of social media induced soul-fever.  An overwhelming brain fog.  It isn’t postpartum depression/anxiety.  The fog and fever was far worse when I was pregnant than it is now.

You see, I feel it is brought on by spending too much time online.  I love Pinterest, I do.  It is like crack for this creative, visually driven girl.  I don’t buy magazines for the pretty pictures anymore because I know I can find it all and more on Pinterest.  It is loaded with inspiration and ideas and homeschooling resources.  Hell, it was stumbling on this pin that inspired me to actually write this very post!  But I find myself constantly comparing our humble little cabin to the perfect homes I see online and forget to be happy with what we have.  Facebook connects me to the people I miss as well as to the people I’ve never even met in the real world.  I am grateful for all the people, kind advice, and heated debates I have acquired and participated in via Facebook, but I can’t deny that it also gives me a false sense of a social life.  Both of these sites have their merits, but they also fill my brain with anxiety-inducing posts and pins about the dangers of wearing deodorant or bras at night or hot dogs, and radiation making its way across the sea and land, and house fires, and car seat fails, and kidnappings, and missing children, and how TV rots your brain, and vaccine fear mongering, and conspiracy theories, and allergies, and other people being stellar parents, and crafts we will never do, and 4 year olds reading, and perfectly pretty houses and paint colours, and luscious hair, and thinspiration, and clean eating, and too good to be true recipes, and really funny memes, and how to organize and clean, and be more productive and yell less.

And then there are the pictures and videos we take and post.  Though I love having a record of the daily and monumental events, it seems kind of pointless when you weren’t fully present in the original moment, no?  Louis CK says it better than I ever could.  This became very apparent to me when Poppy had her ears pierced a couple of months ago.  Like an idiot, I was trying to capture the video (for Mike who was at work and unable to be present) and was still fumbling with the phone while my mom swooped in to comfort her after the deed was done.  It should have been me.

All this to say, I am not quite sure how to find the balance.  I don’t blog much anymore because the world is full of bloggers saying so much of the same and I honestly don’t know that I have much more to bring to the table.  I would be lying if I said I weren’t struggling with the feelings of isolation since moving to the country.  I miss being able to walk downtown with children in strollers and strapped to my chest in order to get some social interaction and window shopping in.  The trails are too deep for little ones to navigate for any length of time and the highway we live on is not suitable for afternoon meanderings.  The days are so very long when we are left without a car.  That is the only thing we would change about our move to the country, but it is financially out of the question for now.

Social media fits conveniently into a day with 3 children under 5.  10 minutes here between snack demands requests, bum wiping, clean ups, homeschooling, and meals.  30 minutes there while the baby nurses and falls asleep on me.  Homschooling consists mostly of free play mixed with 15 minute stints of writing our letters, drawing pictures, reading books, and using the iPad.  To be honest, the days feel long and aimless for me.  Though it is a perfect pace for young children, I crave productivity and structure for myself.  I read books and attempt to crochet, and rearrange furniture but my mind wanders and my attention is pulled away.  My days are fragmented.  So the pace of the internet fits my day, but it also drains me.  My mind feels an awful lot like our living room; disheveled and lacking focus.

We recently listened to an interesting Freakonomics podcast about parenting.  The conclusion was that obsessive, over-scheduled parenting (that seems very much the norm on social media) is pointless and the best thing we can do for our children is to be happy and kind.  Makes sense, no?!  Seriously, I want to tattoo those words on my forehead.  We don’t do too many activities or crafts with a set outcome because it inevitably makes feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and impatience bubble up in me.  I am driven by the outcome while the kids are in the moment and it rarely ends well.  I know my kids are far better off with a basket full of crayons, paper, scissors and glue to use at their own discretion than any Pinterest craft and a results-driven mama. We do extracurricular activities because they’re enjoyable and provide the social interaction we crave and need.  The path of least resistance and genuine inspiration really is the best and happiest path with these tender ages.

I have no answers.  Perhaps it is a little bit of precisely this type of mourning mixed with a wicked case of Pinterestitis and social media fever.  Whatever it is I find myself aching for depth and joy and inner work; a lonely run, and finding my breath and pose on a yoga mat, and scrawling my messy handwriting across pages of a forgotten journal; belly laughs and company who stay late into the night, and window shopping; boundaries and limits and wild things.

We’ve become quick masters of self editing.  I find myself wishing I could remember what it felt like to just be…(Once again, Louis CK nails it)  .  To be alone with ourselves and our thoughts without comparison, input or labels.

I shall leave you with this as I ponder my next step. (source unknown)

go gently + be wonderful



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playing catch up

Firstly, I apologize for my absence and secondly, I thank you warmly for your kind emails to check in on me.  At 5 weeks of pregnancy the all day nausea hit me like a tonne of bricks and the depression that always accompanies it followed close behind.  Up until now, even the thought of signing into my blog account made me feel nauseated.

Alas, I am 19 weeks along and aside from feeling a bit gaggy in the mornings, I am feeling much better now.  Phew, that was a rough ride!

I am a little ashamed and saddened that I have only a handful of ho-hum photos from the past 3 months, so indulge me while I attempt to record a few snapshots to remind us all of what these month looked like…

  • We had our 18 to 20 week ultrasound on Monday and found out that we are having a GIRL!  The kids have been saying girl consistently whenever we ask them so it was no big surprise to them.  We waited to find out for our first two, but thought it would be fun to find out for our last one.  It feels really nice to know…though I do have that nagging thought that they do make mistakes.
  • The all day nausea lasted from 5 weeks until about 15 weeks.  I made the whole 10 weeks without throwing up and then randomly at 18 weeks, I barfed my guts out.  The same thing happened with Poppy.
  • If I had picked up my camera you would likely see pictures of Silas dressed in a straw hat and lady gloves while exclaiming “Iiiiiit’s show time!” and you would see Poppy dressed in her flapper hat, lady gloves and a purse declaring she was ready to go to the bush.
  • We spent a great deal of time laying on the couch watching movies.  The funny thing is that I felt so guilty, but the kids were happy…likely because they had me all to themselves to snuggle and play with.  I also realized just how well they get along and play together.  They almost never fight and almost always share there food and toys with each other with a simple offer or question “You wanna share with me Silas/Poppy”.  They really are the best of friends and I am so glad they will be homeschooled to foster that relationship.
  • I wonder how this new little girl will fit into the mix and dynamic.  Both kids are excited and ease my worries when they bring toys for the baby, kiss my belly, and shush each other so as not to wake the baby.  Silas found a play stethoscope at the local thrift store and immediately held it up to my belly and said “I’m just checking your baby.  I’m a doctor.”
  • There was lots of lego, books, and puzzles by the fire.
  • Evening games of Uno in which Poppy actually began beating us until she lost interest and left the game after 4 or 5 hands.
  • The Waltons
  • Poppy has become quite crafty and resourceful.  When I take to long to fill a bowl with water for her to use her watercolour paints, she will spit in them and begin without me.  She used the same principle just yesterday when she wanted water for the mud pit they love so much.  She peed in it and I was able to stop her as she was about to proceed playing with her new mud.  Don’t worry we promptly filled the area in with 10 bags of play sand last night.  The black flies swarmed us, but with bug nets over their heads, they played happily for nearly an hour without so much as a single bite.
  • Speaking of the mud pit, one warm day this week they were able to strip down and become completely coated in dark, rich mud. All was fine and dandy until Silas snuck inside, waited until I spotted him, slammed the door and ran squealing into the front room and onto the couch where he flailed around until I could get him off and into the tub where he surprised us all by pooping. He has never done that and I think he was more shocked than Poppy and I.
  • Poppy has been sleeping in her own room, but Mike has been staying with her until she falls asleep, but about a month ago she started asking to go to bed and falling asleep by herself.  This is a very big moment for us as we have never wanted to let her cry it out.
  • We have been moving Silas to his own toddler bed in their shared room after he falls asleep, but most nights he finds his way back into our bed.
  • Poppy loves to draw, but shows more creativity with paints.  My favourite pieces are a portrait of Daddy and a colourful caterpillar.
  • She has also begun spelling and writing her name by herself and has learned the sounds all the letters of the alphabet make.
  • Our 9 hens are laying well and we can barely use up all the eggs.
  • Our red headed rooster has started to attack us.  It began with Silas, then Poppy, then Mike, then me.  He isn’t brutally aggressive, but enough to be annoying.  The good news is that when he attacked Silas and Poppy, Huck was there and gently pulled the rooster off of them by the tail feathers.  We are hoping to find a new home for him or he may end up in the freezer.
  • Huck has been a frustratingly stubborn dog, but he is wonderful with the kids and keeps a watchful eye on them.  If they run out of sight, he will follow and sit with them.
  • Our area had a lot of run off water, rain, and flooding this spring.  We weren’t affected by the flooding rivers at home, but our basement did gather some water which was frustrating, but so many people were evacuated and likely have severe water damage to their homes.
  • Mike and I will be creating a new website for Ellenberger Organic Farm.  It will have a lot more comprehensive information on it.  I will let you know when it goes live, but if you’d like to see more up to date photos, videos, and what is available when, etc, be sure to like their new Facebook page!  It was a great maple syrup year for them.
  • Mike’s Mom and her partner were up for a visit as they made their way back from Florida to Newfoundland which meant that Mike and I were able to get into the big city for our first night away alone in over four years.   We visited the St. Lawrence Market where I nearly passed out due to low blood sugar.  I sat on their lovely outdoor patio area where Mike fed me strawberries, cookies, meat sticks and water until I recovered.  We then walked on to the Distillery District.  Then up through a sketchy part of town and through Cabbagetown until we reached our hotel (An old Victorian house that Ernest Hemmingway lived in while in Toronto).  Once talking to the kids and freshening up, we made our way through the posh, douche chill inducing streets of Yorkville to a little Indian Restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely, quiet meal while simultaneously remembering why we like and love each other.  We then sipped on coffee and hot chocolate and strolled through aisles of books.  In the morning we rose early and enjoyed a stroll back down Bloor until we arrived at the ROM.  We sipped more hot beverages and ate a small breakfast while chatting and people watching until the museum opened.  With one set of butterfly wings, one set of dinosaur wings and a dinosaur mug, we made our way back to Union Station by way of the bustling Yonge Street.  My feet still hurt, but the simple memories are good ones that should carry us through to our next getaway in another couple of years ;).
  • Turns out that making baby girls makes for a fatter sicker mama. With Silas I was able to wear the same pair of non maternity jeans throughout the whole pregnancy. With this one, I peed on the stick and my pants stopped fitting.  Sweet lord, it is going to be a long summer!
  •  There are so many lilac blossom promises this year.  How I love the wild flowers and perennials that grow around this little house…wild roses, peonies, poppies, lilacs, daisies, cherry and apple blossoms, and black eyed Susan’s, oh my!  My mason jars shall runneth over this year!
  • We are hoping to get honeybees next spring.  I do love the dear little creatures, but would like to get the family allergy tested before we get them to make me feel better.
  • Mike is still making his way though our giant pile of firewood logs which means Mike ventured into chainsaw ownership and use.  He was pretty excited.  We hope to save up for a much more efficient wood stove this fall.
  • We were very pleased that we didn’t owe any taxes this year!  We got a $10 return, but paid $80 to figure that out.
  • Poppy has a new habit of posing very seriously for photos.  It is hard to explain, but it often translates into a very sad looking little girl even though as soon as I take it she breaks into a smile and asks to see it.  It is as though she is being artistic beyond her years.  Just yesterday she spotted the patch of cheerful dandelions in the yard and ran out to pick them in her fairy jammies.  She brought more and more in and then arranged them ever so carefully in a small mason jar.  Of course there were some very stoic poses for mama and her camera, but I did manage to capture a couple candid joyful faces.
  • Silas’ favourite new word is “dirt bag”.  It is something we lovingly call him from time to time, but it likely sounds horrible to onlookers who watch Mike take him into the washroom of the restaurant to wash his hands while he hollers playfully in protest “Let me go you dirt bag!”.  Funny stuff.
  • I purchased a 5 year journal on our little getaway to the city and look forward to recording a little bit about our everyday days.

Well, there you have it.  I know I’ve forgotten so many tiny good moments, but now I will have something to come back to this winter as we work away on our annual Poppy, Silas + Little Girl (We have a name picked, but will attempt keeping it secret for now) book for the grandparents.

I hope to see more of you these days and catch up on your own spaces again.


go gently + be wonderful


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day one of 365

Time again for another 5 year plan.  It makes me happy to think of our lives and future together as a family and a couple.  This one will take us to 2018 though it seems impossible to believe.  So many of our dreams and goals came to life after we created our last one in 2007

We found our sweet and feisty rabbit “Sugarfoot” dead under the cedars today.  It appears it was of natural causes as there was not a hair out of place.  He has been spending 90% of his time outside since July or August when he started hiding when I came out to fetch him for the night.  I figured he may have a shorter life living outdoors, but it was definitely a happy and full one.  He grazed in the long grass with the chickens, humped our cats, put the run on Huck, enjoyed plenty of scratches and pats and ate lots of kitchen scraps all while good naturedly letting the kids chase him around the yard.  He had built a burrow under our porch and never strayed far.  As the days grew colder he would come in for a snack and a nap then out he went again.  His coat had grown nice and thick and he was healthy.  He had simply laid down and died.

I have always wanted to do a 365 photo challenge, but always think of it too late or don’t start because I lack the staying power.  This year, I was reminded on New Year’s Eve that I should get started.  Of course, I hope to stick with this, but we all know the year is long and life gets busy, but I have started anyway.  I originally thought I would just post a week’s worth here on Saturdays, but since I have been neglectful of this space of late I hope to find a way to simply blog it from Instagram.  Some days it may be one phone or camera photo while other days may be a smattering of photos paired with a few words about our day.  I may go weeks just keeping a photo journal and I may become inspired to leave a recipe or a fawned Friday or some thoughts.  More often than not I feel I have nothing of great substance to say on the blog or have so much to say, I don’t know where to begin.  I figure this might loosen the blockage.

I seem to constantly be changing directions with the blog and my ideas…I tried the sponsor thing and though I enjoyed it, it was a lot of time spent organizing, emailing, and posting for a very little bit of money and it seemed to dominate my blog space.  I tried the tutorial thing, but again, it was a great deal of effort and time.  I continue to walk the fine line of trying to find creative ways to bring in extra money and blogging for myself and my family.  I keep coming back to the inevitable truth that my time is best spent trying to save us money rather than trying to make money (for now anyway).  I would love to be a paid writer or photographer, but the reality is that those things are just hobbies I enjoy and not necessarily easy income.  They take a lot of time and energy to do on top of trying to drum up interest (which seems to be non-existent).  I read an excellent article on pricing your services and it really put things into perspective for me.  I could take pictures for a song, but it isn’t worth the time I lose with the kids.  So if I can’t find clients willing to pay, I won’t be doing it.  Simple really.

This time of year is for turning inward.  Our finances are at the top of the list this year (inspired by this post).  It is time to get serious about our grocery bill and stop nickel and diming ourselves to debt (ha!).  Usually I find the process of creating a budget empowering, but this time I am a little nervous, because we will be on a bit of a spending strike for the next few months in order to afford our truckload of wood, a very necessary chainsaw, and our taxes that will inevitably come due.  We will also concentrate on paying for our freezer full of organic beef and paying down the line of credit that we were forced to dip into over the last year and a half.

I love shopping.  I know, it doesn’t seem to fit with the lifestyle we are trying to live, but it is true.   I have dreams about shopping sprees on a weekly basis I kid you not.  That being said, I am also a bargain and thrift store shopper so I have managed to score some sweet deals over the years.  I don’t leave the house all that often and when I do, I am rarely organized enough to think of snacks and drinks etc to get us all through the day.  On my odd day out with the kids I will buy a snack or two, a drink or two, and a meal for us.  I will often pick up some small items just because (clothes for the kids at Recycled Kids or a few items at the drug store), factor in the extra gas (it usually involves at least two extra hours of driving).  We pick Mike up from work at 4:30 after being out all day so supper is either a bowl of cereal and some toast or we buy something on the way home.  So you see, a day out per week can quickly add up against our monthly budget.  I usually have hopes of doing our grocery shopping in the bigger town since it is so expensive around these parts, but trying to concentrate with two squirmy and demanding kids can be tough and I often end up being incredibly inefficient.

I know I will be ok without shopping.  I love baking and cooking;  there is snow to play in; we have bookshelves overflowing with unread books; I have a ton of clothes, fabric and yarn, purchased over the years, to use up; puzzles to be assembled; walls to be painted; movies to download; kids to chase and teach.  It is just that I use shopping (as thrifty as I may think I am) as a reward for everything else we go without; an extra car, convenient propane heat, trips or getaways, cable, brand new clothes, and for staying home all day every day with two small kids.  I talk myself into the fact that I deserve it, but when it hurts our bank account I can hardly justify it.  Our goal is to get out of overdraft and pay off the smaller debts we owe and then begin saving up for bigger ticket items we want or need without guilt.  Guilt and worry is far too heavy to carry around for another year.

Well, that was much longer than I had anticipated, but there you have it.  Our plans, goals, and new directions and attitudes for the blog and the new year.


Make it a happy one.


go gently + be wonderful



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some days are better

Yesterday was restless and rough.  Paint smeared across furniture, Huck stealing homemade pizza from the counter top, and yarn unraveled.  T’was not a stellar day in my parenting career thus far, that is for certain.  It ended with me laying rumpled on our bed in a dark room wishing I was more patient; better; different.

Today has been better.  Christmas crafting, roughhousing and hugging, soup warming on the wood stove, and sitting cuddled under a creamy blanket watching The Sword in The Stone.  The tree line out front is hazed by heavy layers of falling snow.

I am looking forward to the slow days of our Christmas vacation; a visit to the farm (and if we’re lucky, a horse drawn sleigh ride), puzzles, books, afternoon coffee, all day snacking, perpetual Christmas movies and music, visitors, walks in the woods, campfires, sleeping in front of the fire, and gingerbread houses.

Yes, I intend to savour every little morsel of Christmas goodness because I know January, February, and March will be good, but oh so long.

In other news, I am very excited about what 2013 holds for my wee photography business.  I am feeling inspired and hopeful.  If you haven’t already, be sure to “like” my new Facebook page to learn about mini sessions and other updates.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to book a photo session for the new year.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Have a merry day, folks!

go gently + be wonderful


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a great day for a family session

Yesterday was a great day for a photo session with sweet family.

P.S.  I want her boots 😉

go gently + be wonderful


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a visit to the knitty gritty homestead

On a bit bit of a whim, I decided to ask one of my favourite blog sisters (who happens to live a mere 2 hours down the road) if she would be game for some maternity photos.  Many of you likely know and read all that Stephanie shares on her blog The Knitty Gritty Homestead and I assure you she is just as wonderful (if not more so) in real life.

We descended upon their house and couldn’t help but feel as though our arrival should have been accompanied by circus music.  Out poured two adults, two toddlers, one dog and one giant puppy.  Oh my.  They were so gracious and easy to spend time with.  We feasted on homemade soup, turkey and roasted vegetables.

To be honest, we spent more time chatting, laughing, and child wrangling than taking pictures, but I was able to snap a few keepers of this prettyful mama.

I came away feeling relaxed and grateful for all the special people who have made their way into our lives and hearts through the Wonderful World of Blog.

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figuring it out

Since my last post, I have spent a bit of time listening to and reading Danielle LaPorte and Wayne Dyer.  I find them inspiring because they give me permission to ask for what I want; do it gently, but without apology; and to resist the constant yearning to please everyone.  They remind me that I get to do this my way.

It has occurred to me a number of times over the years that I need constant approval.  Phew, that was hard to say out loud.  Perhaps all bloggers are a little like this.  Perhaps not.  But the act of sharing, posting, and linking is all very odd when I think too much about it.  Partly, I do it because I enjoy recording the moments of our lives that could otherwise get lost in the folds; partly, I do it to ward off the feeling of isolation and the crazy that comes with being cooped up with 2 (sometimes 4) kids under 4; and, for the last  part, I do it because I need to hear “Good job!”  “You inspire me!” and, the big one, “You should!  It doesn’t seem to matter how many touching emails come my way, I always remember the people who said nothing.  When there is silence, I hear “You shouldn’t”  or “I don’t have anything nice to say, so I won’t say anything…maybe she’ll get the hint”.   I often marvel at other artists’ confidence and wonder if they fight the same twisted battle.  I silently admire their work, assuming they hear, often enough, how great their work is.  But do they hear their own fears echoing in the quiet like I do?

I won’t please everyone with my pictures. I am quite sure I could always know more about f stops and lighting and photoshop.   What I find beautiful or meaningful, others may find silly, pointless, or odd.  For a people pleaser, this is complete and utter torture, even though I know it is  irrational.  I do it in many aspects of my life.   I show my softness, but hide the rough edges.  Sometimes I wish I could soften those edges instead of hide them, but it is who I am.  They are the culmination of my experiences; my battles; my victories; my lessons; my wounds.

This isn’t about getting more compliments or comments; nor is it just about the task of starting and succeeding at my own photography business.  It is about declaration; me declaring that I am good enough, qualified, smart enough, and worthy.  It is about me realizing I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, artists, warriors, creatives, collectors, writers, farmers, whiskey makers, and risk takers and they are in my corner.  It is about me finally turning an attentive ear to the whispers and cheers coming from the shadows of others who are all too familiar with the obnoxious voices who talk nasty to us.  It is about taking back what has been stolen by self doubt, reluctance, and incorrect priorities.  It is about showing  my children what living with sincerity is instead of just talking as though it is a far off dream, only meant for the elite others.  It is about being scared of looking foolish, failing and criticism, but doing it anyway.   It is about taking all of that hurt and fear and doubt; all of that excitement, anticipation, and brainstorming; and doing good rather than evil.


Launch and learn , Bitches.



P.S.  I hearby declare that I will tell those fierce, creative, inspiring, warrior women blazing a path just how wonderful I think they are.  Maybe you’d like to join me and break the silent admiration.  Let it be known.

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eat, sleep, breathe

I have been spending all my spare time thinking about this photography business; creating logos and watermarks; brainstorming marketing ideas and unique offerings for clients; wrestling with pricing and offerings; and trying to organize some photo shoots.  I have one maternity and five family photo sessions in the next month or two which I am super excited about (if only the weather cooperates).  Come January, I will be offering introductory rate photo sessions.  If you’re in the Lindsay, Haliburton, Peterborough area and would like to book a session for the new year, please contact me at applesforpoppyanne{at}hotmail{dot}com.

You may notice things look a little different around here.  Yes, I have begun the job of making this more of a business website.  Mike and I are doing it all ourselves and our laptop crashed again which leaves ALL of my photos safely located on Carbonite’s servers (but not on our temp laptop).  When we get our photos back and as the portfolio grows, each gallery will be a slideshow portfolio for clients to peruse.  I will also be creating sample birth announcements and holiday cards to make available.

For now, I have removed the “Recipes + Tutorials” and “Archives” tab, but will be adding a link in the blog portion of the website.  Never fear!  The best deodorant recipe ever is not lost ;).

I am to the point where I am tired of feeling anxious and doubtful about this venture and ready to step forward with it.  For anyone who doesn’t know already, Danielle LaPorte is seriously inspiring.  She quiets the demons in my belly with her “truthbombs” and “Credo for Making it Happen” (found below).

(Oh and Mike, if you’re reading this, her book would be a great thing to find under the tree this year.  Just saying.)

go gently + be wonderful


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